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Nov 04 2020

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Human Rights in this Moment

Image by Oxfam America

 

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

As I write, people in the United States have cast their ballots, but the will of the electorate is not yet clear. We are entering a moment of uncertainty while the votes are counted, and the predictable political and legal battles are waged.

The stakes are enormous. Human Rights Watch will be devoting the time and resources that this difficult period demands. We will be guided by our commitment to careful and objective fact-finding, and to certain overriding principles:

  • We will insist that every vote counts. We will monitor and resist any maneuver designed to deprive people of their democratic right to choose their leader.
  • We will uphold the right to peaceful assembly. Given the passions of the moment, we can expect people to take to the streets. That is their right, and we will insist that it be protected.
  • We will monitor demonstrations to deter violence, whether it comes from law-enforcement officials using excessive force, the protesters themselves, or counter-protesters seeking to curtail the rights of others.
  • We will track the rhetoric of leading politicians and officials and call out anyone who encourages violence, promotes lawlessness, or undermines the democratic process.
  • And we will seek to uphold the rule of law—the duty of election officials and others to honestly and conscientiously apply the law and respect the will of the voters regardless of the result.

These are difficult times. Our best way forward—the way to ensure that the voice of the people is heard and respected—is to abide by these guiding principles of human rights. I know we can rise to the challenge because we have such a dedicated Human Rights Watch community—staff, committee and board members, and supporters—who understand the importance of this moment.

With vigilance,
Ken Roth
Human Rights Watch
Executive Director

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