November 18, 2004


People with Criminal Records

Denied Access to Public Housing

Human Rights Watch

Copyright 2004 by Human Rights Watch.

All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN: 1564323285

Cover photo: 2004 Corinne Carey

Cover design by Rafael Jimenez

Human Rights Watch

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Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.

We stand with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime, and to bring offenders to justice.

We investigate and expose human rights violations and hold abusers accountable.

We challenge governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law.

We enlist the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.


Human Rights Watch conducts regular, systematic investigations of human rights abuses in some seventy countries around the world. Our reputation for timely, reliable disclosures has made us an essential source of information for those concerned with human rights. We address the human rights practices of governments of all political stripes, of all geopolitical alignments, and of all ethnic and religious persuasions. Human Rights Watch defends freedom of thought and expression, due process and equal protection of the law, and a vigorous civil society; we document and denounce murders, disappearances, torture, arbitrary imprisonment, discrimination, and other abuses of internationally recognized human rights. Our goal is to hold governments accountable if they transgress the rights of their people.

Human Rights Watch began in 1978 with the founding of its Europe and Central Asia division (then known as Helsinki Watch). Today, it also includes divisions covering Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East. In addition, it includes three thematic divisions on arms, children's rights, and women's rights. It maintains offices in Brussels, Geneva, London, Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, San Francisco, Tashkent, Toronto, and Washington. Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental organization, supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide.It accepts no government funds, directly or indirectly.

The staff includes Kenneth Roth, Executive Director; Allison Adoradio, Operations Director; Michele Alexander, Development and Outreach Director; Carroll Bogert, Associate Director; Widney Brown, Deputy Program Director; Iain Levine, Program Director; Dinah PoKempner, General Counsel; James Ross, Senior Legal Advisor; and Wilder Tayler, Legal and Policy Director.

The division directors of Human Rights Watch are Brad Adams, Asia; Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia; Richard Dicker, International Justice; Jamie Fellner, United States; Arvind Ganesan, Business and Human Rights; Diane Goodman, Refugees; Steve Goose, Arms; LaShawn R. Jefferson, Women's Rights; Scott Long, Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Rights; Peter Takirambudde, Africa; Jos Miguel Vivanco, Americas; Lois Whitman, Children's Rights; and Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa.

The advocacy directors of Human Rights Watch are Steve Crawshaw, London; Loubna Freih, Geneva; Lotte Leicht, Brussels; Tom Malinowski, Washington; Wendy Patten, United States; and Joanna Weschler, United Nations.

The members of the board of directors are Jane Olson, Chair; James F. Hoge, Jr., Vice-Chair; Sid Sheinberg, Vice-Chair; John J. Studzinski, Vice-Chair; Khaled Abou El Fadl, Lisa Anderson, Lloyd Axworthy, David M. Brown, Dorothy Cullman, Edith Everett, Jonathan F. Fanton (chair, 1998-2003), Michael E. Gellert, Richard J. Goldstone, Vartan Gregorian, Stephen L. Kass, Wendy Keys, Robert Kissane, Bruce Klatsky, Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, Josh Mailman, Kati Marton, Lore Harp McGovern, Barry Meyer, Joel Motley, Samuel K. Murumba, Peter Osnos, Kathleen Peratis, Catherine Powell, Sigrid Rausing, Victoria Riskin, Orville Schell, Domna Stanton, Shibley Telhami.

Emeritus board members are Roland Algrant, Robert L. Bernstein (Founding Chair 1978-1997), William D. Carmichael, Adrian W. DeWind, Alice H. Henkin, Bruce Rabb, Gary Sick, and Malcolm B. Smith.