Stop revolving door between Human Rights Watch and the C.I.A.

[20-05-2014 01:01 PM]

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - Why did Human Rights Watch a former CIA official to sit on its advisory committee for eight years?

That's a question two Nobel Peace Prize laureates, a former UN assistant secretary general, a UN special rapporteur, and over 100 scholars are asking HRW's executive director Kenneth Roth in an open letter. They note that Miguel Díaz, a CIA analyst in the 1990s, served as an advisor on human rights to HRW Americas from 2003-11 before moving back into government, as a State Department "interlocutor between the intelligence community and non-government experts."

Human Rights Watch characterizes itself as an "independent, international organization" and yet its staff, board of directors and advisory committees boast deep ties to the highest levels of the U.S. government (and U.S. corporations). Before becoming HRW's Washington advocacy director, for example, Tom Malinowski served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton. Now he's President Obama's Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. This makes Malinowski's prior statements as an HRW representative all the more troubling: In 2009 he argued that "under limited circumstances" there was "a legitimate place" for CIA renditions the illegal practice of kidnapping and transferring terrorism suspects around the planet. In 2011 he wrote approvingly about Obama's unconstitutional NATO bombing campaign on Libya.

To hold governments accountable, trustworthy human-rights monitors are crucial. HRW should focus on protecting human rights not abetting U.S.-led wars. This is made difficult when HRW's board of directors includes Javier Solana, the secretary general of NATO in 1999 when it bombed Yugoslavia, committing "violations of international humanitarian law," as HRW itself reported in 2000.

The letter urges Kenneth Roth to assert Human Rights Watch's independence and stop the revolving door whereby HRW associates come directly out of the U.S. government and/or quickly return to it.

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