Human Rights Watch

Arab Spring, My Foot
October 06, 2011

Or, better yet, “my ass.” The Arab Spring has been with us for nearly three quarters of a year. This is not a long time as history goes. But the annual flowers of the spare land have long ago vanished into the crude, mostly gritty sand that is the Middle East. It’s not, though, as if it is at all back to “normal” in the Arab world. And, frankly, we haven’t the slightest about what normal in the Arab world is or will be. The Muslims and the Jews and the increasingly scarce but differentiated Christians who constituted the region lived (and live) recreant lives.

What Obama Should Do About Syria
July 28, 2011

There is a long tradition in American foreign policy of doing the right thing but doing it late. This is an understandable phenomenon: Democracies by their very nature move cautiously, and, for any number of reasons, this is often a good thing. But America is also the most powerful country in the world, and so our labored pace can be maddening to those who look in our direction for help, or at least for moral support. To take one example, our slowness was catastrophic for the people of Bosnia, whom we rescued—but not quickly enough.

Libya: A Slideshow
June 20, 2011

In the most recent issue of The New Republic, Tom Malinowski, the Washington director for Human Rights Watch, writes about his recent trip to Libya and the state of the revolution. “For 40 years, under Muammar Qaddafi’s dictatorship, it was dangerous for Libyans even to have a conversation about what kind of country they wanted to live in,” he observed. “Now, in the eastern cities that have freed themselves from Qaddafi’s grip, something important is happening. An entire society is trying to define its political identity. This process could still end tragically.

Sudan: Is a New Wave of Mass Crimes Underway?
June 14, 2011

As the July 9 date for the secession of South Sudan approaches, something very ugly is happening in Sudan. Northern Sudan has initiated a series of violent affronts on contested regions: the border region of Abyei last month, and now, South Kordofan, a northern state whose inhabitants mainly identify with the South.

Jefferson in Benghazi
June 09, 2011

The border crossing from Egypt into rebel-controlled eastern Libya offers few clues that the country is at war. The Libyan immigration officers wear ragged uniforms and carry on the routine of stamping passports, though with a friendliness and ease that is undoubtedly new. The eight-hour drive to the rebels’ de facto capital of Benghazi is dramatic only for its scenery—a rugged coastline with wide open beaches, then, surprisingly, green hills, crossed by deep gorges and adorned with beautifully preserved Greek ruins, visited by no one.

What About Dara’a?
June 09, 2011

The reformer has responded to the democratic stirrings in his country with a war against its children. The murder and mutilation of Hamza Ali al-Khateeb is only the most shocking instance of Bashar al Assad’s mercilessness. The Syrian uprising originated in March as an expression of anger at the arrest and torture of fifteen boys, who were accused of scrawling anti-government graffiti in the town of Dara’a, which has now earned a place of honor in the geography of modern dissent. The crowd that demonstrated for the release of the boys was fired upon, lethally, by Syrian security forces.

Rejoicer Beware
May 30, 2011

What is it about international justice that impels so many intelligent and politically sophisticated people to spout so much utopian nonsense? Anyone doubting this needs to look at the statements that have been pouring like rain out of the United Nations, and out of the major human rights organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, about the arrest of Ratko Mladic, the commander of Serb rebel forces during the Bosnian War and architect of the Srebrenica massacre, in which 8,000 Bosniak men and boys were murdered in cold blood.

Human Rights Watch Head Opposes Bin Laden Killing
May 04, 2011

Ben Birnbaum reports: The executive director of Human Rights Watch is criticizing the United States for killing terrorist leader Osama bin Laden without due process. Kenneth Rothopined on bin Laden’s death via his Twitter account (@KenRoth), taking aim at comments made by the U.N.’s secretary-general: “Ban Ki-moon wrong on #Osama bin Laden: It’s not “justice” for him to be killed even if justified; no trial, conviction”. I don't think this shows that Roth is crazy and should always be ignored.

Killing Osama bin Laden
May 03, 2011

James Downie explains the legal justification for the raid on Abbottabad.

What About Darfur?
February 09, 2011

In January, southern Sudan held a historic self-determination referendum. Final results, announced this Monday, show that 98.83 percent of voters cast their ballots in favor of the region becoming independent, and Sudan’s president, Omar Al Bashir, is making all the right noises to suggest he is willing to let one-third of his territory go peacefully. The Obama administration, which played a major role in supporting the referendum and getting Khartoum to accept it, rightly sees this as an enormous achievement.

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