Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch since 1993, has investigated human rights abuses around the globe, with special expertise on issues of justice and accountability for atrocities committed[…]
Darfur, Eastern Congo, North Korea, Burma to name a few.
There are many big human rights challenges today. On the one hand there are the mass atrocities – places like Darfur or Eastern Congo where . . . where many, many people are killed and displaced. There are highly repressive governments – say North Korea, or Burma, or Uzbekistan, or Turkmenistan – where just the severity of the government repression deserves attention. There are places where wars have become so chaotic that . . . that the lack of government is a problem. I think Iraq is an example of that. So in that sense there are many situations where . . . where violence and repression call out for urgent attention. But there are other, you know, quieter forms of abuse that we tend not to . . . you tend not to see in the headlines, but that nonetheless affect many, many people quite severely. And here I think about, say, the severe restrictions on the rights of women that exist in many parts of the world. I think about migrant workers who are forced to travel long distances, and in a foreign environment often are . . . exist completely without respect for rights, wholly at the whim of their employer. I think about, you know, children who may be drafted to be soldiers – you know physically seized and coerced to become soldiers. Or who have to serve as . . . as domestics in lieu of going to school. So there are many of these quieter issues that don’t get into the headlines, but that are also acute problems as well.
Recorded on: 8/14/07