• Commentary
    Aug 8, 2014
    The US-Africa Summit wrapped up yesterday, but that wasn't the end of the fanfare for one of its most controversial participants. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, the world’s longest serving non-royal head of state, was honored at an invitation-only dinner last night hosted by the Corporate Council on Africa.
  • Press release
    Jun 27, 2014
    Saudi Arabia’s government should clarify whether it is infecting and monitoring mobile phones with surveillance malware. Saudi officials should also say whether and how they intend to protect the rights of those targeted to privacy and free expression.
  • Press release
    Jun 25, 2014
    The Tajikistan government has shortchanged hundreds of families resettled to make way for a large-scale hydroelectric dam. Despite government commitments to comply with international standards on resettlement that protect the rights of those displaced, it has not provided the necessary compensation to displaced families to replace their homes or restore their livelihoods.
  • Letter
    Jun 13, 2014
    We are writing regarding the ‘lessons learned’ presentation given by IFC to the Board on 4 April and to civil society on 8 April. While we welcome much in that document, on balance, as civil society organisations that have engaged with the IFC over many years, we feel a deep concern that this exercise will not produce the changes needed to avoid future harm to communities and the environment from IFC investments and to ensure a better impact of IFC projects on development. This concern arises from two specific issues: a number of serious omissions in the content of the lessons learned document; and a lack of clarity about the future process of how these lessons will be followed through, to implementation, as well as monitoring and evaluation.
  • Letter
    Jun 10, 2014
    I am writing regarding the Council’s engagement on business and human rights issues. We are aware of highly divergent views among delegations over whether and how to launch government negotiations leading to a legally binding instrument addressing business-related abuses. Although some states seek to initiate a negotiating process imminently, at the moment there is insufficient clarity on the scope of the proposed instrument or evidence it would have sufficient support to have the desired impact.
  • 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.
  • Press release
    May 20, 2014
    Health ministers should pledge to take comprehensive action to prevent and treat the negative health effects of mercury, a toxic chemical. The World Health Assembly is scheduled to discuss a resolution on the new international treaty on mercury, the Minamata Convention, on May 21, 2014.
  • 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 2, 2014
    King Juan Carlos is visiting Kuwait and Bahrain this week, after Abu Dhabi and Qatar two weeks ago in a series of visits to the gulf region that will also take him to Oman and Saudi Arabia over the next two months. He is traveling with a high-level delegation that includes the ministers of foreign affairs, transport, defense and energy, as well as the heads of some of Spain’s biggest companies.
  • Dispatches
    Apr 28, 2014
  • Press release
    Apr 8, 2014
    The former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden has told the Council of Europe that the NSA spied on human rights organizations, but did not identify which groups. If Snowden’s assertion is accurate, it is an example of behavior the US government condemns around the world.
  • Commentary
    Apr 1, 2014
    This submission is made by Privacy International, Access, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, along with Article 19, the Association for Progressive Communications, Human Rights Watch and the World Wide Web Foundation. Submissions and recommendations cover five main themes: the meaning of interferences with the right to privacy in the context of communications surveillance, the out-dated distinction between communications data and content, the conceptualisation of mass surveillance as inherently disproportionate, the extra-territorial application of the right to privacy, and the need for legal frameworks to provide protections for the right to privacy without discriminating on the basis of nationality.
  • Press release
    Mar 25, 2014
    The Ethiopian government is using foreign technology to bolster its widespread telecom surveillance of opposition activists and journalists both in Ethiopia and abroad.
  • Dispatches
    Mar 19, 2014
  • Commentary
    Feb 18, 2014
    President Obama had a signature opportunity in his January speech to limit the damage Edward Snowden’s revelations about National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance had done to U.S. foreign relations. But global response has been rather cool. Obama called for increased transparency and an institutional advocate for civil liberties before the secret court that oversees the NSA. He recognized that foreigners have an interest in the privacy of their communications. And he announced future restrictions on the use of acquired data as well as his hope to move data storage out of the NSA’s hands. Yet he made clear he did not intend to end bulk collection of data or give foreigners legal rights to defend their privacy against unwarranted U.S. spying.
  • Written statement
    Feb 14, 2014
    Human Rights Watch and the Electronic Frontier Foundation submit this addendum in advance of the Human Rights Committee’s (“the Committee”) upcoming review of the United States. This statement supplements Human Rights Watch’s December 2012 submission in light of new information on the scope of the US’s electronic surveillance and intelligence gathering practices.
  • 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.
  • Commentary
    Feb 3, 2014
    Meri, an indigenous woman in northeastern Uganda, was shocked when strangers, accompanied by soldiers, showed up unannounced on her land in late 2012 and started to take rock samples without explanation. One of her neighbours described company representatives drilling and extracting samples inside her home. These stories are not isolated. Mining companies, in co-ordination with the government, are starting to explore for minerals in the Karamoja region without first getting the permission of traditional landowners. And the government has condoned these practices.
  • Press release
    Jan 10, 2014
    A report made public on January 10, 2014, by a World Bank Group ombudsman reinforces the need for proper oversight of its investments around the world, Human Rights Watch said today. The review concerned an investment in a company that was at the center of a spate of violence and killings in Honduras.
  • Press release
    Jan 9, 2014
    The first independent assessment of major internet companies shows that companies can and do incorporate voluntary standards on privacy and freedom of expression into their operations.