Human Rights Watch is gaining more recognition and support in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. During their recent visit to the Kingdom, senior members of the organization were given a welcoming dinner in Riyadh hosted by prominent businessman and intellectual Emad bin Jameel Al-Hejailan.Apparently improving HRW's image in Saudi Arabia was contingent on talking about all of the reports it had published about Israel. Which of course is understandable: after all, Whitson was in Saudi Arabia to get funding--and appearances of propriety be damned.
Other prominent members of Saudi society, human rights activists and dignitaries were invited to the dinner held to honor the guests.
In an introductory speech at the dinner, Al-Hejailan said the credo of human rights is rising in the Kingdom. He commended Human Rights Watch (HRW) for its work on Gaza and the Middle East as a whole.
HRW presented a documentary and spoke on the report they compiled on Israel violating human rights and international law during its war on Gaza earlier this year.
I discussed Whitson's claims and those of Human Rights Watch head Ken Roth about the trip here. Needless to say, the stunt was an embarrassment, exposing as it did the lack of neutrality and objectivity that one assumes such NGO's have.
But that didn't stop Whitson from paying a friendly visit to Hamas:
A May 19, 2010 news item on the website of Hamas’ Central Commission for Documentation and Pursuit of Israeli War Criminals summarized a visit between Hamas “Injustice” Minister Faraj Alghoul, and Whitson and HRW Researcher Bill Van Esveld. According to the account, Alghoul expressed “his hope” that HRW “will commit to neutrality and objectivity,” while remarking that HRW’s reports equate “between the executioner and the victim.” In response, Whitson stressed that “the reason behind coming to Gaza despite the difficulties they faced is to listen to all parties directly so she will prepare more objective and impartial reports.” Whitson closed the meeting by thanking “Alghoul for his clarifications and emphasized that she will take these clarifications seriously and their next report will be about the Israeli violations as the Israeli illegal settlement which is against the international law.”Whitson claimed that while getting money from Saudi Arabia, she spoke to them about human rights abuses. May we also assume that she spoke to Hamas about rockets that are still being fired into Israel? Did she insist on meeting the kidnap hostage Gilad Shalit, who is being held without being allowed visitation by the International Red Cross?
Or was she just too busy reassuring Hamas about the reports that Human Rights Watch was going to write about Israel.
Technorati Tag: Sarah Leah Whitson and Human Rights Watch and Hamas and HRW.