Last week, the UK national newspaper ‘The Sunday Times’ featured an article attacking Human Rights Watch. In tones familiar to similar attacks on both HRW and Amnesty International, there was no prize for guessing which country was deemed to be getting undue attention:
For instance, HRW has published five heavily publicised reports on Israel and the Palestinian territories since the January 2009 war…Noah Pollak, a New York writer who has led some of the criticisms against HRW, points out that it cares about Palestinians when maltreated by Israelis, but is less concerned if perpetrators are fellow Arabs.
Of course, the usual suspects jumped on the report, including NGO Monitor. I trust equal publicity will be given to the correction printed in this week’s newpaper. In fairness, it is quite long, so for ease, here is a summary:
- The magazine said that HRW had not published any report on the post-election abuses in Iran when in fact the organisation published one in February this year.
- Marc Garlasco, the former senior military analyst for HRW, was not the only person in the organisation who had military experience; a number of the HRW staff have military expertise.
- In the 20-year Kashmir conflict HRW has published nine reports, not four as the article stated.
- One HRW researcher has had articles published by the Palestinian solidarity site Electronic Intifada without her permission but was not directly employed by that group, as the article suggests.
- Although HRW never produced a full report about the shelling at the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in 2007 it did write three press releases, not one as the article stated.
- Writer Jonathan Foreman quoted a critic of HRW saying the group “cares about Palestinians when mistreated by Israelis but is less concerned if perpetrators are fellow Arabs”. In fact Human Rights Watch has reported on abuses of Palestinians by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan.
- Foreman cited unnamed sources that said Garlasco resented what he felt was pressure to sex up claims of Israeli violations. HRW and Garlasco both say HRW never pressured Garlasco to change his findings.
Well, at least they spelled all the names right.