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HRW Belatedly Appends Correction to its DRC Report, Still Silent on Ladsous

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 23 -- After Human Rights Watch rushed out a report focused almost entirely on the M23 during Monday afternoon's Security Council consultations about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Inner City Press and others noted an obvious mistake in it.

  HRW wrote that "M23 officers told Human Rights Watch that some of the Rwandan fighters in their units told them they had served in Somalia or Darfur as part of the Rwandan army’s peacekeeping contingent."

But as Inner City Press reported, with link to the Somalia peacekeeping mission's website, there have been no Rwandans in that mission. Inner City Press published it and noted, Maybe HRW will explain this -- and their failure to even mention the UN Human Rights Due Diligence Policy, of which UN Peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous has made a mockery, with the 391st Battalion and otherwise.

  What HRW did was append a correction to their online report -- they did not send out the correction by the same social media they used to publicize the original erroneous report. They said:

"Correction: Human Rights Watch’s news release of July 22 on the Democratic Republic of Congo contained an error. It said that Rwandan soldiers had served with the peacekeeping contingent in Somalia and Darfur. In fact, Rwandan peacekeepers served in Darfur but not in Somalia.

"Only one of those we interviewed mentioned Somalia (whereas others mentioned Darfur). We erred in including it because we ordinarily do not rely on only one uncorroborated witness in our publications. This was a mistake on our part. However, more than 50 witnesses, corroborated and cross-checked, confirmed the key findings of our press release about continuing Rwandan support for the M23. These findings are accurate and we fully stand behind them."

  In front of the UN Security Council Tuesday morning, Inner City  Press asked Rwandan Permanent Representative Eugene-Richard Gasana about HRW and he laughed. There were some attempts to defend HRW's error -- without any reference to them being exposed in December 2012 as making payments in connection with "testimony" about M23.

  "They should correct the entire report," Gasana said.

  "They have," one media claimed, falsely (see above). Gasana continued, "They need it for their business, Rwanda is their niche market... They need Rwanda to have their raison d'etre." He concluded that HRW has "zero credibility."

  Again, it is telling that HRW, with Human Rights in its name, issued a report with recommendations to the UN that did not even mention the UN's Human Rights Due Diligence Policy and Ladsous' glaring failure to implement it, from rape to desecration. On that, the credibility meter of both HRW and Ladsous and their knee-jerk defenders and coterie is running low. Watch this site.


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