Human Rights Watch apologises to Peter Tatchell
Untrue allegations by Scott Long, Director of HRW's LGBT Programme
“Inappropriate, disparaging, inaccurate, condemnatory and intemperate personal attacks,” acknowledges HRW
London – 30 June 2010
Human Rights Watch (HRW) has made a full and unreserved apology to human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
The apology has been made by HRW’s Executive Director, Kenneth Roth, in New York.
It says sorry for a series of untrue, vicious and sectarian personal attacks on Mr Tatchell, made by Scott Long, the head of HRW’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) programme.
A copy of the apology letter follows below, including statements by Kenneth Roth, Scott Long and Peter Tatchell.
The apology by Human Rights Watch acknowledges that Mr Long made a series of “inappropriate...disparaging...inaccurate...condemnatory...intemperate personal attacks” on Peter Tatchell.
“I thank Kenneth Roth and HRW for their gracious and fulsome apology. Their readiness to acknowledge the wrong done and say sorry is commendable. My appreciation also to Scott Long for conceding his false allegations and apologising. It can’t have been easy for him. He has shown dignity and humility. I appreciate that,” said Mr Tatchell.
“I accept the apologies. It is time to forgive and move on. For me, this closes the matter. The attacks on me are in the past. I look forward to working with HRW and Scott Long in the future.
“Despite this unfortunate episode, my admiration for HRW’s inspiring, effective work is undiminished. It is documenting tyranny and oppression all across the world; exposing human rights abusers and defending the victims. I urge people to support its humanitarian endeavours,” said Mr Tatchell.
Referring to the nature of the attacks on him by Scott Long, Peter Tatchell added:
“I defend the right of people to criticise me. But Mr Long’s attacks went beyond criticism. He made false allegations, which misrepresented my human rights campaigns. It is these untrue claims that are the focus of my objections.
“There is also evidence which appears to link the HRW headquarters, where Mr Long worked, with an apparently invented online persona and sock puppet - a ‘Muslim’ LGBT activist, Zayed Salloum - who lavished praise on Mr Long and disparaged me with false insinuations.
For an exposure of ‘Zayed Salloum’ see here: http://goo.gl/GRZe8
“Mr Long’s falsehoods and personal attacks were many and varied. There was a defamatory, inaccurate essay written by him, which appeared in the March 2009 issue of the journal Contemporary Politics, published by Routledge, which is part of the Taylor and Francis publishing group.”
The essay was entitled: “How western activists (mis)recognise sexuality in Iran”
It included 20 smears and false allegations against Tatchell.
“Scott Long’s essay made inaccurate allegations. It grossly misrepresented and denigrated my campaigns in defence of gay people persecuted by Iran and in opposition to Islamist fundamentalism,” added Mr Tatchell.
“I acted in good faith when I opposed the execution of Iranians accused of homosexuality and when I campaigned against fundamentalist Islam in Britain and worldwide.
“Contrary to Mr Long’s claims, I never accused the 13 year-old victim of an alleged rape in Iran of ‘wanting the rape.’ Nor am I guilty of ‘belittling violent sexual assault, and blaming the victim.’ These are outright fabrications.
In addition, Mr Long accused me of me ‘going after’ British Muslims and adopting a ‘bullying tone’ towards the Muslim community in Britain. This is also untrue. I have always made a clear distinction between Muslim people in general and the Islamist extremists who oppose human rights, including the human rights of fellow Muslims. Indeed, I have often defended Muslim communities, in Britain and worldwide, against prejudice and persecution. I will continue to do so.
“Sectarian smears against human rights defenders are wrong and counter-productive. We should support each other in our shared commitment to universal human rights,” concluded Mr Tatchell.
This is the full text of the Human Rights Watch statement and apology:
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