In When it comes to the definition, there is

In international human rights law, states are
considered main actors and were considered the sole actor for many years before
the World War II.  But at the same time,
civil society was inalienable part of the promotion and protection of rights of
individuals far before adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in
1947. Civil society movement for the abolition of the slavery can be a good
example of pre-human rights era civil society movement and its impact on
political and legal change. Following the beginning of 20th century,
structure of the global political and legal relations started changing rapidly.
After World War II, role of the non-state actors such as international
organizations, the civil society, armed groups and others rose dramatically and
they became an integral part of the global governance and legal arena,
especially in the field of international human rights law. Nowadays, no scholar
can deny the increasingly influential role of non-state actors in national and
international political and legal fora. Especially, the tremendous role of the non-governmental
organizations in the protection and promotion of human rights.

This essay will explore definition of the non-governmental
organizations, what roles they play in promotion and protection of the human
rights, what kind of challenges they face in their work, what limitations they
have and their future.

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Definition
of non-governmental organizations

Non-governmental
organizations (hereinafter – NGO) are intermediary among individuals, international
organizations and governments. They are part of the civil society, which is broader
concept that includes interest groups, religious associations, trade union and
et cetera. When it comes to the definition, there is no generally agreed
definition of non-governmental organizations and the term carries different
connotations in different context. Nevertheless, there are some fundamental
features for the definition of the non-governmental organizations. Clearly non-governmental
organizations must be independent from any governmental influence and control. In
addition, NGO must be non-political, not for profit and non-violent. These
characteristics are commonly used as they reflect the conditions for
recognition by the UN.  Non-governmental
organizations can have different forms in different countries: not for profit
organizations, public funds, public associations, non-governmental
organizations and others. NGOs can also be divided into two thematic categories
they work with such as generalized (civil and political rights, economic,
social and cultural rights) and specific (child rights, rights of persons with
disabilities, freedom from torture and etc.). Moreover, NGOs can be divided
into two groups based on where they work: national or international. Some NGOs
can work both at national and international levels. This essay will explore one
specific type of non-governmental organizations, namely human rights NGOs.

According to the Wiseberg, human
rights nongovernmental organization can be identified as a private association
which devotes significant resources to the promotion and protection of human
rights, which is independent of both governmental and political groups that
seek direct political power, and which does not itself seek such pow (Wiseberg, 1991).  The more specific definition of human rights NGO
is given by Martin Olz: “Generally, for an NGO to be considered as human rights
NGO it should be of private character and its work should be guided by the idea
of international human rights as set forth in the UN Declaration of Human
Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and other instrument
of international law” (Olz, 1997). The
latter definition of human rights NGO is used in the context of this essay.