Human Rights Watch

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) is a large, well-funded [1] liberal advocacy group presenting itself as a human rights watchdog. One of its four co-founders also founded SDS, a radical pro-communist group masquerading as a supporter of democracy. This parentage exposes the extremist origins of the group.

HRW mainly criticizes the United States[2] and Israel.[3] Yet it studiously avoids any criticism of Arab groups who launch rocket attacks against Israeli civilians.[4] As conservative author and human rights activist David Horowitz stated, Human Rights Watch is a "reflexive Israel-basher … who, in his zest to pillory Israel at every turn, is little more than an ally of the barbarians".[5]

Alan M. Dershowitz, [6] professor of law at Harvard Law School and one of the most distinguished defenders of individual rights, wrote regarding HRW,

"Who will guard the guardians?" asked Roman satirist Juvenal. Now we must ask, who is watching Human Rights Watch, one of the world's best-financed and most influential human rights organizations? It turns out that they cook the books about facts, cheat on interviews, and put out pre-determined conclusions that are driven more by their ideology than by evidence. These are serious accusations, and they are demonstrably true……... Human Rights Watch no longer deserves the support of real human rights advocates. Nor should its so-called reporting be credited by objective news organizations.” [7]"

Contents

History

1978-1998

Human Rights Watch (HRW) was founded under the name, “Helsinki Watch.” Its original goal was to monitor the Soviet's adherence to human rights provisions in the Helsinki Accords. In 1980, the organization started to develop a number of “Watch” committees in America, Asia, and Africa. [8] These committees monitored human rights compliance of government and groups inside these continents. In the 1980’s the organization heavily scrutinized the Region Doctrine, they also denounced the United States aiding of anti-communist fighters in Latin America. Jeri Laber, one of the founders of HRW, stated, "Americas Watch reports … were eagerly read in the United States by people who deplored the Reagan policies." [9] Critics claimed that Human Rights Watch painted a bad picture of the freedom fighters in Latin America, while glossing over the abuses of their communist governments. In 1980, Turkey began a major military campaign against a Kurdish terrorist group, the PKK. HRW documented the violations caused by the Turkish forces in their efforts, highlighting the abuses in the justice system, and use of torture by the government. In 1994 HRW’s “African Watch” covered the genocide in Rwanda.[10] , Their work documenting the atrocities in the region later won them praise from Karel Kovanda, the Czech Republic's ambassador to the United Nations, who stated in 2004, “I already knew the track record of Human Rights Watch in its work in my own country. I had every reason to believe that the organization was equally meticulous and well-informed on Rwanda.”[11]

1998-2006

In 1998, Human Rights Watch united all of its “Watch” groups under the United States based HRW in 1988. They led the effort of non-governmental organizations in pressuring the United States to enter Kosovo to stop the 'genocide'. When NATO and the United States began their operation, HRW was one of the most critical organizations of its handling. They frequently wrote articles on the abuses carried out by the United States in their use of Cluster Bombs. [12] After September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, HRW called for the United States to settle the terrorist attacks as a legal matter, rather then using military force to wipe out the Taliban. [13] HRW endorsed the Civil Liberties Restoration Act of 2004 [14],a bill that would take away vital tools that the United States enacted after the September 11th attacks. HRW has been critical of both of the United States recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. A HRW report alleged that there was, “excessive use of force by U.S. troops.” They state that they were, "deeply concerned about the consistent reports we are getting about women, children and unarmed civilians being killed." Even though they admitted that they did not have complete reports from the ground in Iraq. [15]

2006-2007

In 2006, HRW greatly criticized Israel’s defense against the terrorist group Hezbollah. They created a report entitled, “Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon.” [16] Critics also stated that HRW also defended the terrorist organization. In a 2006 report they stated that there was no evidence of Hezbollah’s use of civilians as human shields, this was obviously not true. [17] HRW started campaigning for the United States to intervene in Darfur, Sudan, to end the atrocities committed in the region. Over its years, HRW has been embraced by the left, well being deplored by conservatives and supporters of Israel. HRW wrote president, George Bush, and asked him to release prisoners that he was holding in “secret prisons”, they also called on him to stop the use of Guantanamo Bay as a U.S. prison for captured terrorist. The organization’s director, Kenneth Roth, claimed that the United States has lost its credibility on human rights. "The trend is bleak, but not irreversible," [18] Roth stated in a report in 2007. The organizations credibility has been brought into serious question.

Founders

Name Position Biography
Bob Bernstein Founder CEO of Random House publishers
Aryeh Neier Founder Neier worked 15 years at the liberal American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). He currently serves as President of the Open Society Institute (OSI), a foundation funded by liberal George Soros, who was also OSI’s founder. [19] Neier was co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society in 1959.
Orville Schell Founder As a former graduate of their school of journalism, Scheell now stands as Dean of the University of California, Berkley. Schell is a liberal and claims to be a "Discontented Democrat." [20]
Jeri Laber Founder Senior Adviser to Human Rights Watch, was formerly executive director of its Helsinki division. She is a prominent journalist and political activist.

Political Position

Members of Human Rights Watch with Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi

Evan though HRW claims that it is a “non-partisan” human rights group, many of the views held by HRW reflect those of American liberals. They believe that abortion is “first and foremost a human right[21] " and support gay marriage. The organization is also a opponent "in all circumstances" of the death penalty, stating that the death penalty is "a form of punishment that is unique in its barbarity and finality[22] ." The organizations work has had a liberal approach of blaming America first.

Organizational Structure

Method

Human Rights Watch states that the organization, “tries to strike a balance in its work between countries with the worst human rights problems and countries where there is a moment of special opportunity for us to propel change.” [23] When the location for work is agreed upon, the organization sends out a “fact find group” which is sent from their headquarters. These groups use the method of interviewing victims and witnesses in the crisis zone. These finding are published into dozens of books and reports posted on the organizations website. In intense times of crisis, the organization covers the “up-to-the-minute information.”In some situations the organization uses the help of organizations, such as United Nations, the European Union, international financial institutions, and the United States Government. In particularly egregious abuses, “Human Rights Watch may press for the withdrawal of military and certain economic support.” [24]

Location

In 1998, Human Rights Watch united the international organization in United States. They based their main organization headquarters on 350 Fifth Avenue St, New York. HRW has anchored offices in major United States cities, including, Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco[25]. They also created offices internationally in Brussels, Geneva, Berlin, Toronto, and London. The organization has been criticized for having a lack of diversity in headquarter locations. [26] When on a assignment the "fact finding group" will, in some cases, make temporary headquarters in the conflict zone.

Leadership

Human Rights Watch consists of a Board of Directors and chairmen from five continents, along with three other boards which cover specific issues[27]. Each board consists of chairmen and co-chairmen, with exception of the board on “Terrorism and Counterterrorism.” The smallest board, “Terrorism and Counterterrorism,” consist of eight members, while the largest board consists of over forty members. Although the organization composed of 190 full time employees’, they also hire part time employee’s, bringing the number to 255 working employee's working for the organization [28]. HRW also has a ‘Counsel’, which can be joined by giving donations to the organization (usually $5,000), the counsel remains primarily symbolic. While this list of counsel members used to be confidential; it is now since open to the public[29]. The organizations main leadership role is held by the executive director. This position has been held, since 1993, by Kenneth Roth, a graduate of Yale Law School, Brown University, and former prosecutor[30].Bill O'Reilly called Roth, the “stand up man” for the organization, his job includes talking to the media and overseeing the organizations operations. [31]

Funding

The organization total operating cost for Human Rights Watch annual in 2006 was $30,185,486. [32] HRW is a non-governmentally organization (NGO), which receives its funding from private donors and foundations. The organization claims that they do not accept money from government institutions. Its annual budget is 22 million, ten million behind Amnesty International, another human rights monitoring group. In January of 2005, the Oakland-based Golden West Financial Corporation gave a grant of 15 million dollars over a five years period to the organization.[33], this was the largest contribution to the organization in its twenty-seven year history. Other contributors to the organization include; Ahmanson Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Ford Foundation, Columbia Foundation, William and Floea Hewlett Foundation, John D. & Catherin T. MacArthur Foundation, Nathan Cummings foundation, Joyce Foundation, JEHT Foundation, J.M. Kaplan Fund, the Open Society Institute, the Davie and Lucile Packard Foundation, Righteous Persons Foundation, Rockefeller Brothers Fud, Scherman Foundation, and the Rockefellers Foundation[34] . HRW financial statements are made public on the organizations website[35].

Website

The main tool used by the human rights organization is their website (hrw.org). The website receives an estimated average of 48 thousand visitors a day in 2006, which led to an average 118,642 daily page views[36] . The site also gives HRW the ability to report up to the minute happenings when the situation calls for it. HRW has been criticized for having most of its reports and website in English only [37].

Criticism

Anti-Israel

The Israeli conflict with the Palestinians and Hezbollah has brought about serious questions of HRW objectivity. During the span of four years, from October 2000 to April 2004, HWR wrote one-hundred and three reports, the vast majority of these reports condemned Israel[38]. During the same time the organization only wrote thirty highlighting the Palestinian terror attack.

According to Gerald M. Steinberg, a research associate at the BESA Center for Strategic Studies, HRW has ignored the terrorist suicide attacks designed to kill innocent civilians, while criticizing Israel for a, “policy of targeted killing of terrorist leaders, such as Hamas leaders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ar-Rantisi[39] .” He wrote later in the same article, “The political bias of non-governmentally organizations on the Middle East, coupled with their lack of public accountability and transparency, is beginning to chip away at their credibility[40] .”

In 2006, HRW released a 50 page report, "Fatal Strikes: Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon," which covered civilians deaths they claimed were caused by Israel in their conflict with the terrorist group Hezbollah. Israel stated that the many of the deaths were caused by Hezbollah’s use of civilian areas and human shields. HRW stated that there was no evidence that Hezbollah used human shields, but this notion was widely known as untrue. While focusing on Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing”, HRW failed to report significantly on Hezbollah’s launching of 2,000 rockets at civilian areas. HRW criticized Israel’s building of a fence in the West Bank, calling it part of an "illegal" land grab[41]. Anthony Weiner, a Democrat Congressman, was shocked at the idiosyncrasy of the charges, he stated, "Given that the security fence has inarguably reduced terrorism and death by would-be Palestinian bombers, it seems any organization truly concerned about human rights should be supporting Israel's right to construct it”[42]. Even a liberal newsmagazine, The New Republic, could not resist the slant of HRW coverage[43] .

Robert Bernstein is the founder and former chairman of Human Rights Watch. Bernstein is attacking the organization for “issuing reports on the Israeli-Arab conflict that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.” In addition, he pointed out that HRW has condemned Israel more than any other country. [44]

Hypocrisy

Human Rights Watch has called on the United States to stop workplace discrimination on nationality and class inside the United States and other countries, but the organization does not even follow that standard, nearly hiring all of their employee's from American and English nationalities[45]. The Committee members for HRW also include only decisions makers from the upper-class, none from the middle-income class. Nearly all of the organizations articles and reports are produced in English, HRW claims that they are not produced in more languages because of the cost of translation. They have asked for volunteers to translate reports and documents. The organization has held double standard in its dealings in the Middle East. President of the Zionist Organization of America, Morton Klein, stated, "For Human Rights Watch to call on Israel and Jews not to live in Judea and Samaria is simply racist. Why is it that Arabs can live in Israel, and Arabs can live in the West Bank, and Jews cannot live in the West Bank?” [46].

Same-sex advocates

In a 2006, HRW fights for Congress to enact reforms to U.S. immigration law to guarantee respect for the human rights and labor rights of non-citizens. These reforms should include measures that end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and HIV-positive individuals. [47]

In conjunction with the UN Human Rights Committee, HRW applauded the Colombia’s Constitutional Court's decision "to extend pension benefits to same-sex partners sets an example for other countries in achieving equality for all." [48]

Gitmo Detainees

HRC complains that terrorists need the rights of the federal court process because the U.S. military tribunals are unfair. Jennifer Daskal of Human Rights Watch wants the focus to be on terrorists 'alleged' crimes. [49] A belief that terrorists who are caught on a battlefield have U.S. citizen rights, truly a liberal belief. Also, they advocate closing down Guantanamo detention facilities and the transfer of prisoners to the U.S. mainland.

See Also

External Links

References

  1. HRW has a full-time staff of 190 employees worldwide and a budget of approximately $22 million per year. Discover the Networks
  2. Discover the Networks-A guide to the liberal Left,http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6258
  3. “Human Rights Watch shows a disturbing disparity in its treatment of Israel and China.” Gerald M. Steinberg(head of the Program on Conflict Management at Bar Ilan University and is the editor of NGO Monitor.) May 2006 http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YzdkNDA3NTY4ZmMwMzFmNWYwYTBkMWU4MzFiMTMxNGM
  4. “NGOs Make War on Israel” Gerald M. Steinberg Middle East Quarterly Summer 2004, http://www.meforum.org/article/633
  5. Rosa Brooks on Criticism of Human Rights Watch, Kevin Jon Heller, http://www.opiniojuris.org/posts/1157149379.shtml
  6. Alan Dershowitz bio,http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-dershowitz/#blogger_bio
  7. Alan Dershowitz,[ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-dershowitz/the-human-rights-watch-_b_27701.html “The "Human Rights Watch" Watch, Installment 1”]
  8. Discover the Networks, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6258
  9. Discover the Networks, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6258
  10. Human Rights Watch, “Rawanda”,1994, http://www.hrw.org/reports/1995/WR95/AFRICA-08.htm#P397_139563
  11. Karel Kovanda, Czech ambassador to the United Nations, 2004,http://hrw.org/about/what_they_say.html
  12. HRW, “NATO's Use of Cluster Munitions in Yugoslavia”, 1999, http://www.hrw.org/campaigns/kosovo98/cluster.shtml
  13. Discover the Networks, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6258
  14. Summary: Civil Liberties Restoration Act of 2004by The Rights Working Group, http://www.bordc.org/threats/legislation/clrasummary.php
  15. Discover the Networks, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6258
  16. “Israel's Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon.” Human Rights Watch, August 2006, http://hrw.org/reports/2006/lebanon0806/lebanon0806web.pdf
  17. Alan Dershowitz,[ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alan-dershowitz/the-human-rights-watch-_b_27701.html “The "Human Rights Watch" Watch, Installment 1”]
  18. Kenneth Roth, Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/11/AR2007011101658.html
  19. “Open Society Institute”, Discover the Networks, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/funderprofile.asp?fndid=5181&category=79
  20. Discover the Networks, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6258
  21. Discover the Networks, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6258
  22. Discover the Networks, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6258
  23. Human Rights Watch, “Frequently Asked Questions” http://www.hrw.org/about/faq/
  24. Human Rights Watch, “Frequently Asked Questions” http://www.hrw.org/about/faq/
  25. Locations of Human Rights Watch, http://www.hrw.org/contact.html
  26. “Who’s Behind Human Rights Watch,”(2004), http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/HRW.html
  27. Human Rights Watch Board and Committee’s, http://www.hrw.org/about/info/board.html
  28. Human Rights Watch, “Frequently Asked Questions” http://www.hrw.org/about/faq/
  29. “Who’s Behind Human Rights Watch,”(2004), http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/HRW.html
  30. HRW website, Kenneth Roth, http://www.hrw.org/about/bios/kroth.htm
  31. O’Reilly Factor, 2004, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,138990,00.html
  32. Human Rights Watch, “Frequently Asked Questions” http://www.hrw.org/about/faq/
  33. Foundation Center, 2005, http://foundationcenter.org/sanfrancisco/gitn/sf_gitn_010105.html
  34. Discover the Networks, http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6258
  35. Financial Statements for Human Rights Watch, 2004- http://www.hrw.org/annual-report/finStmt2004.pdf, 2005- http://www.hrw.org/annual-report/finStmt2005.pdf, 2006- http://www.hrw.org/annual-report/finStmt2006.pdf
  36. Human Rights Watch, “Frequently Asked Questions” http://www.hrw.org/about/faq/
  37. “Who’s Behind Human Rights Watch,”(2004), http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/HRW.html
  38. “NGOs Make War on Israel” Gerald M. Steinberg Middle East Quarterly Summer 2004, http://www.meforum.org/article/633
  39. “NGOs Make War on Israel” Gerald M. Steinberg Middle East Quarterly Summer 2004, http://www.meforum.org/article/633
  40. “NGOs Make War on Israel” Gerald M. Steinberg Middle East Quarterly Summer 2004, http://www.meforum.org/article/633
  41. NGO Monitor, 2005, http://www.ngo-monitor.org/archives/news/HRWLetter-NYSun.htm
  42. NGO Monitor, 2005, http://www.ngo-monitor.org/archives/news/HRWLetter-NYSun.htm
  43. Rosa Brooks on Criticism of Human Rights Watch, Kevin Jon Heller, http://www.opiniojuris.org/posts/1157149379.shtml
  44. ‘Human Rights Watch’ Founder Denounces His Group as Anti-Israel, Arutz Sheva, October 20, 2009
  45. http://www.antiwar.com/rep/treanor1.html
  46. NGO Monitor, 2005,http://www.ngo-monitor.org/archives/news/HRWLetter-NYSun.htm
  47. U.S. Immigration Law Inhumane to Same-Sex Couples HRW, MAY 2, 2006
  48. Colombia: Court Extends Benefits to Same-Sex Couples UN Refugee Agency, April 18, 2008
  49. Sept. 11 Defendants Want to Plead Guilty Fox News, December 8, 2008
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