The Saudi corrupted Human Rights Watch selects proponent of terrorism as finalist for award
Several Washington-based human rights groups are facing criticism for awarding two radical Egyptian Islamists who have endorsed terrorism and expressed hostility towardÂ Israel.
Human Rights WatchÂ (HRW) came under fire earlier this week after it selectedÂ Mona Seif, an Egyptian terrorist sympathizer who callsÂ IsraelÂ the “real terrorist,” as a finalist for the prestigiousÂ Martin EnnalsÂ Award for Human Rights Defenders.
“We urge you, as Chair of the Jury and Secretary of the Board, to immediately cancelÂ Ms. Seif’s nomination on grounds of her public advocacy of violence against civilians, terrorism and war crimes, which is in gross breach of the Award criteria of ‘promotion and protection of human rights,’ the group wrote to foundation headÂ Hans Thoolen.
Meanwhile, the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) was criticized last month when it handed a “Leaders for Democracy” award to a formerÂ Muslim BrotherhoodÂ official who referred to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks as “an act of protest against U.S. foreign policy.”
Middle East experts and critics maintain that it is hypocritical and dangerous for Western groups to champion such radical figures as agents of democracy.
“The fact that so many democracy awards are being given to people who do not embrace democratic values suggests that the very notion of ‘pro-democratic’ is being defined down,” saidÂ Eric Trager, anÂ EgyptÂ expert and senior fellow at theÂ Washington InstituteÂ for Near East Policy.
“Most disturbingly, pro-democratic and human rights organizations, which should be at the forefront of advancing democratic ideals, are the ones overlooking these awardees’ blatantly violent views and thus contributing to this defining down,”Â TragerÂ said.
“We are shocked to learn that Human RightsÂ WatchÂ has joined with others in namingÂ Mona SeifÂ ofÂ EgyptÂ as one of three Final Nominees for the 2013Â Martin EnnalsÂ Award for Human Rights Defendersâ€”termed by some ‘the Nobel for human rights’â€”on whose jury you play a key role,” the letter states.
“By rewarding a person with a pattern and practice of publicly inciting to violence against civilians, terrorism, and war crimes, you are dishonoring and indeed desecrating the memory and legacy of human rights activistÂ Martin Ennals,”Â UNÂ Watch wrote.
AÂ HRWÂ spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon that they were still waiting on official comment about the controversy.