The priorities of Human Rights Watch (updated)

Muslim women are punished as adulterers after being raped. Darfurians are being slaughtered. Iran is cracking down on the way women dress. Homosexuals live in mortal peril throughout much the Islamic world. So what is Soros-funded Human Rights Watch worried about?

That's right: Wal-Mart.

Kris Maher writes in the Wall Street Journal:

A human-rights group released a critical report on Wal-Mart Stores Inc., alleging the retailer used security cameras to spy on union sympathizers and planted supervisors alongside pro-union workers to monitor activities, among other actions that violated federal labor laws.

The 210-page report by Human Rights Watch is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the company's actions during union organizing drives, according to labor professors. It examines dozens of drives at a U.S. Wal-Mart store between 2000 and 2005 and cites 15 decisions by the National Labor Relations Board that found Wal-Mart violated labor laws during those drives.

Wal-Mart isn't buying it:

The Bentonville, Ark., retailer criticized the Human Rights Watch report and said it was motivated by a political agenda. "This pro-union report uses incomplete interviews and unsubstantiated allegations from as much as six to seven years ago to support a union-backed bill before Congress," said David Tovar, director of communications at Wal-Mart. "We remain committed to compliance with U.S. laws regarding workers' right to unionize." Human Rights Watch is funded primarily by individuals and charitable groups and said it receives no contributions from unions.

Here's a thought: visit your local Wal-Mart, look at the employees, and ask yourself if they are comparable to Darfurians, Saudi women, or Russian opponents of Putin in terms of their human rights.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Update: Justin Latterell writes from a hotmail account:

Mr. Lifson asks a reasonable question about Human Rights Watch's priorities in his post today:

"Muslim women are punished as adulterers after being raped. Darfurians are being slaughtered. Iran is cracking down on the way women dress. Homosexuals live in mortal peril throughout much the Islamic world. So what is Soros-funded Human Rights Watch worried about?"

With regard to those issues, Mr. Lifson may be interested in reviewing the following links, respectively:


If American Thinker is truly "devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans", it seems appropriate to acknowledge that Human Rights Watch's concern for the rights of American workers does not preclude their being "worried" about the rights of persecuted women, Darfurians, or homosexuals in other countries.

Thomas Lifson responds:

All well and good, but irrelevant to the point of my item. I never stated that HRW ignores these areas, but rather that Wal-Mart is not exactly in the same category. It is, as the headline puts it a matter of "priorities." HRW has plenty of real problems to address. Expanding the UFCW union is a silly priority for an organization with such a grave set of issues before it.
Muslim women are punished as adulterers after being raped. Darfurians are being slaughtered. Iran is cracking down on the way women dress. Homosexuals live in mortal peril throughout much the Islamic world. So what is Soros-funded Human Rights Watch worried about?

That's right: Wal-Mart.

Kris Maher writes in the Wall Street Journal:

A human-rights group released a critical report on Wal-Mart Stores Inc., alleging the retailer used security cameras to spy on union sympathizers and planted supervisors alongside pro-union workers to monitor activities, among other actions that violated federal labor laws.

The 210-page report by Human Rights Watch is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the company's actions during union organizing drives, according to labor professors. It examines dozens of drives at a U.S. Wal-Mart store between 2000 and 2005 and cites 15 decisions by the National Labor Relations Board that found Wal-Mart violated labor laws during those drives.

Wal-Mart isn't buying it:

The Bentonville, Ark., retailer criticized the Human Rights Watch report and said it was motivated by a political agenda. "This pro-union report uses incomplete interviews and unsubstantiated allegations from as much as six to seven years ago to support a union-backed bill before Congress," said David Tovar, director of communications at Wal-Mart. "We remain committed to compliance with U.S. laws regarding workers' right to unionize." Human Rights Watch is funded primarily by individuals and charitable groups and said it receives no contributions from unions.

Here's a thought: visit your local Wal-Mart, look at the employees, and ask yourself if they are comparable to Darfurians, Saudi women, or Russian opponents of Putin in terms of their human rights.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Update: Justin Latterell writes from a hotmail account:

Mr. Lifson asks a reasonable question about Human Rights Watch's priorities in his post today:

"Muslim women are punished as adulterers after being raped. Darfurians are being slaughtered. Iran is cracking down on the way women dress. Homosexuals live in mortal peril throughout much the Islamic world. So what is Soros-funded Human Rights Watch worried about?"

With regard to those issues, Mr. Lifson may be interested in reviewing the following links, respectively:


If American Thinker is truly "devoted to the thoughtful exploration of issues of importance to Americans", it seems appropriate to acknowledge that Human Rights Watch's concern for the rights of American workers does not preclude their being "worried" about the rights of persecuted women, Darfurians, or homosexuals in other countries.

Thomas Lifson responds:

All well and good, but irrelevant to the point of my item. I never stated that HRW ignores these areas, but rather that Wal-Mart is not exactly in the same category. It is, as the headline puts it a matter of "priorities." HRW has plenty of real problems to address. Expanding the UFCW union is a silly priority for an organization with such a grave set of issues before it.