George Soros: £65m for human rights group

By Jessica Elgot, September 17, 2010

The billionaire Jewish financier George Soros is to give £65 million of his personal fortune to Human Rights Watch (HRW) and another $1 million to World ORT.

The HRW donation from Hungarian-born Mr Soros, 80, said to be worth more than $14 billion, is his largest ever donation to a single organisation. HRW will not receive the money in one lump sum but over 10 years. Mr Soros, who is giving the money through his Open Society Foundations, has challenged the organisation to match the same amount in that time.

New York-based Human Rights Watch, which has offices in London and around the world, has drawn criticism for an alleged anti-Israel agenda after it published five reports on Israel in 14 months.

At the beginning of 2010, programmes director Iain Levine met Jewish communal leaders in London to persuade them that the organisation was not biased against Israel.

The $1m donation to World ORT will fund its campaign to help traumatised child soldiers in Liberia. ORT is launching an apprenticeship scheme for 1,000 young people.

Mr Soros said: "An educated youth is key to the future of an open society. It will be a crucial step towards a peaceful Liberia."

Last updated: 11:15am, September 17 2010