Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice. We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable. We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.
The World Report 2013
The World Report is Human Rights Watch’s twenty-third annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from the end of 2011 through November 2012.
The book is divided into three main parts: an essay section, photo essays, and country-specific chapters.
In the introductory essay, Human Rights Watch Executive Director Ken Roth considers the “day after” the end of abusive rule in countries. As the euphoria of the Arab Spring gives way to frustration over the slow pace of change, he notes that toppling dictators may yet prove easier than the messy and complicated process of building a rights-respecting democracy. But while the future may be uncertain, he warns against pining for the predictability of authoritarian rule, and cautions those now in power not to restrict the rights of others based on so-called morals, cherished values, or whatever restrictions a majority of voters will support. In this crucial, norm-building period, he says, effective courts, accountable public officials, and institutions of governance are needed to ensure that rights are upheld and the promise of the Arab Spring is realized.
Next, Graeme Reid sounds a warning about countries evoking tradition and traditional values to undermine human rights, especially for women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (“The Trouble With Tradition: When “Values” Trample Over Rights”). He argues that far from being benign, as its language suggests, a recently passed United Nations Human Rights Council resolution “promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms” via “a better understanding of traditional values of humankind” tramples over diversity, and fails to acknowledge just how fluid traditional practice and customary law can be.