Criticisms Made by Human Rights Watch

human rights watch criticism

Since the foundation of Human Rights Watch in 1978, they have been actively working towards ensuring human rights and dignity for all. Thus, they have made many criticisms to showcase violations of human rights.

It is important to understand where these criticisms made by Human Rights Watch come from to further comprehend human rights.

This article will break down the type and content of criticisms made by Human Rights Watch.

The below sections will talk about the impact Human Rights Watch has made with said criticisms.

Criticism Made by Human Rights Watch

Criticism Made by Human Rights Watch

Some disapprobation of the world listed by Human Rights Watch are as follows:

  • Gulf War of 1991
  • Ethnic cleansing in Rwanda and the Balkan Peninsula
  • Human Trafficking

The Gulf War of 1991

The Law of Aerial Bombardment was first issued in the 1991 Gulf War.

Taking into consideration of the scale of human rights violations and its continued effect, having human rights watch groups in Iraq appears to be a critical step in the protection of rights for civilians.

This is true, especially, as long as there is interference by the Iraqi government on domestic and international investigations of human rights.

Therefore, Human Rights Watch find fault with the Gulf war.

Human Rights Watch also requested a legal system so air combat can be governed.

This system includes the below points:

  • International humanitarian law
  • Military needs and human principles
  • UN General Assembly Resolution
  • Customary Law and Protocol I: Principles of Citizenship Disclaimer and Distinguishment
  • General restrictions of air combat
  • Attack Restrictions: Prohibition of unbalanced attacks and other indiscriminate attacks
  • Precautions
  • Verifications of military objectives
  • Collateral casualties and damage
  • Rule of Proportions
  • Cancel or suspension of attack
  • Warning requirements
  • Special legal protections
  • Prohibition of hunger for civilians
  • Special protection for civil defense shelters

These are examples of how the prevention of human rights abuse was sought out.

Such regulations were made in attempt to prevent human rights violations.

Reference : “NEEDLESS DEATHS IN THE GULF WAR – Human Rights Watch”

Ethnic Cleansing in Rwanda and the Balkan Peninsula

Investigation was indispensable for the ethnic cleaning in Rwanda and the Balkan Peninsula.

In the civil war in Rwanda, Hutu and Towa people and mostly members of the Tutsi, an ethnic minority group, were slaughtered by armed militias.

There was no country that intervened in this genocide.

Furthermore, President Habyarimana and Hutu hardliners obstructed peacekeeping such as activities lead by UNAMIR.

The Bosnian war forced a great number of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats in the Balkan Peninsula to flee.

On the 18th of December 1992, the UN General Assembly disregarded their appeal to “acquire territory by force” and instead reproached them for the abominable practice of “ethnic cleansing”.

The International Court of Justice refers to this case as a genocide.

Human Rights Watch has also pushed for the prosecution of such ethnic cleansing, like in Rwanda and the Balkan Peninsula, at the International Criminal Court.
This is due to the establishment behind the International Criminal Court.

In accordance with the Rome Statute, the International Criminal Court was established by the United Nations agency.

The International Criminal Court was created to prosecute and punish individuals.

Reference : “Outreach Programme on the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda and the United Nations – UNITED NATIONS”

Human Trafficking

Human Rights Watch is also against human trafficking.

An estimation made by the United Nations states that about 700,000 people worldwide are forced into labor and/or prostitution each year.

Human Rights Watch has also made testimonies to the US Senate Judiciary Committee.

In recent news, the recordings of women and girls being trafficked from Myanmar to China has been released.

The below was stated in light of this release.

We know from our research that armed conflict often amplifies existing trafficking practices, and exacerbates women’s and girls’ vulnerability to exploitation by increasing economic desperation, weakening the rule of law and decreasing the availability of social services and family support.

Reference : “Trafficking Survivors Are Being Failed the World Over – Human Rights Watch”

Human Rights Watch conducts their own investigations as well.

Reference : “U.S.: Efforts to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery – Human Rights Watch”

The History of Human Rights Watch

The History of Human Rights Watch

  • 1975:Helsinki Accords
  • 1978:Helsinki Watch, established to support the citizens groups and monitor government compliance
  • 1980:Makes public criticisms on human rights abuses in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe
  • 1981年:Americas Watch
  • 1985年:Asia Watch
  • 1988年:Africa Watch
  • 1989年:Middle East Watch
  • 1997年:Wins Nobel Peace Prize as a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines

Reference : “Our History – Human Rights Watch”

The Impact Human Rights Watch Has Made

The Impact Human Rights Watch Has Made

Here are some of the impacts Human Rights Watch has had on the world:

  • Raising awareness on human rights issues
  • Appealing for political prisoners
  • Globalization of human rights

Raising Awareness on Human Rights Issues

Human Rights Watch has encouraged people’s mindfulness about human rights through research.

The Human Rights Watch states the following as their purpose as an organization:

We scrupulously investigate abuses, expose the facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice.

Reference : “About Our Research – Human Rights Watch”

To achieve their goal, Human Rights Watch publish their reports publicly.

The reports are not limited to showcasing the victims and perpetrators.

It also works to stop violations and determines who can and should be liable for the relief.

Furthermore, Human Rights Watch publish survey results in various languages using multiple methods.

Methods include using the media or posting on social media.

Through such activities, they have been able to spread awareness of human rights matters and encourage people to focus on bettering such issues.

Appealing for Political Prisoners

Human Rights Watch also works to appeal for political prisoners.

Human Rights Watch call for names and photos to be revealed of people who have been arbitrarily arrested.

For example, the rapid decline in human rights in Cambodia is the continuation of the wave of politically motivated arrests and detentions that took place in 2019.

Such events have propelled Human Rights Watch to seek support for political prisoners.

Reference : “Political Prisoners Cambodia – Human Rights Watch”

Globalization of Human Rights

Human Rights Watch investigate and report on human rights violations around the world.

To make sure it is not biased to a specific region, Human Rights Watch is a very international organization with people from more than 70 different nationalities employed.

Furthermore, to guarantee independence, they decline government funding.

This way, Human Rights Watch can maintain its independence.

Reports are published in many languages as well.

Human Rights Watch monitors and investigates human rights violations from a global perspective.

Therefore, the influence on the globalization of human rights is considerable.

Q&A: Criticisms Made by Human Rights Watch

Q&A: Criticisms Made by Human Rights Watch

What is the goal of Human Rights Watch?

The goal of Human Rights Watch is to keep an eye out for and inquire into human rights violations.

To serve its purpose as an institution to monitor human rights issues, Human Rights Watch upholds an independent position.

It is more effective to draw attention of the country involved to problems when criticisms are made from this sovereign stance.

Another way to draw attention is to use real names.

Reference : “About Our Research – Human Rights Watch”

Has Human Rights Watch been criticized?

Human Rights Watch has been criticized.

For example, Marc Garlasco has been condemned.

Marc Garlasco was an investigator in Human Rights Watch but was allegedly collecting Nazi memorabilia.

Since Human Rights Watch holds a stance against Nazism, this incident was disapproved.

Such events have brought voices of criticism regarding the whole institution.

Regions such as Venezuela, Honduras, Egypt and Ethiopia have also expressed dissatisfaction.

This is because they did not agree with the reports or survey method that Human Rights Watch published.

What issues has Human Rights Watch published recently?

In recent news, Human Rights Watch has disapproved of the problem surrounding a Chinese professional tennis player.

This issue was about a tennis player who stopped appearing in the media after her claim of sexual harassment by a retired Chinese government official.

The Olympic committee has also been criticized concerning this incident.

The IOC emphasizes the below.

…the IOC is actively taking steps to protect athletes from all forms of harassment and abuse in sport.

Reference : “Respecting Human Rights – Olympics”

Human Rights Watch has also criticized the IOC that continued to work with China without this issue being resolved.

By cooperating with Chinese authorities in this video call, the IOC failed to adhere to its own human rights commitments and to protect the free expression rights of Olympic athletes. The IOC’s conduct also undermined the efforts by the WTA and other international sports organizations and individuals to secure Peng’s safety and freedom, and hold the Chinese government to account for human rights violations.

As stated above, Human Rights Watch has made its disapproval clear.

Reference : “Olympics: Don’t Promote Chinese State Propaganda – Human Rights Watch”

Becoming Aware of Criticisms Made by Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch is an independent organization that’s purpose is to investigate human rights issues.

This entails that paying attention to reports made by Human Rights Watch is important in staying aware of human rights issues.

Let’s continue to be informed by keeping an eye out for Human Rights Watch reports.

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