Human Rights Watch (HRW)
January 30, 2013
- Website: www.hrw.org
- Founded as Helsinki Watch in 1978; based in New York, headed by Kenneth Roth (Executive Director since 1993)
- Annual budget of $48 million in 2010*; in September 2010, HRW announced a 10-year, $100 million donation from billionaire George Soros. With the grant, HRW plans to increase its staff by one-third and “to shape the foreign policies of these emerging powers, much as we have traditionally done with Western powers.”
- Systematic NGO Monitor analyses demonstrate that HRW disproportionately focuses on condemnations of Israel and that publications related to Israel often lack credibility.
- Many HRW officials, including the heads of the Middle East and North Africa Division, have a history of ideological bias.
- In October 2009, HRW founder Robert Bernstein published an article in the New York Times (“Rights Watchdog, Lost in the Mideast”), strongly criticizing the organization for ignoring severe human rights violations in closed societies, for its anti-Israel bias, and for “issuing reports...that are helping those who wish to turn Israel into a pariah state.” Bernstein expanded on these ideas in a lecture at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (November 2010), and noted that “Human Rights Watch’s attacks on almost every issue [have] become more and more hostile [toward Israel].”
- In 2009, HRW held a fundraising dinner in Saudi Arabia, using HRW’s anti-Israel bias and the specter of “pro-Israel pressure groups” to solicit funds from “prominent members of Saudi society.” At the event, Whitson boasted that HRW allegations of human rights violations were instrumental in the Goldstone mission.
- In 2009, Sarah Leah Whitson, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division, visited Libya, claiming to have discovered a “Tripoli spring.” She praised Muammar Qaddafi’s son Seif Islam as a leading reformer and for creating an “expanded space for discussion and debate.”
- HRW was an active participant in the 2001 Durban conference, and continues to campaign in favor of boycotts and sanctions against Israel.
- In September 2009 “senior military analyst” Marc Garlasco was revealed to be an obsessive collector of Nazi memorabilia. He was suspended and then dismissed, but his reports were not withdrawn. As shown in a Sunday Times (UK) article, “Nazi scandal engulfs Human Rights Watch” (March 28, 2010), the Garlasco issue was indicative of far deeper problems at the NGO.
* Claims to “accept no government funds, directly or indirectly.” Following criticism from NGO Monitor over massive support from Oxfam Novib, which receives the vast majority of its budget from the Dutch government, HRW added language to its website, “we accept no government funds from these foundations, only privately sourced revenues.” This assertion cannot be independently verified.
Human Rights Watch Essentials:
- HRW’s Bias and Lack of Credibility in 2012, NGO Monitor Reports, January 30, 2013
- HRW’s Whitson Exploits Race to Vilify Israel, Bait Jewish Community, NGO Monitor Analysis, April 20, 2011
- HRW’s Sarah Leah Whitson and Libya: Marketing Qaddafi, NGO Monitor Reports, February 27, 2011
- HRW´s Report on Saudi Arabia: Soft-sell for a Core Violator, NGO Monitor Reports, November 22, 2010
- Human Rights in the Middle East, Robert L. Bernstein, Lecture, November 10, 2010
- Reports NOT written, NGO Monitor (PDF)
- For HRW, Israel is “low-hanging fruit”: The New Republic Adds Evidence of Bias, Press Release, April 25, 2010
- Experts or Ideologues: Systematic Analysis of Human Rights Watch, NGO Monitor Monograph Series, September 2009
- HRW raises funds in Saudi Arabia by demonizing Israel, NGO Monitor Digest, June 16, 2009