• Dec 18, 2014
  • Dec 18, 2014
    "We tortured some folks,” President Barack Obama said in 2014. Indeed. And now, from the December 9 Senate Intelligence Committee report, we know more about how it was done.
  • Dec 17, 2014
    The publication of the long-awaited summary of the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA’s torture provides a useful moment to consider the lessons learned from this sorry chapter in American history and the steps that might be taken to avoid its recurrence.
  • Dec 13, 2014
    President Obama has utterly failed to investigate torture, let alone prosecute those responsible.
  • Nov 20, 2014

    Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch received a letter from a woman who explained she had been brutally gang raped by strangers in an abandoned lot in Tulsa in 1971, when she was 12 years old. Though she had been literally torn open by the assault, she wrote that “the trauma of the event was nothing compared to the trauma she received afterwards at the hands of police.”  The policewoman she spoke to the next day yelled at her, called her a “little slut” and blamed her for upsetting her mother. After 43 years, the survivor wrote, she hardly thinks about the rape, but the policewoman’s words “still echo in my ears from time to time, often when I least expect it. It brings me to tears.”

  • Nov 13, 2014
    It’s time for the Obama administration and Congress to stop fast-tracking Central American migrants for deportation and allow them adequate opportunity to make a claim for asylum.
  • Oct 9, 2014
    New York State's top corrections official said this week that he supports moving all adolescent inmates off Rikers Island. His statement raises hopes for an end to what the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, in a scathing recent report, called a "deep-seated culture of violence" against youth in the United States' second-largest jail, where the vast majority of inmates are adults.
  • Aug 14, 2014
    The humanitarian crisis of undocumented Central American children may have faded from the headlines, but the problem has not gone away.
  • Jul 22, 2014
  • Jul 22, 2014
    Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the U.S. government has prosecuted more than 500 people in the United States for terrorism-related offenses, an impressive tally that suggests law enforcement is keeping Americans safe. But examine many of these cases closely, as Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute did, and you begin to see that there’s often less to the alleged terrorist plots than meets the eye.
  • Jul 18, 2014
  • Jun 24, 2014
    There's no reliable evidence that putting families who enter the US illegally into detention centers actually deters unauthorized immigration. But there's plenty of evidence that it can cause children in those families severe harm – from anxiety and depression, to long-term cognitive damage. That's one big reason that family detention for immigration violations is banned under international law.
  • Jun 13, 2014
    Hopes are high that the U.S. Congress will do the right thing this year and reform notoriously harsh federal drug sentencing laws that have crammed U.S. prisons with small-time offenders.
  • Jun 5, 2014
    Edward Snowden’s revelations, first published a year ago today, sparked a global firestorm of debate and outrage about U.S. surveillance practices.But there’s one subject that many surveillance reformers won’t touch with a 10-foot pole: whistleblower protection for people working for the government in the intelligence and national security sectors.
  • Jun 5, 2014
    Is the Obama administration blind to the real and tangible harm the NSA surveillance program is doing to America’s credibility?
  • May 26, 2014
    "Unjust and wrong” is how mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio described the New York Police Department’s crusade against low-level marijuana users.
  • May 19, 2014
    In 1992, Carlos Guillen was arrested in Houston, Texas for possession of drugs with intent to distribute after the police found a significant quantity of cocaine in his home. His brother later admitted that the drugs were his and that he'd stashed them in the house without Mr. Guillen's knowledge. Fearing a protracted court battle, aware that the law was not in his favor, and assured by his attorney that he would get a two-year sentence at most, Mr. Guillen pled guilty. Despite his steady work history, his lack of prior involvement with drugs, and his reputation as a devoted family man, he was sentenced to twenty years in prison.
  • May 19, 2014
    For years Claudia lived a clandestine life in Nashville’s Clairmont Apartment complex – a clutch of buildings on the city’s south side that had become home to hundreds of low-income immigrants. Claudia rarely ventured outside the lines of daily routine, prepping her three children for school, getting herself to work, and then quickly back home in the evening. An undocumented immigrant, Claudia lives in fear of US authorities. She is desperate to remain in the United States, as she fled Honduras after the father of her two daughters was murdered by gangs who also threatened Claudia and her girls.
  • May 7, 2014
    Each week seems to bring news of sexual assaults being handled badly by college campuses across the country. I just received an email from my own alma mater, Brown University, reassuring its alumni that the attacker in a recent case will not, in fact, be returning to campus in the fall. It did so after the survivor, unhappy with how the school handled her case, went public.
  • Apr 25, 2014
    He has tried to go both ways on immigration. But ask immigrants up close, and you'll see that all 'border removals' destroy lives
  • Apr 24, 2014
    Revelations that the Tallahassee Police Department may have failed to adequately investigate rape complaints, including one against a Florida State football star, unfortunately come as no surprise. Even when the suspect is not a local hero, police throughout the country too often fail to pursue cases that do not fit outdated stereotypes of “real” rape, particularly if the victim has been drinking.
  • Apr 15, 2014
  • Apr 9, 2014
  • Apr 1, 2014
    If the United States government's logic were played out, we would have no reason to object to the government even placing video cameras in our bedrooms with a direct feed to a government computer, so long as the government promised not to look at the videos until it had a good reason for doing so.
  • Feb 10, 2014
    Poor people are disadvantaged by the legal system in so many ways that it’s hard to keep track. In some cases, they are effectively punished just for being poor. One increasingly widespread example is probation—the period an offender spends, often as an alternative to prison, under the watchful eye of the state. The problem is that increasingly it’s not the government that’s supervising people on probation—it is private companies. The courts don’t actually pay these companies for their services. Instead, they give them the power to charge fees to the people they supervise. As the New York Times reported in 2012, if you don’t pay, you can land in jail.
  • Feb 4, 2014
  • Jan 18, 2014

    Obama should seize the opportunity created by this debate to overhaul US surveillance practices and establish real checks on the national security apparatus. That means ending indiscriminate collection of metadata, building in much stronger protections for the rights of foreigners abroad (under current rules, there are few limits on what calls or communications the US can look at and even fewer on what it can collect outside the country), and requiring increased transparency in decision-making about surveillance.

  • Jan 13, 2014

    When President Obama recently commuted the extraordinarily severe sentences of eight men and women convicted on federal crack cocaine charges, he rightly noted they had all been sentenced under an "unjust" law that mandated vastly harsher prison terms for crack than for powder cocaine offenses.


  • Jan 6, 2014