Monday, February 16, 2009

Human rights' giant dies in plane crash

Last Thursday, 49 people were killed when a plane crashed near Buffalo, NY. One of the victims was Alison Des Forges of Human Rights Watch.

Des Forges was regarded as the world's leading expert on the 1994 Rwandan genocide and its aftermath and has testified many times at the Rwanda war crimes tribunal in Arusha, Tanzania. She wrote the report "Leave None to Tell the Story," which is considered the seminal work on the genocide, as well as several other influential reports on post-genocide Rwanda.

HRW adds, Clear-eyed and even-handed, Des Forges made herself unpopular in Rwanda by insisting that the rebel Rwandan Patriotic Front forces, which defeated the genocidal regime, should also be held to account for their crimes, including the murder of 30,000 people during and just after the genocide.

Though "just" a human rights activist, Des Forges was one of those people who made a huge impact on behalf of justice from a position of little inherent power. She was an inspiration to human rights activists and proponents around the world.

Des Forges was 66.

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