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Ukraine: "Fighting is Fierce" in Battle for Soledar; Climate Activists Call it a Conflict of Interest, Urge him to Step Down; UAE Appoints State Oil Boss as President of COP28; Report Highlights Russia's War in Ukraine and Iran's Crackdown on Protesters; Human Rights Watch Releases Report on Worldwide Abuses. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired January 12, 2023 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST, CONNECT THE WORLD: This hour conflicting messages on the status of Ukraine's Soledar. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome
back to "Connect the World" wherever you are watching you are more than welcome. Ukraine reports intense fighting in the small town that has become
the latest flashpoint in nearly 11 months of war.
Well, Ukraine says for now, its soldiers are battling fiercely and are holding out. Its military also reports overnight strikes in the area killed
100 Russian soldiers that cannot be confirmed. The Kremlin continues to hold back on the claim from the Wagner Group Chief that his soldiers have
A spokesperson saying today that Russian backed forces has put in enormous effort there. But the main work is still ahead. Well, a clearer picture is
emerging of the level of destruction in the town. You can see it in these before and after satellite photos, eerie scenes reminiscent of Mariupol
leaving and other Ukrainian cities and towns before that were practically wiped out by Russian attacks.
Ben Wedeman back with us this hour from Kramatorsk in Eastern Ukraine. You were close to if not inside, or certainly as close as you could get to
Soledar you and your team Ben, for the benefit of those viewers who weren't with us last hour just describe what you understand to be the situation
there? And why it is that this matters so much?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well Becky, we've just actually received a statement from the 42nd separate air mobile brigade 46
excuse me, which is operating in Soledar. And they say that after several days of having to pull back, they actually made some small advances in
Of course Soledar is really just a town of 10,000 people. The 46 says that they are now in control of the railway and the mine in that town. But what
we saw when we were on the outskirts of Soledar is that the situation not only in the town, but around it is perilous.
WEDEMAN (voice over): Medics load a wounded soldier onto an ambulance, another casualty from the embattled town of Soledar. It varies depending on
the number of casualties on the front lines. Russian forces mostly troops from the Wagner Group, the private military company claimed to have control
of the entire Soledar territory.
The battle for Soledar may be in its final stages and it doesn't appear to be going well for the Ukrainians. And if indeed the Russians do emerge
victorious, the villages around it may be the next to fall. Ukraine's helicopters still flying sorties, its forces aren't giving ground easily.
One soldier says it's difficult but we're hanging in there. Despite the fighting, you guys staying put with her pigs and cows in her home in a
nearby village. We won't leave she says. You can only die once. I will not abandon my house.
Her 81-year-old mother Ludmila (ph) has lived here for more than 40 years. She had a good life here she says. He heads the Soledar Military
Administration. I'm delivering aid he says and reminding people they need to evacuate before it's too late. She says she'll heed his call. Everyone
is tired she tells me. We can't take it any longer. As Soledar burns, there is little time to waste.
WEDEMAN: And despite the intensity of the fighting in Soledar from a strategic point of view, this small town really isn't that important. The
Russians have really been throwing everything they could they have at it and of course, particularly this the Wagner Group this private military
company really because the Russians need to show after months of setbacks going back to the summer.
WEDEMAN: They need to show that they can achieve a victory. But it's a victory that comes at a very high price. According to some estimates, more
than 4000 Russian soldiers from the army and from the Wagner Group have been killed in the process of this battle.
Now, we don't know how many Ukrainian soldiers have been killed? Certainly what we heard from those medics is they do have fairly high casualty
numbers as well. But even if Soledar falls, it may not make a huge difference on the strategic situation Becky.
ANDERSON: Ben Wedeman is in Kramatorsk for you this evening in Ukraine. Well, last hour, I spoke to a Former Ukrainian Defense Minister, who is
downplaying the strategic importance of Soledar. Andriy Zagorodnyuk says that Russia is intent on capturing the town for other reasons, have a
listen to what he told me.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDRIY ZAGORODNYUK, FORMER UKRAINIAN DEFENSE MINISTER: On the battlefield, we see an attempt to deliver at least some good news for Russian command
for Russian President because Soledar has no - every Ukrainian town and every Ukrainian village is important for us.
But its strategic meaning from like battlefield perspective is not that significant is not actually significance at all in a way. And so,
essentially, the reason why there is so much pressure there is simply because they have chosen it as a place which they for, you know, there will
spare no expense to get there.
And they will try to show this as some major victory. They needed those, you know, those news delivered to the command. That's actually the main
reason why they're struggling so much for Soledar. And of course, we understand that there is a massive internal politicking happening in
between the military commanders.
There is in fact, a parallel army rising up in Russia with a completely parallel command. And it's not even controlled operationally in the
battlefield by Russian Armed Forces. And of course, they are competing with the main major armed forces and the reappointment of - as the Head of the
Of course, it means that the old the leader of the armed forces is still preserving the power they still concentrate the decision making process and
they were able to regain the status for - because for a long time, he was almost ousted from any decision making process.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And our website has a lot more on the change in Russian war commanders including why one UK Military Analyst says getting the job now
is akin to receiving a poisoned chalice and may actually be a demotion? That is cnn.com on your computer or through the CNN app on your smartphone.
Well, the UK is expressing outrage over plans to execute a dual citizen in Iran. Iranian media report that Alireza Akbari is accused of spying for
Britain something officials there adamantly deny. Well, Iran is already being criticized for imposing death sentences on more than a dozen
protesters, several of whom have already been executed.
Amnesty International calls the executions "A killing spree". CNN's Nada Bashir is with us from London where officials Nada are enraged about the
death sentence on that dual national. What are the details what do we know at this point?
NADA BASHIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. I mean, we've seen the criticism over the last few weeks with regards to the brutal crackdown with
regards to the wave of executions that we're seeing in Iran.
Now of course, we are hearing the alarm bells being sounded in the UK over the possible imminent execution of a dual British Iranian national Alireza
Akbari, who was reportedly arrested back in 2019. But he's now facing the death sentence.
He is convicted by the Iranian authorities of allegedly spying on behalf of the United Kingdom while he was an official in Iran formally working under
the defense ministry there. But there is significant concern around his safety and security.
We understand according to media in Iran that his legal representatives have previously attempted to appeal this sentence that has been denied the
sentence upheld by the Supreme Court and of course, we have seen these executions being carried out before in Iran.
The concern now is that there could be very little that the international community that the United Kingdom can do to sway the Iranian authorities
when it comes to overturning this decision. Now we've heard from UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly he took to Twitter yesterday to comment on this
He said in his tweet Iran must halt the execution of British Iranian National Alireza Akbari and immediately release him.
BASHIR: This is a politically motivated act by a barbaric regime that has total disregard for human life. Now CNN has reached out to the British
Foreign Office, they say they are supporting Mr. Akbari's family that they are working closely to try and secure his release and have also demanded
But as we've seen in the past, with these sorts of cases, the Iranian authorities have long been or not been forthcoming when it comes to those
sorts of requests. And it has proven very difficult in the past when it comes to dual nationals or foreign nationals to be able to bring about some
sort of resolution in a timely manner. The concern now of course, the pressure is very much on with these waves of executions taking place in the
ANDERSON: This comes just days after Iran sentence, a Belgian aid worker to 40 years in jail and 74 lashes. These cases are surely damaging Iran's
relationship with its European partners, especially at a time when these nuclear talks are still technically on the table Nada.
BASHIR: I mean relations between the European leaders and Iran have long been fought particularly around the JCPOA. And this is only going so far as
to really deepen those tensions between the two parties. We already heard earlier in the week from the United Kingdom, the European Union, France and
Germany all summoning their ambassadors, or their Iranian ambassadors in response to these executions.
The Belgian authorities also summoning the ambassador there in relation to this sentence laid against an aid worker Belgian aid worker. But of course,
tensions are high at the moment. We saw just before the holiday period back in December, we heard from the European Foreign Affairs Chief Joseph
He met with his Iranian counterpart; they discussed the nuclear talks and the nuclear deal. He said that this was a necessary meeting, but also
acknowledged that relations between the two are fraught and that was, of course, in relation to the brutal and deadly crackdown that we've seen in
But now we are hearing and seeing of this wave of executions taking place and there are widespread calls for the Iranian regime to be held
accountable in some way or other. We've already seen sanctions being placed on Iran. We've already seen ambassador's officials being recalled by
The question now is what more can be done? What leverage does the international community hold when it comes to holding the Iranian regime to
account particularly when we are hearing warnings from groups such as Amnesty International Human Rights Watch, as well as Iran HR, a human
rights group based in Norway, which has been keeping a close eye on these executions.
Warning that we could see several more executions in the coming days and we are seeing that number of political prisoners detained in Iran rising by
the day. These protests continue. The question is how will these European leaders hold Iran to account particularly when tensions are so high around
Joseph Borrell says these unnecessary talks they need to continue. The question is whether or not they can continue in the current state of things
ANDERSON: Nada thank you! We will be discussing Iran again later in the show because the annual report from a prominent human rights organization
accuses the regime of ruthlessly cracking down on protesters in violation of its principles. We'll be speaking with the Acting Director of Human
Rights Watch later this hour.
ANDERSON: Well, climate activists are expressing concern after a top oil executive was named to lead the next round of international climate talks.
They are calling on Dr. Sultan Al Jabber to step down as CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Corporation one of the world's largest oil companies.
Now the United Arab Emirates has appointed him as the President Designate of COP28. The Gulf State is hosting the United Nations Climate Summit in
Dubai starting in November. Well, sources tell us that Al Jabber, who also served as UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change for the Gulf State is not
likely to step down. But let's drill down and take a deeper look at what is going on here.
ANDERSON (voice over): The climate crisis is already front and center in 2023. And it is only getting worse. The past eight years were the warmest
on record for the planet according to the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service. And after Egypt hosted COP27 last year, climate
change will again be a major focus for the Middle East this year as the United Arab Emirates get set to host COP28 in Dubai in November.
A major oil producing country hosting the Global Climate Conference at a pivotal time with this man, Dr. Sultan Al Jabber appointed as President of
COP28. He's the Head of Abu Dhabi's National Oil Company, the 12th largest oil company by production in the world, and his appointment has sparked
outcry from some climate activists.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He must step down immediately from his current role as the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, and ensure that the outcomes
from COP28 are in line with what is needed in terms of climate ambition, and to avert the climate crisis that we are facing right now.
ANDERSON (voice over): But drill down and what appears at first to be controversial, is less so given Dr. Al Jabber's key role in shaping the
country's transition to a cleaner future. He's been the UAE Special Envoy for Climate since 2020. And he was out front regionally in 2021 with his
country's commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world needs maximum energy minimum emissions. This is why our leadership decided to be a first mover renewable energy over 16
ANDERSON (voice over): Maximizing energy while minimizing emissions. The UAE's delicate balancing act personified in Dr. Sultan Al Jabber as the UAE
builds towards COP28 at the end of this year.
ANDERSON: Well, for more on this appointment climate concerns and energy security issues, let's bring in Robin Mills. He's the CEO of Qamar Energy,
a leading edge energy consulting company and he joins me now live from Dubai this evening.
As I pointed out when you drill down on what is on the surface for many a controversial move, you find an oil executive here who has been
instrumental in shaping a cleaner energy pathway in the UAE. And that is as the UAE looks to embed sort of the idea of energy diversification and its
economic strategy going forward as it looks to a post oil. Well just explain the sort of background that we that - in the context of this story,
if you will.
ROBIN MILLS, CEO, QAMAR ENERGY: Well, you know, Dr. Al Jabber is a longtime energy executive and that doesn't necessarily mean oil and gas. You know,
he was the founding CEO of Masdar, Abu Dhabi's clean energy vehicle back in 2006. He's still Chairman of Masdar and ad hoc the Abu Dhabi national oil
company recently took a stake in Masdar's renewables and hydrogen business.
So what we're seeing here is a well thought out and long term strategy of energy diversity which emphasizes of climate compatibility along with
delivering reliable and efficient energy to the world and Dr. Al Jabber has been at the center of that.
ANDERSON: It may surprise a lot of people to hear that the UAE and through the company of Masdar is actually one of the second largest renewables
investor in the world. There will be skeptics who say, it doesn't matter what you're doing fossil fuels will be the death of us.
So just again, explain for some context here. What you are seeing happening in the energy space here in the UAE and around the region, because it's not
the story of energy diversification isn't specific to the UAE and where you see the economic opportunities going forward?
MILLS: Well, the UAE is major oil and gas exporter that is an important very important part of the economy as it is for many Middle East countries.
No doubt about that. But you know, from the launch of Masdar in 2006 onwards, the UAE has also been very much prioritizing clean energy
So it hosts the world's largest single site solar park. It has a very successful nuclear power program, which is coming online which is reducing
emissions. It has efforts on energy efficiency and energy subsidy reform. It has major efforts on carbon capture and storage, which of course is a
key part of decarbonizing the use of fossil fuels.
And, you know, we see this with the conflict in Ukraine at the moment, you know, the energy transition is not about dumping fossil fuels out of the
energy mix hastily, without having proper replacements is about having a more diverse and cleaner energy mix that includes fossil fuels, but used in
a responsible way.
ANDERSON: Yes, then the argument here, and in many of the oil and gas producing countries around this region is that if last year showed us
anything, it was that energy security is a major issue and unplugging the current energy system they argued before building a significantly robust
enough clean energy system.
Let's be quite frank 80 percent of the investments last year in the energy space went into renewables, but they still only make up something like 4
percent of the energy stories. So economic and climate progress, the argument is, is at risk if you don't ensure the energy infrastructure and
some of the traditional oil and gas supplies going forward, correct?
MILLS: Well, you know, COP26, in the UK, in 2021, oil company people were specifically not welcome, or were not invited. And then, of course, in
2022, with the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, you have every European Minister turning up in the Gulf and asking for new oil and gas supplies.
So you know that there has to be some consistency here. You know, yes, we absolutely need to get to zero carbon as soon as we can. But we also need
ANDERSON: Dr. Sultan Al Jabber will say then maximum energy minimum emissions. And again, this is a narrative that I hear here and around the
region. You continue to invest in your traditional energy supplies, but you do so in, you know, understanding that you need to reduce emissions
significantly, in order for us all to get to where we want to be when it comes to climate change, and the 1.5 degrees target.
The reduction in emissions, the minimizing emissions, is a very important story, and one that incorporates the idea of new technology of AI and the
rest. Again, you know, with your experience, just briefly walk us through what minimizing emissions whilst maximizing energy really means?
MILLS: So if we take ADNOC, you know company that Dr. Al Jabber heads as an example, so - program of electrifying its entire facilities sort of burning
gas on site, it'll have electricity. And that's sourced from solar and nuclear power so zero carbon at the point of generation.
It has efforts on energy efficiency on reducing methane leakage, it's already would say that it's the lowest leaker of methane in the in the
Middle East at least. And it has efforts on carbon capture and storage so making sure those emissions from its processes doesn't go into the
atmosphere but a stored underground.
And you know how much you talk about renewables and they're very important. Carbon Capture and Storage is equally an essential part of the story,
because it is a key way of decarbonizing heavy industry, and a lot of heavy industry just technical reasons cannot run on renewable energy.
ANDERSON: I'm going to leave it there. This is a story that we will continue to follow and we are out of the gate in 2023 November the 30th is
the beginning of COP28.
ANDERSON: It will be a global stock take - the sort of significant meeting that we had in Paris of course, some years ago. And we will ensure that we
cover the road to COP28 with the sort of analysis and insight that Robin Mills can afford you. Robin thank you!
Well, coming up a major human rights organization releases its annual report condemning autocrats the world over and condemning the West for not
doing more to stop them. The Head of Human Rights Watch will be speaking to us up next.
ANDERSON: U.S. President Joe Biden just spoke out after his lawyers found a second batch of classified documents. The batch was found in each storage
area in his garage at his residence in Wilmington, Delaware and in an adjacent room. Now this comes after a first batch an initial batch was
found at his Former Think Tank Office in Washington in November. Here is what the President said last hour.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: As I said earlier this week, people know I take classified documents and classified material
seriously. I also said we're cooperating fully completely with the Justice Department's review. As part of that process my lawyers reviewed other
places where documents from my time as Vice President were stored and they finished the review last night.
They discovered a small number of documents of classified markings in storage areas and file cabinets in my home in my personal library.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: CNN's Kevin Liptak is in Washington for us. You and I listened to that live just some moments ago, just about 15 minutes or so ago. What do
you make of what he said? What did it tell us?
KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it told us that the President is being extremely careful in what he's saying about all of this.
He read basically verbatim, a statement that his lawyer had put out 20 minutes earlier explaining this process of going through the President's
homes in Delaware.
He has two homes there one in Wilmington one in Rehoboth Beach, and looking for any more classified documents that he may have taken with him after he
left the Vice Presidency. They didn't find any of the documents in Rehoboth, but they did find them in two locations at his home in
This is a home that he goes home to almost every weekend. It's in a sort of wealthy wooded enclave it's not surrounded there aren't a lot of other
people around the house.
LIPTAK: And so the President being very careful in what he's saying there. But he did get a little defensive when a reporter asked him what he was
doing storing these documents, essentially next to his sports car, and I think we have that sound. Listen to what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Classified material next year Corvette, what were you thinking?
BIDEN: Let me ragging on him get a chance to speak on this entire God willing soon. But as I said earlier this week, people and by the way my
Corvettes in a locked garage OK, so it's not like you're sitting out in the streets.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LIPTAK: So clearly, the President wanting to make clear that these were in a secure location. But also very interestingly, saying that he wants to say
more about this, and implying that his lawyers are telling him that that's not a good idea at this point.
Of course, this investigation is being right now handled by a U.S attorney in Chicago, as the President and the Justice Department sort of a plot a
path forward the President being very careful not to say anything that could make that more of a problem for him.
Now Becky, we do expect to hear from the Attorney General Merrick Garland in about an hour or two hours from now. We do not know whether that's
specifically about this case. But this is something that the White House is watching very closely which is the prospect that Garland could appoint a
Special Counsel to this case to sort of take it to the next level?
We don't know that what's happening now. But that's certainly something that has been weighing on President Biden's aides as they watch this
unfold. This is all been kept at a very tight circle of the President's advisors. Many of them are finding out about this the same way with that we
are. And so this is something that they are monitoring and sort of anxious about as we head into the afternoon, Becky.
ANDERSON: Kevin Liptak reporting for you. Thank you, Kevin!
ANDERSON: Merrick Garland, the Attorney General will be speaking making a statement at 1:15. We don't know what that will be on. Well our Justice
Colleagues are digging. Well, Human Rights Watch has released its annual report this week, reviewing standards in nearly 100 countries.
To nobody's surprise Russian attacks on civilians in Ukraine were highlighted along with allegations of abuse in countries such as China, in
Ethiopia, in Afghanistan and in Iran. Bear in mind that this report is extensive. But here are some of the key takeaways.
First authoritarian power such as that which we've seen in Russia or Afghanistan, if left unchecked leaves behind a sea of human suffering. And
the report accuses world leaders of hypocrisy and trading away human rights obligations for short term political wins. It points to U.S. President Joe
Biden's meeting with Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman despite promising to make Saudi Arabia a pariah state over its human rights record.
And finally, according to Human Rights Watch in a vicious cycle, it says that ignoring violations carries a heavy cost and the ripple effects should
not be underestimated. That's not to say that 2022 was without progress and hope. The report says it revealed a shift in power in the world that opens
the way for all concerned governments to push back against these abuses.
Well, joining us now live is the Acting Director of Human Rights Watch Tirana Hassan. In your - it's good to have you - in your introductory essay
to the report, you wrote about the world's shifting power dynamics and how that's made it no longer possible to rely on a small group of mostly global
north governments to defend human rights.
And you say the responsibilities on individual countries both big and small, to apply human rights framework to their policies to put it simply
TIRANA HASSAN, ACTING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Well you know, I think it's after years of sort of piecemeal and often, you know,
half-hearted efforts on behalf of civilians, and those who are impacted by conflict crisis in human rights abuses in places like Yemen and
We saw very little progress, and all of a sudden there was the world mobilized around the Ukraine crisis in a way that we really have not seen
before. And it's been a significant reminder of the potential when governments realize their human rights responsibilities on a global scale.
And we are saying that all governments should actually bring that same commitment that they brought to Ukraine, to the multitude of human rights
crises around the world. It's around, you know, not essentially, not putting their individual domestic agendas first and not stop using the UN
as a chessboard to advance those agendas.
HASSAN: And rather than the seeing what is available within the international system as a toolkit for justice and accountability and
furthering human rights, and they can do that, without waiting for the traditional western industrialized countries to take the lead.
We are seeing increasingly that there are smaller nations who are joining in coalition's to actually hold countries into account, including South
Africa, Indonesia, who are working to look at Israel's abuses against Palestinians.
ANDERSON: I do want to talk about Iran here. And I do want to get your sort of thoughts on how you think the UN Special Reporter, in setting up a group
of women who will investigate what is going on and how you think the UN is doing in that country? But what you make of the human rights issues in Iran
at present and how you genuinely believe that anybody will be held accountable?
HASSAN: Well, I mean, the situation in Iran is dire. And actually, the UN mechanism that you talk about is a really important one, because by having
documentation about what is happening in Iran is actually going to be key advising the international community about what steps they need to be
taking to put pressure on the Iranian regime.
Look, the people of Iran have spoken. They are on the streets, and they are looking down the barrel of the gun of the security forces. It's not for the
Iranian people to diagnose the problem, to talk - to tell the world what the solutions are. They are putting as much pressure as they can on the
But they need the backing of the international community. The international community needs to think - needs to back up what the reforms that they're
asking for. And the only way that we're going to do that is to continue to press the Iranian regime, however we can.
Now when it comes to justice and accountability, that's going to play a really important role in the future and these things don't magically
happen. It's not that one day; we'll just see that those responsible for the killings and the shootings of the protesters will end up in the dark.
HASSAN: There needs to be an evidence gathering mechanism right now. There needs to be constant monitoring of the situation. So that when that moment
comes the international community, and the Iranian people are poised to take advantage of it and ensure that there will be accountability for the
lives that are being lost right now.
ANDERSON: I've got two other questions briefly, can you just address this first one. In your report, you directly referenced President Joe Biden's
meeting with the Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Saudi Arabia. There are those who will describe that appearance in Jeddah as maybe one of
hypocrite but more one of Biden as a realist. How would you respond to that?
HASSAN: From where we stand, you can - Joe Biden actually, you know, this is the example of double standards that we call out in the report. On the
one hand, Biden had actually made a public statement that he would make Saudi Arabia a pariah state given that was after the killing of Jamal
Khashoggi, the journalist.
And then we see that to meet the short term domestic needs of the U.S. under the looming energy crisis. He greets Mohammed Bin Salman with a fist
bump. And that is a double standard. But it's not the only double standard between Biden's rhetoric and his policies on human rights.
Just look at the arms sales to abuse governments, including Egypt, Israel, and Saudi Arabia and even the Philippines. You know, these are just
examples where there's been minimal attention to the human rights record that gets traded off, for other domestic.
ANDERSON: I've got a minute left. And I do just want to address one issue that I know our viewers will want me to address. I've got to ask you about
your predecessor, Kenneth Roth, who ran Human Rights Watch for nearly 30 years.
He was denied a fellowship at Harvard's Kennedy School over his own and HRW's criticism of Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. What's your
reaction to that? And does that concern you as the new head or interim head of this organization?
HASSAN: Well, it's deeply concerning for a number of reasons particularly for academic freedom. And the chilling affect that this decision could have
to anyone who offers principled criticism of the actions of the Israeli government.
HASSAN: You know, to block a human rights appointment for someone who led an international organization like Human Rights Watch for three decades
because of such principled criticism with the Israeli government that's going to have a lasting impact on scholars and activists.
But you know, it's Ken's situation with Harvard and the fact that they vetoed his fellowship is actually just ripping the lid off a problem that
has been - Palestinian human rights activists and scholars have suffered for a very long time. And we know this has been happening around us habitat
and it actually exposed a bigger problem.
ANDERSON: I would love to spend more time with you, we will. But I've for today got to close out the show. So thank you very much indeed for joining
us. Tirana Hassan, the Acting Director of Human Rights Watch. We will be back.
ANDERSON: You know parting shots today singing a different tune at the world famous Coachella Music Festival. Palestinian Chilean Singer Elyanna
will be the first ever artists to perform in Arabic at the event. She says she is proud and excited to bring her culture and music to Coachella.
ANDERSON: Elyanna is just 20 years old, but her blend of Latin and Middle East music has attracted more than 100 million views on YouTube. This
year's festival is being called the most diverse in its history will also include K-Pop Band, Black Pink and Latino superstar Bad Bunny. That's it
from us. Good evening.