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HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (HRW) Printer Friendly Page

Who Is behind Human Rights Watch?
By Paul Treanor
2004

Experts or Ideologues: A Systematic Analysis of Human Rights Watch’s Focus on Israel
By NGO Monitor
September 2009

Human Rights Watch As a Political Instrument of Liberal Cosmopolitan Elite of the USA
By Pravoslavie.ru

The Human-Rights Lobby Meets Terrorism
By Adrian Karatnycky and Arch Puddington
March 2002

NGO Monitor's 2007 Report on HRW: Bias and Double Standards Continue
By NGO Monitor
April 29, 2008

Report on HRW's Activities in 2006: Political Bias Undermines Human Rights
By NGO Monitor
June 26, 2007

Human Rights Watch's Report: Erased in a Moment: Suicide Bombing Attacks against Israeli Civilians
By NGO Monitor
January 17, 2003

Soros's Anti-Human Rights Agenda
By Anne Bayefsky
September 20, 2010

Human Rights Watch Under Fire from Its Founder
By Jillian Bandes
October 21, 2009

Too Little Too Late
By HonestReporting.com
August 12, 2009

Double Standards and Human Rights Watch
By Noah Pollak
July 30, 2009

Betrayed by Silence: NGOs Ignore Gilad Shalit´s Rights
By NGO Monitor
March 26, 2009

Joe Stork, Senior Human Rights Watch Staffer, Supported Violence against Jews and Israel's Destruction
By Alex safian
February 19, 2009

Holding Fire: IDF Withdraws from Gaza
By HonestReporting.com
January 19, 2009

EU and NIF-funded NGOs Lead Condemnations in Gaza Conflict
By NGO Monitor
December 31, 2008

HRW Hires Another Pro-Palestinian Activist
By NGO Monitor
October 29, 2008

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
September 3, 2008

The Softer Side of Schools?
By Michelle Malkin
August 22, 2008

HRW, Amnesty, and the Reuters Cameraman Incident
By NGO Monitor
August 19, 2008

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
August 7, 2008

Promoting the Al Dura Myth: The Role of Amnesty and HRW
By NGO Monitor
July 28, 2008

NGO Monitor's Letter to Senator Obama on Human Rights Watch
By Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg
July 24, 2008

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
July 3, 2008

HRW's Letter to President Bush on Gaza: The "Collective Punishment" Hoax
By NGO Monitor
June 16, 2008

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
June 5, 2008

NGO Monitor's Detailed Analysis of "Off the Map": HRW's Politicized Characterization of the Bedouin Issue
By NGO Monitor
May 19, 2008

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
May 7, 2008

Rights Group Shows Clear Anti-Israel Bias
By Ynetnews.com
May 1, 2008

NGO Accuses HRW of Israel Obsession
By Abe Selig
May 1, 2008

HRW Publishes Criticism of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Iran; But Vague on UNHRC Abuses
By NGO Monitor
April 14, 2008

HRW's Report on Israel and the Bedouin: Destructive Contribution to a Complex Problem
By NGO Monitor
April 1, 2008

It's Time the 'Human Rights' Bodies Did Their Job
By Dan Kosky
March 30, 2008

What the NGOs Did Not Say This Month
By NGO Monitor
March 6, 2008

False Claims of "Collective Punishment" in NGO Campaigns on Gaza
By NGO Monitor
February 28, 2008

Human Rights Watch's Cluster Munitions Report: Under the Facade
By NGO Monitor
February 17, 2008

NGO Gaza Campaign as Prelude to the 2009 Durban Review Conference
By NGO Monitor
February 3, 2008

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
January 3, 2008

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
December 4, 2007

NGO Bias in Pre-Annapolis Political Statements on Gaza
By NGO Monitor
November 26, 2007

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
November 5, 2007

HRW, Amnesty and other NGOs Ignored Burma
By Gerald Steinberg
October 2, 2007

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
October 1, 2007

HRW Issues More Reports on 2006 Lebanon War: Same Bias and Unverifiable Claims
By NGO Monitor
October 1, 2007

Musings on Media Coverage of the Middle East
By Barry Rubin
September 16, 2007

"HRW's Damage Can't Be Undone", and Attack/Response from HRW in Al Ahkbar
By Gerald Steinberg
September 6, 2007

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
September 2, 2007

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
August 1, 2007

A Year in Captivity
By New York Sun Editorial
July 12, 2007

Human Rights Watch Shows More Balance, But Has it Changed Its Agenda?
By Gerald M. Steinberg
July 10, 2007

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
July 2, 2007

Double Standards: HRW/Amnesty/Christian Aid Statements on the Conflict between Fatah-al-Islam and the Lebanese Army
By NGO Monitor
June 12, 2007

Amnesty’s Disproportion
By Charles Jacobs
June 3, 2007

NGO News in Brief
By NGO Monitor
May 30, 2007

HRW/FIDH/OMCT Statement on NGO Official Linked to PFLP
By NGO Monitor
May 14, 2007

NGO Activity in Brief
By NGO Monitor
April 18, 2007

Abusing the Holocaust
By Gerald Steinberg
April 14, 2007

Captives without Human Rights
By Amnon Rubinstein
April 6, 2007

Human Rights Advocates Agree on Principles, Dispute Specifics
By Mike O'Sullivan
March 21, 2007

"Watching the Watchers, Part Two"
By Gerald Steinberg
March 20, 2007

International NGO News
By NGO Monitor
March 20, 2007

Analysis of Ken Roth's Defense of HRW's Policy on Israel
By NGO Monitor
March 15, 2007

NGO Activity in Brief
By NGO Monitor
February 19, 2007

NGOs and Antisemitism: Oxfam's "Blood Oranges", Christian Aid's "Bethlehem's Child", and HRW's "Indiscriminate Killings"
By Prof. Gerald M. Steinberg
January 28, 2007

NGO Activity in Brief
By NGO Monitor
January 22, 2007

It's Not Torture and It Is Necessary
By Rabbi Aryeh Spero
January 16, 2007

A Defense of Dicker
By James Taranto
January 4, 2007

Saddam as Victim
By James Taranto
January 3, 2007

Human Rights Watch: Troubling Report
By Avi Bell
January 3, 2007

Amnesty and HRW Claims Discredited in Detailed Report
By NGO Monitor
December 28, 2006

A Point-by-Point Examination of the Document Titled "The 'Hoax' That Wasn't"
By Zombietime.com
December 28, 2006

Misleading Claims by Amnesty and HRW Discredited by New Report Documenting Hezbollah War Crimes
By NGO Monitor
December 21, 2006

NGO Activity in Brief
By NGO Monitor
December 21, 2006

There Couldn't Be a More Perfect Time
By Gerald M. Steinberg
December 10, 2006

International Human Rights Day 2006 - NGO Complicity in Exploiting Human Rights Norms
By NGO Monitor
December 7, 2006

The America-Haters Among Us
By Rabbi Aryeh Spero
November 27, 2006

NGO Statements on Gaza Reflect Ideological Positions
By NGO Monitor
November 27, 2006

NGO Activity in Brief
By NGO Monitor
November 9, 2006

Human Rights NGOs Neglect Hamas' Use of Human Shields
By NGO Monitor
November 9, 2006

Human-Rights Falsehood
By Gerald M. Steinberg
October 23, 2006

Response to Aryeh Neier, New York Review of Books, "The Attack on Human Rights Watch"
By NGO Monitor
October 22, 2006

Hizbullah Used Cluster Bombs
By Hilary Leila Krieger
October 19, 2006

International NGO Activity
By NGO Monitor
October 18, 2006

CAMERA and Human Rights Watch: An Exchange
By CAMERA
September 22, 2006

Double Standard on Israel
By Gerald M. Steinberg
September 20, 2006

Amnesty's Dirty Little Secret
By Charles Jacobs
September 19, 2006

Aftermath of Lebanon War and NGO Activity
By NGO Monitor
September 17, 2006

Other NGO Activity in Brief
By NGO Monitor
September 17, 2006

Sharansky Speaks
By New York Sun Staff Editorial
September 12, 2006

Human Rights Watch vs. Human Rights
By Joshua Muravchik
September 6, 2006

Terror’s Faithful Allies
By Alan M. Dershowitz
September 1, 2006

HRW Receives Unprecedented Public Criticism for Its Attacks on Israeli Actions in Lebanon
By NGO Monitor
August 28, 2006

Ken Roth's Blood Libel
By Gerald Steinberg
August 26, 2006

Roth's Latest
By New York Sun Staff Editorial
August 23, 2006

The "Human Rights Watch" Watch
By Alan Dershowitz
August 21, 2006

The Lessons of London
By Jacob Laksin
August 16, 2006

NGOs in the Lebanon War - Update 3
By NGO Monitor
August 9, 2006

The Strange Morality of Kenneth Roth
By P. David Hornik
August 4, 2006

Human Rights Watch Courts the Mullahs
By John Perazzo
August 3, 2006

Does Human Rights Watch Consider Sri Lankan Life Worth Less Than Lebanese?
By Jeremy Sharon
August 2, 2006

Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth Criticized for "Clear Pro Hezbollah... Bias" and "Supersessionism"
By NGO Monitor
July 31, 2006

Human Rights Watch Targets Israel
By Sarah Mandel
July 26, 2006

Human Rights Watch's Q&A on Lebanon War: Selective and Distorted Application of International Law
By Dr. Avi Bell
July 23, 2006

The NGO Network and the UN Human Rights Council - "Business as Usual"
By NGO Monitor
July 17, 2006

Gaza Crisis and NGO Responses
By NGO Monitor
July 17, 2006

NGOs Quick to Exploit Lebanon Crisis to Attack Israel
By NGO Monitor
July 13, 2006

NGOs' Political Biases Reflected in Reports on Gaza Violence
By NGO Monitor
July 6, 2006

There Is Good News
By Jeff Emanuel
July 5, 2006

Human Rights Hypocrites Won't Criticize Terrorists
By Clifford D. May
June 30, 2006

NGO Political Agendas Distort Reports on Gaza Beach Incident
By NGO Monitor
June 26, 2006

NGOs Denounce Israel for Gaza Beach Explosion Without All the Facts
By NGO Monitor
June 21, 2006

"Unbiased" Advice
HonestReporting.com
June 15, 2006

Major NGOs Skip 'Unfair' Monitoring Conference
By Yoav Appel
June 14, 2006

NGOs Condemn Court Ruling on "Citizenship and Entry to Israel Law"
By NGO Monitor
June 12, 2006

Civilians in Cross-Hairs: What to Do?
By Susan Martin
May 24, 2006

Human-Rights Schizophrenia
By Gerald M. Steinberg
May 23, 2006

Political Activities of Israeli and Palestinian NGOs
By NGO Monitor
May 16, 2006

NGOs at the UN and EU
By NGO Monitor
May 16, 2006

"Human Rights' Groups Such as Amnesty International Are Part of the Problem, Not the Solution"
By Israel Kasnett
April 25, 2006

Political Bias Against Israel Continues Despite Wider Middle East Focus
By NGO Monitor
April 6, 2006

Human Rights Watch Letter to Knesset Condemning Terror Suspect Detention Bill
By NGO Monitor
April 2006

Human Rights Watch Still Promoting a Political Agenda
By NGO Monitor
March 23, 2006

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International
By NGO Monitor
February 26, 2006

CNN Highlights Claim "Bush May Be No Saddam, But No Saint Either"
By Media Research Center
January 19, 2006

Human Rights Watch: Contrived "Balance"
By NGO Monitor
January 17, 2006

Human Rights Groups Accused of Undermining Capitalism
By Sherrie Gossett
November 16, 2005

HRW's Broadened Middle East Agenda Continues
By NGO Monitor
November 15, 2005

HRW Targets Israel Again: Analysis of "Failure to Investigate Wrongdoing"
By NGO Monitor
June 27, 2005

Update Comparing HRW's Allocation of Resources in the Middle East - 2005 (January - June)
By NGO Monitor
June 23, 2005

An American Gulag?
By Kenneth Anderson
June 13, 2005

HRW and Amnesty Promote Caterpillar Boycott
By NGO Monitor
April 13, 2005

HRW Hires Researcher from "Electronic Intifada"
By NGO Monitor
March 21, 2005

Human Rights Watch 2005 Annual Report: Israeli-Palestinian Section Lacks Credibility and Reflects Political Bias
By NGO Monitor
January 15, 2005

Human Rights: Watching the Watchers
By Gerald M. Steinberg
December 29, 2004

Human Rights Watch Joins Anti-Israel Boycott Campaign
By NGO Monitor
November 24, 2004

Interview with Kenneth Roth, Head of Human Rights Watch
By NGO Monitor
November 10, 2004

HRW'S Report on Gaza: Lacking Credibilty and Reflecting a Political Agenda
By NGO Monitor
October 18, 2004

Human Rights NGOs and the Neglect of Sudan
By Don Habibi
July 2, 2004

HRW Needs Transparency and Accountability in Hiring
By NGO Monitor
June 7, 2004

Selective Use of International Law
By NGO Monitor
May 27, 2004

Israel’s Disengagement Plan - NGOs Rush to Reject Gaza Withdrawal
By NGO Monitor
May 15, 2004

Human Rights Watch: Continuing the Anti-Israel Campaign
By NGO Monitor
April 15, 2004

Summary Report on Human Rights Watch
By NGO Monitor
April 14, 2004

Human Rights Watch Coverup
By Anne Bayefsky
April 13, 2004

Human Rights Watch Can’t Take the Heat
By Gerald M. Steinberg
April 7, 2004

HRW’s War: A Response to Kenneth Roth’s Attack on the NGO Monitor in the Jerusalem Post
By Gerald M. Steinberg
March 31, 2004 

Israelis Have No Human Rights
By Gerald M. Steinberg
March 8, 2004

Marginal Improvement: The Human Rights Watch 2004 World Report
By NGO Monitor
February 15, 2004

Majority of International and Palestinian NGO’s Fail to Condemn Jerusalem Suicide Bombing
By NGO Monitor
February 15, 2004

HRW’s Political Condemnation of Israel’s Separation Barrier
By NGO Monitor
October 4, 2003

"Human Rights" Organizations Join in Distorting Israeli Policy - A Critical Analysis
By NGO Monitor
June 23, 2003

Human Rights Watch: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
By NGO Monitor
May 19, 2003

Human Rights Watch World Report 2003
By NGO Monitor
March 11, 2003

 


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Human Rights Watch (HRW)'s Visual Map


  • Human rights organization founded in 1978
  • Directs a disproportionate share of its criticism at the United States and Israel


Human Rights Watch (HRW) was founded in 1978 as “Helsinki Watch,” to monitor the Soviet Union’s compliance with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Accords. Among its founders were Bob Bernstein, CEO of Random House publishers; Jeri Laber, a writer and political activist; Aryeh Neier, the current President of the Open Society Institute, a former Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, and a co-founder of Students for a Democratic Society in 1959; and Orville Schell, Dean of the University of California at Berkley graduate school of journalism and a leftwing journalist. In the 1980s, the organization developed a number of “Watch” committees, including Americas Watch, Asia Watch, and Africa Watch, which ultimately united under the umbrella of the U.S.-based HRW in 1988. Today HRW states that its “principle advocacy strategy is to shame offenders by generating press attention and to exert diplomatic and economic pressure on them by enlisting influential governments and institutions” on a wide array of issues.

Even as it documented abuses in the Soviet Union, HRW directed much of its censure in the 1980s at the United States. Particularly, the organization denounced the Reagan administration’s policy of combating Soviet expansionism in Latin America by aiding anti-Communist governments and opposition forces.

In a 1989 report, HRW stated the following:

"Under the Reagan administration, U.S. policy toward Nicaragua's Sandinista government was marked by constant hostility. This hostility yielded, among other things, an inordinate amount of publicity about human rights issues. Almost invariably, U.S. pronouncements on human rights exaggerated and distorted the real human rights violations of the Sandinista regime, and exculpated those of the U.S.-supported insurgents, known as the contras. In 1989, under the Bush administration, U.S. policy toward Nicaragua has experienced one major change, in that it appears that the contras have ceased to be regarded as a viable military and political option....

"This is an important change from a human rights perspective, because the contras were major and systematic violators of the most basic standards of the laws of armed conflict, including by launching indiscriminate attacks on civilians, selectively murdering non-combatants, and mistreating prisoners.... To the extent that the contras have continued to operate ... they have continued to commit these violations, and toward the end of 1989, abuses by the contras appeared to be on the increase. The Bush administration is responsible for these abuses, not only because the contras are, for all practical purposes, a U.S. force, but also because the Bush administration has continued to minimize and deny these violations, and has refused to investigate them seriously....

"In all other respects, U.S. policy toward Nicaragua under the Bush administration is no different than it was throughout the Reagan years. The peace process in Central America has taken hold in Nicaragua, albeit with difficulties, but largely because the Central American presidents who devised it have been able to overcome U.S. objections.... The Sandinista government has offered several concessions to the opposition, whose candidates are openly supported by the United States....

"The policy of keeping the contras alive, through so-called 'humanitarian' or non-lethal aid, sustains a force that has shown itself incapable of operating without consistently committing gross abuses in violation of the laws of war. The policy also has placed in jeopardy the holding of elections by encouraging contra attacks on the electoral process. Thus, while the Bush administration proclaims its support for human rights and free and fair elections in Nicaragua, it persists in sabotaging both."

In her autobiography, The Courage of Strangers, Jeri Laber noted that “Americas Watch reports … were eagerly read in the United States by people who deplored the Reagan policies.” Aryeh Neier, who served as Executive Director of HRW for 12 years, would later write that Americas Watch (AW) could deflect charges of political bias against the Reagan administration’s policies because it was also critical of Communist regimes. Neier explained that thistactic  “made it difficult for [the Reagan administration] to portray us as Soviet dupes.”

In stark contrast to AW’s roundly critical appraisal of American policies in Latin America and anti-Communist movements allied with the United States, was its comparatively indulgent assessment of Communist regimes in the region. In Nicaragua, AW routinely portrayed anti-Communist guerillas, the Contras, as the leading threat to human rights while giving short shrift to the abuses of the Communist Sandinista regime. Moreover, AW charged that the Reagan administration was unfairly maligning the Sandinistas.

Symptomatic of this preferential treatment of the Sandinistas was a 1985 AW report titled “Human Rights in Nicaragua: Reagan, Rhetoric and Reality.” While allowing that the Sandinistas had committed human rights abuses, the report reposed the greatest share of the blame on the Reagan administration, claiming that “U.S. officials have built and edifice of innuendo and exaggeration” about the Sandinista regime and were guilty of the “misuse of human rights data.” More favorable was the report’s view of the Sandinistas. Whereas other non-governmental organizations, backed by eyewitness reports from Nicaraguan exiles, had identified a widespread pattern of state-sponsored repression, murder and torture, AW’s report dismissed such concerns, averring that “[i]n Nicaragua, there is no systematic practice of forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings …” Despite a government crackdown on political dissent, the AW report claimed that “debate on major social and political questions is robust.” Noting that “emergency legislation” had imposed censorship in the country, the AW report discounted its impact on free-speech rights. Overall, the report concluded, the “description of a totalitarian state bears no resemblance to Nicaragua in 1985.”  

Human Rights Watch purports to be “strictly non-partisan” in orientation and maintains that it “does not favor any political force.” In practice, HRW has often operated as a partisan organization, dressing up its decidedly leftwing political preferences in the language of human rights.  

In the United States, HRW regularly interjects itself into domestic political disputes in support of left-liberal positions. For example, the organization maintains that “equitable access to safe abortion services is first and foremost a human right.” HRW also has sided against traditionalist opponents of gay marriage. Said HRW Executive Director Kenneth Roth in 2003: “It is discriminatory to refuse to recognize marriages on the basis of sexual orientation.” The following year, HRW was a signatory to an amicus brief to the Supreme Judicial Court in Massachusetts, urging it to affirm the legality of same-sex marriage.

HRW is an opponent, “in all circumstances,” of the death penalty. In defense of this position, HRW claims that capital punishment is incompatible with “human rights” because it is “a form of punishment that is unique in its barbarity and finality.” Consistent with this absolutist stance, HRW condemned the December 31, 2006 execution of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, calling his death sentence "indefensible." Richard Dicker, Director of HRW’s International Justice Program, stated that the “test of a government's commitment to human rights is measured by the way it treats its worst offenders,” adding, “History will judge these actions harshly.”

With recourse to the rhetoric of human rights, HRW also opposes all enforcement of American immigration laws. In 2005, the organization urged Congress to oppose the “Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act,” which provided for a number of measures to strengthen border security. Referring to illegal immigrants as “undocumented workers,” HRW has defended the “right” of illegals to organize unions and has condemned employers who “threaten to call immigration authorities if workers seek to organize or make claims for labor law protection.” HRW has also called on the U.S. government to enact legislation conferring the rights of full citizenship to individuals “regardless of their immigration status,” and “prohibiting any inquiry into … immigration status.”

Human Rights Watch is a vocal supporter of institutions like the International Criminal Court (ICC). A 1998 HRW report, titled “The Danger of Indulging Great Power Arrogance on Human Rights,” took issue with America’s refusal to cede authority to the ICC. Scolding the United States for exhibiting “great power arrogance toward international human rights institutions,” the report declared: “If the U.S. government persists in its current attitude toward international human rights law, the international community should simply leave the United States behind.”

While professing neutrality in matters of war and peace, HRW has been a staunch foe of the American-led war on terror. The organization was a signatory to a November 1, 2001 document characterizing the 9/11 attacks as a legal matter to be addressed by criminal-justice procedures rather than military means. Ascribing the hijackers’ motives to alleged social injustices against which they were protesting, this document explained that “security and justice are mutually reinforcing goals that ultimately depend upon the promotion of all human rights for all people,” and called on the United States “to promote fundamental rights around the world.” Similarly, in 2002 HRW claimed that the United States and its coalition allies “have substituted expediency for the firm commitment to human rights that alone can defeat the rationale of terrorism.” Moreover, HRW warned that “the coalition risks reinforcing the logic of terrorism unless human rights are given a far more central role.” That is, unless coalition forces followed HRW’s distinctive definition of human rights, they were only reinforcing the “view that anything goes in the name of a cause.”

HRW endorsed the Civil Liberties Restoration Act of 2004, which was designed to roll back, in the name of protecting civil liberties, vital national-security policies that had been adopted after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

With regard to the military conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, HRW has consistently judged the actions of coalition forces to be contrary to human rights. Several HRW reports have alleged an “excessive use of force by U.S. troops,” even as the organization has conceded that it has only incomplete information about the facts on the ground in Iraq. In one such instance, when Americans battled insurgent forces in the city of Fallujah in April of 2004, the organization reported that it was “deeply concerned about the consistent reports we are getting about women, children and unarmed civilians being killed” by American forces. At the same time, HRW admitted that it had no clear knowledge “whether any crimes have been committed” by the military.

Connected with its criticism of the war effort, Human Rights Watch has routinely condemned American interrogation and detention policies. Among other objections, HRW claims that a form of coercive interrogation known as “waterboarding” constitutes “torture.”

A leading opponent of military commissions created by the United States to try detainees suspected of terrorist activities, Human Rights Watch has criticized the U.S. for not granting the “fundamental right” of habeas corpus to those prisoners. In addition, HRW has denounced the American detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a violation of international law.

HRW also directs a disproportionate share of its criticism at Israel. Following an April 2002 counterterrorism operation by the Israeli military in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin, the organization issued a report charging that “IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] military attacks were indiscriminate,” and that “Israeli forces committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, some amounting prima facie to war crimes.” Contrary to HRW’s charges, which echoed Palestinian propaganda, a United Nations report later exonerated the Israeli forces.

HRW released an equally one-sided attack in August of 2006, amid Israel’s war with Hezbollah terrorists in southern Lebanon. Titled “Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon,” this report repeated many of the same charges that the organization had leveled against Israel during the Jenin controversy. Among other claims, the document asserted that Israel was guilty of “consistently failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians,” and that “the extent of the pattern and the seriousness of the consequences indicate the commission of war crimes.”

Human Rights Watch has denounced Israel’s construction of an anti-terrorism security barrier in the West Bank as a violation of Palestinians’ human rights. Joe Stork, the acting Director of HRW’s Middle East and Africa Division, claims that the barrier “seriously impedes Palestinian access to essentials of civilian life, such as work, education and medical care.”

In September 2007 HRW issued a report (titled “No Easy Answers”) asserting that many state laws which target convicted sex offenders violate the rights of people who pose a minimal risk to others, and calling for the repeal of laws that restrict ex-offenders from living near schools, parks and other designated facilities. “Residency restrictions solve nothing,” said Sarah Tofte, the HRW report’s principal author. “They simply make it nearly impossible for former offenders to put their lives back together.”

Stating that recidivism rates are lower than claimed by tough-on-crime politicians, the report also opposed laws requiring the registration of convicted sex offenders and the creation of online, publicly accessible registries listing the names of such individuals. The report further contended that while state laws aim chiefly to protect children from sexual abuse by strangers, most abuse is actually committed by family members and trusted authority figures.

In 2008, HRW co-founded the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect (GCRP). Other GCRP co-founders included the International Crisis Group and Oxfam International.

In May 2009, HRW's Middle East and North Africa division director Sarah Leah Whitson went to Saudi Arabia to raise funds for the expressly stated purpose of helping HRW counter “pro-Israel pressure groups.”

In September 2010, billionaire philanthropist George Soros -- founder of the Open Society Institute -- announced that he would give $100 million to HRW. This donation would permit the organization to add 120 new staffers to its existing 300-strong payroll.

In February 2011, HRW appointed Shawan Jabarin, the head of Al Haq and allegedly a senior activist in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), to its Middle East Advisory Board.

HRW has received funding from many foundations, including the Ahmanson Foundation; the Carnegie Corporation of New York; the Columbia Foundation; the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; the Ford Foundation; the JEHT Foundation; the J.M. Kaplan Fund; the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the Joyce Foundation; the Nathan Cummings Foundation; the Open Society Institute; the Righteous Persons Foundation; the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Rockefeller Foundation; the Scherman Foundation; and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

 

 

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