Thursday, 21 March 2013

HRW Under Fire From Ex-US Diplomat

HRW under fire from ex-US diplomat

Current Executive Director of HRW Kenneth Roth (above) whom the document says he should  among other personnel , be held accountable for the ‘Travesty’ Net photo

A retired American diplomat Richard Johnson has rapped Washington-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) and said that what it does on Rwanda is not human rights advocacy, but rather political advocacy.
In a well articulated document he called ‘The Travesty of Human Rights Watch on Rwanda’; Johnson said that HWR has become profoundly unscrupulous in both its means and its ends.
Before retiring, Johnson served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State from 1979 to 2002, specializing in Russian, East European and North African affairs.
He says that his professional experience includes the genocide in Bosnia and personal experience of Rwanda where he lived in 2008-2010 as the spouse of another U.S. diplomat.
According to Johnson, HRW’s discourse on Rwanda over the past twenty years has been viscerally hostile to the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which defeated the genocidal regime in 1994, and systematically biased in favor of letting unrepentant former political forces back into Rwandan political life.
He called upon the HRW’s Board of Directors should hold Executive Director Kenneth Roth and the HRW personnel who cover Rwandan issues accountable for this travesty, which has dangerous implications for Western policy toward Rwanda and for the overall credibility of Western human rights advocacy.
“Donors to HRW should think seriously about what causes their money might serve.  Western governments should be careful about following HRW advice, and courageous enough to challenge them publicly when need be,” reads the document in part.
Johnson explained that HRW’s decision-making process is not transparent and the air of sanctity around its perceived mission discourages public scrutiny of its policies and practices, and the degree of accountability of HRW to anyone is quite unclear.
“This situation of unchecked power is one where things can go seriously wrong.  With regard to Rwanda, they have.”

He reasoned that HRW’s discourse on Rwanda is a threat to the country and to peace and stability in Central Africa.
“It discourages Western governments from doing what they should to support Rwanda’s recovery from the 1994 genocide.  It perpetuates impunity for important genocide perpetrators.  It pains many Rwandans and particularly the genocide survivors.
It crowds out the potential for a more constructive dialogue between the West and Rwanda, and raises the risks of cynicism and a bunker mentality in Kigali.  Above all, it encourages the leaders of the still extant Genocide Ideological and other related movement.
Most of these are visible as a small stratum of upper class extremists among the Rwandan diaspora who are unrepentant about and often implicated in the 1994 genocide against the Rwandan Tutsi and allows them to keep blowing on the embers of that genocide in the hope of restoring such former governance in Rwanda.”
Last year HRW released numerous false reports implicating Rwanda in the massacres that were taking place in the Eastern DRC.
In June, The Minister of Foreign Affairs Louise Mushhikiwabo revealed that Rwanda was aware of a fundraising effort by Human Rights Watch to release batches of recycled rumours designed to implicate Rwanda’.
In a statement posted on the government website, the minister hastened to warn that the region is not a playground for non-state actors to play politics or raise money while fomenting violence and human suffering.
The Minister pointed out that HRW’s conduct had resulted into human suffering, including more than 100 women raped by DRC-based Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and other rebels who took advantage of the insecurity breach.
FDLR is a terrorist group that is mainly composed of elements responsible for the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.
The government of Rwanda believes that the primary beneficiaries on the HRW are the FDLR terrorists who feast on insecurity.
They say that unaccountable actors like HRW also profit from this by raising millions of dollars through the dissemination of simplistic reports based on the same old unverified reports and lies.


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