No Impunity for HRW & Amnesty: Investigate Partnerships in Wake of Al Qaeda Allegations
On December 18, 2013, the US Treasury Department listed Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Umayr al-Nu’aymi (Nu’aymi) and ‘Abd al-Wahhab Muhammad ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Humayqani (Humayqani) as Specially Designated Global Terrorists for their financial support of Al Qaeda. Al-Nu’aymi is a Qatari professor of history, and the president of the Alkarama foundation, a Geneva-based organization claiming to promote human rights. International NGOs Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Frontline Defenders have issued joint statements with Alkarama on several occasions. The Daily Beast reported that the US-based Center for Constitutional Rights has also worked with the organization.
This issue raises several troubling questions regarding the lack of due diligence and professional judgment of NGOs when selecting allies. Similar concerns have arisen in the past regarding Amnesty’s collaboration with Moazzem Begg (pp. 38-41), an alleged supporter of the Taliban, and his NGO Cage Prisoners, as well as HRW’s appointment of a suspected senior activist in the PFLP terrorist organization to its Mid-East Advisory Board. A July 2010 audit of Amnesty’s partnership with Begg found that “due diligence undertaken . . . was inadequate for the purpose of collaboration that developed; limited fact checking was frequently repeated by staff on an event-by-event basis, and there appears to have been little building upon or transfer of institutional knowledge.”
NGO Monitor calls on these organizations to immediately undertake independent investigation regarding their procedures for vetting NGO partners. In addition, these organizations have an obligation to review the status of the officials responsible for such collaborations, alliances, and affiliations.