Best human rights watchers (2008)

Human Rights Watch

Amnesty International has the name and reputation, but Human Rights Watch pours out more vital information from its Fifth Avenue offices than any other major watchdog keeping an eye on us humans. What we like most is HRW's ability to call 'em as it sees 'em. Take executive director Kenneth Roth, a former federal prosecutor. Roth's dad escaped from Nazi Germany in 1938, but that didn't stop Roth from taking Israel to task in August. In typically direct, lucid language, based on solid, on-the-ground reporting, one HRW report noted: "The pattern of attacks [by Israeli forces] in more than 20 cases investigated by Human Rights Watch researchers in Lebanon indicates that the failures cannot be dismissed as mere accidents and cannot be blamed on wrongful Hezbollah practices. In some cases, these attacks constitute war crimes." Whew! Some of HRW's most memorable work has come during the Iraq debacle—especially a searing exposé of heinous behavior by American troops at Camp Mercury, where Iraqi prisoners were literally used as kick toys. Best of all, there's a singular lack of partisan BS emanating from HRW. Rather, there's more hard-hitting journalism going on in its offices than in most of the bigger newsrooms in this country.


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