NGO (Non-Government Organization) Monitor Professor Gerald Steinberg charged on Monday that human rights organizations “have released no more than a token demand” for the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. He cited Human Rights Watch and Oxfam for their silence in efforts to free the soldier, abducted on June 25, 2006.
“Their shameful silence on Shalit's fate amounts to a betrayal of universal human rights,” he stated. His captors’ denial of visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) violates the Geneva Convention, “a grave contravention of one of the foundations of international humanitarian law.”
Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas, Army of Islam and Popular Resistance Committees terrorists in an attack on an IDF outpost at a Gaza crossing, where two other soldiers were killed and a fourth was gravely wounded.
Prof. Steinberg also singled out the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem for neglecting the plight of Shalit and his family, who have no proof of whether he is alive, or of his physical and psychological condition.
Exactly one year after Shalit was kidnapped, B’Tselem issued a four-paragraph release stating only, “The circumstances of his capture and the behavior of his captors clearly indicate that he is a hostage.”
Similarly, added Professor Steinberg, "Beyond isolated examples, Amnesty [International], which was founded to campaign on behalf of political prisoners, has done nothing to campaign for Shalit's fundamental human rights.”
He noted that human rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch and Oxfam, who have continually condemned Israel for events in Gaza, “have issued “no more than a token demand for Shalit's release.”
Last November, the British branch of Oxfam issued an urgent appeal on the British Broadcasting Corp. (BBC) on behalf of Gaza citizens -- but made no mention of Shalit.
The conduct of the human rights groups is “immoral,” according to the NGO Monitor, which focuses on critical analysis and debate on the political role of human rights organizations.