Who We Are
The Human Rights Watch Student Task Force (STF), launched in 1999, is a youth leadership-training program that brings together high school students and educators and empowers them to advocate for human rights issues, especially the rights of children.
What We Do
Every year, STF has worked with students and teachers in public and private schools to reach out to over 25,000 students in Los Angeles. Beginning in 2020, STF expanded its reach to include interested students beyond Los Angeles County. Student members develop leadership skills, learn to defend and protect global human rights and become skilled communicators on behalf of children who are denied basic human rights. School chapters establish their own core leadership teams, including a teacher advisor, that work closely with the STF office to learn about human rights, prepare weekly agendas, lead meetings, engage members, plan events and advocacy on campus, work with school faculty, liaise with other STF chapters and reach out beyond their own campus communities.
STF’s annual human rights campaigns coordinate with the HRW Children’s Rights Division and other HRW divisions through the STF office in Los Angeles. Previous campaigns include the Global Refugee Crisis, End Military Use of Schools, Right to Education, Child Farm Workers and Juvenile Justice Reform. (See details of past STF human rights campaigns and toolkits)
STF members learn about the campaign themes by attending three annual STF workshops, plus weekly chapter meetings. They are then able to “educate to advocate” by hosting guest speakers, film screenings, tabling events, all-school assemblies, faculty and classroom presentations, art exhibits and experience tents. Every campaign features an advocacy strategy. Actions range from raising human rights awareness of public officials and international diplomats to campaigning for human rights policies in classrooms, school districts and City Councils.
- 215 million children are involved in child labor, sexual exploitation and trafficking (ILO);
- 50 million primary school-age children are not attending school worldwide, with 39 million living in countries afflicted by armed conflict (HRW);
- 10 million children under age 5 die each year from malnutrition and preventable diseases (MDG 2011).
How To Get Involved
Email us to learn more about the HRW Student Task Force and how to get involved.