• Dispatches
    Sep 9, 2014
  • Dispatches
    Aug 22, 2014
  • Press release
    Aug 20, 2014
    US Attorney General Eric Holder should press state and local officials during his visit to Ferguson, Missouri, on August 20, 2014, to reform police practices to improve respect for basic rights. Holder should also support federal reforms that could help address concerns about policing and racial discrimination raised during the Ferguson protests over the last 10 days.
  • Letter
    Aug 18, 2014
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed changes to the agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS).
  • Press release
    Aug 14, 2014
    Protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, a predominantly African-American suburb north of St. Louis, after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old.
  • Commentary
    Aug 14, 2014
    The humanitarian crisis of undocumented Central American children may have faded from the headlines, but the problem has not gone away.
  • Letter
    Jul 30, 2014
    The undersigned civil liberties, human rights, and other public interest organizations write in support of the USA FREEDOM Act (S. 2685), which Senator Leahy reintroduced on July 29. We urge both the Senate and the House to pass it swiftly and without any dilution of its protections.
  • Press release
    Jul 29, 2014
    The US Congress should support greater due process protections for migrant families rather than increasing funding for facilities to detain those crossing the US southern border, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • Press release
    Jul 29, 2014
    The US Senate should move swiftly to approve a surveillance reform bill introduced on July 29, 2014, by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. The bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, is a significant improvement over a companion bill that the US House of Representatives passed on May 22 and, if approved, has the potential to end bulk collection of phone records in the US.
  • Press release
    Jul 28, 2014
    Large-scale US surveillance is seriously hampering US-based journalists and lawyers in their work, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union said in a joint report released today. Surveillance is undermining media freedom and the right to counsel, and ultimately obstructing the American people’s ability to hold their government to account, the groups said.
  • Press release
    Jul 25, 2014
    The United States has failed to comply with key protections under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), Human Rights Watch said today. The US, which ratified the treaty in 1994, will appear before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination for a periodic review of its record on August 13 and 14, 2014, in Geneva.
  • Press release
    Jul 24, 2014
    The public debate over the recent surge in child migrants across the US border with Mexico should spur Congress to reform US immigration policy, Human Rights Watch said today, releasing a multimedia feature jointly with Time magazine and Platon/The People’s Portfolio.
  • Commentary
    Jul 22, 2014
  • Commentary
    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.
  • Press release
    Jul 21, 2014
    The US Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have targeted American Muslims in abusive counterterrorism “sting operations” based on religious and ethnic identity, Human Rights Watch and Columbia Law School’s Human Rights Institute said in a report released today. Many of the more than 500 terrorism-related cases prosecuted in US federal courts since September 11, 2001, have alienated the very communities that can help prevent terrorist crimes.
  • Press release
    Jul 18, 2014
    A decision by the US Sentencing Commission on July 18, 2014, will give 46,000 federal inmates serving unnecessarily long sentences for drug offenses a chance to seek sentence reductions. The decision would make a recent amendment to the guidelines for calculating sentences for drug offenses fully retroactive, covering inmates already sentenced as well as future offenders.
  • Commentary
    Jul 18, 2014
  • Written statement
    Jul 10, 2014
  • Written statement
    Jul 7, 2014
    Human Rights Watch submitted a statement to the United States Sentencing Commission in response to the Commission’s May 6, 2014 request for comments on whether its recent amendment to lower the base offense levels keyed to drug quantities should be made retroactive. We strongly support retroactive application. There is no justification for requiring formerly sentenced federal inmates to continue serving prison terms imposed under a sentencing structure the Commission has rightly discarded.
  • Letter
    Jul 2, 2014
    Human Rights Watch wrote to President Barack Obama to express our serious concern that his proposals for addressing the recent increase in apprehended migrants, particularly unaccompanied minors, at the US-Mexico border, may lead to further serious harm to vulnerable children and families, in violation of international law.
  • Dispatches
    Jun 30, 2014
  • Press release
    Jun 25, 2014
    The United States government’s policy of detaining unaccompanied migrant children, some for long periods, and providing inadequate processing puts them in harm’s way. On June 24, 2014, the US House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing on unaccompanied migrant children – children traveling without parents or guardians. Later today, the House Judiciary Committee will also hold a hearing on the issue.
  • Commentary
    Jun 25, 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.
  • Press release
    Jun 18, 2014
    The United States government should ensure that Ahmed Abu Khatallah, apprehended for his alleged role in the September 11, 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, is brought promptly before a judge and provided access to a lawyer.
  • Letter
    Jun 18, 2014
    The undersigned civil liberties, human rights, and other public interest organizations write about the USA FREEDOM Act (H.R. 3361 and S. 1599), a version of which passed in the House on May 22. All of the undersigned organizations believed the original version of the USA FREEDOM Act introduced in both the House and the Senate was an important step towards comprehensive reform. However, we are deeply concerned about the changes that the House Rules Committee made to the bill prior to passage, which substantially weakened the version of the bill that had passed with unanimous support from both the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees. As a result of that strong concern, many of the undersigned withdrew their support, as did half of the bill’s sponsors. We are writing today as a community to plainly express our position that, unless the version of the USA FREEDOM Act that the Senate considers contains substantial improvements over the House-passed version, we will be forced to oppose the bill that so many of us previously worked to advance.
  • Commentary
    Jun 14, 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.
  • Dispatches
    Jun 12, 2014
  • Commentary
    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.
  • Dispatches
    Jun 5, 2014
  • Dispatches
    Jun 5, 2014
  • Commentary
    Jun 5, 2014
    Is the Obama administration blind to the real and tangible harm the NSA surveillance program is doing to America’s credibility?
  • Letter
    Jun 4, 2014
    On June 2, 2014, the United States Supreme Court declined to revisit the issue of whether the First Amendment to the Constitution protects reporters from being forced to disclose their sources, rejecting the appeal of New York Times reporter James Risen. Risen is resisting a subpoena in the trial of Jeffrey Stillwater, a former CIA agent alleged to have leaked classified information, and risks imprisonment on contempt of court charges. Human Rights Watch wrote a letter to the Department of Justice urging it not to press the matter further, because forcing journalists to reveal sources risks stifling independent media coverage of information that is important for the public to know.
  • Testimony
    Jun 3, 2014
    On May 30, 2014, the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary’s Over-Criminalization Task Force held a hearing on Penalties. Human Rights Watch submitted the following written statement for the record.
  • Press release
    May 28, 2014
    On March 28, 2014, US President Barack Obama delivered a speech on US foreign policy at the US Military Academy at West Point. Below is the reaction from Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch.
  • Commentary
    May 27, 2014
    "Unjust and wrong” is how mayoral candidate Bill De Blasio described the New York Police Department’s crusade against low-level marijuana users.
  • Letter
    May 23, 2014
    In response to a "Dear Colleagues" letter sent by Senators Grassley, Sessions, and Cornyn on May 12th to their Senate colleagues voicing their opposition to portions of the Smarter Sentencing Act. Human Rights Watch wrote a letter to the authors, detailing our concerns with their opposition and responding to their claims.
  • Press release
    May 22, 2014
    It is up to the US Senate to salvage surveillance reform. The version of the USA Freedom Act that the US House of Representatives passed on May 22, 2014, could ultimately fail to end mass data collection.
  • Commentary
    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.
  • Commentary
    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.
  • Press release
    May 14, 2014
    The use of state and local authorities to enforce United States immigration laws undermines public safety by raising fear of the police among immigrant communities, Human Rights Watch said in a short film released today. States and cities across the US should separate community police work from federal immigration enforcement.
  • Letter
    May 14, 2014
    Human Rights Watch wrote to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Johnson to urge him to respect the international human rights obligations of the United States during his review of the Department’s policies on involuntary deportations and voluntary return policies.
  • Press release
    May 8, 2014
    The US House Judiciary Committee took a long overdue step on May 7, 2014, with its move to reform one aspect of the government’s mass surveillance programs. The committee approved unanimously a revised version of the USA Freedom Act that would aim to end the government’s bulk collection of telephone metadata and other records in the United States.
  • Commentary
    May 8, 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.
  • Press release
    May 6, 2014
    A landmark ruling by the California Supreme Court overturns a two-decades-old presumption in favor of life without parole sentences for juveniles convicted of certain murders, Human Rights Watch said today. The decision brings the United States closer to the rest of the world in the approach to sentencing for youth.
  • Press release
    May 6, 2014
    Far too many US laws violate basic principles of justice by requiring disproportionately severe punishment, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
  • Press release
    May 2, 2014
    The Florida legislature has approved a bill allowing for judicial review of very long sentences for youth offenders, recognizing the injustice of such sentences for children, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • Press release
    Apr 30, 2014
    Oklahoma should end its failed experiment with the death penalty. On the evening of April 29, 2014, during an attempt to execute Clayton Lockett by lethal injection, he appeared to regain consciousness. Witnesses reported that Lockett began to mumble, calling out “man” and “something’s wrong,” tried to lift his head, and began to go into a seizure. Lockett died of a heart attack 40 minutes after the execution had begun.
  • Commentary
    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
  • Commentary
    Apr 25, 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.
  • Press release
    Apr 22, 2014
    (Washington, DC) – The Louisiana state legislature should swiftly repeal its discriminatory “crime against nature” laws, which are used to harass lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, Human Rights Watch said today. On April 16, 2014, the Louisiana State House of Representatives voted 66 to 27 to reject House bill 12, which would have repealed the US state’s anti-sodomy law. The law was enacted in 1805.
  • Letter
    Apr 21, 2014
    In light of recent reports that the Department of Justice is planning to expand its definition of prohibited racial profiling, Human Rights Watch writes to US Attorney General Holder to urge him to also end community mapping programs that propagate discriminatory profiling.
  • Letter
    Apr 18, 2014
    Human Rights Watch writes to express support of California State Senate Bill (SB) 1010 which would reduce the disparities in penalties between crack and powder cocaine.
  • Commentary
    Apr 15, 2014
  • Letter
    Apr 10, 2014
    A joint letter from civil liberties, human rights, and religious organizations wrote to Sec. of Defense Chuck Hagel expressing serious concerns over lack of basic information about detainees currently on hunger strike at Guantánamo, including critical details about how the military manages them.
  • Press release
    Apr 10, 2014
    Every year, the state of Florida arbitrarily and unfairly prosecutes hundreds of children as adults, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. If convicted, these children suffer the lifelong consequences of an adult felony record for what are often low-level, nonviolent offenses.
  • Commentary
    Apr 10, 2014
  • Dispatches
    Apr 9, 2014
  • Press release
    Apr 9, 2014
    A bill making its way through the DC Council would be a significant step toward improving police response to sexual assault in the District of Columbia. The DC Council unanimously approved the bill, which adopts recommendations Human Rights Watch has been making for over a year, on April 8, 2014. It is scheduled for a second vote on May 6. If passed, it would go to DC Mayor Vincent Grey for his signature.
  • Commentary
    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.
  • Letter
    Apr 1, 2014
    Human Rights Watch and 41 other nonprofits and businesses have sent a joint letter to key policymakers outlining what any bill aiming to reform bulk surveillance should include.
  • Press release
    Mar 28, 2014
    President Barack Obama’s proposal to end the government’s bulk collection of phone records in the United States could be a significant step forward, but important questions remain unanswered.
  • Press release
    Mar 27, 2014
    The United Statesshould heed calls issued on March 27, 2014, by an important UN human rights body to ensure that its surveillance activities are consistent with the right to privacy, both within and outside its borders
  • Dispatches
    Mar 26, 2014
  • Press release
    Mar 25, 2014
    The United States should end the practice of sentencing people convicted of crimes committed before age 18 to life in prison without parole, Human Rights Watch said today in an amicus brief filed in a case before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
  • Amicus briefing
    Mar 24, 2014
  • Written statement
    Mar 19, 2014
    Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to participate in the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board (PCLOB) evaluation of US surveillance practices under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA)
  • Written statement
    Mar 19, 2014
    Human Rights Watch submits the following comments to the United States Sentencing Commission in response to the Commission’s January 17, 2014 notice of proposed amendments, specifically amendment #3 relating to possible changes to the Drug Quantity Table in the US federal sentencing guidelines.
  • Dispatches
    Mar 17, 2014
  • Press release
    Mar 12, 2014
    The United Nations Human Rights Committee should conclude that US electronic surveillance and intelligence gathering violate fundamental civil and political rights, including the right to privacy.
  • Letter
    Mar 6, 2014
    Human Rights Watch writes to commend the agreement between the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and the New York Civil Liberties Union restricting the use of solitary confinement for youth, persons with intellectual disabilities, and pregnant women and setting the stage for further, more comprehensive reforms.
  • Press release
    Feb 26, 2014

    The governor of the US state of Arizona should veto a bill that would allow business services to be refused to same-sex couples and permit a “religious belief” defense in discrimination suits brought by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, Human Rights Watch said today.

  • Dispatches
    Feb 12, 2014
  • Dispatches
    Feb 11, 2014
  • Commentary
    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.
  • Press release
    Feb 5, 2014
    Every year, US courts sentence several hundred thousand misdemeanor offenders to probation overseen by private companies that charge their fees directly to the probationers. Often, the poorest people wind up paying the most in fees over time, in what amounts to a discriminatory penalty. And when they can’t pay, companies can and do secure their arrest.
  • Dispatches
    Feb 4, 2014
  • Commentary
    Feb 4, 2014
  • Dispatches
    Jan 31, 2014
  • Dispatches
    Jan 29, 2014
  • Dispatches
    Jan 29, 2014
  • Dispatches
    Jan 28, 2014
  • Dispatches
    Jan 23, 2014
  • Letter
    Jan 22, 2014
    A joint letter urging President Obama to use the occasion of the 5th anniversary of your Executive Order 13491 (Ensuring Lawful Interrogations) to publicly support the release of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s study of the former CIA detention and interrogation program.
  • Press release
    Jan 21, 2014

    The US Congress should build on the progress made in 2013 and enact immigration reform early in the new year, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2014.

  • Commentary
    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.

  • Written statement
    Jan 17, 2014
    On January 17, 2014, US President Barack Obama delivered a speech at the US Department of Justice about US electronic surveillance practices. This is the reaction from Human Rights Watch.
  • Press release
    Jan 16, 2014
    The US government risks undermining important policy objectives unless it urgently reins in US electronic surveillance practices and stops violating the privacy rights of millions of people at home and abroad.
  • Letter
    Jan 16, 2014
  • Commentary
    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.

     

  • Written statement
    Jan 7, 2014
    The report of the five-member group appointed by President Barack Obama to review US surveillance practices cast doubt on the claimed necessity for some US government surveillance programs, and underscored the need for urgent change. With their report released on December 18, 2013, the panel joined a growing chorus of policymakers, rights organizations, and security experts calling for critical reforms to US government surveillance programs.
  • Dispatches
    Jan 6, 2014
  • Commentary
    Jan 6, 2014
  • Dispatches
    Jan 3, 2014