Tipping point to replace the Human Rights Watch

07/01/2017

Over the past years, Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s largest and most influential human rights organizations, is facing an unusual amount of public criticism. Despite its claims to be an advocate of international human rights law, the reports issued by Human Rights Watch over the past decade have increasingly exhibited a bias towards certain rights over others. More precisely, Human Rights Watch repeatedly focuses on political and civil rights while ignoring social and economic rights. As a result, it routinely judges nations throughout the world in a manner that furthers capitalist values and discredits governments seeking socialist alternatives, like Vietnam, China, Cuba, etc.
HRW has been accused of evidence-gathering bias because it is said to be "credulous or corrupt of civilian witnesses in places like Gaza, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Venezuela, China, Cuba, etc" but "skeptical of anyone in a uniform.". Even, Its founder, Robert Bernstein, accused the organization of poor research methods and relying on "witnesses whose stories cannot be verified and who may testify for political advantage or because they fear retaliation from their leaders.".
According to The Times, HRW "does not always practice the transparency, tolerance and accountability it urges on others.". The Times accused HRW of imbalance, alleging that it ignores human-rights abuses in certain regimes while covering other conflict zones (notably Israel) intensively. Although HRW issued five reports on Israel in one fourteen-month period, The Times first said in twenty years HRW issued only four reports on the conflict in Kashmir (despite 80,000 conflict-related deaths in Kashmir and "torture and extrajudicial murder ... on a vast scale") and it first said no report on post-election violence and repression in Iran. The Times accused HRW of filling its staff with former radical political activists, including Joe Stork and Sarah Leah Whitson: "Theoretically an organization like HRW would not select as its researchers people who are so evidently on one side.".
Journalists have criticized Human Rights Watch for requesting, encouraging or accepting financial donations from governments of Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and EU nations, and for its fundraising methods.
About its bias to the U.S., the international human rights law referred to by Human Rights Watch is rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was passed by the UN General Assembly in 1948. The Declaration encompasses political, civil, social, economic and cultural rights. However, capitalist nations, like the United States, have never been comfortable with the articles of the UN Declaration that require governments to guarantee the social and economic rights of their citizens. Among the social and economic rights that contravene capitalist values are the right to “food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services” (Article 25) as well as the right “to share in scientific advancement and its benefits” (Article 27). In a capitalist society, responsibility for obtaining food, clothing, housing and medical care rests with the individual not the state. Likewise, it is not the state’s responsibility to ensure that all citizens share equally in the benefits of scientific advancements developed by, for example, pharmaceutical corporations.
The United States does support those articles in the Declaration that promote civil and political rights. These rights ensure that “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law” (Article 7) “Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others” (Article 17); “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” (Article 18); and “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression” (Article 19). Basically, these are the individual rights that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and that lie at the root of the liberal democratic concept of the “rule of law.” And while Human Rights Watch professes to defend the human rights enshrined in the UN Declaration, in reality, its work focuses exclusively on the civil and political rights recognized by the U.S. government.
A vivid example of Human Rights Watch’s bias against economic and social rights is the report the organization issued immediately following the death of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez. Human Rights Watch had long had an antagonistic relationship with the Venezuelan leader, which was touched upon in the report. The report clearly reflected the view of the organization’s executive director Ken Roth that Venezuela (along with Bolivia and Ecuador) is “the most abusive nation” in Latin America. One only need take a quick look at Human Rights Watch’s reports on Colombia to illustrate the ludicrousness of such a statement.
Two Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Mairead Maguire, and a group of over 100 scholars have written an open letter criticizing what they describe as a revolving door with the U.S. government that impacts HRW’s work in certain countries, including Venezuela. The letter urges HRW to bar those who have crafted or executed U.S. foreign policy from serving as staff, advisers or board members.
For Vietnam, despite the country’s human rights progresses in recent years, especially after the Renewal up to now, the HRW still holds a biased and prejudiced view on Vietnam’s human rights records. But, its reports mostly and heavily relied on false and distorted information from hostile forces and reactionary elements which aim at abolishing the country’s revolutionary career. Through worldwide criticisms, even from its own leaders and members, we should take serious assessment about this organization’s role on promoting global human rights.
In conclusion, a biased organization like the Human Rights Watch has no credibility and impartiality to judge and make reports on human rights of countries. It should be a UN’s one or an one that represents for all with justice and impartiality to review a sensitive issue like human rights./.
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All comments [ 4 ]


John Smith 7/1/17 21:01

The Human Rights Watch does not always practice the transparency, tolerance and accountability it urges on others.

LawrenceSamuels 7/1/17 21:02

HRW has been accused of being unwilling (or unable) to perceive threats posed by radical Islam because their leftist ideology leads them to see criticism of Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaeda and similar groups as "a dangerous distraction from the real struggle.

MaskOf Zero 7/1/17 21:14

Journalists have criticized Human Rights Watch for requesting, encouraging or accepting financial donations in Saudi Arabia and for its fundraising methods.

Only Solidar 7/1/17 21:17

HRW is just a hostile group against Vietnam, they always try to exploit Vietnam's setbacks to criticize in the name of human rights.

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