Activist Cynthia Brown, 60, one of the guiding forces at the international advocacy group Human Rights Watch, died last Sunday in Manhattan after fighting cancer.

Ms. Brown started with Human Rights Watch as a researcher in 1982, focusing on the Americas. In 1990, she went to Chile for two years for the organization. In 1993, she became its first program director, overseeing every report it published.

Executive Director Kenneth Roth said Thursday that Ms. Brown "played a central role in establishing the high standards that have come to define Human Rights Watch."

The organization credited Ms. Brown with helping to create its strategy of putting together documentation of abuses, along with advocating in Washington for the U.S. government to withhold military and political support of governments in other nations accused of violations.

Ms. Brown also was instrumental in the formation of Human Rights Watch's division dedicated to women's rights.

She is survived, the group said, by her daughter and two sisters. - AP