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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Where In Mauritania Is Human Rights Watch?

The correct answer is nowhere.

One may wonder what is so special about Mauritania or why anyone--least of all Human Rights Watch--should care.

The fact is, The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is notorious for human rights abuses:

The Islamic Republic of Mauritania is quite notorious, however for human rights violations. The government only criminalized slavery in 2007 and the enslavement of the black African population there remains rampant (estimates put the number around 600,000). A cached version of what appears to have been at one time HRW’s “Mauritania” page only lists two publications– one from 2003 and one from 2001 – and neither of these address slavery. Its only report documenting the repression of Mauritania’s black population by white “Moor” rulers dates back to 1994 – FIFTEEN YEARS ago. Even Amnesty International has several reports from 2008 on the systematic torture that is routine in the country.
That not only makes Mauritania important in general--one would have thought it would make it important to HRW as well.
Unfortunately, Human Rights Watch not only does not think Mauritania is as important to investigate as Israel--HRW does not think it important to investigate human rights abuses in Mauritania at all.

The contrast between HRW's coverage of Israel and Mauritania is striking:
Twenty Eight statements (and counting) in six months lobbying for the Goldstone mission and Zero reports on slavery in Mauritania in fifteen years?
Ken Roth claims that because of finite resources, Human Rights Watch has to 'pick and choose' who they investigate.
This of course is an evasion. The question is not why Human Rights Watch cannot cover the globe; the question is why pick Gaza over The Islamic Republic of Mauritania?

Well, if you were Human Rights Watch going to Saudi Arabia to raise funds and wanted to brag about the job you were doing--which country do you think would make the bigger impression on your Saudi donors?

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