1,000 miles along US seaboard

The Dutch organization Miles4Justice will sail a yacht in honor of Human Rights Watch into New York Bay on September 8, 2009, concluding a 1,000-mile journey as part of the NY400 – Holland on the Hudson celebration.

The voyage down the Atlantic coast replicates the northern leg of Henry Hudson’s original voyage, and Miles4Justice will dock in New York 400 years to the day after Hudson first arrived in 1609. The week’s events celebrate the openness, tolerance, and free spirit of the Dutch pioneers who settled New Amsterdam, and mark 400 years of Dutch-American friendship.

“Miles4Justice’s journey is an unconventional but wonderfully appropriate way to focus international attention on Human Rights Watch and the work we do to end abuses worldwide,” said Carroll Bogert, associate director of Human Rights Watch. “We’re opening an office in the Netherlands later this year to support and encourage the Dutch traditions of tolerance and support for human rights.”

Human Rights Watch is an independent organization dedicated to defending and protecting human rights, working in more than 80 countries. Through its research and advocacy, Human Rights Watch works to expose human rights violations around the world, to give voice to the oppressed, and to hold oppressors accountable for their crimes.

Human Rights Watch does not accept government funding and instead relies on individuals and foundations for financial support. The Miles4Justice sailing team will present Human Rights Watch with a donation from people in the Netherlands, who pledged financial support through the Miles4Justice Foundation for each mile the yacht sailed.

“The crew share a passion not only for sailing, but for protecting human rights worldwide, reflecting Human Rights Watch’s 30-year legacy of bringing greater justice and security to people around the globe,” said one of the Miles4Justice founders, Dr. Geert-Jan Alexander Knoops, a professor of international criminal law and one of the original defense lawyers for the International Criminal Court in The Hague. “We hope the funds we raise will help Human Rights Watch continue its work documenting abuses and helping people to seek justice.”

Knoops and his wife, Carry Knoops, a human rights lawyer and co-founder of Miles4Justice, were among the sailing team. The volunteer crew of amateur and professional sailors also includes members of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps Special Forces Unit who have been on assignment in various international peacekeeping operations. Miles4Justice uses sailing projects to focus on human rights.

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