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Founder of Human Rights Watch : 40 years Ago, the situation was even more desperate

Mr Neier, have been adopted in recent years in many countries, laws that criminalize rights activists and their work will hinder, for example, in Russia, Israel, Hungary. How can Germany respond?

the Germany international must take action against such laws position. He is most effective but, if the European Union concluded, however, goes on and Germany is not alone acts. I also think that symbolic acts against States that do not adopt such laws – for example, if the Ambassador appear at official ceremonies – do more than punitive measures such as economic sanctions.

were you between 1993 and 2012 President of the Open Society Foundation of George Soros. The is attacked for the work of his Foundation more and more. The role of Philanthropists is changing?

In many countries, it is still difficult to collect at the local level, donations to human rights organizations. There you have to rely on international foundations. People who donate could be, rich is often in these countries have economic relations with the government. They fear reprisals if they support human rights organizations. The human rights movement needs to organize itself in the world more, to collect small amounts from local sources and less from international donors. This is still the case, and is dangerous, as we can see on the example of Russia. There, the Open Society barely supported human rights activists, because we would endanger the adoption of the Anti-NGO laws.

How you see the world today?

40 years Ago, the Situation was much worse than it is today. At that time, the Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc were still alive. China had just survived the cultural revolution. In Latin America a military dictatorship prevailed in almost every country, with torture, disappearances, and death squads. Similarly bad is the Situation in East Asia: the Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia and Taiwan. The Vietnam war came to an end and in South Africa, the apartheid system prevailed. At the worst, it was probably in Cambodia, where the Khmer Rouge had killed a quarter of the population.

What's better?

In the 1980s and ' 90s, we have made good progress, what are the enforcement of the human rights concerns around the world. This progress ended with the terrorist attacks of September 11. September 2001, and with the developments in the following years. For various reasons, the right-wing populism has been growing worldwide. Today, the situation looks desperate. But 40 years ago she was desperate.

Under President Donald Trump, the US has withdrawn from the responsibility in the fight for human rights. Who can fill the gap?

Canada is taking on a significant role, particularly in the reception of Refugees. Also Norway and Sweden are important. Since then, Trump ruled, was Germany the most important country for the strengthening of human rights. Germany has been very active in learning for individual fates of persecuted human rights.

Nevertheless, many criticize the attitude of the German government, for example, due to the cooperation with the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan...

Germany was on Erdogan instructed to limit the number of Syrian refugees who wanted to go to Germany. Germany is cooperating with Turkey, but also takes great effort to regain on the field of human rights compromises. The German government is not silent on human rights violations in Turkey. I think it's very good.

Berlin is a place of refuge for displaced persons, political activists. The Open Society Foundation is pulled from Budapest here...

Here you will welcome us back. Angela Merkel may be criticised for many things, but she was certainly one of the most important Defenders of liberal values in the world.

Do you Worry about what comes after her?

Yes, but I'm afraid, nothing Terrible. I think in Germany there is enough support for the values that it represents.

founded HRW, they thought at the time that you have reached your goal in the protection of human rights at the end of your life?

no. Human rights violations will always exist. Our task is to limit the damage. The main goal is to create a broad Public for violations of human rights. We have achieved that: The international reaction to the assassination of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi were far more important than in many cases in the past. Carl von Ossietzky, for example, who received in 1936 the Nobel peace prize, and the Nazis was murdered, has not attained to its time so much international attention.

you Stay in spite of "Fake News" and disinformation campaigns to be optimistic?

For all the difficulties, the governments with "Fake News" and right-wing populist forces, continues to grow the awareness of human rights violations. Compared with the level ten or twenty years ago, the awareness is higher today. This does not prevent certain atrocities, but it creates a border.

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Aryeh Neier, 81, was born in Berlin. In 1981, he founded the global Human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW).

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