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HRW Names 2 Investment Bankers as  Chairs, From Bogota to S&P, Conflicts?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 22 -- Who does Human Rights Watch work for? On Monday HRW named two new co-chairs of its board of directors, and even after the financial meltdown and despite the overlap of HRW's work on international financial markets, both are investment bankers.

  Could this be a conflict of interest? Separately, why have both co-chairs be from the same (financial services) industry? The same industry as HRW's main funder, so recently (and inaccurately) eulogized by Reuters?

  The first list co-chair is Joel Motley of Public Capital Advisors, the website of which brags of its expertise in “international financial markets.” They have an office in Bogota, Colombia. Couldn't these be a conflict?

  The second listed co-chair is is Hassan Elmasry of Independent Franchise Partners, listed as a top 10 owner of the S&P rating agency.

  This while questions swirl around the credit rating agencies' role in the subprime global financial meltdown which has harmed social and economic rights worldwide. Conflict? What safeguards are in place?

  Inner City Press has repeatedly asked HRW to at least summarize what issues its Ken Roth raised to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. For example, did Roth and HRW raise to Ban the issue of the UN dismissing claims it brought cholera to Haiti?

 The UN's planned use of drones in the Democratic Republic of Congo and now Cote d'Ivoire?

  HRW replied that it would not even summarize the issues, in order to maintain access. Then Inner City Press was taken and remains off the distribution list of HRW's canned comments, though it covers the UN.

  Not for nothing, but could HRW be raising, even indirectly, issues of its investment banking co-chairs or “international financial markets”? This is why they should answer such questions. Watch this site.

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