Friday, November 28, 2008

Government Blasts back at HRW Report

Four ministers in Joseph Kabila's government held a press conference yesterday to denounce a recently published Human Rights Watch report that condemned the government's growing authoritarianism. The four ministers variously argued that the report was inaccurate, failed to prove its allegations, ignored the (greater) violations of the rebels, and neglected to take note of the government's progress. One minister argued that HRW had a history of bias against the government and was therefore suspect.

On the whole, it's a positive thing when a government is forced to address a report on human rights abuses, even when it does so in a meretricious manner. One can hardly imagine North Korean officials holding a public press conference on such a topic; come to think of it, it's hard to imagine the Bush administration opting for such openness. (For the past four years or so, the typical U.S. press conference has gone about like this: "Who--Us? Torture? Never. Because if we do it, it's not torture. Next question.")

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