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The complexity that human rights work has acquired, and the diversity of opportunities for advocacy and action, have increasingly demanded that Human Rights Watch undertake cross-regional or thematic initiatives involving a specialized focus or expertise. At times, those initiatives consist of a single opportunity to make our voice heard on a crucial issue, but often they take the form of campaigns that have become a sensational part of our program. Some of these activities undertaken or maintained in 1996 included the following:


Human Rights Watch has conducted specialized prison research and campaigns for prisoners= rights since 1987, to focus international attention on prison conditions worldwide. Drawing on the expertise of the regional divisions of Human Rights Watch, our prison project has investigated conditions for sentenced prisoners, pretrial detainees, immigration detainees, and those held in police lockups. The work is distinctive in the international human rights field in that it examines conditions for all prisoners, not only those held for political reasons.] In addition to pressing for improvement in prison conditions in particular countries, the prison project seeks to place the problem of prison conditions on the international human rights agenda. We believe that a government=s claim to respect human rights should be assessed not only by the political freedoms it allows but also by how it treats its prisoners, including those not held for political reasons. Our experience has repeatedly shown that a number of democratic countries that are rarely if ever a focus of human rights scrutiny are in fact guilty of serious human rights violations within their prisons.

The prison project has a self-imposed set of rules for prison visits: investigators undertake visits only when they, not the authorities, can choose the institutions to be visited; when the investigators can be confident that they will be allowed to talk privately with inmates of their choice; and when the investigators can gain access to the entire facility to be examined. These rules are adopted to avoid being shown model prisons or the most presentable parts of institutions. When access on such terms is not possible, reporting is based on interviews with former prisoners, prisoners on furlough, relatives of inmates, lawyers, prison experts and prison staff, and on documentary evidence. The prison project relies upon the U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners as the chief guideline by which to assess prison conditions in each country. Prison investigations are usually conducted by teams composed of a member of the project's staff or advisory committee and a member of a Human Rights Watch regional division's staff with expertise on the country in question. Occasionally, the prison project invites an outside expert to participate in an investigation. The project publishes its findings in reports that are released to the public and the press, both in the United States and in the country in question, and sent to the government of that country.

In previous years, the project conducted studies and published reports on prison conditions in Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel and the Occupied Territories, Jamaica, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Romania, South Africa, the former Soviet Union, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States (including a separate short report published on Puerto Rico), Venezuela, and Zaire.

The Enforcement of Standards

The U.N. Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners is the most widely known and accepted document regulating prison conditions. Unfortunately, these standards, although known to prison administrators virtually all over the world, are seldom fully enforced. Based on extensive research over the years, we concluded in our 1993 Human Rights Watch Global Report on Prisons that the great majority of the millions of persons who are imprisoned worldwide at any given moment, and of the tens of millions who spend at least part of the year behind bars, are confined in conditions of filth and corruption, without adequate food or medical care, with little or nothing to do, and in circumstances in which violenceCfrom other inmates, their keepers, or bothCis a constant threat. Despite international declarations, treaties and standards forbidding such conditions, this state of affairs is tolerated even in countries that are more or less respectful of human rights, because prisons are, by their nature, out of sight, and because prisoners are, by definition, outcasts.

With the goal of translating good standards into sound practice, Human Rights Watch continued in 1996 to advocate the creation of a U.N. human rights mechanism to inspect prisons. Our prisons expert closely monitored the progress of the Working Group on the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, convened by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights to devise a universal system of visits to places of detention. There were several issues of particular concern to Human Rights Watch, including, most notably, the confidentiality of the proposed system. In order to ensure the system=s effectiveness, Human Rights Watch strongly believes that government non-cooperation should be grounds to justify a departure from the rule of confidentiality.

The United States

In 1996, as the country=s prison and jail population swelled to 1.6 millionCgiving the United States one of the largest populations of prisoners in the world, as well as one of the highest rates of incarcerationClegal protections for prisoners continued shrinking. Most notably, the deceptively-named Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA) effectively hobbled the federal courts in their efforts to remedy even the most egregious prison abuses.

Alarmed at the accelerating trend toward impunity for prison abuses, Human Rights Watch stepped up its monitoring of prisons and jails in the United States. In July, we released a report titled Modern Capital of Human Rights? Abuses in the State of Georgia, which focused in part on the dangerous, filthy and deteriorating conditions of many Georgia county jails and reported on the Georgia prison system=s use of excessive force. At our International Film Festival, in June, we worked to draw public attention to the revival of chain gangs in the United States by screening and speaking about the current relevance of the film classic, AI Am a Fugitive from a Georgia Chain Gang.@ In mid-1996, we were active in efforts to oppose proposed legislation that would allow states to hold juveniles in adult prisons. Finally, along with other prisoners= rights advocates we filed an amicus curiae brief in Plyler v. Moore, a federal court case challenging the constitutionality of the PLRA. A primary focus of our research, reporting and advocacy effort in 1996 was the sexual abuse of prisoners. One investigation, concluded by the Women=s Rights Project along with our prison specialist, documented the custodial sexual abuse of women prisoners in state prisons in five states and the District of Columbia (see Women=s Rights Project). A second investigation, begun in mid-1996 and anything as of this writing, examined the abuse of male prisoners. In both contexts we found that inmates suffered rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment. Although in men=s prisons the perpetrators of these abuses were usually other prisonersCvery often with the deliberate acquiescence or even encouragement of prison staffCwhile in women=s prisons the staff personally participated in abuses, the circumstances were in many ways strikingly similar. Despite the devastating psychological impact of this most personally invasive of human rights violations, there were few preventative measures taken in most jurisdictions. Another disturbing reality common to both men=s and women=s prisons was that perpetrators of abuse were rarely disciplined in any meaningful way. Even in brutal instances of rape, criminal prosecutions were exceedingly rareCindeed, almost nonexistent when the victim was maleCand administrative sanctions were usually light: a short stay in segregation for an abusive prisoner, a transfer for an abusive guard. Human Rights Watch also continued to collect information on conditions at super-maximum security prisons (known as Amaxi-maxis@). We first called attention to the proliferation of such facilities, which have the harshest conditions of all U.S. prisons, in our 1991 report on prison conditions in the United States.

In April we inspected the Secured Housing Units (SHU) of the Wabash Valley Correctional Institution, a super-maximum security facility in Indiana, as a follow-up to a prior visit to the state=s other such facility. Our mission focused on the problems of prolonged social isolation, sensory deprivation, excessive use of force by guards, use of physical restraints as punishment, racial discrimination, lack of educational, recreational and work opportunities, inadequate medical care, lack of due process in assignment decisions, and restrictions on contact with family members. Held in solitary confinement in small, sterile, continuously lit cells, and deprived of almost all human contact over a period of years, SHU prisoners were treated in a manner that was injurious to their human dignity and that boded poorly for their eventual reintegration into society.

Venezuela and Japan

In March, Human Rights Watch conducted a mission to Venezuela during which our investigators visited eleven prisons and met with a wide variety of government officials, including the minister of justice, in charge of the prison system, and the minister of defense, in charge of the National Guard, which controlled several militarized Venezuelan prisons. Although conditions varied somewhat from facility to facility, we found that the Venezuelan prison system was generally characterized by severe overcrowding; rampant inmate-on-inmate violence, including rape; custodial abuse, particularly by members of the National Guard; impunity; corruption; lack of provision for basic needs, including medical needs; extremely long criminal proceedings and systematic denial of provisional liberty to pretrial detainees, so that the large majority of inmates remain unsentenced for three years or more; a poorly maintained physical infrastructure; and few work, educational, and recreational opportunities. The wide national press coverage of the mission, both in newspapers and television, put pressure on the government to take steps to respond to the stagnating prison situation. Within a few days of meeting with the Human Rights Watch delegation, the Venezuelan minister of justice made a personal visit to a notorious Caracas prison that the delegation had discussed with him. Interviewed upon leaving the prison, the minister acknowledged that conditions were Aterrible@ and promised reforms, beginning by ordering the release of pretrial detainees held beyond their maximum possible sentence. Working closely with a Japanese prisoners= rights group that filed a number of prominent legal challenges to the treatment of prisoners in Japan, Human Rights Watch was active in the press and before the United Nations to prod the Japanese government to institute reforms of its prison system. Our 1995 report on Japanese prisons condemned the widespread use of solitary confinement, the restrictions on contacts between prisoners and the outside world, the obsessiveness about rules, and the draconian punishments that characterized the Japanese system.

Corporations and Human Rights

A shift in the terms of the debate over corporate social responsibility for human rights occurred in 1996. In the previous two years, corporations and governments had touted the positive impact of business and trade in enhancing respect for human rights in countries with widespread violations. They had promised that corporations would bring greater respect for essential human and labor rights, such as freedoms of association and expression, as well as an end to cruelty and discrimination and inequality on the basis of ethnicity or gender. However, during 1996 multinational corporations in several product sectors--Royal Dutch/Shell, British Petroleum, Total, Unocal, Freeport-McMoRan, Nike, Disney, Heineken, and Carlsberg--were placed on the defensive by damaging exposures of corporate complicity in human rights violations. Throughout the year CEOs and corporate directors were stung again and again by charges that their companies had abused workers and propped up repressive governments. Accounts of child labor and sweatshop working conditions stirred public opinion to become human rights issues of broad popular concern. Corporate management defended its presence abroad by citing the advantage of company wage scales over local ones.

These issues were initially publicized by a growing number of activist groups. Frequently, these organizations brought workers on tours of the U.S. to publicize their situations. Extensively covered in the news media, the charges were taken up by consumers and grassroots organizations in Europe, Asia and North America. In a few instances, this had an important positive effect. After protests in Denmark and the Netherlands, both Carlsberg and Heineken decided to sell their shares of a proposed brewery in Burma. Liz Claiborne also decided to end its sourcing from Burma. At the height of the exposures of corporate complicity with human rights abuse, in July, The Economist magazine, reflecting the shift, observed that multinational corporations were increasingly worried about protests against their activities in developing countries. The same issue editorialized that when governments failed to uphold international human rights, the moral burden of responsibility shifted to corporate management. However, with billions of dollars' worth of investment and profit at stake, most of the business community resisted pressure. Generally corporations in oil, mining and heavy manufacturing made no pretense of concern. A small number in the apparel and footwear industries reacted to negative publicity by expressing a commitment to human rights and took limited steps to address the problems.

The Role of Governments

Government reaction to reports of abusive practices associated with corporate presence varied. The authorities in countries where these practices occurred frequently have erratic or poor human rights records Simultaneously, they promote ambitious economic development plans that invite foreign investment and they court corporations by offering conditions that will be attractive to them. Governments in China, Indonesia, and Mexico, for example, are all too willing to ignore irresponsible corporate practices.

In the countries where the companies are headquartered, governments are caught between their promotion of global corporate investment and the expectations they profess about investment advancing human rights. In 1996, political considerations and growing pressure forced many governments to take these issues seriously, yet did not lead to effective or credible policies. There were some exceptions, however. In Germany, the debate on child labor associated with the carpet industry in South Asia intensified due to mounting public concern. Based on consumer outrage over the use of child labor in the carpet industry in South Asia the German government, beginning in 1993,--gave serious consideration to the issue. Initially, Bonn funded the Rugmark campaign, a consumer-based effort to promote rugs produced without child labor. By 1996, the government shifted tactics to mix support of Rugmark and the Indian government-sponsored label with a preference for educational programs for children in South Asia. Nevertheless, the German government granted loan guarantees to Siemens and ABB for work on China=s controversial Three Gorges Dam, which had been criticized internationally for environmental risks and the forcible relocation of more than one million residents of the areas affected by construction.

In October, the European Parliament debated charges against British Petroleum of complicity in human rights abuses in Colombia through the financing of units of the armed forces of Colombia to protect a jointly owned pipeline. The parliament passed a resolution condemning BP for funding death squads in Colombia. The following day, the company denied all allegations and appeared prepared to take an uncompromising position. In the United Kingdom, Lord Frank Rudd and York Member of Parliament Hugh Bayley joined the York Oxfam Campaign Group in calling on five top clothing retailers--Marks and Spencer, C & A, Next, Sears and the Burton Group--to guarantee humane conditions for the workers who made the apparel sold in their stores. Such activism was not echoed more centrally in Prime Minister Major's government, however.

The Canadian government's interest in these issues was equally lukewarm. In 1996, Canada's Department of External Affairs and International Trade raised the possibility of promulgating a voluntary code of conduct for Canadian businesses operating internationally. Prime Minister Jean Chretien, a strong proponent of Canadian corporate activity abroad, was confronted by a thirteen-year-old Canadian child labor activist, Craig Keilburger, during a January trip to India. Only after receiving scathing press coverage for initially refusing to meet Keilburger did the prime minister raise the issue of child labor publicly and mention possible sanctions for goods made by child labor imported into Canada.

The U.S. government, which has led the debate on corporate social responsibility for human rights, exemplified the contradictions in governmental efforts to address the issue. It engaged in several initiatives that generated needed attention to the issues and conveyed a sense of movement while failing to formulate effective programs. For example, in March 1995, the U.S. government had announced "Model Business Principles" for U.S. companies operating abroad; it then did nothing with them in 1996.

Due to the exposure of sweatshop conditions in developing countries, the revelation of widespread sweatshops in the U.S. and the discovery of Thai slave labor in an El Monte, California garment factory, the use of sweatshop labor became a major issue in the U.S. For example, Guess, Inc. and sixteen sewing contractors were charged with violating minimum wage and overtime regulations in a lawsuit. In June, in response to these concerns, Rep. George Miller, a member of Congress, called on retailers and manufacturers to voluntarily use labels on their goods stating that they had not used sweatshop labor and that they do permit independent monitoring of subcontractor plants. Following this initiative, on July 15-16, 1996, the U.S. Department of Labor hosted a "Fashion Industry Forum," which was billed as an educational forum (largely for the industry) on the so-called "No Sweat" initiative. No Sweat was launched as an effort to label garments No Sweat to show they were not made in sweatshops. It was modeled after the "Dolphin Safe" tuna label and the Rugmark label. However, as of mid-November, three months later, there has been no follow-through.

On August 2, President Clinton launched another initiative: the Fair Labor Coalition. In a photo-perfect Rose Garden ceremony, the President brought together at the White House the television personality and clothing entrepreneur Kathie Lee Gifford, Nike Chair Philip Knight, and representatives of apparel corporations L.L. Bean, Liz Claiborne, Phillips Van-Heusen, Tweeds, Patagonia, Nicole Miller, Karen Kane, Warnaco, as well as the most important U.S. garment trade union, Unite, the National Consumer League, and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, an important and activist shareholder group.

Knight presented a vision of his objectives:

For the past twenty-five years, Nike has provided good jobs, improved labor practices and raised standards of living wherever we operate, including here in the U.S. What we've come to realize is that we need to do a better job of publicly describing the actions we've taken to promote fair labor practices in newly emerging market societies, including the development of a code of conduct, internal monitoring and external audits.The results of the coalition's work were scheduled to be known after six months, when its members would provide nonbinding recommendations to the president.

As timely as these high-profile initiatives were, it was not at all clear that they would affect specific corporate practices and lead to meaningful human rights improvements in and beyond factories internationally. As with the 1995 "Model Business Principles," there was a real danger they would be little more than window-dressing.

In October, the U.S. Department of Labor published a comprehensive and accurate assessment of corporate compliance with voluntary codes of conduct addressing the use of child labor. The report showed that while there was decreased use of child labor in the Americas, little progress had been made in Asia, where the practice is much more prevalent.

The importance of these issues was not only felt at the federal level. In a significant development, cities debated adopting selective purchasing ordinances to prohibit public entities from buying goods or services from corporations doing business in Burma. In 1995, the city government of Berkeley, California, had adopted such a measure. In 1996, the state of Massachusetts passed a law banning contracts with firms doing business in Burma.

Nongovernmental Organization Initiatives

Shareholder groups, concerned pension funds and progressive money managers began to see corporate human rights practices as one criterion for investment decisions. Increasingly involved in shareholder resolution actions at companies in which they held stocks, these groups sought to identify standards by which to hold corporations accountable. At the same time, nongovernmental organizations concerned with corporate responsibility, including human rights groups and others, relied on both exposure of fact and consumer education.

In the Netherlands, Dutch activists mounted a campaign against Heineken Beer's $30 million part-ownership in a brewery in Burma. When Heineken withdrew, company CEO Karel Vuursteen acknowledged the role that concern about corporate reputation had played in the decision.

In the U.K., Germany, and South Africa protestors engaged in a series of actions against Royal Dutch/Shell after the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight other Ogoni activists in Nigeria in November 1995. Concerted efforts were made to introduce critical statements at the company's annual general meeting in London on May 15.

In Canada, Development and Peace collected nearly 90,000 signatures on petitions urging Nike to agree to independent monitoring of its subcontractors.

In the U.S., the National Labor Committee, Press for Change and the Guatemala Labor Education Project were very active in exposing conditions abroad. In 1996, while continuing a dialogue with corporations, Human Rights Watch increasingly emphasized its research and advocacy by issuing reports linking corporate operations with violations of human rights, labor rights and women's human rights. The Human Rights Watch Women's Rights Project's report No Guarantees: Sex Discrimination in Mexico's Maquiladora Sector documented the Mexican government's failure to protect women from pregnancy testing and other discriminatory treatment in major U.S.-owned export-processing factories along the U.S.-Mexico border. Naming names, the report cited General Motors, Sunbeam Oster, and Zenith, among others, for engaging in sex discrimination and mistreatment of pregnant workers. (See Women's Rights Project.) Human Rights Watch/Asia and the Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Project released The Small Hands of Slavery: Bonded Child Labor in India, documenting the enslavement of millions of child workers through debt bondage. The report formulated extensive recommendations to end bonded child labor. (See India.)

In the last few years, a small "leadership" segment of the corporate community has emerged, representing largely the apparel and footwear industries. It meets regularly--sometimes with NGOs, including Human Rights Watch--to discuss codes of conduct and implementation. Unfortunately, nearly all these companies are opposed to transparency in the monitoring process. In 1996, Human Rights Watch met with corporate representatives from a range of companies to discuss issues of mutual interest. This included meetings with business groups and companies concerned with China to discuss our assessment of the deteriorating human rights situation there and the effect of arbitrary state action on both business and individual human rights. We also met with companies implicated as complicit in governmental human rights abuse to review their policies and press for institutional change. Human Rights Watch/Middle East took a strong stand criticizing the role of British corporations in pressuring the British government to deport exiled Saudi dissident Dr. Muhammed al-Mas'ari, a spokesman for the Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights (CDLR). Human Rights Watch/Middle East wrote the chairs of the arms corporations Vickers and GKN, both British corporations, citing their reported part in the decision to expel Dr. al-Mas'ari in violation of British law. Vickers is a leading manufacturer of arms and weaponry and a large supplier to the Saudi military. Human Rights Watch/Middle East protested the company's reducing al-Mas'ari's right to an asylum hearing to the status of an obstacle to British business and the company's business. (See Saudi Arabia.)

We also strengthened our cooperation with groups regularly working on these issues: shareholder activists, investment research groups, and progressive pension funds. Recognizing differences in orientation, Human Rights Watch shared its research findings with pension fund managers. We also brought Indonesian activists together with portfolio managers.

The Corporate Response

Some corporations displayed a flatly intransigent attitude to human rights criticism of their practices. Before and after the hanging of Ken Saro-Wiwa, Royal Dutch/Shell provided both increased financial investment and a diplomatic public relations shield for the Nigerian government. In newspaper advertisements Shell ran in Europe, the company blamed Saro-Wiwa's execution on those protesting his unfair trial. Likewise, in response to criticisms of its practice of sex discrimination against women workers in its Mexican maquiladoras, the Zenith Corporation, now owned by the South Korean conglomerate Goldstar, acknowledged the use of the practice without apology. In a letter to our Women's Rights Project, the company justified the discrimination--which is illegal under Mexican law--by citing the prevalence of pregnancy testing in "the local labor market." In October, despite specific concerns over human rights and environmental issues surrounding the construction of the Three Gorges Dam, in China, the Swiss-Swedish company ABB, a major turbine manufacturer, requested risk guarantees from the Swiss government for the export of its equipment for the dam. The U.S.-based Caterpillar corporation mounted a fierce campaign against a White House-initiated recommendation to deny loan guarantees for U.S. companies involved with the dam. The burgeoning international movement on Burmese human rights drew varied corporate reactions: as noted above, some apparel manufacturers pulled out, as did Pepsi-Cola, while the oil giant, Unocal, remained indifferent to protests.

In October, two large British supermarket chains, Sainsbury and the Co-op, launched a six month project to develop codes of conduct to improve conditions for workers making their own label products. The companies acknowledged that their interest was prompted by consumer concerns. The supermarkets promised to develop their codes based on a "Third World suppliers charter" initiated by the Fairtrade Foundation, an organization which is backed by Oxfam and Christian Aid.

In the U.S., the exposures generated spiraling media coverage, as activist groups targeted individual celebrities. Television personality Kathie Lee Gifford faced charges that the clothing line bearing her name and sold by the WalMart chain of stores was made by child labor working under appalling conditions at Global Fashions in Honduras. This was followed by complaints from immigrant garment workers at an illegal sweatshop in lower Manhattan, in New York City, that they had not been paid after producing garments for Gifford. Days later, in June, following the National Basketball Association finals, star Michael Jordan's public image was tainted by reports that Air Jordan sneakers marketed by Nike had been produced by sweatshops in Indonesia.

Following the wave of negative publicity against Kathie Lee Gifford and Nike, more businesses discussed corporate social responsibility for human rights. But for the growing sector of the corporate world expressing interest in human rights (still mainly in the consumer-sensitive apparel and footwear industries), it became clear in 1996 that more than the mere pronouncement of a corporate code of conduct was necessary. Local organizations and international groups, increasingly sophisticated in pressing for concrete results, began insisting on both practices specifically tailored to ending abuses and transparent and independent monitoring of their implementation. But even the "leadership" companies remained cool to independent monitoring of their human rights plans or practices.

Drugs and Human Rights

Human Rights Watch continued to document and challenge human rights violations caused or exacerbated by efforts to curtail drug trafficking. We insist that anti-drug policies be pursued within the framework of internationally recognized human rights; that respect for such rights cannot be sacrificed to anti-drug objectives. In this second year of a multi-year initiative to subject drug programs to close human rights scrutiny, we addressed abuses in the United States and Bolivia.

In July, the Human Rights Watch report, Modern Capital of Human Rights? Abuses in the State of Georgia, focused in part on race and drug law enforcement in the U.S. state of Georgia. The report was the first international human rights assessment of any anti-drug policies in the United States. Drawing on computerized statewide databases, the study statistically documented stark racial disproportions in the arrest and incarceration of Georgia=s drug offenders. Our data analysis for the years 1990 to 1995 revealed that while both black (principally African-American) and white Georgia residents used and distributed drugs, black residents were far more likely to be arrested and incarcerated for drug offenses. Black residents were arrested for cocaine-related offenses at seventeen times the rate of whites. Blacks were arrested for drug possession at rates greatly exceeding their estimated share of the total drug using population; the arrest rate for whites was, conversely, much lower than their share of the drug-using population. Blacks arrested for drug offenses were imprisoned at twice the rate of whites. A black eligible for a life sentence for drug offenses was five times more likely to receive it than an eligible white; as a consequence blacks received 98 percent of the life sentences imposed for drug offenses.

International human rights law affirms racial equality and condemns conduct that has an unjustifiable racially disparate impact. Assessing whether the harsh impact of drug law enforcement on blacks in Georgia contravenes human rights guarantees requires scrutiny of its goals and methods. In our analysis of racially disparate arrest rates, for example, Human Rights Watch concluded that the rates reflected the comparative advantages for the police in making drug arrests in low-income neighborhoods in which drug transactions were easier to detect and for which there is strong community and political pressure. Such reasons are scant justification, however, for discriminatory arrest patterns. We urged Georgia to assess its drug goals and policies and to consider alternatives to current patterns of criminal law enforcement that would reduce adverse racial disparities while continuing to respond to social concerns about public drug dealing and drug abuse.

In the southern hemisphere, we continued to monitor closely the human rights implications of anti-narcotics programs in Bolivia that were supported and funded by the United States. Several positive developments tracked recommendations made in our 1995 report, Bolivia: Human Rights Violations and the War on Drugs. Bolivia enacted legislation in early 1996 to reform provisions in the country=s drug law which we had criticized for containing glaring violations of human rights principles; name tags were provided to anti-drug police to end the anonymity which had hindered identification of those who committed abuses; and the Ministry of Justice established a human rights office in the coca-growing region of the Caper, as we had urged, so that victims of abuses had a more reliable mechanism for reporting abuses. In May 1996, following new research conducted in the Caper, we published a second report on abuses connected with Bolivian policies of drug law enforcement. Bolivia Under Pressure: Human Rights Violations and Coca Eradication, is a detailed study of the violence and human rights abuses that accompanied Bolivia=s effort to meet the coca eradication goals imposed by the United States. The report includes a series of specific recommendations for steps the Bolivian and U.S. governments could take to improve the performance of the Bolivian narcotics police. A few months after the report was released, the U.S. and Bolivian governments signed letters of agreement covering U.S. anti-drug assistance to Bolivia. The agreements included human rights provisos that followed closely most of the recommendations made by Human Rights Watch. The agreements called, for example, for the development of regulations for proper police search and arrest procedures; for police training emphasizing human rights and providing courses in crowd and riot control to minimize the potential for violence and personal injury; and for the development of a police internal affairs office to investigate, discipline or recommend for prosecution police who violate basic human rights standards. Continued United States government support for Bolivia=s anti-narcotics programs was made conditional on Aregular and measurable progress@ towards these goals. Salary supplements paid to Bolivian anti-drug personnel by the United States may be withdrawn if Athere is reason to believe@ the recipients have engaged in human rights violations.

In the latter part of 1996, we prepared a set of generic recommendations for conditions that should be incorporated into all decisions concerning anti-narcotics assistance to Latin American governments and began work to secure their adoption by the Clinton administration.

Freedom of Expression

The defense of the right to free expression remained a major focus of the work of Human Rights Watch in 1996. We documented and/or protested a variety of challenges to this basic right, most commonly involving abuses against journalists or against members of the political opposition, often in the context of national or regional elections. "Insulting the honor or dignity of the president or the state" is a charge used frequently to suppress free expression.

Among the countries in which we conducted free expression work in 1996 were: Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Belarus, Cambodia, China, Egypt (including the case of a Cairo University professor who was declared an apostate on the basis of his academic writings and ordered to be separated from his Muslim wife), Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jordan, Russia (including the case of Aleksandr Nikitin, who was arrested on treason charges for passing on information about the environment), the Slovak Republic, Syria, the Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey (including the trial of the translator and the publisher of a Human Rights Watch report), Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Human Rights Watch/Asia sent observers to the trial of Irene Fernandez, accused in Malaysia of "false reporting" for publishing a report on abuses against migrant workers. Human Rights Watch/Americas, together with the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), was involved in 1996 in three complaints brought before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for violations of the right to free expression protected under the American Convention on Human Rights.

We also raised free expression questions involving the United States, most notably in our report on the state of Georgia, where freedom of expression is undermined by local school boards and by state assembly resolutions that have condemned the state's public broadcasting system and have opened up broad new possibilities to prosecute Internet users. We participated in a challenge to the state of Arizona's new law requiring public employees to use only English in the course of performing their official duties, arguing that this violates international legal protections of language rights.

Freedom of Expression and the Internet

In 1996 Human Rights Watch expanded its work on freedom of expression in cyberspace. In February Human Rights Watch became a plaintiff, together with nineteen other organizations and individuals, in a suit brought in the U.S. by the American Civil Liberties Union challenging the Communications Decency Act (CDA), an amendment to a sweeping telecommunications bill signed by President Clinton in February 1996. Human Rights Watch objected to the CDA because it criminalizes on-line communication that is legal in other media, specifically communication that might be deemed "indecent" or "patently offensive" to minors. These vague terms go much further than the prohibition of pornography on the Internet, a prohibition legally in force before the act. Ironically, the act would criminalize speech that is protected by the United States Constitution's first amendment when uttered aloud or printed in a newspaper. Human Rights Watch was also concerned that the effort to censor indecent communication could impede the work of our own and similar organizations, which transmit graphic accounts of human rights abuses that we believe are necessary to convey fully the suffering that these abuses cause. The CDA was ruled unconstitutional by a panel of judges in June; the government then appealed the case directly to the Supreme Court.

The year witnessed increasing attempts by governments around the world to censor electronic communication. In January, for example, the State Council in China issued a draft set of rules to regulate use of the Internet; subscribers were ordered to provide a written guarantee that they would not use the Internet for purposes "harmful to the state." In May, responding to such attempts to restrict the use of the Internet, Human Rights Watch published "Silencing the Net: The Threat to Freedom of Expression On-line." The report documents the wide range of methods currently being used to restrict the Internet, recommends principles for governments and international and regional bodies to follow when formulating public policy and laws affecting the Internet, and sets forth the international legal principles governing on-line expression.

Human Rights Watch also participated with several coalitions of on-line rights groups to protest Internet censorship agreements by the G-7 countries and the ASEAN nations, and a specific instance of on-line censorship in Germany. We wrote a letter to the Singapore government protesting its restrictive Internet policies and to another the Indonesian government to protest an arrest related to on-line communication.

Hellman/Hammett Grants

Human Rights Watch administers the Hellman/Hammett grant program for writers who have been victims of political persecution and are in financial need. The program gives between US$150,000 and $200,000 to writers all over the world. Established in 1989, the grant program is funded by the estates of Lillian Hellman and Dashiell Hammett, American writers who were victimized for their political beliefs and associations during the U.S. anti-communist "witch hunts" of the early 1950s. With this experience in mind, Ms. Hellman left the legacy to provide support for writers who have been persecuted for expressing political views.

In addition to providing much-needed financial assistance, the Hellman/Hammett grants focus attention on repression of free speech and censorship by publicizing the persecution that the grant recipients have endured. In some cases the publicity is a protection against further abuse. In other cases, the writers have requested anonymity because of the dangerous circumstances in which they and their families are living. In 1996, forty-four writers from twenty-three countries received Hellman/Hammett grants, including nine from China, seven from Nigeria, four from Vietnam, and three from Iran. Among the recipients in 1996 were the following:

Ayaz Akhmedov, founder of an underground satirical journal in Azerbaijan, was convicted of publishing articles that were Ainsulting to the honor and dignity of the president@. ** Mina Assadi, poet and journalist, fled from Iran to Sweden where she has continued to speak in opposition to Iranian censorship and despotism, both in the Shah=s regime and by the Islamic Republic. ** Bei Ling Huang, poet and literary critic, was repeatedly harassed by the Chinese government for his role in the Democracy Wall movement of 1979 and the underground literary movement of the 1980s. ** Ernest Brima, journalist, fled from Sierra Leone in 1991 and from the Gambia in 1995 because of persecution following articles he wrote about military politics in Africa. ** Arief Budiman, author of articles criticizing the political system in Indonesia including a sharp critique of newspaper closings in 1994, was dismissed from his position as professor of development studies at Satya Wacana University. ** Alfonso Castiglione Mendoza, journalist, was convicted, despite a complete lack of incriminating evidence, of collaborating with terrorism by Peru=s infamous Afaceless@ courts and sentenced to twenty years in prison. ** Chen Dongdong, Chinese poet, was banned from all official poetry activities and from publishing because he had defended free expression and refused to cooperate with police. ** Choi Chin-Sop, South Korean journalist, was arrested in a roundup of alleged members of a pro-North Korea Aspy ring,@ was tortured to confess and sentenced to three years in prison. ** Joseph Couture, Canadian journalist, was harassed by police after he discovered that the police were using an investigation of child pornography as cover for a crackdown on gay men. ** Ali-Asqhar Haj Sayed Djavadi, Iranian novelist and journalist, fled to France under threat of execution for having warned about religious fundamentalist efforts to gain monopoly control of the state. ** Do Trung Hieu, Vietnam, was tried and sentenced to a fifteen-month jail term for distributing Amalicious documents@ detrimental to the government, charges apparently stemming from his personal memoirs which include comments on Communist Party efforts to suppress the Unified Buddhist Church. ** Ge Hu, arrested for protesting the June 4, 1989, Beijing massacre and sentenced as a Acounterrevolutionary,@ was denied health care in prison. ** Haluk Gerger, respected Turkish writer on nuclear weapons, was convicted of Aspreading separatist propaganda@ and is facing three more three law suits for articles he wrote for the now-banned, pro-Kurdish newspaper, Ozgur Gundem. ** Julio Godoy, journalist, was driven into exile after writing about coup plans against the Guatemalan government. ** Hoang Minh Chinh, Vietnamese political theorist, has spent most of the last thirty years in prison and under house arrest for promoting reformist views. ** Zubeida Jaffer, South African journalist, was harassed, tortured, and incarcerated for nine years for covering the anti-apartheid and trade union movements. ** Kalala Mbenga Kalao, Zairian journalist, was arrested five times in four years, tortured, and had his home destroyed for reporting information critical of the government. ** Karasaev Khusein, who writes of the epic storytellers and folk people of Kazakstan, was imprisoned as a member of the Social Turan Party although the party did not exist. ** Martha Kumsa, journalist, an Oromo Presbyterian in Ethiopia, apparently targeted because of her religion and ethnic origin, spent nine years in prison without charge and finally fled to Canada. ** Liu Nianchun, Chinese essayist, novelist, and poet, was first arrested for his role in the Democracy Wall movement of 1979 and has been repeatedly harassed and imprisoned since. ** Meng Junliang, widely recognized as one of China=s outstanding modern poets, has been in continuous conflict with the police due to his insistence that freedom of expression is a necessary prerequisite for writing real literature. ** George Owuor, Kenyan journalist, was interrogated, beaten, and detained for reporting on human rights issues and official corruption, including articles exposing embezzlement by President Moi=s ruling party and election fraud. ** Miro Salimov, Tajik journalist, was charged with calling for the violent overthrow of the government, insulting the honor and dignity of the president, and inciting ethnic conflict over an article about why the Russian army in Tajikistan could not be considered a peacekeeping force. ** Adnan Abbas Salman al-Sayegh, Iraqi poet and playwright, fled to Jordan and then Lebanon in the wake of government efforts to censor and ban his work for containing passages that the government claims are hostile lies. ** Pari Sekandari, Iranian journalist, novelist, and poet, fled to Paris where she received death threats from Islamic militants and was advised to move to a secure address outside of the city. ** Wang Donghai, Chinese essayist and poet, editor of an important dissident journal, was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in pro-democracy demonstrations. ** Wang Xizhe, famous for his pro-democracy writings during the 1970s, was sentenced to fourteen years in prison for disseminating Acounterrevolutionary propaganda@ and Ainciting the masses@ to defy the state. ** Kunle Ajibade, Christine Anyanwu, George Mbah, Ben Charles Obi, and Dapo Oloronyomi, five Nigerian journalists, were all targeted by the military government shortly after an alleged coup attempt.

The Hellman/Hammett grants were awarded after nominations were reviewed by a five-person selection committee composed of writers and editors. In the course of the year, the selection committee approved four additional grants to writers who needed emergency funds to help them leave countries where they were in immediate danger.

Academic Freedom

The Academic Freedom Project (formerly known as the Committee for International Academic Freedom) was formed in 1991 by Human Rights Watch and a group of U.S. university presidents and scholars in recognition of the critical role that education plays in the development of civil society and the frequent targeting of educators and students by the world's more repressive regimes. When professors, teachers and students are harassed or imprisoned for exercising their rights of free expression and inquiry, when their work is censored, or when universities are closed for political reasons, the project sends protest letters and cables to appropriate government officials and publicizes the abuses in the academic community.

In the past year, the Academic Freedom Project wrote about situations in China, Egypt, Guatemala, Israel=s Occupied Territories, Nigeria, South Korea, and the Slovak Republic: The project members urged the Chinese government to overturn the conviction of Wang Dan, a leader of the student protests in Tiananmen Square. ** In Egypt, the project members inquired about the arrests of four university professors who were accused of founding an illegal political party even though Egyptian law recognizes the right of every citizen to establish and join a political party. ** A letter to the President of Guatemala expressed concern for the safety of student leaders at the University of San Carlos Law School who were harassed and received death threats as a result of their efforts to have the police who were responsible held accountable for the violence resulting from attacks on students who were demonstrating against bus fare increases. ** The project members expressed concern about arbitrary restrictions on travel that deny Palestinian students and faculty access to universities in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and urged Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu to revise procedures so that students can resume their studies ** Project members wrote Gen. Sani Abacha asking that the Ministry of Education rescind the ban on national activities by unions at Nigerian universities ** A letter to South Korean President Kim Young-Sam urged him to revoke the fines and prison terms imposed on teachers who signed the ADeclaration for Genuine Educational Reform.@ ** Two letters protested the dismissal of Alena Brunovska, the director of Academia Istropolitana in Bratislava.

The project members include twenty-eight university presidents and scholars. Its co-chairs are Jonathan Fanton of the New School for Social Research, Hanna Holborn Gray of the University of Chicago, Vartan Gregorian of Brown University, and Charles Young of the University of California at Los Angeles.

Lesbian and Gay Rights

In 1995, Human Rights Watch adopted a policy opposing state-tolerated violence, detention, prosecution and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In 1996, the organization put this policy into practice in a major report and a lawsuit.

Anti-gay legislation, violence, harassment and discrimination were among the human rights problems detailed in the report, Modern Capital of Human Rights? Abuses in the State of Georgia, released in July to coincide with the Olympic Games in Atlanta. These problems, although acute in Georgia, are often found elsewhere in the United States as well. The report exposed the failure of law enforcement officials to prosecute cross-burning, arson, and vandalism against gays and lesbians as well as the sluggish police response to investigating and solving cases involving murder or direct physical attacks. This distaste for protecting the rights of gays and lesbians results in the vast majority of such crimes never being reported to the police. Georgia also has a shameful record of state-sanctioned employment discrimination and lacks laws to prohibit such discrimination in the private sectorCso that even a mother who publicly decried the murder of her gay son by a group of teenagers with baseball bats had no recourse when, as a consequence, she lost her job. Intolerance of lesbians and gays became a highly visible issue before the Olympics as one Georgia county adopted a resolution condemning Alifestyles advocated by the gay community@ and another county swiftly did the same. The Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games withdrew plans to have the Olympic torch carried through the first county; faced with that prospect, the second rescinded its own resolution, despite death threats to one of the county commissioners. Human Rights Watch urged the repeal of anti-gay laws and ordinances, the prohibition at the federal, state and local levels of discrimination based on sexual orientation, and the reauthorization of the Federal Hate Crimes Statistics Act, which has a provision requiring the collection of statistics regarding anti-gay bias crimes.

The prison specialist of Human Rights Watch also began research on sexual abuse and rape of prisoners, examining, among other issues, the vulnerability of gay prisoners to rape (see above). Our initial research highlighted as an area for further investigation the striking reluctance of prison officials to intervene when a victim is perceived as homosexual. Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations also attacked discrimination against gays and lesbians in the context of a landmark U.S. asylum case. In March, we submitted a Afriend of the court@ brief in the case of Pitcherskaia v. INS, an appeal of a denial of asylum to a Russian lesbian activist. Alla Pitcherskaia had been arrested and beaten by the police numerous times because of her association with lesbians, expelled from medical school, dismissed from jobs, forced to undergo state medical Atreatment@ as a lesbian, and threatened with long-term institutionalization, medication and electroshock therapy. Nevertheless, her application for U.S. asylum was denied. In its decision, the Board of Immigration Affairs had called into question the applicability of Attorney General Janet Reno=s earlier determination that sexual orientation could be a basis for claiming persecution on account of membership in a social group. Our brief argued that as a matter of both U.S. and international law, persecution on account of sexual orientation is a basis for asylum. Following the submission of our brief, the Immigration and Naturalization Service admitted to misstatements in its brief and moved to correct the administrative record to reflect the view that gays and lesbians do constitute a particular social group; this was done, however, with the intent of avoiding a federal court decision that might settle the issue once and for all in U.S. law.

During 1996, the Human Rights Watch/Children=s Rights Project requested the American Psychiatric Association to look into cases of alleged psychiatric Atreatment@ of young people to change their sexual orientation. Although homosexuality was dropped from the official compilation of mental disorders in 1973, there had been reports that the diagnostic category of AGender Identity Disorder@ had been used instead to institutionalize children who manifest what are perceived as gay or lesbian traits.

Legal Advocacy and Standard Setting

An increasingly important strategy of Human Rights Watch is bringing evidence, arguments, and cases before courts and international bodies empowered to hear individual complaints and provide redress. Human Rights Watch strongly believes that it is vital to present human rights abuses to these fora, not merely to publicize them and win redress for victims but also to advance principles of protection of rights so that they become part of international and national law. Human Rights Watch also strongly supports the creation of an effective international criminal court under U.N. auspices to pursue war crimes and crimes against humanity. In 1996 we worked with other human rights groups and with several national governments toward that end, as described below. In addition, we continued our vigorous advocacy of high-level indictments and prosecutions by the U.N.=s war crimes tribunals on the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda (see Helsinki and Africa overviews, sections on the relevant countries, and Women=s Rights Project).

In 1996, as well, Human Rights Watch continued to press for the development of new human rights standards in international law through advocacy to international bodies and in international conferences. Among our efforts were promoting the adoption of minimum humanitarian standards in the rules of war, examining the effect of Alustration@ and Arepentance laws@ in curtailing impunity, urging the recognition of the right to adequate housing, and defending the protection role of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We also participated in work related to the reform of NGO access to the U.N.

United States Federal Courts

United States law allows federal courts to hear cases in tort brought against foreign nationals for Acrimes against the law of nations@ committed in foreign lands. This unique feature of the country=s legal system has become an important tool in stigmatizing perpetrators of crimes against humanity by making sure that the United States does not become a safe haven for them when they leave office in their countries. Since 1980, several cases have been brought against torturers and abusers of other fundamental rights, and successive court victories have turned this litigation strategy into an important advocacy tool. In the late 1980s, Human Rights Watch joined other organizations and law firms in bringing three such complaints against the former Alord of life and death@ of Buenos Aires, Gen. Carlos Guillermo Suárez Mason, who had fled Argentina shortly after the return to democracy and was living in golden exile in San Francisco. We won default judgments for our clients, and eventually Suárez Mason was extradited to Argentina.

In 1996, we had another resounding victory, in the case of Mushikiwabo v. Barayagwiza. The federal court for the Southern District of New York entered a $105 million judgment under the Alien Tort Claims Act against the leader of one of the Rwandan extremist groups who launched that country=s genocide. With the assistance of the law firms Debevoise & Plimpton and Carter, Ledyard & Milburn, we represented several Rwandan nationals whose relatives were tortured and killed in the genocide of April and May 1994. The defendant, Jean Bosco Barayagwiza, was served in May 1994 when he visited the United Nations, and since then had lived in France and Zaire. The judgement stated that Athe plaintiffs have overwhelmingly established that the defendant has engaged in conduct so inhuman that it is difficult to conceive of any civil remedy which can begin to compensate the plaintiffs for their loss or adequately express society=s outrage at the defendant=s actions.@ In awarding the victims $1.5 million in damages for every relative they lost during the genocide, Judge Martin declared: AThis Judge has seen no other case in which monetary damages were so inadequate to compensate the plaintiffs for the injuries caused by a defendant. One cannot place a dollar value on the lives lost as the result of the defendant=s actions and the suffering inflicted on the innocent victims of his cruel campaign.@

Human Rights Watch has also assumed the role of plaintiff in litigation on behalf of human rights. This year, we joined nineteen other organizations and individuals in American Civil Liberties Union v. Reno, a suit challenging the Communications Decency Act which President Clinton signed into law in February. The act subjects to criminal sanction those who are the source of Aindecent@ or Apatently offensive@ communications on the Internet if those communications are accessible to persons under eighteen years of age. These vague terms, based on community standards and taken from the area of broadcast licensing, go much further than the prohibition of pornography on the Internet, a prohibition legally in force prior to the Communications Decency Act. Ironically, the act would criminalize speech that is protected by the United States Constitution=s first amendment when uttered aloud or printed in a newspaper. We submitted evidence that under the vague standards of the act, even our on-line reports of human rights abuses such as trafficking in women, sexual torture, or rape, could subject us to criminal penalty. Although our reporting is sometimes graphic and explicit, we believe this is necessary to fully convey the suffering these abuses cause. A special three-judge panel struck down the Communications Decency Act=s provisions as unconstitutional, and the U.S. government appealed the case directly to the Supreme Court under special procedures contained in the act. The Supreme Court was expected to consider this case and another, closely related case in 1997. Under the Freedom of Information Act, it is possible to compel disclosure of information and documentation that exists in United States government archives. Human Rights Watch pursues administrative requests for release of material that we consider vital to human rights documentation. In 1996, we joined other organizations as plaintiffs in a case to compel disclosure of the satellite and aerial photographs that reportedly showed Bosnian civilians from the Srebrenica safe haven being rounded up in a soccer field before being killed. We initiated this request in August 1995, shortly after U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine Albright showed these records to a closed session of the Security Council.

Briefs Amicus Curiae and Advisory Letters

Human Rights Watch, in conjunction with other human rights advocates, also submitted amicus curiae or Afriend of the court@ briefs in major U.S. cases during 1996. Two such cases challenged restrictive legislation. The Prison Litigation Reform Act, which became law in April, revised the ground rules of challenging abusive prison conditions through the courts, making it extremely difficult to bring a successful case. One effect of the act was to make it much less attractive for states to enter consensual agreements with plaintiffs to remedy prison conditions, by subjecting consent decrees to onerous requirements. In Plyler v. Moore, we filed a brief challenging the Prison Litigation Reform Act=s provisions that allow states to unilaterally and immediately end existing consent decrees covering prison conditions, arguing that this termination of a judicial injunction violated the Constitution of the United States. Oral argument was set before the Fourth Circuit for December.

We also participated in a challenge to an amendment in the state of Arizona=s constitution that requires public employees to use only English in the course of performing their official duties. With the assistance of the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, we filed an amicus brief in Arizonans for Official English v. State of Arizona, urging the Supreme Court to affirm the Ninth Circuit=s decision striking down the law. Our argument was that the law=s restrictions would violate international legal protections of language rights. Contrary to the appellant=s claim that the law furthered social unity, we cited worldwide examples where official language restrictions actually fostered communal tensions and in many cases, violence. In the area of political asylum, Human Rights Watch has also made submissions where there was a danger that individuals might be forced back to a country where they faced a danger of persecution. In Pitcherskaia v. INS, we urged the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to affirm that persecution on account of sexual orientation can be a basis for refugee status in the case of a Russian lesbian activist who had been forced to undergo Amedical treatment@ by state authorities. Our brief was prepared by the law firms of Mayer, Brown and Platt and Hughes, Hubbard and Reed.

In June, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International wrote to the Canada=s minister of immigration, urging against the deportation of a former Honduran military officer, Florencio Caballero. Caballero, who had been pressed into serving as an interrogator with an elite intelligence unit, fled Honduras in 1986 and promptly contacted Human Rights Watch to relate his intimate knowledge of Honduran death squad activities. With no assurances of protection or compensation, Caballero provided critical testimony to both the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. The latter, relying in part on Caballero=s testimony, found Honduras accountable for systematic state-sponsored violence and Adisappearances@ in the landmark 1988 case Velásquez-Rodríguez. Several other witnesses in that case have been killed. In August, a Canadian federal court granted leave for judicial review of the denial of asylum to Caballero.

Human Rights Watch also wrote in April to the head of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to urge that Fauziya Kasinga=s claim for asylum be recognized, based on the fact that she would face the threat of female genital mutilation should she be compelled to return to Togo. Astonishingly, the immigration judge in her case failed to recognize female genital mutilation as persecution, and assumed she would be able to avail herself of police protection against such a threat. We called on the INS to ensure that all authorities in the asylum review process be trained on the nature of gender-related persecution and the lack of state response to such violations. Human Rights Watch also condemned Ms. Kasinga=s mistreatment while in immigration detention and called on the INS to ensure that asylum seekers are not detained unnecessarily or subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment.

The Inter-American Commission and Court

Human Rights Watch/Americas, working in conjunction with the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), is participating in close to one hundred cases before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights on behalf of the victims of human rights violations. Our docket before the IACHR was very active in 1996. The commission declared admissible the case of Narciso González, a well-known university professor who allegedly was Adisappeared@ by state agents of the Dominican Republic. In Maria Arena, et al. we challenged Argentina=s Federal Penitentiary Service practice of subjecting women and female children visiting inmates to vaginal inspections. As a result, the Argentine government set out to reform relevant legislation. In 1996, the IACHR found Chile in violation of Article 13 (freedom of expression) of the American Convention on Human Rights for barring the circulation of a book by Francisco Martorell, titled Diplomatic Impunity, according to the commission, a clear case of prior censorship. In the case of Father David Fernández and other Centro Prodh human rights activists who had been threatened in Mexico, the commission granted an injunction against the Mexican government and opened an investigation. The commission also referred to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights three of our cases against Peru for arbitrary detention, forced disappearance and cruel and inhuman treatment of persons accused of terrorism.

During 1996 evidence was presented to the court in the case against Nicaragua of Jean Paul Genie Lacayo, who was allegedly murdered by the military under the command of Humberto Ortega.

The court issued judgments on the merits of two of our cases. In January, after Argentina acknowledged its responsibility in the case of Baigorria and Garrido, two persons Adisappeared@ by the police in April 1990, the court issued a judgment ordering the government to pay damages. The parties proceeded to negotiate a friendly settlement. In a case of the Adisappearance@ of a school teacher and union activist, Isidro Caballero and Maria del Carmen Santana, the court found Colombia responsible in December 1995, and proceedings began in 1996 on the issue of reparations. In six more of our cases, the court ordered either compensation to the victims of human rights abuse or injunctions to protect persons in imminent danger. In the case of Carpio against Guatemala, the court upheld protective measures for the widow of a former presidential candidate, his daughter-in-law, and the prosecutor investigating Carpio=s 1993 assassination.

International Criminal Court

Events in 1996 highlighted the urgent need for the early establishment of an effective international criminal court (ICC). The start of the trial of Dusko Tadic, the Bosnian Serb charged with murder and torture at the infamous Omarska detention camp, the fiftieth anniversary of the Nuremberg prosecutions, the failure to apprehend senior Serb and Croat officials indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugolsavia as well as ongoing crimes against humanity in Burundi and war crimes in Chechnya, underscored the need to establish accountability for the most serious human rights crimes.

Progress towards an ICC continued during 1996 as negotiations proceeded slowly. The U.N. General Assembly voted in December 1995 to move the drafting process to a higher stage by convening a Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court to discuss and "draft texts, with a view to preparing a widely acceptable consolidated text of a convention" as a step towards a diplomatic conference to finalize the treaty creating the court. The decision to initiate a preparatory committee was agreed to after weeks of intense closed negotiations in which China obstructed a resolution.

The preparatory committee met for two three-week sessions during 1996. In the March-April session the delegates focused on the major political questions arising from the International Law Commission=s (ILC) Draft Statute. The U.N. had mandated the ILC, a group of internationally recognized legal scholars, to create a draft statute and the ILC completed its draft in July 1994. At the preparatory committee meeting there were major differences over the court's subject matter jurisdiction, independence for the prosecutor, and the relationship between the proposed court and national jurisdictions. On the relationship between the Security Council and the court there was a clear polarization between the five permanent members of the Security Council and virtually all other delegations. By the end of the session it was widely felt that most of these questions would only be resolved by senior officials at a diplomatic conference of plenipotentiaries.

The August session focused on the more technical legal questions: general principles of criminal law, fair trial and the rights of the defendant, judicial cooperation, and court organization. Five working groups produced a compiled text including many proposals but only limited consolidated text. The delegates fell short of producing a consolidated text due to obstructionism by France, which introduced an entire alternative draft statute, and the sheer volume of various government proposals.

After intense informal negotiations at the end of the August session, the preparatory committee adopted a recommendation that called for an additional nine weeks of preparatory work to be completed by April 1998. The recommendation cited a 1998 diplomatic conference as a realistic goal.

The October-November debate at the General Assembly's Sixth Committee focused on the pace of the future negotiations. Those states supporting the early establishment of the court sought a resolution calling for a 1998 date for a diplomatic conference. They pressed for the ICC negotiations to be given priority and allocated six weeks during 1997. Other states opposing the establishment of an effective court were resistant to specific time commitments.

The permanent members of the Security Council played a primarily negative role towards the court. France, supportive of the court in 1995, reversed its position and by April called for wording that would require Security Council approval for every case on the court's docket. At the August session its massive alternative draft statute slowed progress. On the most important substantive issues the United States=s interventions were aimed at limiting the court=s effectiveness and independence. U.S. delegates opposed an independent prosecutor, supported Security Council control in situations involving international peace and security, while providing valuable leadership in the discussion on the technical legal issues. Citing a strategy of "deliberative momentum," the U.S. opposed an early conference date. China made clear that it opposed the early establishment of the court and in August called for a minimum of twelve additional weeks of preparatory work.

One of the most significant developments of the 1996 negotiations was the emergence of a bloc of states united around the need for an effective court. This group, representing diverse geographical regions, grew in size, negotiating skill and commitment during 1996. Composed of African, Latin American, Caribbean, European, Arabic, and Micronesian states, this group, "the like-minded states" or "friends of the Court," became a major force on behalf of the ICC. By the August preparatory committee meeting, these "like-minded states," claiming thirty members, were regularly meeting to plan strategy and coordinate tactics.

Human Rights Watch attached great importance to the establishment of the ICC as a key mechanism to strengthen defense of human rights. During 1996 we continued to work in our own name and in collaboration with human rights, legal, religious, and international policy organizations. We prepared and circulated written commentaries outlining our position on the essential issues before the preparatory committee. Staff members vigorously encouraged the "like-minded states" to work as a bloc. To help expand their ranks we successfully lobbied states with a demonstrated commitment to accountability for human rights abuses committed under a previous regime. Through numerous interviews and articles Human Rights Watch raised the issue broadly in the press.

Human Rights Standards

In February, Human Rights Watch participated in the session of the ECOSOC (Economic and Social Council) Working Group reviewing consultative arrangements between the U.N. and NGOs. We joined with several other human rights organizations supporting the process, that was to open the U.N. to national organizations, but we opposed the suggested language stipulating that human rights organizations would have to fulfill additional requirements in order to be granted consultative status. In the course of the next several months, we repeatedly stressed our concerns, in lobbying and in joint statements with a number of fellow human rights organizations. Eventually, in July, ECOSOC approved a toned-down but still objectionable version of the resolution, in which human rights organizations were singled out for additional requirements to obtain consultative status with the council.

Also in February, we sent an open letter to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Human Dimension conference, which was considering the adoption of minimum humanitarian standards for the rules of war. Such standards would be especially useful in setting an indisputable baseline of humanitarian conduct for all parties to hostilities, particularly in situations where the application of the Geneva Conventions is unclear. Rather than supplanting existing humanitarian law, the standards are intended to reinforce basic principles such as the protection of civilians, even where it was debatable whether hostilities had risen to the level of sustained armed conflict, and they would bind all parties, regardless of whether a conflict was internal or international. In September, the U.N. secretary-general organized a workshop on the standards in Capetown, at which it was decided to begin a formal analytical study that may ultimately result in a General Assembly resolution on the standards.

In April, during the session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, we issued a statement in Geneva in which we raised serious concerns about a draft resolution presented by Cuba which had a potential to drastically limit the mandate of the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. Eventually, Cuba withdrew its draft, and a different resolution was adopted.

In May, we submitted a memorandum to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Impunity, dealing with three developing areas of law. The first was the emerging right to know the truth concerning gross human rights violations. This right derives from the obligation in international law that states Aensure@ rights and provide effective remedies, and pertains not only to victims and their families, but also to the public at large. The second area was the practice of lustration -- the purging of officials associated with an old regimeC that is especially prevalent in the newly democratic states of Eastern Europe. In this case, we raised concerns that lustration penalizes individuals for their association with a group or organization rather than for their own actions, and pointed out the numerous procedural rights that can easily be violated by such practices. Finally, we discussed the potential abuses inherent in repentance laws, a form of plea-bargaining practiced in Peru and Colombia among other states. In these countries, basic fair-trial standards often do not apply to persons implicated in criminal activity by arrepentidos (the Apenitent@ seeking to plea-bargain) who use the laws to gain lenient treatment for themselves. We recommended that courts must play an extremely vigilant role to ensure that confessions under such a system are not coerced, that they are corroborated wherever possible by independent evidence, and to ensure that the most culpable do not use the laws to their freedom by implicating others who have less information to trade.

The third major U.N. conference on international human rights of this decade took place during 1996CHabitat II, on the subject of housing and shelter. On the eve of the final preparatory conference in February 1996, Human Rights Watch strongly critiqued the draft conference agenda for failing anywhere to recognize that adequate housing is a universal human right, embodied in numerous treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Citing our research, we demonstrated where violations of civil and political rights led directly to violation of the right to housing, and urged that this integral relationship between rights be recognized in the conference=s final document. In May, we wrote to U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Henry Cisneros, criticizing the U.S. move to weaken the rights language in the document, and in June we updated our overall concerns regarding the draft final document and released the updated report in Istanbul to conference participants. The Habitat II final document differed significantly from its earlier drafts and incorporated several of the points made in statements by Human Rights Watch and our colleagues in the human rights community.

In September, Human Rights Watch presented the UNHCR Executive Committee with a discussion paper titled AProtection in the Decade of Voluntary Repatriation.@ The context for this paper was concern that UNHCR=s protection function had been compromised because of the agency=s and governments= heavy emphasis on repatriation as the solution of choice to refugee crises. Our paper documented instances where UNHCR was pressured into participating in supposedly voluntary repatriation exercises where conditions in the country of origin were arguably unsafe, or where the governments of origin or asylum were uncooperative and impeded UNHCR=s protection function. We welcomed the publication of UNHCR=s new handbook on voluntary repatriation, which emphasizes that return is voluntary where there is an Aabsence@ of coercive measures to push refugees from a haven, such as a reduction in food rations. We also welcomed new protection guidelines on responses to sexual violence against female refugees. But in both cases, we emphasized that practice falls short of UNHCR=s standards. More guidance is needed on UNHCR=s role where the optimal conditions for voluntary repatriation do not exist, as in the case of Rohingyas returning to Burma from Bangladesh, or Sri Lankan Tamils who were pressured to return Avoluntarily@ from India. Likewise, we recommended that UNHCR put into place internal procedures to handle sexual violence against women refugees as soon as reports come in from the field, and to ensure that refugee women are integrally involved in formulating protective measures, as in Kenya where the number of reported rapes of Somali refugees decreased by half once such steps were taken.

At this writing, Human Rights Watch is preparing to issue the paper publicly, expressing concern that the protection division of the UNHCR staff appeared to have been marginalized in recent internal reorganization.

Congressional Casework

Human Rights Watch continued to work closely with three casework groups composed of members of Congress: the Congressional Friends of Human Rights Monitors, the Congressional Committee to Support Writers and Journalists, and the Congressional Working Group on International Women=s Human Rights. All three groups are bipartisan and bicameral. Human Rights Watch initiated the formation of these groups to enable concerned members of Congress to write letters to governments that commit or condone violations against human rights monitors, writers and journalists, or gender-based abuses of women=s human rights. Human Rights Watch supplies the groups with information about appropriate cases of concern; the groups, in turn, determine which cases they would like to pursue. The goals of the congressional casework groups are three-fold. Most important, their letters help to pressure governments to end their persecution of human rights monitors, writers and journalists, and women, abuses which are either committed or routinely tolerated by governments. Second, members of the congressional groups are informed about these important incidents of violence and intimidation. Finally, copies of letters are sent to U.S. ambassadors in the relevant countries to inform them about cases of concern and to local press from the countries in question so that they in turn can bring additional attention to human rights violations.

The Congressional Friends of Human Rights Monitors

The Congressional Friends of Human Rights Monitors, formed in 1983, was composed of twenty-eight Senators and 106 Members of the House of Representatives during the 2nd Session of the 104th Congress. Steering committee members were Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Sen. James Jeffords, Rep. Tony Hall, and Rep. Constance A. Morella. In 1996, the group focused its attention on writing urgent action letters about time-sensitive cases of death threats, attacks, and unwarranted arrests of human rights monitors, to the heads of state in Algeria, Colombia, Croatia, Guatemala, Israel, Mexico, Palestinian Authority, Peru, Tunisia, and Uzbekistan.

The Congressional Committee to Support Writers and Journalists

The Congressional Committee to Support Writers and Journalists was formed in 1988 and was composed of seventeen Senators and seventy-four Members of the House of Representatives during the 2nd Session of the 104th Congress. Members of the steering committee were Sen. Bob Graham, Rep. Jim Leach, and Rep. John Lewis. In 1996, the committee condemned murders, attacks, and arbitrary arrests, as well as acts of censorship against reporters and publications, through letters to the heads of state in Cambodia, Cuba, Indonesia, Ireland, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, and Turkey.

Congressional Working Group on International Women=s Human Rights

The Congressional Working Group on International Women=s Human Rights, which was formed in April 1994 to promote accountability for violations of women=s rights worldwide, is a bipartisan group composed of twenty-four senators and thirty-six members of the House of Representatives. The four members of the working group=s steering committee are Sen. Patty Murray, Sen. Olympia J. Snowe, Rep. Jan Meyers, and Rep. Joe Moakley. In 1996, the group wrote letters of protest on abduction, threats, and rape to the heads of state in Bangladesh, Peru, and Rwanda.


The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival was created to advance public education on human rights issues and concerns using the unique medium of film. Each year, the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival exhibits the finest human rights films and videos in commercial and archival theaters and on public and cable television throughout the United States and in various cities abroadCa reflection of both the scope of the festival and the increasingly global appeal that the project has generated.

In selecting films for the festival, Human Rights Watch concentrates equally on artistic merit and human rights content. The festival encourages filmmakers around the world to address human rights subject matter in their work and presents films and videos from both new and established international human rights filmmakers. Each year, the festival's programming committee screens more than 600 films and videos to create a program that represents a wide number of countries and issues. Once a film is nominated for a place in the program, staff of the relevant division of Human Rights Watch also view it to confirm its accuracy in the portrayal of human rights concerns. The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival was established in 1988, in part to mark the tenth anniversary of the founding of what has become Human Rights Watch. After a hiatus of three years, it was resumed in 1991 and has since been presented annually. The 1996 festival featured over forty films, twenty-nine of which were premieres from thirteen countries presented over a two-week period first in New York, as a collaborative venture with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, and then in Los Angeles with the Museum of Tolerance. A majority of the screenings were followed by discussions with the filmmakers and Human Rights Watch staff on the issues represented in each work. The festival included feature-length fiction and documentary films as well as works-in-progress and experimental and animated films. Each year the festival is launched in New York with an opening night fundraising celebration featuring a film=s U.S. premiere. In 1996 the festival's opening night centerpiece was the drama "Lone Star", by American writer-director John Sayles. The film won praise at the Cannes International Film Festival and from North American critics, for its treatment of racial intolerance, tensions along the U.S.-Mexico border, and police abuse. In conjunction with the opening night, the festival annually awards a prize in the name of cinematographer and director Nestor Almendros, who was a cherished friend of the festival. The award, which includes a cash prize of $5,000, goes to a deserving new filmmaker in recognition of his or her contributions to human rights. The 1996 recipient of the Nestor Almendros Award were filmmakers Mandy Jacobson and Karmen Jelincic whose outstanding work, Calling the Ghosts: A Story about Rape, War and Women, chronicles the remarkable transformation of "two ordinary modern women" in Bosnia-Herzegovina, whose personal struggle for survival evolves into a larger fight for peace and justice after they were held in a concentration camp and raped and tortured by their neighbors. They determined to put rape into the international lexicon of war crimes. Their success can be judged by the fact that their torturers now stand indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal. This very powerful, personal film also became the centerpiece of the festival=s Women=s Day Program-- a day and night exclusively devoted to films and videos that address women=s rights around the world. In 1995, in honor of Irene Diamond, a longtime board member and supporter of Human Rights Watch,the festival launched a new award, the Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented annually to a director whose life=s work illuminates an outstanding commitment to human rights and film. The 1996 award went to renowned Senegalese director Ousmane Sembene, in honor of his dedication to furthering the cause of human rights through film, and of his role in encouraging African independent filmmakers to produce daring, challenging human rights films.

Highlights of the 1996 festival included a retrospective of the work of acclaimed South Korean director Park Kwang-Su, whose latest film, "A Single Spark", won critical acclaim at the 1996 Berlin International Film Festival. Park, acknowledged as the leader of the "New Cinema" in South Korea, has consistently explored the points of tension in his homeland's history and society, never shying away from political and controversial themes. The festival also featured a touring program of films and videos from Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers made since the historic 1993 signing of the 1993 peace accord. These personal works portray the complex and contradictory emotions, circumstances, and beliefs affecting all parties as the struggle to find peace unfolds. Other highlights of the festival included a series of films on the death penalty, chain gangs and political prisoners. Additionally, in this U.S. election year, the festival featured a series of works dealing with elections and democracy.

Throughout the festival=s two-week run in New York, its high school project, in its fourth year, offered daytime screenings for students followed by interactive discussions among the students, their teachers, visiting filmmakers, and Human Rights Watch staff. In 1996 the program expanded to include collaborative screenings with the New York African Film Festival, highlighting human rights themes in new African cinema.

In an effort to reach a wider audience and satisfy the growing demand for these films, the festival established the a "Global Showcase", touring program of films and videos, which appeared in eight U.S. cities: Seattle, Washington; San Francisco, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Durham, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; Boston, Massachusetts;

Martha=s Vineyard, Massachusetts; Huntington, New York; Hartford, Connecticut. The AGlobal Showcase@ also traveled to Buneos Aires and to Gent, Belgium.

In December, in collaboration with the Human Rights Watch office in Brazil, the festival appeared in both Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo exhibiting new films from the Americas dealing with human rights themes. This was the first Human Rights Watch International Film Festival held in Brazil. In 1996, the festival also launched its first full-scale Human Rights Watch International Film Festival in Europe, opening in London on October 18. A new collaborative venture between the festival and the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) hosted a gala opening night with the European premiere of the award-winning documentary, "Mandela", produced by Jonathan Demme and Chris Blackwell, followed by a one-week festival of film and video screenings along with panel discussions with filmmakers from around the world and Human Rights Watch staff.

In 1992, Human Rights Watch created Film Watch, an association of the Film Festival and a group of American filmmakers, to monitor and protect the human rights of film makers who are threatened or censored or otherwise abused for their expression through film. In 1996, Film Watch took up the case of Kim Don-Won, a South Korean independent producer of documentary videos and films whose mission is to provide alternative media for educational purposes to the public. Kim Don-Won was arrested on June 14, 1996, and his tapes and editing equipment were confiscated from his office. No explanation was given by the government in this punitive action. Kim Don-Won was released several days later but, again, with no explanation by the government.



Democracy Derailed: Violations in the May 26, 1996 Albanian Elections, 6/96, 11 pp.

Human Rights in Post -Communist Albania, 3/96, 168 pp.


Between War & Peace: Arms Trade & Human Rights Abuses since the Lusaka Protocol, 2/96, 44 pp.


Political Violence on All Sides, 6/96, 23 pp.


Bolivia under Pressure: Human Rights Violations & Coca Eradication, 5/96, 32 pp.


No Justice No Peace: The United Nations International Police Task Force=s Role in Screening Local Law Enforcement, 9/96, 16 pp.

UpdateCNon-Compliance with the Dayton Accords: Ongoing Ethnically-Motivated Expulsions and Harassment in Bosnia, 8/96, 17 pp.

A Failure in the Making: Human Rights & the Dayton Agreement, 6/96, 37 pp.

Human Rights in Bosnia-Hercegovina Post Dayton, 3/96, 10 pp.

Northwestern Bosnia: Human Rights Abuses during a Cease-Fire & Peace Negotiations, 2/96, 40 pp.


Fighting Violence with Violence: Human Rights Abuse & Criminality in Rio de Janeiro, 1/96, 29 pp.


Children of Bulgaria: Police Violence & Arbitrary Confinement, 9/96, 160 pp.


The Rohingya Muslims: Ending a Cycle of Exodus?, 9/96, 37 pp.


Slamming the Door on Dissent: Wang Dan=s Trial and the New AState Security@ Era, 11/96, 15 pp.

The Cost of Putting Business First, 7/96, 33 pp.

Cutting Off the Serpent=s Head: Tightening Control in Tibet, 3/96

Chinese Orphanages: A Follow-Up, 3/96, 11 pp.

Death by Default: A Policy of Fatal Neglect in China=s State Orphanages, 1/96, 408 pp.

Commonwealth of Independent States

Refugees & Internally Displaced Persons in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Russian Federation, & Tajikistan, 5/96, 33 pp.


Impunity for Abuses Committed during AOperation Storm@ and the Denial of the Right of Refugees to Return to the Krajina, 8/96, 43 pp.

Czech Republic

Roma in the Czech Republic: Foreigners in Their Own Land, 6/96, 39 pp.


Putting Human Rights Back into the Habitat Agenda, 6/96, 10 pp.

Silencing the Net: The Threat to Freedom of Expression On-line, 5/96, 24 pp.

Children in Combat, 1/96, 23 pp.


Return to Violence: Refugees, Civil Patrollers, & Impunity, 1/96, 31 pp.


Thirst for Justice: A Decade of Impunity in Haiti, 9/96, 30 pp.


Rights Denied: The Roma of Hungary, 7/96, 160 pp.


Police Abuse and Killings of Street Children in India, 11/96, 200 pp.

The Small Hands of Slavery: Bonded Child Labor in India, 9/96, 192 pp.

India=s Secret Army in Kashmir: New Patterns of Abuse Emerge in the Conflict, 5/96, 49 pp.

Communal Violence & the Denial of Justice, 4/96, 28 pp.

Indonesia & East Timor

Tough International Response Needed to Widening Crackdown, 8/96, 28 pp.

Election Monitoring & Human Rights, 5/96, 11 pp.


Power Versus Choice: Human Rights & Parliamentary Elections in the Islamic Republic of Iran, 3/96, 19 pp.

Israel & Israeli-Occupied Territories

Israel=s Closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, 7/96, 59 pp.

Civilian Pawns: Laws of War & the Use of Weapons on the Israel-Lebanon Border, 5/96, 152 pp.


Civilian Pawns: Laws of War & the Use of Weapons on the Israel-Lebanon Border, 5/96, 152 pp.


A Threat to AStability@: Human Rights Violations in Macedonia, 6/96, 120 pp.


Labor Rights and NAFTA: A Case Study, 9/96, 30 pp.

No Guarantees: Sex Discrimination in Mexico=s Maquiladora Sector, 8/96, 58 pp.

Torture & Other Abuses during the 1995 Crackdown on Alleged Zapatistas, 2/96, 19 pp.


APermanent Transition@: Current Violations of Human Rights in Nigeria, 9/96, 51 pp.


Presumption of Guilt: Human Rights Violations and the Faceless Courts in Peru, 8/96, 37 pp.

The Philippines

Human Rights & Forest Management in the 1990s, 4/96, 28 pp.


Report to the 1996 OSCE Review Conference, 11/96, 14 pp.

The Ingush-Ossetian Conflict in the Prigorodnyi Region, 4/96, 112 pp.

Caught in the Cross Fire: Civilians in Gudermes & Pervomayskoye, 3/96, 31 pp.


Shattered Lives: Sexual Violence during the Rwandan Genocide & its Aftermath, 9/96, 112 pp.


Behind the Red Line: Political Repression in Sudan, 5/96, 368 pp.


The Silenced Kurds, 10/96, 63 pp.

Syria=s Tadmor Prison: Dissent Still Hostage to a Legacy of Terror, 4/96, 26 pp.


Swedish Asylum Policy in Global Human Rights Perspective, 9/96, 34 pp.


Tajik Refugees in Northern Afghanistan, 5/96, 35 pp.


Cutting Off the Serpent=s Head: Tightening Control in Tibet, 3/96


Turkey=s Failed Policy to Aid the Forcibly Displaced in the Southeast, 6/96, 14 pp.

Violations of the Right of Petition to the European Commission of Human Rights, 4/96, 39 pp.

United States

Race and Drug Law Enforcement in the State of Georgia, 7/96, 21 pp.

Modern Capital of Human Rights?: Abuses in the State of Georgia, 6/96, 208 pp.


Persistent Human Rights Violations & Prospects for Improvement, 5/96, 43 pp.

Human Rights Watch


Executive: Kenneth Roth, Executive Director; Jennifer Hyman, Executive Assistant.

Advocacy: Holly J. Burkhalter, Advocacy Director; Lotte Leicht, Brussels Office Director; Joanna Weschler, United Nations Representative; Lynette Munez, Marti Weithman, Associates.

Communications: Susan Osnos, Communications Director; Robert Kimzey, Publications Director; Jean-Paul Marthoz, European Press Director; Karen Sorensen, Online Research Associate; Suzanne Guthrie, Publications Manager; Fitzroy Hepkins, Mail Manager; Lenny Thomas, Production Manager; Sobeira Genao, Publications Associate; Liz Reynoso, Communications Associate.

Development: Michele Alexander, Development Director; Diana Ayton-Shenker, Foundations Relations Director; Pamela Bruns, California Director; Rachel Weintraub, Major Gifts & Special Events Director; James Holland, Individual Giving Coordinator; Marianne Law, Special Events Coordinator; Heather Cooper, Kristin Field, Kea Sha Dumas, Associates.

Finance and Administration: Barbara Guglielmo, Finance & Administration Director; Maria Pignataro Nielsen, Administrative Director; Walid Ayoub, Systems Administrator; Anderson Allen, Washington Office Manager; Urmi Shah, London Office Manager; Isabelle Tin-Aung, Brussels Office Manager; Iris Yang, Accountant; Bessie Skoures, Bookkeeper; Andrea Rodriguez, Receptionist/Office Assistant; Mia Roman, Receptionist/Office Assistant.

General Counsel: Dinah PoKempner, Acting General Counsel; Marti Weithman, Associate.

Program: Cynthia Brown, Program Director; Michael McClintock, Deputy Program Director; Jeri Laber, Senior Advisor; Jemera Rone, Counsel; Richard Dicker, Associate Counsel; Jamie Fellner, Associate Counsel; Joanne Mariner, Associate Counsel; Allyson Collins, Senior Researcher; Arvind Ganesan, Research Associate; Marcia Allina, Program Associate; Sahr MuhammedAlly, Associate.

International Film Festival: Bruni Burres, Director; Heather Harding, Associate Director.

1996 Fellowship Recipients: Gamal M. Abouali, Orville Schell Fellow; Julia A. Hall, W. Bradford Wiley Fellow; Mercedes Hernandez-Cancio, Sophie Silberberg Fellow; Kokkayi Issa, Leonard H. Sandler Fellow.

Board of Directors

Robert L. Bernstein, Chair; Adrian W. DeWind, Vice Chair; Roland Algrant, Lisa Anderson, William Carmichael, Dorothy Cullman, Gina Despres, Irene Diamond, Edith Everett, Jonathan Fanton, James C. Goodale, Jack Greenberg, Vartan Gregorian, Alice H. Henkin, Stephen L. Kass, Marina Pinto Kaufman, Bruce Klatsky, Harold Hongju Koh, Alexander MacGregor, Josh Mailman, Samuel K. Murumba, Andrew Nathan, Jane Olson, Peter Osnos, Kathleen Peratis, Bruce Rabb, Sigrid Rausing, Anita Roddick, Orville Schell, Sid Sheinberg, Gary G. Sick, Malcolm Smith, Domna Stanton, Nahid Toubia, Maureen White, Rosalind C. Whitehead, Maya Wiley.

Human Rights Watch/Africa


Peter Takirambudde, Executive Director; Janet Fleischman, Washington Director; Suliman Ali Baldo, Senior Researcher; Alex Vines, Research Associate; Bronwen Manby, Binaifer Nowrojee, Counsels; Ariana Pearlroth, Juliet Wilson, Associates; Alison L. DesForges, Consultant.

Advisory Committee

William Carmichael, Chair; Roland Algrant; Robert L. Bernstein, Julius L. Chambers, Michael Clough, Roberta Cohen, Carol Corillon, Alison L. DesForges, Adrian W. DeWind, R. Harcourt Dodds, Aaron Etra, Thomas M. Franck, Gail M. Gerhart, Jack Greenberg , Arthur C. Helton, Alice H. Henkin, Robert Joffe, Jeh Johnson, Richard A. Joseph, Thomas Karis, Stephen L. Kass, John A. Marcum, Gay McDougall, Toni Morrison, Samuel K. Murumba, James C. N. Paul, Robert Preiskel, Norman Redlich, Randall Robinson, Sidney S. Rosdeitcher, Howard P. Venable, Claude E. Welch, Jr., Aristide R. Zolberg.

Human Rights Watch/Americas


José Miguel Vivanco, Executive Director; Anne Manuel, Deputy Director; Joel Solomon, Research Director; James Cavallaro, Brazil Office Director; Jennifer Bailey, Sebastian Brett, Sarah DeCosse, Robin Kirk, Research Associates; Steven Hernandez, Paul Paz y Miño, Associates.

Advisory Committee

Stephen L. Kass, Chair; Marina Pinto Kaufman, David E. Nachman, Vice Chairs; Roland Algrant, Peter D. Bell, Robert L. Bernstein, Albert Bildner, Reed Brody, Paul Chevigny, Roberto Cuéllar, Dorothy Cullman, Patricia Derian, Adrian W. DeWind, Tom J. Farer, Alejandro Garro, Wendy Gimbel, John S. Gitlitz, James Goldston, Ronald G. Hellman, Wade J. Henderson, Alice H. Henkin, Bianca Jagger, Margaret A. Lang, Robert S. Lawrence, MD, Jocelyn McCalla, Theodor Meron, John B. Oakes, Victor Penchaszadeh, Clara A. AZazi@ Pope, Bruce Rabb, Tina Rosenberg, Jean-Marie Simon, George Soros, Eric Stover, Rose Styron, Jorge Valls, Horacio Verbitsky, José Zalaquett.

Human Rights Watch/Asia


Sidney Jones, Executive Director; Mike Jendrzejczyk, Washington Director; Robin Munro, Hong Kong Office Director; Patricia Gossman, Senior Researcher; Zunetta Liddell, Research Associate; Jeannine Guthrie, NGO Liaison; Paul Lall, Olga Nousias, Associates; Milbert Shin, Mickey Spiegel, Joyce Wan, Consultants.

Advisory Committee

Andrew Nathan, Chair; Orville Schell, Vice Chair; Maureen Aung-Thwin, Edward J. Baker, Harry Barnes, Robert L. Bernstein, Julie Brill, Jerome Cohen, Adrian W. DeWind, Clarence Dias, Dolores A. Donovan, Adrienne Germain, Merle Goldman, James C. Goodale, Deborah M. Greenberg, Jack Greenberg, Paul Hoffman, Sharon Hom, Rounaq Jahan, Virginia Leary, Daniel Lev, Betty Levin, Perry Link, Rt. Rev. Paul Moore, Jr., Yuri Orlov, Victoria Riskin, Sheila Rothman, Barnett Rubin, James Scott, Eric Stover, Maya Wiley.

Human Rights Watch/Helsinki


Holly Cartner, Executive Director; Rachel Denber, Moscow Office Director; John MacLeod, Central Asia Office Director; Fred Abrahams, Erika Dailey, Christopher Panico, Diane Paul, Research Associates; Alexander Petrov, Assistant Moscow Office Director; Ivan Lupis, I. Maxine Marcus, Research Assistants; Liudmila Belova, Malcolm Hawkes, Emily Shaw, Juliet Wilson, Associates.

Advisory Committee

Jonathan Fanton, Chair; Alice H. Henkin, Vice Chair; M. Bernard Aidinoff, Roland Algrant, Robert L. Bernstein, Charles Biblowit, Martin Blumenthal, Roberta Cohen, Lori Damrosch, Istvan Deak, Adrian W. DeWind, Fr. Robert Drinan, Stanley Engelstein, Ellen Futter, Willard Gaylin. M.D., Michael Gellert, John Glusman, Paul Goble, Jack Greenberg, Rita E. Hauser, Robert James, Rhoda Karpatkin, Stephen L. Kass, Bentley Kassal, Marina Pinto Kaufman, Joanne Landy, Margaret A. Lang, Leon Levy, Wendy Luers, Theodor Meron, Deborah Milenkovitch, Toni Morrison, John B. Oakes, Herbert Okun, Jane Olson, Yuri Orlov, Srdja Popovic, Bruce Rabb, Peter Reddaway, Stuart Robinowitz, John G. Ryden, Herman Schwartz, Stanley K. Sheinbaum, Jerome J. Shestack, George Soros, Susan Weber Soros, Michael Sovern, Fritz Stern, Svetlana Stone, Rose Styron, Liv Ullman, Gregory Wallance, Rosalind C. Whitehead, William D. Zabel, Warren Zimmermann.

Human Rights Watch/Middle East


Eric Goldstein, Acting Executive Director; Virginia N. Sherry, Associate Director; Joe Stork, Advocacy Director; Fatemeh Ziai, Counsel; Shira Robinson, Awali Samara, Associates; Elahé Hicks, Consultant.

Advisory Committee

Gary G. Sick, Chair; Lisa Anderson, Bruce Rabb, Vice Chairs; Shaul Bakhash, M. Cherif Bassiouni, Hyman Bookbinder, Paul Chevigny, Helena Cobban, Patricia Derian, Stanley Engelstein, Edith Everett, Mansour Farhang, Rita E. Hauser, Rev. J. Bryan Hehir, Edy Kaufman, Marina Pinto Kaufman, Samir Khalaf, Judith Kipper, Pnina Lahav, Ann M. Lesch, Richard Maass, Stephen P. Marks, Philip Mattar, David K. Shipler, Sanford Solender, Shibley Telhami, Andrew Whitley, Napoleon B. Williams, Jr.

Human Rights Watch Arms Project


Joost R. Hiltermann, Director; Stephen D. Goose, Program Director; Ernst Jan Hogendoorn, Research Assistant; Rebecca Bell, Associate; Zahabia Adamaly, William M. Arkin, Katherine L. Austin, Andrew Cooper, Ann Peters, Monica Schurtman, Frank Smyth, Consultants.

Advisory Committee

Ken Anderson, Nicole Ball, Frank Blackaby, Frederick C. Cuny, Ahmed H. Esa, Bill Green, Alastair Hay, Lao Mong Hay, Di Hua, Frederick J. Knecht, Edward J. Laurance, Vincent McGee, Janne E. Nolan, Andrew J. Pierre, David Rieff, Julian Perry Robinson, Kumar Rupesinghe, John Ryle, Mohamed M. Sahnoun, Gary G. Sick, Torsten N. Wiesel, Thomas Winship.

Human Rights Watch Children's Rights Project


Lois Whitman, Director; Yodon Thonden, Counsel; Lee Tucker, Consultant.

Advisory Committee

Jane Green Schaller, Chair; Goldie Alfasi-Siffert, Roland Algrant, Michelle India Baird, Phyllis W. Beck, James Bell, Albina du Boisrouvray, Rachel Brett, Nicole Burrowes, Bernadine Dohrn, Fr. Robert Drinan, Barbara Finberg, Sanford J. Fox, Lisa Hedley, Anita Howe-Waxman, Eugene Isenberg, Kela Leon, Alan Levine, Hadassah Brooks Morgan, Prexy Nesbitt, Elena Nightingale, Martha J. Olson, Marta Santos Pais, Susan Rappaport, Jack Rendler, Robert G. Schwartz, Mark I. Soler, Lisa Sullivan, William Taggart, William L. Taylor, Geraldine Van Bueren, Peter Volmink, James D. Weill.

Human Rights Watch Women=s Rights Project


Dorothy Q. Thomas, Director; Regan E. Ralph, Washington Director; Samya Burney, LaShawn R. Jefferson, Research Associates; Kerry McArthur, Evelyn Miah, Associates; Robin Levi, Consultant; Jane Kim, Women=s Law and Public Policy Fellow; Kulsum Wakabi, Leadership and Advocacy for Women in Africa Fellow.

Advisory Committee

Kathleen Peratis, Chair; Nahid Toubia, Vice Chair; Mahnaz Afkhami, Abdullahi An-Na'im, Helen Bernstein, Alice Brown, Charlotte Bunch, Rhonda Copelon, Lisa Crooms, Patricia Derian, Gina Despres, Joan Dunlop, Mallika Dutt, Martha Fineman, Claire Flom, Adrienne Germain, Leslie Glass, Lisa Hedley, Zhu Hong, Stephen Isaacs, Marina Pinto Kaufman, Gara LaMarche, Wangari Maathai, Joyce Mends-Cole, Marysa Navarro-Aranguren, Donna Nevel, Susan Petersen, Celina Romany, Margaret Schuler, Domna Stanton.

Human Rights Watch California

Advisory Committee

Stanley K. Sheinbaum, Honorary, Chair; Mike Farrell, Jane Olson, Co-Chairs; Clara A. AZazi@ Pope, Vice Chair; Joan Willens Beerman, Rabbi Leonard Beerman, Justin Connolly, Alan Gleitsman, Danny Glover, Paul Hoffman, Barry Kemp, Maggie Kemp, Lynda Palevsky, Tracy Rice, Vicki Riskin, Cheri Rosche, Pippa Scott, Sid Sheinberg, Andrea Van de Kamp, Francis M. Wheat, Dianne Wittenberg, Stanley Wolpert.

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