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Chapter: 12th Political Science : Chapter 11 : International Organisations

International Non- Governmental Organisations

International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) have been growing both in number and influence around the world.

International Non- Governmental Organisations

International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) have been growing both in number and influence around the world. INGOs range widely in scope, size, membership and home location. Some examples of INGOs are Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF; also known as Doctors Without Borders). INGOs have been increasingly engaged in policy making and policy processes. Domestically INGOs have access to policy makers and work to influence policy through lobbying efforts and information campaigns. At the international scenario, INGOs often work with intergovernmental Organisations and donor agencies and can have tremendous sway in certain policy domains. Recently the work of INGOs have been linked with their efforts to changes in trade and investment patterns and decisions in terms of humanitarian intervention, economic sanctions and aid allocation.

Until the adoption of the UN Charter in 1945, the term non-governmental Organisation did not exist. In the year 1910, a group of 132 Organisations came together to form the Union of International Organisations. In 1929 a group of Organisations that regularly attended the League meetings and formed the Federation of Private and Semi-Official International Organisations established in Geneva. When the UN Charter was finalized, the San Francisco Conference agreed to make provision for both intergovernmental Organisations and private Organisations to have formal relations with the ECOSOC. In terms of according status for both types of Organisations, members were unwilling to give same status to the two types of international Organisations. Under Article 57, a new term Specialized Agencies was introduced to define inter-governmental Organisations. Under Article 71, a new second term was introduced – non-governmental Organisations.

The UN is an organisation of governments of the world while the non-governmental Organisation represents the people of all nations of the world.

Article 71

“The Economic and Social Council may make suitable arrangements for consultation with non-governmental Organisations which are concerned with matters within its competence. Such arrangements may be made with international Organisations and, where appropriate, with national Organisations after consultation with the Member of the United Nations concerned.”


Amnesty International

Amnesty international is one of the largest international non-governmental Organisation that works for the rights of humans across the globe. Its work is a worldwide campaign movement that seeks to promote all human rights that are established in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and other international human rights instruments. It has more than 2.2 million people as members, signatories and supporters spread across 150 countries in the world. Amnesty International was formed in London in 1961 by its founder Peter Benson. In the year 1977, the Amnesty International was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its campaign against torture. Some of the important objectives of the Amnesty International are as follows:

• Protection of women

• Protection of children

• Ending illegal torture and execution

• Protection of prisoners of conscience (freedom of conscience, expression and the release of all prisoners of conscience)

• Protection of refugees

• Protection and overcoming the phenomenon of human rights violations that are related to his physical and psychological integrity

• Abolishing the death penalty, torture and other cruel treatment has held prisoners

• Fair (fair and fast) trials for political prisoners

• Overcoming the phenomenon of discrimination on any grounds: gender, race, religion, language, political opinion, national or social origin, and others

• Regulation of the global arms trade.


Human Rights Watch

The Human Rights Watch was founded in 1978 with the founding of its Europe and Central Asia Division then known as the Helsinki Watch. It is a non-profit non-governmental Organisation. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists and academics belonging to diverse backgrounds and nationalities. The Human Rights Watch is known for its accurate findings, impartial reporting, effective usage of media and targeted advocacy often in partnership with local human rights groups. Human Rights Watch publishes more than 100 reports on human rights practices in 90 countries across the world. The mission statement of the Human Rights watch states that “Human Rights Watch defends the rights of people worldwide. We scrupulously investigate abuses, expose the facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice”.

Achievements of Human Rights watch

Human Rights watch wins United Nations prize

(New York)- Human Rights Watch has won the 2008 United Nations Prize for Human Rights, in recognition of the vital role played by the Human Rights movement in trying to end abuses over the past 60 years. The award given every five years, was bestowed in New York on December 10, 2008, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Human Rights Watch is an independent, international Organisation that works as part of a vibrant movement to uphold human dignity and advance the cause of human rights for all”. It’s core values are that it is guided by principles of International human rights and humanitarian law and respect for the dignity of the human individual. Human Rights Watch in order to maintain it independence claims that it does not accept government funds directly or indirectly or support from any private funder that could compromise its objectivity and independence. It also does not embrace any political cause and is non-partisan and strives to main neutrality in situations of armed conflict.

Human Rights Watch is committed to maintaining high standards of accuracy and fairness that includes seeking out multiple perspectives to develop and in-depth analytical understanding of events. It recognizes the particular responsibility for victims and witnesses who share their experiences with them. The Human Rights Watch is actively focussed on impact. The Human Rights Watch now has thematic divisions or programs on arms, business and human rights, children’s rights, disability rights, the environment and human rights, health and human rights, international justice, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, refugees, terrorism and counterterrorism, women’s rights and emergencies

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

·           It is a specialized agency of United Nations to protect and promote human rights across the world set up in 2006.

·           The Council consists of 47 members, elected yearly by the General Assembly through direct and secret ballot for three-year terms.

·           India was elected with highest number of votes by General Assembly to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

·           Members are selected via the basis of equitable geographic rotation using the United Nations regional grouping system.

·           Members are barred from occupying a seat for more than two consecutive three-year terms.



Greenpeace is a non-governmental environmental Organisation with offices in over 39 countries and an international coordinating body in Amsterdam, the Netherlands Greenpeace was founded in 1971 by Irving Stowe and Dorothy Stowe, Canadian and US ex-pat environmental activists. Greenpeace states its goal is to “ensure the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity” and focuses its campaigning on worldwide issues such as climate change, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering, and anti-nuclear issues. It uses direct action, lobbying, research, and ecotage to achieve its goals. The global Organisation does not accept funding from governments, corporations, or political parties, relying on three million individual supporters and foundation grants. Greenpeace has a general consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council and is a founding member of the INGo Accountability Charter, an international non-governmental Organisation that intends to foster accountability and transparency of non-governmental Organisations. Greenpeace is known for its direct actions and has been described as the most visible environmental Organisation in the world.



International Organisations have become an increasingly common phenomenon in international life. The proliferation of international Organisations and treaty arrangements among states represents the formal expression of the extent to which international politics is becoming more and more institutionalized. In addition to the burgeoned scholarship on international Organisations, in the past decade, theories have been devoted to understanding why institutions exist, how they function, what are the effects they have on world politics have become increasingly refined and the empirical methods employed for analysis more sophisticated. These and other emerging forms of analysis would help frame a new research agenda for the study on international Organisations. In the coming years students will need to pay close attention to the changing patterns of international Organisations’ norms and practices and the broader ability of international Organisations to keep step with the changes in the world and the challenges it would face.


Students are requested to find out World Bank Sponsored projects in India.


Have a debate on role of Human Right Watch in Protecting Human Rights across the world.

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12th Political Science : Chapter 11 : International Organisations : International Non- Governmental Organisations |

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