Human Rights Watch on a Dogged Mission of Defamation Against Eritrea



“Eritreans are nationalistic and cohesive to a fault…. They don’t want to be slaves to any foreign donor country. They want economic self-sufficiency and they want to do it their way and with their own blood and sweat.” (The Globe and Mail, 26 April 1997)


January 23, 2013

Eritrea is a stunningly beautiful and fiercely independent country in Africa, bordering U.S. financed Ethiopia.  Eritrea is a state that seeks absolute self sufficiency, shunning hundreds of millions of dollars in aid. Their model of self-reliance is a very real threat to hegemonic rule.

The beauty of Eritrea

Photo of Eritrean children by James Baigrie

Eritrea, once deemed remarkable by the international press is now a prime target of demonization and destabilization by the US, Human Rights Watch and corporate media.

Eritrea is no one’s puppet. In the January 21, 2013 press release [Press_Release_HRW_21_Jan_2013] titled  ‘Human Rights Watch on a Dogged Mission of Defamation Against Eritrea’ from the state of Eritrea, Ministry of Foreign Affair, Eritrea defends itself against human rights violations put forward by an agency which serves to advance foreign policy for the greatest human rights violator in the world – that of the US.

In December 2011, Bahey El Din Hassan, member of the Executive Committee of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network (and founder of  the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, a member of the International Federation of Human Rights) participated in a meeting of the Atlantic Council co-organised by the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East.  That meeting discussed the arrest of members of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the National Endowment for Democracy who were accused of interference in Egyptian internal affairs. [Source: Human Rights, geopolitics and the Union for the Mediterranean by Julien Teil]

Human Rights Watch serves/has served a key role in the destabilization of many sovereign states including Venezuela, Libya and Syria.

Asmara, Eritrea

In January 2012, former Hillary Clinton Aid, Suzanne Nossel, was appointed Executive Director of Amnesty International USA. Nossel is also the Visiting Senior Fellow for Global Governance at the Council of Foreign Relations and perhaps most known for popularizing the term ‘smart power‘. Nossel served as Chief Operating Officer for Human Rights Watch and is the founder of Democracy Arsenal. From the Amnesty USA website:

Most recently, she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations at the U.S. Department of State, where she was responsible for multilateral human rights, humanitarian affairs, women’s issues, public diplomacy, press and Congressional relations.


At the State Department, Nossel played a leading role in U.S. engagement at the U.N. Human Rights Council, including the initiation of groundbreaking human rights resolutions on Iran, Syria, Libya, Cote d’Ivoire, freedom of association, freedom of expression and the first U.N. resolution on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. Prior to that, Nossel served as Chief Operating Officer for Human Rights Watch, where she was responsible for organizational management and spearheaded a strategic plan for the global expansion of the organization.


During the Clinton administration she served as deputy to the Ambassador for U.N. Management and Reform at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, where she was the lead U.S. representative to the U.N. General Assembly negotiating a deal to settle the U.S. arrears to the world body. During the early 1990s Nossel worked in Johannesburg, South Africa, on the implementation of South Africa’s National Peace Accord, a multi-party agreement aimed at curbing political violence during that country’s transition to democracy; she has also done election monitoring and human rights documentation in Bosnia and Kosovo.


Nossel is the author of a 2004 article in Foreign Affairs magazine entitled “Smart Power” and coined the term that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has made a defining feature of U.S. foreign policy.


For further background information: (Human Rights Investigation)


On January 11, 2013, Suzanne Nossel resigned from Amnesty International.

On January 22, 2013, in an editorial titled PEN America Hypocrisy, Jay Taber, associate scholar of the Center for World Indigenous Studies writes:

When I first joined PEN America ten years ago, I was happy to pay my membership fee to support its work in advancing literature and defending free expression. But over the years, I’ve become disillusioned with the organization–partly due to its selective human rights agenda, and more recently due to its profound lack of judgment in choosing its new executive director.


As with far too many NGOs, PEN America has elected to wear blinders when it comes to human rights violations by the United States and its militarism projected through institutions like NATO and militarily dependent states like Israel. While I was disheartened by PEN International’s former vice president Nadine Gordimer’s bias when it came to Israel, the recent choice by PEN America’s trustees to install the former U.S. State Department warmonger Suzanne Nossel as its new executive director is the final straw.


As an experienced advocate for neoliberal coercion to achieve American hegemony, Nossel has taken an aggressive pro-war stance over the last decade, including the US invasion of Iraq and the NATO bombing of Libya. When working as a Hillary wannabe at State, Nossel fought hard at the UN Human Rights Council as an apologist for Zionist crimes against humanity in Palestine. If this is the best PEN America can do, then they can do without my support.


Taber leaves us with a thought provoking comment:

 “For romantic revolutionaries, totalitarianism of the crude fascist variety we associate with mid-20th Century police states remains a conceptual impediment to effective resistance against the totalitarianism of neoliberal capitalism. While neoliberalism is equally brutal, it differs in that it seeks to limit our ability to imagine a different reality through its pervasive corruption of all aspects of human existence. By corroding every sphere of human endeavor, it destroys humankind’s capacity for recovery, reflection and renewal, steadily consuming the soul of humanity.”


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