Responding to ongoing criticism of a biased and politicized agenda in the Middle East, the activities of Human Rights Watch in 2005 continue to reflect a changed emphasis, as seen in the following developments.  

  • Human Rights Watch’s report of October 3 condemns the abuses of human rights by insurgent groups in Iraq. Entitled "A Face and a Name: Civilian Victims of Insurgent Groups in Iraq", the report rejects attempts to justify attacks against civilians. Sarah Leah Whitson, director of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa division, is quoted as declaring; "There are no justifications for targeting civilians, in Iraq or anywhere else". (Note that HRW’s report condemning Palestinian terrorism, “Erased in a Moment”, was issued in October 2002 but was rarely referenced in subsequent activities.) See "Iraq: Insurgent Groups Responsible for War Crimes", Human Rights Watch, October 3, 2005

  • Other HRW publications and activities since NGO Monitor’s September review of HRW’s publications on the region focus heavily on the treatment of dissidents in Arab countries. This constitutes an important change in the HRW agenda in the Middle East.

  • Following NGO Monitor’s letter to the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the UN regarding the proposed appointment of HRW Advocacy Director Reed Brody to head the special procedures division, this nomination has been frozen.

  • In addition, Joanna Weschler, HRW’s long-serving UN advocacy director, has left the organization for a research position at the Security Council Report.

Back to November 2005 Digest