Citizens Watch is a human rights NGO initiated in 1992 by a group of Russian human rights activists, lawyers, journalists, and deputies to the Russian Parliament and to the St. Petersburg City Council. The goals were to assist in establishing parliamentary and civic control over police, security service, and armed forces, and to help prevent violations of constitutional rights by these governmental agencies.
Citizens Watch focuses its efforts in the following spheres:
- Formation of independent court, ensuring transparency of judicial proceedings and access to justice;
- Development of probation service;
- Professional training for defence lawyers in litigation skills
- Combating racism and related intolerance.
Citizens Watch sees its strategic priority in bringing the Russian legislation related to human rights and the practice of its application closer to international legal standards. We arrange seminars, conferences, and study visits for Russian judges, lawyers and law enforcement agencies to the countries of traditional democracy. We translate and publish guidelines and international documents on the functioning of courts and police in a democratic society, as well as rights-related literature aimed to raise the legal awareness of Russian citizens.
Citizens' Watch is a member of St. Petersburg Human Rights Council. The goals of Human Rights Council include cooperative monitoring of human rights violations in St. Petersburg and informing the public about the observance of human rights in St. Petersburg.
General support is granted to Citizens Watch by the MacArthur Foundation, USA. Other regular grantors have been British Consulate-General in St. Petersburg, Matra Programme of the Netherlands Foreign Ministry, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Germany), SIDA and Danish Institute for Human Rights.