NEW YORK — Billionaire philanthropist George Soros is putting up $100 million, one of the largest donations of its kind, to expand Human Rights Watch and help it court more international support.

The financier and major donor to liberal causes said Tuesday that it’s become a disadvantage for the group to be primarily funded by Americans because the U.S. has lost the “moral high ground” in fighting abuses.

The gift, to be distributed over 10 years, is meant as a dramatic kick-start of growth for the group, which documents abuses and advocates for human rights in about 90 countries.

Soros’ donation is meant to attract enough additional money to boost the organization’s budget from $48 million a year to $80 million, let it hire about 120 more people and set up new offices to encourage such emerging powers as India and Brazil to make human rights a keystone of their foreign policies.

Plans call for Human Rights Watch to draw at least half its income and most of its board members from outside the U.S. within five years. Now, about 70 percent of the money and 80 percent of board members are U.S.-based.

Soros considers that a liability – one he blamed on a frequent target of his, former President George W. Bush.

“They’re basically an American organization advocating human rights all over the world. But the United States has lost the moral high ground, during the Bush administration, and, therefore, it runs into opposition because there’s resentment of American interference,” Soros said.