Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Human Rights Watch quiet on Western Sahara

I'm a nominal member of Amnesty International, which means I get all the emails and occasionally respond to action alerts but I don't pay the dues like I should. Yesterday, I was asked to take a survey about Amnesty's future priorities.

Part of the survey asked about how I felt about other humanitarian organizations like Human Rights Watch, the ONE Campaign, and Oxfam. I rated the latter two favorably, but said I view HRW poorly.

Now, I love human rights ruckus-making as much as the next person, but Human Rights Watch's silence on abuses in the Western Sahara has turned me against them. Look at HRW's page on Morocco/Western Sahara--the last Western Sahara-related complaint was written in December 2005.

Since then, a Sahrawi has died from poor medical care in prison, the head of a human rights organization has been sentenced to two years in prison for doing his job, and pro-independence Sahrawis have been beaten. Not one word from Human Rights Watch.

If you doubt the veracity of some of these outrages, that's your right--but we deserve to have human rights NGO's telling us whether they're true or not. Human Rights Watch does itself, its members, and most of all the Sahrawis an injustice by ignoring the repression in Western Sahara.


  1. Anonymous5:15 AM

    I can't agree more. I'm with you on this one Will.

    Have considered sending HRW a note reminding . No need to mention that you don't pay the dues.

  2. Laroussi9:31 AM

    The e-mail address to HRW is hrwnyc@hrw.org

    You can address the letter to Mrs Sarah Leah Whitson. She is Executive Director of the Middle East & North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch.

  3. tangerino10:34 AM

    If a lie is repeated often enough all the dumb jackasses in the world not only get to believe it, they even swear by it.

  4. Laroussi11:00 AM

    If a message is cryptic enough, it may be impossible even for the receiver to understand its meaning and purpose.

    Old communication pro-verb. ;-)

  5. Thanks for the email, Laroussi. I'll send her an email, and I hope you two will do the same.

    It could be that it's hard to get observers into Western Sahara, but that's no excuse to be silent on it.

    As for tangerino, look around the blog and you'll be able to tell we prefer our digs blatant, not subtle.

  6. Laroussi11:50 AM

    Thanks for the email, Laroussi. I'll send her an email, and I hope you two will do the same.

    Thanks. My letter is on its way.

  7. tangerino1:35 PM

    i ve been looking around few peopple even bother to comment except the three mouskiters

  8. It's true, I don't get as many comments as I'd like. However, you're more than welcome to comment on anything, especially if you disagree with me. I'm a big fan of commenters who think differently.

    I wonder who the three musketeers are.

  9. Anonymous1:33 PM

    Thank you Will for supporting our just cause. As a Saharawi, I'm with you 100% on this one. I'm sending an email with some pictures of abuses and atrocities committed on the Saharawis by the Moroccan occupation forces in Laayoun to HRW. That's the least we can do.

    Thank you, Laaroussi for the contact info.

    Other hand, please Will, do me a favor! Don’t even waste your precious time and bother responding to some "Barking dogs out there", Believe me! I've tried it untiringly before, but "SIN RESULTADOS”. These people are blind sided and brain washed.

    Now, I limited it to just asking the Moroccans, top to bottom, a simple and very legitimate question: "if their occupying country, Morocco, claims that the Sahrawis are Moroccans, why then bother offering them an AUTONOMY??!!!
    Still waiting for a response?

    I wanted to let you know here, that your efforts are highly appreciated.We are all very indebted Will!

    Again, on behalf of all the Saharawis, thanks a million for your time and support.