About us

Challenging abuses of power to protect human rights and secure the future of our planet

Our goal is a more sustainable, just and equal planet. We want climate-critical forests and biodiversity to thrive and fossil fuels to stay in the ground. We want corporations to respect the planet and human rights, governments to protect and listen to their citizens, and the online world to be free from misinformation and hate. 

When founded in 1993, we were pioneers in seeing the link between natural resources, conflict and corruption. Since our very first campaign to shut down the Khmer Rouge’s illegal logging industry we’ve uncovered the truth about blood diamonds and helped bring trillions of oil, gas and mining revenues into the open. 

We’ve shone a spotlight on the brutal killings of those defending their land from forced seizure by corporations and governments alike, campaigned for an end to the use of anonymous companies, and much more.

Today, our hard-hitting investigations reveal who is stealing the money, where they are hiding it, and how they are spending it. We track and expose the path of corruption, pushing for global change to end it. We are independent, not-for-profit, and work with partners around the world in our fight for justice. 

Where we work

We have over 100 staff, and offices in London, Washington DC and Brussels along with a global network of partners and allies. Our campaigns encompass oil, gas and mining, conflict resources, forests, land and environmental defenders, and corruption and money laundering.  

Annual report 2019 background map

Countries Global Witness worked on in 2019

How we work

We have always been bold and innovative in the way we work. We make a point of taking a stand against individuals, governments and companies who benefit from corruption that drives environmental and human rights abuses around the world.

Our investigations are known for their meticulous attention to detail and are months and sometimes years in the making. Moreover, we use an ever-evolving variety of skills and techniques to uncover evidence including:

Our impact

Honduras: Julia Francisco Martinez, widow of indigenous activist and human rights defender

Julia Francisco Martinez, whose husband - a human rights defender - was killed in Honduras. Credit: Global Witness/Giles Clarke

Our investigations regularly make headline news throughout the world. Combined with tenacious advocacy work, they do more than just challenge corrupt and criminal behaviour: they change the systems that allow it to happen in the first place.

We secured ground-breaking measures to get companies to check mineral supply chains and ensure that they’re not funding conflict and human rights abuses. We conceived and co-founded the Publish What You Pay (PWYP) campaign, helping bring trillions of dollars-worth of oil, gas and mineral deals into the open. More recently, we have helped bring killings of those defending their forests, land and rivers against destructive industries to world attention.

Our work has also led to the powerful being held to account, including the oil giant, Shell, which is currently facing one of the largest corporate bribery trials in history over its role in a billion dollar corruption scandal in Nigeria that we helped expose.

Our vision

We want a better world -- where corruption is challenged and accountability prevails, all can thrive within the planet’s boundaries, and governments act in the public interest.

Our mission

Many of the world’s worst environmental and human rights abuses are driven by the exploitation of natural resources and corruption in the global political and economic system.  Global Witness is campaigning to end this. 

We carry out hard-hitting investigations, expose the facts, and push for change. We are independent, not-for-profit, and work with partners around the world in our fight for justice.

  • Annual Reports

    Find out how we find the facts, expose the story and change the system. View our archive of online and pdf annual reviews.
  • Governance

    Find out more about Global Witness's Governance structure.
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