Recent Features

  • August 19, 2013
    Thousands of children, some of whom are as young as eight-years-old, are working in Tanzanian small-scale gold mines, with grave risks to their health and even their lives. They dig and drill in deep, unstable pits, work underground for shifts of up to 24 hours, and transport and crush heavy bags of gold ore. Child laborers, as well as children living near mining sites, are also at serious risk of mercury poisoning. Mercury attacks the central nervous system and can cause lifelong disability to children, whose developing bodies are more easily affected by the heavy metal. Most adult and child miners are unaware of these health risks and health workers lack training and facilities and are not equipped to diagnose or treat mercury poisoning. Working in the mines interferes with children’s education. Children working in mining sometimes skip classes or drop out of school altogether. The Tanzanian government should curb child labor in small-scale mining, including at informal, unlicensed mines, and the World Bank and donor countries should support these efforts.
  • July 16, 2013
    Police fired teargas canisters directly at protesters during the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, turning them into dangerous projectiles that caused serious injuries. Human Rights Watch has documented 10 cases in which people were seriously injured, including loss of an eye, when police fired teargas canisters directly at them, often at close range. The scale and consistency of accounts of similar injuries recorded by local groups point to a clear pattern of misuse of teargas by Turkey’s police force.
  • March 6, 2013
    The government of South Sudan should increase efforts to protect girls from child marriage. The country's widespread child marriage exacerbates South Sudan's pronounced gender gaps in school enrollment, contributes to soaring maternal mortality rates, and violates the right of girls to be free from violence, and to marry only when they are able and willing to give their free consent.
    The government of South Sudan should increase efforts to protect girls from child marriage.
  • February 14, 2013
    The government of Cameroon should immediately take action against a series of death threats made over the last four months to two lawyers who represent clients accused of homosexual conduct. Alice Nkom and Michel Togué, Cameroonian human rights lawyers, began receiving death threats in October 2012, in the form of emails and text messages, assailing the lawyers for their work defending clients charged with homosexuality. Nkom and Togué are among the only lawyers courageous enough to take up these cases in a country where homophobia is pervasive.
  • February 12, 2013
    The Friday of Dignity massacre, in which gunmen in civilian clothing opened fire with military assault rifles on a largely peaceful protest rally, was the single deadliest attack on demonstrators of Yemen's 2011 uprising. The attack killed at least 45 protesters, three of them juveniles, and wounded up to 200 others. It marked a turning point in the movement against President Saleh, prompting the defection of dozens of government officials and diplomats, and assumed symbolic importance within the protest movement because of the brazen character of the shootings and the high death toll. Investigators never questioned top officials in the criminal investigation by Yemen's previous government into the shooting of demonstrators during the attack, which took place on March 18, 2011.
  • February 8, 2013
    In February and March 2014, Russia will host the Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in the city of Sochi. With the awarding of the Olympics, Sochi has undergone a transformation that will turn it into what Russian officials describe as a "premier winter sports destination," with gleaming new Olympic venues being built both in Sochi and the nearby Caucasus Mountains. But this transformation has also come at a cost to many Sochi residents and many of the migrant workers who have arrived in Russia to help build the new Sochi. In undertaking to host the Olympic Games, Russia committed to uphold the Olympic Charter's principles of "human dignity." Russian authorities should not allow the Olympic preparations to become a source of repression.
  • February 8, 2013
    The inauguration of a special court in Senegal marks a turning point in the long campaign to bring to justice the former dictator of Chad Hissène Habré. Habré is accused of thousands of political killings and systematic torture during his presidency, from 1982 to 1990. He has been living in exile in Senegal for more than 22 years.
  • February 7, 2013
    The Indian government should improve protections for children from sexual abuse as part of broader reform efforts following the gang rape and murder of a student in New Delhi in December 2012.
  • January 24, 2013
    Victims of sexual assault in Washington, DC, are not getting the effective response they deserve and should expect from the district's Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). Sexual assault cases are too often not properly documented or investigated and victims may face callous, traumatizing treatment, despite official departmental policy to the contrary.
  • January 22, 2013
    Italy is summarily returning unaccompanied migrant children and adult asylum seekers to Greece, where they face a dysfunctional asylum system and abusive detention conditions, Human Rights Watch said in a report published today. Stowaways on ferries from Greece, including children as young as 13, are sent back by Italian authorities within hours without adequate consideration of their particular needs as children or their desire to apply for asylum.