One of the most important groups of actors that work for
human rights are the non-governmental human rights organisations
(NGOs). They are often called "independent organisations"
because they can believe and say what they want without being
spokespersons for a state's policies. They are also often
called "non-profit organisations" because they want
to change society for the better without making money from
doing it. Examples of such organisations in Norway are Amnesty
International Norway, the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the
Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers (NOAS), Save the
Children, the Norwegian Federation of Organisations of Disabled
People (FFO), and the Anti Racist Centre.
NGOs are founded by committed people with an interest in
human rights. The organisations often become voices for vulnerable
groups in society such as refugees, children, the disabled,
prisoners, people involved in prostitution and others. As
a rule the organisations have good contact with ordinary people
and many of them have members who support them. Many NGOs
are experts in their fields and are taken seriously by both
the authorities and the media.
In some countries the authorities view NGOs as troublesome
and a threat because they criticise the authorities' policies.
Every year many human rights activists are killed because
they have uncovered violations of human rights and criticised
The organisations have different objectives and employ various
Monitoring the human rights situation and suggesting how
state authorities can improve it
Reporting human rights problems and suggested solutions to
the media, which in turn report these to the people and put
pressure on the authorities
Helping people and groups who believe their human rights are
Informing and teaching about human rights
Supporting organisations in other countries that work for