Whereas the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948, sums up together political, civil, social, economic and cultural rights, Human Rights Watch selectively focuses only on political and civil rights, probably because they are the ones written in the US Constitution, ignoring the fundamental elements of social and economic rights.
This is the point Iranian diplomats at the United Nations want Kenneth Roth, the head of the NGO in New York, to recognize when they challenge HRW reports on Iran as flawed, by ignoring the fact that Iran has resisted US sanctions and economic terrorism for decades which is a fundamental human rights achievement yet to be realized anywhere else in the world. It is a testimony of the level of the Iranian government’s commitment to the well-being of all its people without yielding to US pressures and threats.
Comparatively, when you look at a country like the US, according to the USDA's 2019 report on Discrimination and Racism in the United States, more than 37 million people in the United States struggle with hunger, while another study conducted by Harvard Medical School, published in 2009, indicates that an estimated number of 45,000 people in the US die annually due to lack of medical coverage, while half a million people are homeless, and such vital issues are always absent in Human Rights Watch reports.
We have not talked about figures of racial and ethnic disparity in state prisons, as well as other cases of racial discrimination within the US justice system. Never mind that the US makes it to the list of the best 20 countries in the world for observing human rights! The Western media will always report that all is well. A wise counsel questions the moral authority of "looking at the speck of sawdust in someone's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye”.
In its reports, HRW has never accused the US government of violations of human rights for its inaction to fight racism, and ensure food security, housing and healthcare for its people, (social and economic rights), although under the international law, what HRW claims to promote as enshrined in the Universal Human Rights Declaration makes no separation between political and civil rights or social and economic rights! This clearly shows the biased methodology of selective investigation and reporting by HRW regarding Iran and other independent nations.
Additionally, HRW approaches human rights from the perspective that all things globally can be handled the same way regardless of the contextual realities and differences. The methods and means the US decides to fight “terrorism” in the Middle East and other parts of the world cannot be the same means Iran should use to fight armed terrorism threats in the region and at home.
The late Robert L. Bernstein, who was one of the co-founders of Human Rights Watch, strongly criticized the working of the organization under the leadership of Kenneth Roth. He described HRW as biased, and misrepresenting human rights issues in a number of countries around the world.
More so, in 2014, former UN Assistant Secretary-General Hans von Sponeck, Nobel Peace Laureates Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Mairead Corrigan, and over 100 scholars published an open letter criticizing HRW for being dominated by officials who had been serving in US foreign policy dockets.
With such background, HRW under Kenneth Roth is therefore, simply a smoke screen under the guise of human rights to serve a political agenda of its financiers at the expense of Iran and other like-minded nations.
That’s all folk. The argument does not suggest that Iran does not have any case of human rights issue. Human rights challenges are faced just like any other country in the world does. The point here is to understand how HRW deliberately distorts human rights realities in Iran and other countries all over the world that are considered to pursue independent and alternative models that challenge the hegemony of the US and its allies in the region and beyond.