Who is behind Human Rights Watch?
by Paul Treanor
Reposted September 7, 2001

The backgrounds of the Board members of Human Rights Watch (HRW), Europe-Central Asia section, with an indication of HRW funding sources. HRW is founded on the idea that the values of the United States are universal, and that the US must impose them on the rest of the world. As the largest human-rights lobby, it is partly responsible for the increasingly expansionist US foreign policy.

No US citizen, and no US organisation, has any right to impose US values on Europe. No concentration camps or mass graves can justify that imposition. But Human Rights Watch finds it self-evident, that the United States may legitimately restructure any society, where a mass grave is found. That is a dangerous belief for a superpower: European colonialism shows how easily a "civilising mission" produces its own atrocities. Sooner or later, more people will die in crusades to prevent a new Holocaust, than died in the Holocaust itself.

For a century there has been a strong interventionist belief in the United States – although it competes with widespread isolationism. In the last 10 years attitudes have hardened: human-rights interventionism is becoming a consensus among the "foreign policy elite." Human Rights Watch itself is part of that elite, which includes government departments, foundations, NGO's and academics. It is certainly not an association of "concerned private citizens." HRW board members include present and past government employees, and overlapping directorates link it to the major foreign policy lobbies in the US. Cynically summarised, Human Rights Watch is a joint venture of George Soros and the State Department.

HRW is an almost exclusively US-American organisation. Its version of human rights is the Anglo-American tradition. It is "mono-ethical" – recognising no legitimate ethical values outside its own. Attitudes to redistribution of wealth illustrate the limited nature of human rights ethics. In the Anglo-American human-rights tradition, seizure and redistribution of the property of the rich is unethical. The human-rights tradition recognises no inherent value in equality itself: human rights are not, and can never be, a substitute for a general morality.

I do not believe that ethical values are culturally specific. However, it is true that one ethical tradition has become associated with the United States, with an emphasis on rights. That includes the universal rights set out in its Declaration of Independence and its Constitution. In a sense the US was "designed" or "pre-programmed" as an interventionist power. Universal human rights, by their nature, tend to justify military intervention to protect them.

Why are human rights linked to interventionism?

Any modern society which wants to engage in a war of conquest would need an ideology of justification. If nation state is clearly the victim of an unprovoked attack by another state, then it can appeal to the idea of national self-defence. However, such unprovoked attacks are rare, and self-defence is inherently implausible for super-powers at war with small countries. A super-power can get involved in hostilities all over the planet, usually preceded by a complex chain of events. From its point of view, an ideology is needed to justify these wars, preferably all of them.

Such an ideology should ideally meet some criteria. First, it should not be a simple appeal to self-interest. Simply stating "We own the world!" or "We are the master race, submit to us!" is not good propaganda. An appeal to higher values is preferable.

Second, these higher values should be universal. This is why Islamism would probably fail as an interventionist ideology: it is specific to Islam. A geopolitical claim to intervene in support of Islamic values can be answered simply by saying: "We are not Muslims here." The doctrine of universal human rights is, by definition, universal and cross-cultural.

Third, the ideology should appeal to the population of the super-power. In the United States, for historical reasons, rights doctrines have become part of its national culture. It would be pointless for a US President to justify a war by appealing to Islam, or royal legitimacy, because very few Americans hold these beliefs. Most Americans believe in rights theories: very few know that these theories are disputed.

Fourth, if possible, the ideology should appeal to the "enemy" population. It should ideally be part of their values. This is very difficult, but the doctrine of human rights has itself succeeded in acquiring cross-cultural legitimacy. This does not mean it is inherently right, but simply that no non-western cultures have an answer to the doctrine. The government of China, for instance, fully accepts the concept of human rights, and claims to uphold them. So when it is accused of human rights violations, it can do nothing but deny. It will be perpetually on the defensive. Even if the US bombs Beijing in support of human rights, the Chinese regime would be incapable of simply saying "Human rights are wrong." This effect could be seen as the Holy Grail of war propaganda: if the enemy leadership is incapable of presenting an alternative value system, it will ultimately collapse. If the US was a devoutly Islamic country, what response would it offer to an invasion of Islamist purists? If they came to destroy Las Vegas for being "un-Islamic" what could the US Government do? Offer pathetic denials, that's all. That is all the Chinese government can offer to international public opinion, when facing claims of human rights violations.

Human rights are not the only possible option, for a general ideology of intervention. The "civilising mission" which justified 19-th century colonisation is another example. However, it is important to note that human rights can serve a geopolitical purpose, which is unrelated to their moral content. It is not possible to show that "human rights" exist, and most moral philosophers would not even try. It might not be a very important issue in ethics anyway – but it is important in politics and geopolitics. And that's what Human Rights Watch is about – not about ethics.

For more on human rights as ideology, see "Why human rights are wrong."

If the United States was inhabited by pacifist relativists, then probably it would not go to war so often. However, most US-Americans believe in the universality and superiority of their ethical tradition. Interventionist human-rights organisations are, in a sense, a logical result. Human Rights Watch is not formally an "association for the promotion of the American Way of Life" – but it tends to behave like one.

Human Rights Watch operates a number of discriminatory exclusions, to maintain its character.

  • First, it is linguistically racist. Although it publishes material in foreign languages to promote its views, the organisation itself is English-only.

  • Second, the organisation discriminates on grounds of nationality. Non-Americans are systematically excluded at board level. (One 1974 Indian immigrant was recently appointed, but presumably she is long since an American citizen). HRW recruits its employees only in the United States, in English. US readers of this site may be unfamiliar with multilingual cross-border employment, but it does exist in Europe. HRW has the option of going multilingual in this way – it would even facilitate its work – but it remains organisationally Anglophone.

  • Third, the organisation discriminates on grounds of social class. Again, the list makes clear that board members are recruited from the upper class, and upper-middle class. Although I traced almost all the board members' professions, there are none from middle-income occupations – let alone any poor illegal immigrants, or Somali peasants.

Human Rights Watch can therefore claim no ethical superiority. It is itself involved in practices it condemns elsewhere, such as discrimination in employment, and exclusion from social structures. It can also claim no neutrality. An organisation which will not allow a Serb or Somali to be a board member, can give no neutral assessment of a Serbian or Somali state. It would probably be impossible for an all-American, English-only elite organisation, to be anything else but paternalistic and arrogant.

Europe Committee, formerly 'Helsinki Steering Committee' or 'Helsinki Watch.'

This is the Europe section of the Board of HRW, which is split into sections approximately by continent. The section was established in 1978: in the late 1970's human rights became the main issue in Cold War propaganda. The Soviet Union had made concessions at the Helsinki summit (1975), allowing human rights monitoring. Western governments encouraged "private" organisations to use this concession – as a means of pressuring the Soviet Union. Human Rights Watch began as a Cold War propaganda instrument.

The committee is now called the Europe and Central Asia Division. It is still affiliated with the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, which co-ordinates the "Helsinki committees." The first version of this web page was compiled several years ago, and the committee's membership has changed, as noted below. For the exact current composition of the HRW Board and its subdivisions, check the web page HRW Board of Directors & Advisory Committees.

Jonathan Fanton

No longer Chair of the Committee – promoted to Chair of the HRW Board. An academic and foundation man. Former Vice President of the University of Chicago, in 1982 appointed as President of the New School for Social Research, now the New School University. He is active in building US academic contacts with eastern Europe, directed at the new pro-western elites, see the Transregional Center for Democratic Studies (TCDS) page.

Peter Osnos, now Chair

George Soros' publisher. He is Chief Executive of Public Affairs publishers.

Alice H. Henkin, Vice Chair

Director of the Justice and Society Program at the Aspen Institute, an elite think-tank.
Note their report Honoring Human Rights: From Peace to Justice proposing United Nations mission strategies later used in Kosovo.

Morton Abramowitz

A link to the US Foreign Policy establishment, one of several at HRW. Abramowitz was U.S. Ambassador to Turkey (1989-91) and Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research (1985-89), among other posts: see his personal details at the Council on Foreign Relations, CFR, where he is a Fellow. The CFR is the heart of interventionist US policy since 1921 (and hated by the isolationist right).
He directed the CFR Balkan Economic Task Force, which published a report on "Reconstructing the Balkans".

Barbara Finberg

A donor of HRW, see the list below. A retired vice president with the Carnegie Corporation of New York, who donated $1 million to Stanford University.

Felice Gaer

Human rights specialist at the American Jewish Committee and chair of the Steering Committee for the 50th anniversary of the UN Human Rights Declaration, see this biography:
"Ms.Gaer is Director of the Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights. Author, speaker, and activist, she is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Board of Directors of the Andrei Sakharov Foundation, a member of the International Human Rights Council at the Carter Center, ...Vice President of the International League for Human Rights."

According to this JTA report, Gaer praised Madeleine Albright for her "outstanding human rights record."
Felice Gaer was also a non-governmental member of the United States delegation to a United Nations Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva, where (according to the Voice of America) she denounced Sudan, saying the the U.S. "cannot accept those who invoke Islam or other religions as justification for atrocious human rights abuses." However, more interesting is this speech at the Geneva meeting, where she suggested the UN should no longer investigate prison rapes in the US: "we would urge the Special Rapporteurs to focus their attention on countries where the situation is the most dire and the abuses the most severe."

Michael Gellert

Vice Chairman of the Board at Fanton's New School for Social Research. Investment manager and Trustee of the Carnegie Institute.

Gellert is a director of Premier Parks Inc., owner of the Six Flags and Walibi theme park chains. Also a director of:
High Speed Access Corp.,
Devon Energy Corporation,
Humana Inc..

Paul Goble
Director of Communications and political commentator at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Cold War propaganda transmitters that survived the end of the Cold War. From their website:
"Free Europe, Inc., was established in 1949 as non-profit, private corporations to broadcast news and current affairs programs to Eastern European countries behind the Iron Curtain. The Radio Liberty Committee, Inc., was created two years later along the same lines to broadcast to the nations inside the Soviet Union. Both were funded principally by the U.S. Congress, through the Central Intelligence Agency, but they also received some private donations as well. The two corporations were merged into a single RFE/RL, Inc. in 1975."
It is still funded by the US Government, through Congressional appropriation.
Bill Green

Is no longer on the committee. Former Republican member of Congress, a trustee of the New School for Social Research (where Fanton is President), with many other public and business posts: see the biography at the American Assembly, an academic/political think-tank.

Mark von Hagen

New on the Committee. Director of the Harriman Institute – an International Relations institute of Columbia University in New York. A Soviet and post-Soviet specialist, with a long list of publications, see his profile at the institute website.

Stanley Hoffman

A pro-interventionist theorist (of course that means US intervention, not a Taliban invasion of the US). Professor at Harvard, see his biography. Note that his colleagues include Daniel Goldhagen, who openly advocated occupation of Serbia, to impose a US-style democracy: see A New Serbia.

Robert James

Also on the Board of Human Rights in China, another Soros-funded organisation.

Kati Marton
New on the Committee. President of the Committee to Protect Journalists. However this "protection" did not extend to journalists killed by NATO bombing of the Belgrade TV studios: she declined to condemn it. This may, perhaps, have something to do with not embarrassing her husband: Richard C. Holbrooke, former Special Envoy to Yugoslavia, and US Ambassador to the United Nations. For an idea of the social world behind Human Rights Watch, and a glimpse of of how US foreign policy is made, see this article about their cocktail parties...

"Dick Holbrooke, who's been U.N. ambassador since August, has a different idea of what sort of people the suite should be filled with. Tonight, he's hosting a dinner for General Wesley Clark, the granite-faced, soft-spoken Nato chief, who is leaving his post in April. .... Dressed in a formal pin-striped suit, crisp white shirt, and red tie, Holbrooke still manages to look comfortably rumpled – his unruly hair is the secret to this effect – as he banters his way around the room. Introducing Clark to billionaire financier George Soros and Canadian press lord Conrad Black, Holbrooke teasingly calls the general, whose formal title is supreme Allied commander for Europe, 'The Supreme'..."

"Holbrooke's wife, the author Kati Marton, is equally adept at the art of the cocktail party. Dressed in an elegant white pantsuit, she ushers guests into the dining room, where four tables are set for a meal of crab cakes and sautéed duck. Marton and Holbrooke, who have been giving twice-a-week diplomatic dinners, have a carefully choreographed act. 'I give the opening toast, which is unorthodox in the U.N. village,' she explains. 'Richard and I are making the point we're doing this together.'"

Ambassador A-List, from the January 3, 2000 issue of New York Magazine.

As "journalist protector," Kati Marton lobbied for the Soros-funded B92 radio in Belgrade, which played a central role in the opposition under Milosevic, at least until his last year in power. The campaign for B92 is illustrative of the symbiotic relationship of interventionist lobbies and interventionist governments. Marton was lobbying to protect an "independent" radio station which was already part-funded by the US government (National Endowment for Democracy). Partly as a result, it got even more western funding.

Immediately after the station was banned, Ivor Roberts, the British ambassador, showed his support by visiting its offices on the fifth floor of a run-down socialist-style building in downtown Belgrade. Carl Bildt, then the international High Representative in charge of the civilian side of the Dayton peace agreement in Bosnia, the US State Department, and Kati Marton of the Committee to Protect Journalists also made protests on behalf of the station.

Internet technology and international pressure proved to be effective weapons against Milosevic. After two days he withdrew his edict forbidding B-92 to broadcast. It seems likely that he was convinced that lifting the ban would win Western praise and deflect international attention from his electoral fraud. Immediately afterward, B-92 was able – through funds provided equally by the BBC, the British Foreign Office, USAID, the European Union, and George Soros's Open Society Foundation – to gain access to a satellite that linked twenty-eight independent local radio stations, covering 70 percent of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which is now made up of Serbia and Montenegro.

1997 article from the New York Review of Books

A detail: Kati Marton was also a member of the Honorary Committee of the Civil Society Vision Award Dinner – Tribute to Madeleine K. Albright by the American Friends of the Czech Republic. No, I don't invent these committees. In fact, they are part of a tradition of immigrant politics in the United States, where exile communities lobby for the "liberation" of their homeland, by US intervention. George Soros himself is the personification of this style of politics. In this case, the "liberation" of former Czechoslovakia has been achieved, so it is a form of victory celebration.

And an ironical note: Kati Marton spoke at a panel, funded by George Soros' OSI, on What Drives US Foreign Policy?. One answer is of course: George Soros. And in a more general sense, people like Kati Marton, and organisations like HRW.

Prema Mathai-Davis

The token non-westerner, an Indian immigrant. She is, however, also CEO of the YWCA (Young Womens Christian Association), which is as American as can be.

Jack Matlock

Is no longer on the committee. US Ambassador to the Soviet Union during its collapse, 1987-1991. Author of Autopsy On An Empire: The American Ambassador's Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union (Random House, 1995).

Member of the large Board of Directors of the Atlantic Council. The Atlantic Council is more than a pro-NATO fan club: it supports an expansionist US foreign policy in general. Note their recent paper (in pdf format) Beyond Kosovo, a redesign of the Balkans within the framework of the proposed Stability Pact.

The Atlantic Council list of sponsors is a delight for corporate-conspiracy theorists. Yes, it is all paid for by the Rockefeller foundation, the Soros foundation, the Nuclear Energy Institute, Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop, Exxon, British Nuclear Fuels, the US Army and the European Union.

Conspiracy theorists will also be delighted to see that Matlock attended the 1996 Bilderberg Conference.

Herbert Okun
Career diplomat, former Special Advisor on Yugoslavia to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Deputy Co-Chairman of the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia. Member of the Board of the Lawyers Alliance for World Security (LAWS) and its affiliate the Committee for National Security (CNS) which gives this biography:

Ambassador Herbert Okun is the U.S. member and Vice-President of the International Narcotics Control Board, and Visiting Lecturer on International Law at Yale Law School. Previously, he was the Deputy Chairman on the U.S. delegation at the SALT II negotiations and led the U.S. delegation in the trilateral U.S.-U.K.-USSR Talks on the CTBT. From 1991 to 1993 Ambassador Okun was Special Advisor on Yugoslavia to Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, Personal Envoy of the U.N. Secretary General, and Deputy Co-Chairman of the International Conference on the former Yugoslavia. He also served as Deputy Permanent Representative of the United States to the UN from 1985 to 1989 serving on the General Assembly, the Disarmament Committee and the Committee on Peaceful Uses of Outer Space. Amb. Okun was also U.S. Ambassador to the former German Democratic Republic.

He was from 1990-97 Executive Director of the Financial Services Volunteer Corps, "a non-profit organization providing voluntary assistance to help establish free-market financial systems in former communist countries," see his biography at International Security Studies at Yale University, where he is also a board member. This Corps is a de facto agency of USAID, see how it is listed country-by-country in their report. Although it is not relevant to Human Rights Watch, this curriculum vitae gives a good impression of the kind of international elite created by such programs.

Okun is also a member emeritus of the board of the European Institute in Washington, an Atlanticist lobby. It organises the European-American Policy Forum, the European-American Congressional Forum, and the Transatlantic Joint Security Policies Project. Okun is a special advisor to the Carnegie Commission on Preventing Deadly Conflict funded by the Carnegie Corporation. (It links pro-western international elite figures advocating a formal structure for control of states by the "international community.")

Okun was a member of a Task Force (including Bianca Jagger and George Soros) on war criminals: see their report. Although it also demands "UN Sanctions Against States Harboring Indicted War Criminals" it is unlikely that the Task Force members meant the man quoted at the start of their report, President Clinton.

A curiosity: this human rights supporter is accused of an attempt to destroy the right to free speech, in his post at the International Narcotics Control Board: see A Duty to Censor: U.N. Officials Want to Crack Down on Drug War Protesters in the libertarian Reason Magazine.

Jane Olson
A member of the Executive Committee of HRW Southern California, and until 2000 its co-chair, see this biography. One of the few who are simply human rights activists, although her views are clearly 100% acceptable to the US Government. She was appointed a member of the U.S. delegation to the 1991 Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in Moscow. The biography vaguely notes that she "...served on many delegations to the former USSR and Yugoslavia."

Again note, that US citizens consider it normal to travel to Europe, to decide on Europe's "Security and Cooperation." However, there is absolutely no equivalent "Conference on North American Security and Cooperation," where Europeans arrive, to tell Americans what to do.

Olson is also a member of the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, one of many small globalist groups, advocating peace and some vague form of world government. So long as they just sell sunflower seeds at $2.50 a packet they are harmless, but as a HRW Board member Olson also lobbies for US military intervention – a less innocent way to achieve "peace."

Barnett Rubin
Academic and Soros-institutes advisor. Director of the "Center for Preventive Action" at the Council on Foreign Relations. The center is funded by the US Government through USIP, and by the Carnegie Corporation as part of their program Preventing Deadly Conflict. "Preventive Action" means intervention.

He is a member of the center's South Balkans Working Group, and edited a 1996 Council on Foreign Relations study Towards Comprehensive Peace in Southeast Europe: Conflict Prevention in the South Balkans. Rubin is an Afghanistan specialist, also on the Board of the Asia division of HRW. He authored and edited several works on Afghanistan. Rubin apparently has a curious attitude to the Taliban, seeing them as a bulwark against Islamic radicalism . See this letter to NPR, entitled Afghanistan Whitewash.

While the Lyden-Rubin conversation made no mention of US support for the Taliban, they referred several times to US "pressure" on the Taliban to now respect human rights. This is a total white wash which distorts the historical record beyond recognition.

Rubin is on the Advisory Board of the Soros Foundation Central Eurasia Project. He is an advisor of the Forced Migration Project of Soros' Open Society Institute, and he is also on the Board of the Soros Humanitarian Fund for Tajikistan. Perhaps most interesting is that the U.S. Institute of Peace (a de facto government agency) gave him a grant to research "formation of a new state system in Central Eurasia."

Barnett Rubin articles on Central Asia

This may be repetitive, but note once again that there are absolutely no Foundations or Institutes in Central Asia, which pay people to design "new state systems" in North America. For people like Rubin "human rights" mean simply that the US designs the world: at the same time, the US might accept the Taliban, if it was a strategic interest. See this article at the Soros Central Asia site, The Political Economy of War and Peace in Afghanistan, advocating a de facto colonial government in Afghanistan financed by oil revenues.

Rubin is also a member of the US State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. The Final Report of this Committee also sums up what the United States can do, when it finds religious freedom has been infringed. The list begins at "friendly, persuasive: open an embassy" and ends with "act of war."

Rubin was also involved in the 1997 New York meeting, where the United States attempted to create a unified Yugoslav opposition, with among others Vuk Draskovic. (The effort failed at the time, and ever since.)

Leon Sigal
NOTE: I can find no website matching this info on "Leon Sigal" to HRW. I assume it is the same person, although I do not understand why an expert on Asian issues is on the board for the European division of HRW.

Consultant to the Social Science Research Council, member of the Board of Advisors at Globalbeat Syndicate, part of the New York University Dept of Journalism. See their article on Lessons From The War In Kosovo.

From Globalbeat:

"He is a former member of the Editorial Board of The New York Times, where he wrote frequently on nuclear issues, and is the author of many books and articles on both international security and media issues."

Sigal authored Disarming Strangers: Nuclear Diplomacy with North Korea (Princeton University Press 1998). He is a Project member of the Committee on Nuclear Policy.

Malcolm Smith

No online information available.

George Soros

From the Public Affairs site, the biography of George Soros, financier of HRW and of numerous organisations in eastern Europe with pro-American, pro-market policies.

George Soros was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1930. In 1947 he emigrated to England, where he graduated from the London School of Economics. While a student in London, Mr. Soros became familiar with the work of the philosopher Karl Popper, who had a profound influence on his thinking and later on his philanthropic activities. In 1956 he moved to the United States, where he began to accumulate a large fortune through an international investment fund he founded and managed.

Mr. Soros currently serves as chairman of Soros Fund Management L.L.C., a private investment management firm that serves as principal investment advisor to the Quantum Group of Funds. The Quantum Fund N.V., the oldest and largest fund within the Quantum Group, is generally recognized as having the best performance record of any investment fund in the world in its twenty-nine-year history.

Mr. Soros established his first foundation, the Open Society Fund, in New York in 1979 and his first Eastern European foundation in Hungary in 1984. He now funds a network of foundations that operate in thirty-one countries throughout Central and Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union, as well as southern Africa, Haiti, Guatemala, Mongolia and the United States. These foundations are dedicated to building and maintaining the infrastructure and institutions of an open society. Mr. Soros has also founded other major institutions, such as the Central European University and the International Science Foundation. In 1994, the foundations in the network spent a total of approximately $300 million; in 1995, $350 million; in 1996, $362 million; and in 1997, $428 million. Giving for 1998 is expected to be maintained at that level.

In addition to many articles on the political and economic changes in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, Mr. Soros is the author of The Alchemy of Finance, Opening the Soviet System, Underwriting Democracy, and Soros on Soros: Staying Ahead of the Curve.

Mr. Soros has received honorary doctoral degrees from the New School for Social Research, the University of Oxford, the Budapest University of Economics, and Yale University. In 1995, the University of Bologna awarded Mr. Soros its highest honor, the Laurea Honoris Causa, in recognition of his efforts to promote open societies throughout the world.

Donald J. Sutherland

Not the actor. Also on the advisory board of the World Policy Institute.

Ruti Teitel

Professor of Constitutional Law at the New York Law School, see his biography. In the last few years he has specialised in the Constitutions of eastern European countries, and advised on the new Ukrainian constitution.

William D. Zabel

George Soros' legal advisor, on foundation and charity law. An estate and family financial lawyer for the rich at Schulte, Roth, and Zabel. His biography lists his involvement with these Soros Foundations: "Newly Independent States and the Baltic Republics, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Central European University and Open Society Fund." See this biographical article originally from the National Law Journal: "When fate knocks, rich ring for Zabel."

He is a trustee of Fanton's New School of Social Research, and member of the Advisory Board of the World Policy Institute at the New School.

Zabel is a director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights is one of the partners in the "Apparel Industry Partnership," a group set up by the Clinton administration and the US clothing and footwear industries to defuse criticism of conditions in their factories. The (not particularly radical) US trade union federation refuses to co-operate with it.

Zabel is also on the Board of Doctors of the World, the USA branch of Médecins du Monde, founded by Bernard Kouchner in 1980. Kouchner is now the UN Representative (the "governor") in Kosovo. Despite the name, Médecins du Monde is a purely western organisation, see the affiliate list.

Warren Zimmermann
US Ambassador to Yugoslavia during its break-up, author of Origins of Catastrophe: Yugoslavia and Its Destroyers. A Cold-War career diplomat, long active in US human rights campaigns against eastern Europe. See this site for an extreme pro-Bosniac assessment of his book by Branka Magas, alleging he appeased Milosevic: "In the event, by pursuing Yugoslavia's unity rather than supporting Slovenia and Croatia in their demands for either the country's confederal transformation or its peaceful dissolution, the United States helped ensure its violent break-up." (I think it is logically consistent with US values and interests, that the US supported one policy around 1990 and another in Kosovo. The real problem is that so many people in Europe expect the US to design their states and write their Constitutions. It is because of this attitude, that people like Zimmermann, and organisations like HRW, can flourish.) Zimmermann is now a professor of Diplomacy at Columbia University. If you think the "amoral diplomat" is a stereotype, look at his Contemporary Diplomacy course. This is his assignment for the young future diplomats:

Imagine that you are a member of Secretary Albright's Policy Planning Staff. She has asked you to write a strategy paper for one of the following diplomatic challenges:

  • Dealing with NATO expansion and with the countries affected;
  • Crafting a more energetic and assertive US approach to the Israeli-PLO deadlock;
  • Raising the American profile in sub-Saharan Africa;
  • Developing a US initiative to improve relations with Cuba;
  • Forging an American approach to Central Asia and its energy wealth;
  • Making better use of the UN and other multilateral organizations like OSCE;
  • Weighing the relative priorities between pursuing human rights

and keeping open lucrative economic opportunities;

  • Increasing interest in, and support for, US foreign policy among the American people.

With Barnett Rubin, Zimmermann is a member of the Advisory Board of the Forced Migration Project at Soros Open Society Institute.

With Felice Gaer, Zimmermann is also on the Board of the quasi-commercial International Dispute Resolution Associates. (Peacemaking has become big business, but IDR is also funded by the US Government through the USIP.)

He is a Trustee of the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs.

Also new on the Committee (from the 2001 list) are:
  • Fredrica Friedman
  • Karl Meyer
  • Joel Motley
  • Colette Shulman
  • Adele Sweet
  • Mark Walton

HRW Council

The Human Rights Watch "Council" is primarily a fund-raising group. However, its members no doubt expect some influence on HRW policy, for their $5 000 minimum donation. The Council describes itself as "...an international membership organization that seeks to increase awareness of human rights issues and support for Human Rights Watch." The interesting thing about the Council is that it shows how much HRW is not international. It is Anglo-American, to the point of caricature. The Council is sub-divided onto four "regional committees." You might expect a division by continents (the Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia-Pacific). But instead the "regions" of the HRW global community are New York, Northern California, Southern California, and London. There is also a "Committee At-Large" but it does not appear to organise any activities. The Council members are not publicly listed, but its regional limitations are clear. Although Human Rights Watch claims to act in the name of universal values, it is an organisation with a narrow social and geographical base. If HRW Council members were truly concerned about the welfare of Africans, Tibetans or eastern Europeans, then they would at least offer them an equal chance to influence the organisation. Instead, geographical location and the high cost restrict Council Membership to the US and British upper-middle-class.

HRW Donors

Taken from an older version of the HRW website, this 1995 list is apparently the latest available online. HRW is not legally obliged to disclose who donates money. About half of its funds come from foundations, and half from individual donors. In its latest financial statement, HRW claims that it "accepts no government funds, directly or indirectly." However, that is not true with respect to the 1995 list. The Dutch Novib is a government-funded aid organisation. Oxfam also gets funds from the British government, and the European Union, see their annual report. Possibly they are still contributing, but Human Rights Watch is apparently not prepared to disclose present sources of funding.

Dorothy and Lewis Cullman
The Aaron Diamond Foundation
Irene Diamond
The Ford Foundation
The Lillian Hellman & Dashiell Hammett Fund
Estate of Anne Johnson
The J. M. Kaplan Fund
The Fanny and Leo Koerner Charitable Trust
The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
The John Merck Fund
The Joyce Mertz-Gilmore Foundation
Novib, The Dutch Organization for Development Corporation,
The Overbrook Foundation
Donald Pels
The Ruben and Elisabeth Rausing Trust
The Rockefeller Foundation
Marion and Herbert Sandler, The Sandler Family Supporting Foundation
Susan and George Soros
Shelby White and Leon Levy

DONORS OF $25,000 – $99,999

The Arca Foundation
Helen and Robert Bernstein
Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Bronfman, Jr.
Nikki and David Brown
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Compton Foundation, Inc.
Mr. and Mrs. Marvin Davis
The Dr. Seuss Foundation
Fiona and Stanley Druckenmiller
Jack Edelman
Epstein Philanthropies
Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de L'Homme
Barbara Finberg
General Service Foundation
Abby Gilmore and Arthur Freierman
Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund
Katherine Graham, The Washington Post Company
Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation
Hudson News
Independence Foundation
The Isenberg Family Charitable Trust
The Henry M. Jackson Foundation
Robert and Ardis James
Jesuit Refugee Service
Nancy and Jerome Kohlberg
Lyn and Norman Lear
Joshua Mailman
Medico International
Moriah Fund, Inc.
Ruth Mott Fund
Kathleen Peratis and Richard Frank
Phillips-Van Heusen Corporation
Ploughshares Fund
Public Welfare Foundation, Inc.
Anita and Gordon Roddick
Edna and Richard Salomon
Lorraine and Sid Sheinberg
Margaret R. Spanel
Time Warner Inc.
U.S. Jesuit Conference
Warner Brothers, Inc.
Edie and Lew Wasserman
Maureen White and Steven Rattner
Malcolm Wiener and Carolyn Seely Wiener
The Winston Foundation for World Peace

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