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Sun Nov 9, 2014, 11:02 PM

The Bias of Human Rights Watch

The Bias of Human Rights Watch

by Garry Leech • 21 March 2013


Human Rights Watch’s se­lective and biased ap­plic­a­tion of the human rights norms en­shrined in the UN Declaration not only un­der­mines its cred­ib­ility, it also pro­motes injustice.


Over the past thirty years, Human Rights Watch has become one of the most recognized non-​governmental organizations in the world due to its global promotion of human rights. But despite its claims to be an advocate of international human rights law, the reports issued by Human Rights Watch over the past decade have increasingly exhibited a bias towards certain rights over others. More precisely, Human Rights Watch repeatedly focuses on political and civil rights while ignoring social and economic rights. As a result, it routinely judges nations throughout the world in a manner that furthers capitalist values and discredits governments seeking socialist alternatives. It is this bias that lies at the root of Human Rights Watch’s scathing attacks on the government of Venezuela and its recently deceased president Hugo Chávez. This bias was also evident in comments made in 2012 by Ken Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, when he declared that Venezuela is “the most abusive” nation in Latin America.

According to Human Rights Watch’s mission statement, “Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world” and in order to achieve that objective “We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.” The international human rights law referred to by Human Rights Watch is rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was passed by the UN General Assembly in 1948. The Declaration encompasses political, civil, social, economic and cultural rights.

Capitalist nations, particularly the United States, have never been comfortable with the articles of the UN Declaration that require governments to guarantee the social and economic rights of their citizens. Among the social and economic rights that contravene capitalist values are the right to “food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services” (Article 25) as well as the right “to share in scientific advancement and its benefits” (Article 27). In a capitalist society, responsibility for obtaining food, clothing, housing and medical care rests with the individual not the state. Likewise, it is not the state’s responsibility to ensure that all citizens share equally in the benefits of scientific advancements developed by, for example, pharmaceutical corporations.

The United States does support those articles in the Declaration that promote civil and political rights. These rights ensure that “All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law” (Article 7) “Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others” (Article 17); “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion” (Article 18); and “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression” (Article 19). Basically, these are the individual rights that are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and that lie at the root of the liberal democratic concept of the “rule of law.” And while Human Rights Watch professes to defend the human rights enshrined in the UN Declaration, in reality, its work focuses exclusively on the civil and political rights recognized by the U.S. government.

A vivid example of Human Rights Watch’s bias against economic and social rights is the report the organization issued immediately following the death of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez. Human Rights Watch had long had an antagonistic relationship with the Venezuelan leader, which was touched upon in the report. The report clearly reflected the view of the organization’s executive director Ken Roth that Venezuela (along with Bolivia and Ecuador) is “the most abusive nation” in Latin America. One only need take a quick look at Human Rights Watch’s reports on Colombia to illustrate the ludicrousness of such a statement.

More:
http://criticallegalthinking.com/2013/03/21/the-bias-of-human-rights-watch/



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Reply The Bias of Human Rights Watch (Original post)
Judi Lynn Nov 2014 OP
fasttense Nov 2014 #1
Ampersand Unicode Nov 2014 #4
go west young man Nov 2014 #2
Ash_F Nov 2014 #3
Ampersand Unicode Nov 2014 #5

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Nov 10, 2014, 10:18 AM

1. I have frequently thought the samething

 

That the UN promotes capitalism overall. The rights they seem to promote are the rights that apply most easily to corporations.

See how big money capitalism corrupts everything.

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Response to fasttense (Reply #1)

Tue Nov 11, 2014, 11:49 PM

4. The U.S. is the "indispensable nation"

You have to think of the U.N. in terms of historical anachronisms. There's no way the most powerful "victor" in WW2 (England and France were decimated, France from years of Reich-allied Vichy fascism before De Gaulle, and England economically from fighting the war -- the British empire now indebted to its upstart breakaway republic, rather than the other way around) was going to allow concessions on things that undermine its own "infallible" gospel of American exceptionalism.

In other words, anything anti-capitalist is going to be seen as supporting communism now that WW2 is over and the Cold War against the Iron Curtain has begun. Russia is the bad guy; the U.S. is the good guy. In a way I'm actually surprised that the U.S. didn't manage to force cutthroat capitalism down the throats of all the freed Reich nations in exchange for aid after the war. I'm surprised the U.S. didn't intervene on Britain and cap Attlee (regardless, the process of socializing medicine and utility services got off to a rocky start over a particularly harsh winter, and Churchill was soon back on top, even though the NHS stuck around pretty well). The new battle was protecting Europe from the Soviet empire now that Hitler was dead -- which meant blocking its spread in Asia too so that it wouldn't end up on our shores. Hence Korea and Vietnam and opening "trade relations" with the Chairman's China.

Soviet communist totalitarianism is not the same as "social democracy" like they have in most of the E.U., especially the northern countries like the Benelux region and the Scandinavian nations. They got it right. Russia got it wrong. So did we, for all intents and purposes.

But then, we've never "officially" admitted our role in creating that monster of Österreich. The U.N. is basically the U.S.'s arm of international strong-arming. And it all has to do with WWII.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Nov 10, 2014, 10:30 AM

2. The bias of Human Rights Watch was completely evident

 

during the first 5 months of the Ukraine crisis. They rarely reported on civilian deaths in East Ukraine and when they did report from the war they openly blamed the ethnic Russian pro Russian separatists but the never blamed the Kiev National Guard battalions that drove 500 killometers east and started indiscriminately bombing the civilian population, including using incendiary munitions on those civilians. The city of Slavyansk was bombed everyday for 45 days straight and HRW was relatively silent while over 300 women, children and elderly people were blown to pieces. It is shameful.

Human Rights Watch relented to pressure and started reporting on the atrocities and bombings only recently, beginning in August, when the Kiev regimes National Guard Neo Nazi battalions couldn't be kept a secret any longer. Here is an extensive video thread proving they are neo-nazis and that Poroshenko has been fully supporting them.

http://www.discussionist.com/101458043

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Mon Nov 10, 2014, 10:47 AM

3. Venezuela “the most abusive” nation in Latin America?

Has he heard of Colombia? Mexico? What a tool.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Tue Nov 11, 2014, 11:56 PM

5. Just to clarify, this is not the same as Human Rights CAMPAIGN

Human Rights Watch is the international (apparently U.N.-related somehow) human rights NGO the OP is saying doesn't give much attention to economic and social rights.

Human Rights Campaign is the domestically-based gay rights organization that nevertheless keeps an eye on LGBT-rights violations globally, and condemns Putin for egging on his thugs to beat up gay Russians. Over here, they lobby against discriminatory Jesus Freak morons like Chick Fillet who believe in the right to fire LGBT people because "muh religion sez so."

One could easily argue that it is, in fact, unfettered capitalism (and carte-blanche "religious freedom" that allows businesses to be treated as "people" with "religious beliefs" that "require" them to fire LGBT people in accordance with their "faith."

Similar names, different agendas.

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