UN Watch is a non-governmental organization based in Geneva whose mandate is to monitor the performance of the United Nations by the yardstick of its own Charter. UN Watch was established in 1993 by the legendary civil rights activist Morris B. Abram, the former U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. UN Watch participates actively at the UN as an accredited NGO in Special Consultative Status to the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and as an Associate NGO to the UN Department of Public Information (DPI). It reports regularly to both.
UN Watch believes in the United Nations’ mission on behalf of the international community to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” and provide for a more just world. We believe that even with its shortcomings, the UN remains an indispensable tool in bringing together diverse nations and cultures. UN Watch is keenly aware that member states often ask the UN to fulfill mandates and tasks that are neither feasible nor within the means provided. While it would be unrealistic to ignore the UN’s weaknesses, we advocate finding ways to build on its strengths and use its limited resources effectively.
UN Watch is foremost concerned with the just application of UN Charter principles. Areas of interest include: UN management reform, the UN and civil society, equality within the UN, and the equal treatment of member states. UN Watch notes that the disproportionate attention and unfair treatment applied by the UN toward Israel over the years offers an object lesson (though not the only one) in how due process, equal treatment, and other fundamental principles of the UN Charter are often ignored or selectively upheld.
UN Watch, together with 20 other international NGOs organizes each year the Geneva Summit for Human Rights and Democracy. Started in 2009, this annual human rights conference brings together well-known human rights defenders, victims, activists and former political prisoners generating headlines in top media around the world.
UN Watch is chaired by Ambassador Alfred H. Moses, former U.S. Ambassador to Romania and Special Presidential Emissary for the Cyprus Conflict.
International Advisory Board
Former Swedish Deputy Prime Minister, author, democracy activist
Swiss author, journalist, former Le Monde correspondent at the UN Human Rights Commission
Katrina Lantos Swett
President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice, Chair of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom
Professor Irwin Cotler
Canadian MP, international law professor, human rights advocate and former Justice Minister
Chinese dissident, former political prisoner, survivor of Tiananmen Square massacre, president of Initiatives for China
Russian dissident and former world chess champion
Ambassador Mark P. Lagon
Georgetown University Chair for International Relations and Security, former Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. State Department responsible for United Nations-related human rights and humanitarian issues
Lord David Trimble
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, member of British House of Lords, former First Minister of Northern Ireland
Professor Gert Weisskirchen
Former German MP, professor of higher education, and Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan: “I deeply appreciate the valuable work performed by UN Watch. I believe that informed and independent evaluation of the United Nations’ activities will prove a vital source as we seek to adapt the Organization to the needs of a changing world. I can promise you that I will pay close attention to your observations and views in the years ahead.“
—Letter to Ambassador Morris B. Abram, Chairman of UN Watch, Jan. 30, 1997. See also Secretary-General Annan’s 1999 Tribute to UN Watch Founder Morris B. Abram.
United Nations Office at Geneva Director-General Sergei Ordzho- nikidze: “Allow me to pay tribute to the valuable work of UN Watch in support of the just application of values and principles of the United Nations Charter and support for human rights for all.“ —Statement Delivered at Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, March 16, 2006.