Human Rights Watch is not about human rights

Human Rights Watch (HRW) . . . a name that evokes thoughts of an organization that claims to defend and protect the rights of people around the globe.

If that’s the case, how would one explain why HRW’s actions and policies appear to be a reflection and support of U.S. policies, rather than an organization that offers an independent critique of U.S. actions? There is no other country that has violated international laws and human rights more than the U.S. And still, HRW remains silent.

There seems to be a contradiction between HRW’s stated mission and their actual functioning.

An example: In 2009, President Obama announced that the U.S. will continue its “rendition” program, a program in which “terrorist” suspects were kidnapped and sent to allied countries to be interrogated and tortured. Tom Malinowski, one of HRW’s executives stated, “Under limited circumstances, there is a legitimate place for renditions, and encouraged patience: They want to design a system that doesn’t result in people being sent to foreign dungeons to be tortured,” he said, “but designing that system is going to take some time.” Is he joking . . . HRW justifying rendition and torture?

In 2013, HRW focused its attention on Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela, stating that his country was unfit to serve on the UN’s Human Rights Council because it did not meet the acceptable standards of human rights protection.

The U.S. served on the same council, yet HRW accepted that the U.S.’s human rights record was acceptable. After all, all “we” did was invade Iraq and Afghanistan without cause, send drones into Pakistan to fire missiles at suspected terrorists killing hundreds of innocent people, establish weekly meetings of Obama and his military advisors to determine who to kill that week, using drones in any country they chose (“kill list”).

Tom Malinowski who was once the Washington Director of HRW is an interesting person and one whose selection to lead HRW was surprising. He was a speechwriter for Secretary of State Madeline Albright, renowned for her famous response to a question asked by a reporter regarding the deaths of approximately 500,000 Iraqi children during the U.S. blockade of Iraq. The questioner asked, “Was it worth it?” And, Madeline responded, without any hesitation, “Yes, it was.” So much for human rights. Mr. Malinowski also served, from 1994 to 1998, as a speechwriter for Secretary of State Warren Christopher.

During his Senate confirmation hearing for assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor on September 24, 2014, Malinowski promised to “deepen the bipartisan consensus for America’s defense of liberty around the world,” and assured the Foreign Relations Committee that no matter where the U.S. debate on Syria led, “the mere fact that we are having it marks our nation as exceptional.” He also served as senior director on the National Security Council Does anyone continue to see HRW as an independent organization protecting the rights and the dignity of peoples around the world?

Mr. Malinowski is far from being independent of U.S. influence. Instead, he is deeply involved in and part of the U.S. establishment.

The current executive director of HRW is Kenneth Roth.

Under Roth’s leadership, Human Rights Watch has been criticized for perceived biases and misconstructions.

Over the years, he has been criticized by many progressives for his handling of critical events in Rwanda and in Venezuela.

Further, let us look at who serves on the HRW administration and Board of Directors.

The advisory committee for HRW’s Americas Division has even boasted the presence of a former Central Intelligence Agency official, Miguel Díaz. According to his State Department biography, Díaz served as a CIA analyst and also provided “oversight of U.S. intelligence activities in Latin America.”

Michael Shifter, who also currently serves on HRW’s Americas advisory committee, oversees $4 million a year in programming, financed in part through donations from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the embassies of Canada, Germany, Guatemala, Mexico and Spain, and corporations such as Chevron, ExxonMobil, JPMorgan, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Boeing, and Western Union.

Many HRW board members are simply investment bankers, like board co-chairs Joel Motley of Public Capital Advisors, LLC, and Hassan Elmasry, of Independent Franchise Partners, LLP. HRW Vice Chairman John Studzinski is a senior managing director at the Blackstone Group, a private equity firm founded by Peter G. Peterson, the billionaire who has passionately sought to eviscerate Social Security and Medicare.

Let us not forget George Soros, multi-billionaire, who is a major financial contributor to HRW. Mr Soros’ reputation as a liberal is a good example of what an oxymoron stands for. George Soros is one of the richest men in the world and he didn’t achieve that by worrying about you and me.

Soros recently criticized George W. Bush saying in an article in the Financial Times of London that his administration’s Iraq policies were “fundamentally wrong” and that they are premised on the “false ideology that U.S. might gave it the right to impose its will on the world.” Many of us in the peace movement would say, “He got that right!” We might be inclined to praise him and to believe that this confirms that he really is a man whose motives are honorable—an image, by the way, that he carefully cultivates, especially through various NGOs. In fact numerous non-profit organizations have received funds from his foundation because they have bought into that perception.

Why then did Soros take issue with George W.? Soros is angry not at Bush’s aims—of expanding Pax Americana and making the world safe for global capitalists like himself—but with the crass and blundering way Bush went about it. Soros stated, “By making U.S. ambitions so clear, the Bush gang has committed the cardinal sin of giving the game away.” The “game” is the domination of countries and their resources throughout the globe.

But let us not continue to be fooled. Soros has established close working relationships with former National Security Director Zbigniew Brzezinski, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wesley Clark, former Israel lobby chief Stephen Solarz, as well as the renowned Bush team players Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz.

With this roster of people who make up the policy and decision-making folks in the organization (HRW), many of whom have participated in the exploitation and abuse of the human rights of people throughout the world, can we expect that their focus and mission will be to protect the rights of these same people?

Let us not be misled by the title this organization has assumed for itself, its true mission is to help implement U.S. policies through the backdoor and support U.S. interests. It is no different than right-wing, neo-fascist organizations that include words like “freedom” or “democracy” in their titles to give the impression that they are fighting for freedom and democracy.

HRW has attacked Venezuela, Cuba, and Ecuador, all countries that have moved towards a more socialist ideology, for not meeting the standards of human rights in their countries without ever mentioning the U.S.

When the U.S. supported attempted coups in Venezuela, Honduras, Haiti, and Guatemala, HRW remained silent. While African-Americans are being gunned down on a daily basis, HRW has remained silent. While people demonstrating peacefully in the U.S. have been pepper sprayed, HRW has remained silent. While many thousands of people, “illegals,” have been held in detention camps for years, HRW has remained silent. While Americans have been imprisoned for decades for non-violent crimes, HRW has remained silent.

Need I say more?

Dave Alpert has masters degrees in social work, educational administration, and psychology. He spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents.

24 Responses to Human Rights Watch is not about human rights

  1. HRW is a product of the Cold War and like NATO is an organization that has outlived the purpose for which it was created: to besmirch the reputations of countries with left wing, radical, revolutionary, or just simply different or alternative, governments.

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  4. “There is an old and correct saying that “If it’s in the name, it isn’t”.

  5. I was glad to read this as it confirms what I have thought for a long time. HRW is just another phony organisation that supports American hegemony and war crimes. The world should be outraged at the US empire and needs to fight back and remove it the same way the world fought back and removed the Hitler regime which was a mild form of the kleptocracy that rules America and attempts to rule the whole world.

  6. Stuart Harlan Doblin

    “There is no other country that has violated international laws and human rights more than the U.S. And still, HRW remains silent.” – See more at:

    Dave, thank you for your expose, exposing another organizational front for fraud and deceit. I was sent over from PCR.

    Were it not for your efforts – really, i would have remained blissfully ignorant of the nefarious HRW.

    i thought HRW, was both equally good and bad, but not this remorseless BAD, and this degenerate – As a Mission Statement – all the time – “What a Fool I am (hopefully, one day, “was”)”.

  7. ¡¡¡NADA NUEVO BAJO EL SOL!!! Otro viejo y correcto refrán, o una gran verdad verdadera.

  8. The whole lot of these NGOs should be smashed into a million pieces. Don’t donate a dime to them.

  9. Alexandra Konstantinidis

    Well said Dave Albert , well said–very scary stuff–since I was about 8 years old, living in Australia, as a young girl I had a very strange premonition–I knew nothingof politics, my family and parents never spoke anyyhing like that in our house–and yet, as an 8 year old kid, and ever since then, , I’ve just ‘known’ ‘felt’ and ‘seen clairvoyantly, that there was a “large land, very large, across the sea.It had many dark and strange secretive people in power–and that the what was being shown, was not what the whole truth was.That these secretive bad dark men were doing alot of harm to other countries, and no one could? Would? stop them.”This vision/knowledge has haunted me since that time.Now, as an adult, I understand completely what I understood intuitively at 8.Keep fighting the good fight….

  10. william brutton

    very good article, i am very much afraid the US is in the wrong path of history and it is so sad because for great part of my life I thought differently. I Would say the US is like nazi germany before WWII

  11. Daviod Davidian

    Having closely followed and chronicled the war between Azerbaijan and the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, I witnessed HRW go from simply publishing events, in the late 1980s/early 1990s, to becoming an advocate of oil-rich Azerbaijan by the mid-1990s. This was no accident. The cast of characters involved in the maintenance and transport of Azerbaijani oil and gas to the west in the early 1990s included Richard Secord, Heinie Aderholt, and Ed Dearborn, three veterans of U.S. operations in Laos, and of Oliver North’s operations with the Contras. Actually, the list is a lot longer. General Secord actually wanted to fund military operation against Armenia, by the special training of 5,000 Azerbaijani troops in a quid pro quo for furthering his firm’s, Mega Oil, access in Azerbaijan. Additional covert operations included transport through Azerbaijan of jihadist types into the Russian republics of Chechnya and Daghestan.

    After HWR published a 136 page report in 1995, called, Human Rights Watch/Helsinki Azerbaijan: Seven Years of Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, which was basically a white-wash of massive human right abuses in Azerbaijan (which is still going on today) I met in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with Kenneth Roth the director of HRW about the publication. Paraphrasing a well thought out answer, Roth said, well we can’t take back, or recall what has been published.

    Before Azerbaijan became a western oil faucet, HRW published relatively unbiased reports. That changed when unflattering human rights reports on Azerbaijan would not have been in the interest of those states involved in oil extraction and transport from Azerbaijan, including the US, UK, and Turkey.

    It is very clear that so-called mainstream human right advocates are heavily influenced by power forces. Kenneth Roth still has his same position at HRW.

    Yerevan, Armenia

  12. David Davidian

    It is not just HRW, but Amnesty International selectively reports on abuses as it see fit. As a followup to my previous comment, just a few miles away from where I met Kenneth Roth of HRW, I presented first hand accounts of barbaric human right abuses in Azerbaijan to Amnesty International’s local office. The response was silence.

    Yerevan, Armenia

  13. Where do these organisations get their money from.
    Remember the old story. U. N. Equals U. S. Since the U. S. Funded the U.N. They did what the American polices demanded.

  14. Excellent expose of Human Rights Watch hypocrisy.


    Human Rights Watch recently issued a sharp condemnation of the mainland Chinese government, one that made me laugh out loud every time I reread it.


    Because on this occasion Human Rights Watch was not condemning the mainland Chinese government for human rights abuses.

    On this occasion Human Rights Watch was condemning the mainland Chinese government for failing to condemn other governments’ human rights abuses!

    Human Rights Watch condemned the mainland Chinese government for “studiously avoiding” using its own growing political influence to ameliorate human rights abuses in other nations, and for its “no strings attached” economic ties with these nations.

    How’s that for a laugh?

    Instead of scoring a telling argument against the mainland Chinese government’s eminently sensible policy of non-interference in other nations’ internal affairs, Human Rights Watch merely revealed its own moral befuddlement.

  15. As they say USA is the most powerful nation in the world but regretfully it doesn’t represent the American people anymore. Washington has become an isolated cell of aggressive neocons not respecting any humans on this planet including their own people who pay their salaries and are brainwashed daily by MSM propaganda.

  16. Chris Hildebrand

    Well said Wiliam Wood,
    Progressives are far from truly being forward thinking from a freedom and liberty mindset. In fact, so called progressives desire large governments whom dictate to it’s citizens and to control their lives. Socialism is anti-freedom and liberty.

  17. What about the largest single mass murder of all time, 12/26/04, the only journalist on the story at the time, Joe Vialls, murdered. Go nuclear? (Then, to bring things back to basics, there is GUTCP.)

    But, then again, what about what James Lovelock says about no recorded mass mutilations from people subjected to Fukishima, so what is all the hub-bub about radiation being the moniker for the likes of Greenpeace?

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  19. I suppose if it is an organization with lofty sounding name recognition, it is corrupt. Hell, even the Nobel Peace prize is totally corrupted.

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  21. Thank you so much for such great article!!!!

    Sounds to me that HRW is nothing more than just another western corporation, in to profit from other peoples miseries. I mean look at the background of all these notorious guys who are heading it?!?!? they don’t sound to me like they are going to do zip about HRW. It’s a joke.

    Thank you so much again.