Human Rights Watch will be holding its quarterly Board of Directors meeting this week in Cairo for the first time. Cairo was selected as the venue for the meeting because of Egypt’s importance to the Middle East, and because it is becoming a significant regional center for the organization’s work.
The board meeting will take place on April 5 and 6 in Cairo. Members of the board, accompanied by Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, will also be meeting with representatives of the government, civil society organizations, human rights groups, political groups and thinks tanks in Egypt. They are scheduled to meet Amr Mousa, Secretary General of the Arab League, Dr. Osama El Baz, political adviser to President Mubarak, the National Council for Human Rights, and officials from Egypt’s Foreign, Interior and Justice Ministries.
The board will also meet representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and members of other political groups such as Kefaya and the Wasat party. In addition, board members will meet representatives of Egyptian human rights organizations, including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights, the New Woman Foundation, the Nadim Center, the Judges Club in Cairo and think-tanks at al-Ahram newspaper.
“We are looking forward to meeting with a broad cross-section of Egyptian society,” Roth said. “We are eager to learn from the varied and diverse perspectives on offer, and we hope this will enhance our coverage of human rights issues in the region.”
Human Rights Watch researches and documents violations of human rights in more than 70 countries, including Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa (False Freedom: Online Censorship in the Middle East and North Africa; Ministers of Murder: Iran’s New Security Cabinet ; The Iraqi High Tribunal and Representation of the Accused; A Face and a Name: Civilian Victims of Insurgent Groups in Iraq).
The group has researched and documented grave abuses in the conflict in Darfur, western Sudan (Darfur Bleeds: Recent Cross-Border Violence in Chad; Entrenching Impunity: Government Responsibility for International Crimes in Darfur; “If We Return, We Will Be Killed”: Consolidation of Ethnic Cleansing in Darfur, Sudan).
It also investigates and reports on human rights violations in the United States: in 2005, Human Rights Watch called for independent investigations of the U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and other high-level officials for their roles in promoting policies that encouraged and tolerated torture and other abuses in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantanamo.
The group has also focused on human rights abuses in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including the Israeli government’s expansion of settlements, its illegal demolition of homes, and its obligation to investigate civilian deaths and injuries that result from the use of lethal force.
Human Rights Watch monitors human rights developments worldwide and issues detailed reports for policymakers, international organizations, the media and the general public.