Editorial: Must HRW only serve interests of their financiers?

Another day, another Human Rights Watch report, but not any different from others past. Rwandans are used to the narrative, usually with the same cold allegations against the Government and the people of Rwanda in general.

In their latest report dubbed, “All thieves must be killed,” HRW alleges that there has been execution of petty criminals carried out by police and military with the assistance of civilian authorities. A glance around the corner has another: Amnesty International claimed that the presidential election slated for August 4 is being held ‘amid a climate of fear.’ This is laughable.

At best, these are reports written by people in AC offices on the 28th floor of some tower in Western capitals. Whether or not they canvass for evidence on the ground before authoring such reports is irrelevant, what they do is to have their activity afloat.

Human Rights Watch is an American-founded international NGO that claims to conduct research and advocacy on human rights. It goes under the slogan, “Defending human rights.” The irony is that with such a slogan, HRW does not do any justice in promoting human rights of the many they end up insulting with their reports.

What happens with many such agencies that rely on donor funding is that they must keep churning out reports to justify their budgets. Whether or not the reports hold water is irrelevant to them. And their targets are always Africa.

But these rights agencies miss one cardinal message: that Rwandans, like the rest of African citizens in countries where their operations are focused, are never and will never be accountable to them.

It’s not clear whether they actually come on the ground to collect data they use, but what is clear is a pattern that has long been established whereby they propagate a deeply entrenched ‘blame Rwanda’ narrative by endorsing any account that incriminates the Government of Rwanda.

Replace Rwanda with Uganda, Sudan, Nigeria, Senegal and you have much the same report with slight changes in figures cited.

But must HRW only serve the interests of its financiers? Well, Rwandans couldn’t care less.