5 Important International NGOs which often recur in news

#1. Amnesty International

Focus: Human Rights

source: www.amnestyusa.org
  • Founded: 1961 in London, United Kingdom
  • Role: A worldwide organization for the protection of the rights of prisoners of conscience

Amnesty International was founded in 1961 by the British lawyer Peter Benenson.

It was originally his intention to launch an appeal in Britain with the aim of obtaining an amnesty for prisoners of conscience all over the world.

Amnesty International is a worldwide human rights organization run by its members. It is independent of all governments and all financial players. It is also independent of political convictions and religious faiths.

Organization’s logo – the lit candle surrounded by barbed wire – from a Chinese proverb,“It is better to light a light than to curse the darkness”.

#2. Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative

Focus: Human Rights

The Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative is an international non-governmental organisation formed to support Human Rights and particularly to support the implementation of the Harare Declaration in the countries of the Commonwealth of Nations.

What was Harare declaration?

The Harare Commonwealth Declaration sets the association’s priorities for the 1990’s and beyond. Strengthened emphasis on Commonwealth contribution to democracy, human rights and equality.

#3. CARE International

Focus: Multiple Interdisciplinary Projects

CARE International is a large humanitarian INGO that is committed to fighting poverty. They take a special interest in empowering poor women because “women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty”. Explicit goals:

  • Strengthening capacity for self-help
  • Providing economic opportunity
  • Delivering relief in emergencies
  • Influencing policy decisions at all levels
  • Addressing discrimination in all its forms


Focus: Multiple Interdisciplinary Projects

Oxfam works on trade justice, fair trade, education, debt and aid, livelihoods, health, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, conflict (campaigning for an international arms trade treaty) and natural disasters, democracy and human rights, and climate change. That’s pretty much everything!

One would hear a lot about Oxfam in news related to Nepal’s earthquake and regeneration efforts. Latest news – Reuters

#5. Greenpeace International

Focus: Environmental concerns

If you haven’t heard about them, chances are you are living under a rock! India has been on a head on collision for all (right and wrong) reasons with this NGOs. Read India’s war on GreenpeaceGreenpeace India’s registration cancelled

At CD, we have been doing a story over it at NGOs vs. GoI: The Conflicts and Scrutinies and we have seen a pretty good engagement on that story!

Anyway, back to Greenpeace –

  • Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental organization with offices in over forty countries and with an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, the Netherlands
  • It uses direct action, lobbying, and research to achieve its goals.

Question: What do we mean by “direct action” of an NGO?

Watch this 3 minute video to know about (pretty interesting) history behind Greenpeace


If we missed an important NGO, do let us know. It is important to know the area of work, HQ and recent focus of important NGOs for IAS Prelims purposes.

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By B2B

Revisiting the Basics

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