2009alison_des_forgesMy colleague Alison Des Forges died in a plane crash in New York this week. She was an researcher in the Africa division of Human Rights Watch (HRW). A receipent of the MacArthur ‘genius’ award, Alison was a very inspiring colleague and her death has touched everyone at HRW. The New York Times published her obituary today.

When I first joined HRW’s DC office in May 1998, the associates for the Arms and Africa divisions shared a tiny office next to mine. I remember the Africa associate Juliet Wilson working weekends and evenings to format (in word perfect!) Alison’s authoritative account of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda: Leave None to Tell the Story. When the 789-page book was issued in March 1999 it was the largest publication ever produced by HRW. Two months later, we took that record with the hefty Landmine Monitor Report 1999. I still have my copy of Alison’s report on my bookshelf – it takes pride of place. May she rest in peace.