BBC ignores HRW’s dodgy donation

BBC audiences have seen no reporting of a story concerning one of its most quoted and promoted NGOs.

As regular readers are no doubt aware, the BBC is usually very quick off the mark when it comes to providing amplification for reports, campaigns or talking points promoted by the political NGO ‘Human Rights Watch’ (HRW).

Nevertheless, we have yet to find any BBC coverage (including on its website’s ‘human rights’ page) of a recent story concerning that organisation.

On February 27th HRW put out a “Statement on Return of Donation” which opens:

“In 2012, Human Rights Watch made a deeply regrettable decision to accept a donation that included conditions that the funds not be used to support HRW’s work on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in the Middle East and North Africa. We also regret that the grant was made by the owner of a company that Human Rights Watch had previously identified as complicit in labor rights abuse. This decision stood in stark contrast to our core values and our longstanding commitment to LGBT rights as an integral part of human rights. Accepting a grant with such a condition was anathema to HRW’s commitment to protecting the human rights of all people.”

That statement – which does not name the donor – was made in light of an investigation by ‘The Intercept’.

“Human Rights Watch recently returned the gift from Saudi real estate magnate Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, which came with the caveat that it could not be used to support the group’s LGBT advocacy in the Middle East and North Africa. The controversial donation is at the center of a contentious internal debate about the judgment and leadership of Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth.

After The Intercept began investigating the donation, the rights group published a statement on its website saying that accepting the funding was a “deeply regrettable decision” that “stood in stark contrast to our core values and our longstanding commitment to LGBT rights as an integral part of human rights.”

The 2012 grant from Al Jaber’s U.K.-based charitable foundation amounted to $470,000, Roth told The Intercept, adding that a “final pledge installment was never realized.””

This is of course not the first example of dubious fundraising by HRW. BBC audiences, however, have to date seen no reporting on the story.

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