n African Human Rights Law Journal - A comment on the Human Rights Watch report 'Unprotected migrants : Zimbabweans in South Africa's Limpopo Province' : recent developments

Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



On 10 August 2006, Human Rights Watch (HRW) presented its latest report, 'Unprotected migrants: Zimbabweans in South Africa's Limpopo Province', at a seminar held at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Rosebank. HRW is the non-governmental human rights organisation (NGO) with the highest global profile, ranked perhaps with Amnesty International. HRW, however, differs significantly from Amnesty International, which works in part through local chapters open to all. HRW works exclusively by having permanent and consulting staff that carry out its research and advocacy work. 'Unprotected migrants' was thus the product of Ford Foundation-funded research principally conducted by two nonresident consultants employed directly by HRW's Africa Division, one of whom travelled to Limpopo Province in late April and early May 2006, consulting with local NGOs there. While debatable, the loss in local knowledge and throughput for the local human rights community for this kind of human rights reporting is arguably offset by the gain in independence, review by New York-based persons with human rights advocacy experience as well as perhaps by greater global exposure of the findings of the report. Furthermore, the Johannesburg workshop organised and hosted by HRW in an open and consultative manner demonstrates the sensitivity of HRW to the concern of facilitating and fostering local advocacy efforts.

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