Peter Tatchell

The New York based Human Rights Watch has apologised to British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell for making “inappropriate and disparaging” comments about him.

The statements against Tatchell were made by the head of HRW’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) programme, Scott Long, over a period of time and specifically in an essay published in the March 2009 issue of the journal Contemporary Politics.

Long accused Tatchell, among other things, of being anti-Muslim. “This essay made inaccurate allegations. It grossly misrepresented and denigrated my campaigns in defence of gay people persecuted by Iran and in opposition to Islamist fundamentalism,” said Tatchell.

“I have always made a clear distinction between Muslim people in general and the Islamist extremists who oppose human rights, including the human rights of fellow Muslims,” he added.

In a statement, Long said: “Although we have our different viewpoints, I respect Peter Tatchell’s contribution to human rights and apologise for any condemnatory and intemperate allegations made in haste and for any inaccurate statements made in my personal capacity.”

Tatchell in turn said that he accepted the apology. “It is time to forgive and move on. For me, this closes the matter. The attacks on me are in the past. I look forward to working with HRW and Scott Long in the future,” he said.

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