• December 21, 2014
    The Iranian government’s December 13, 2014 announcement that it will grant a six-month visa extension to 450,000 Afghans is a helpful move to prevent their imminent deportation. However, the visa-extension plan is no substitute for an asylum system that will allow newly arriving Afghans to lodge refugee claims.
  • December 19, 2014
    The Pakistani government should order an immediate stop to executions of death-row prisoners for terrorism-related offenses.
  • December 19, 2014
    Indian authorities should immediately investigate allegations that West Bengal police beat a rights activist and have been harassing his group for reporting on security force abuses.
  • December 19, 2014
  • December 19, 2014
    Human Rights Watch has over 160 staff tweeting human rights developments from around the world. Here are some of their most popular tweets from the last seven days.
  • December 19, 2014
  • December 19, 2014
    An attack on a school in Pakistan leaves 145 people - mostly children - dead; Women in El Salvador are facing decades in prison for having abortions - for any reason; and a news conference by rights groups in Moscow comes is attacked by egg-throwing protesters - these were among the most popular posts to Dispatches...
  • December 19, 2014
    Sony Pictures’ film The Interview, a comedy featuring actors Seth Rogen and James Franco as journalists recruited by the CIA to assassinate North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un, has certainly left a raft of disasters in its wake.
  • December 19, 2014
    The public detentions in Turkey of journalists that appear to be without sufficient evidence they committed a criminal offense will harm media freedom and chill free speech. On December 14, 2014, the editor of the daily Zaman newspaper was arrested, along with the head of Samanyolu broadcasting group and other media personnel
  • December 18, 2014
    Ukrainian authorities need to conduct further investigations into allegations that their forces were responsible for indiscriminate attacks in eastern Ukraine.
  • December 18, 2014
    Oman’s security forces routinely harass, detain, and imprison rights defenders, social media users, and others critical of governmental policies.
  • December 18, 2014
  • December 18, 2014
    The kafala visa-sponsorship system that is widely, though not uniformly, used across the Gulf bars most migrant domestic workers from moving to a new job before their original contract ends without their employer’s consent, trapping many in abusive situations. The kafala combined with inadequate labor law protections, create conditions ripe for exploitation and abuse of domestic workers.
  • December 18, 2014
    The Nepal government should ensure more victim participation and improve transparency when selecting candidates for two independent commissions on the country’s decade-long conflict, eight local and international human rights organizations and conflict-era victims groups said in an open letter to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. The groups, reiterating concerns about the act, said Koirala should narrow the scope of the amnesty powers vested in the commissions and bring them in line with international standards.
  • December 18, 2014
    The Uzbek government should free everyone imprisoned on politically motivated charges under its Constitution Day amnesty. The authorities should also carry out an effective investigation into the September 2014 death in custody of Nilufar Rahimjonova, a 37-year-old woman imprisoned on politically motivated charges.
  • December 18, 2014
    The World Bank should heed the call of 28 United Nations experts to respect and promote human rights.
  • December 18, 2014
    President Barack Obama’s historic decision to overhaul US policy toward Cuba is a crucial step toward removing a major obstacle to progress on human rights on the island.
  • December 18, 2014
    Egyptian authorities have referred hundreds of civilians to military courts based on an October 2014 decree by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. At least 820 civilians have been referred to military prosecutors in the past six weeks based on the unprecedented extension of military court authority, according to news reports compiled by Human Rights Watch.
  • December 18, 2014
  • December 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.
  • December 17, 2014
    Afghanistan's civil society organisations fought an often lonely battle for women's rights, accountability for war crimes and the need to end torture through the many dark days when the Karzai administration was determined to consign the issues to oblivion. With Karzai gone, the activists are hoping for a new chance to put rights back on the agenda at Kabul's presidential palace.
  • December 17, 2014
    Pakistan’s government should reinstate its moratorium on the death penalty as a step toward its abolition.
  • December 17, 2014
    President Joko Widodo of Indonesia should commute the death sentences of five individuals scheduled for execution “as soon as possible” for violation of drug trafficking laws.
  • December 17, 2014
    African countries expressed strong support for the International Criminal Court at the 13th Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute, African and international organizations present at the session said. The governments showed a more positive picture of Africa’s relationship with the ICC than is often reflected in public debates.
  • December 17, 2014
    The World Bank’s internal watchdog should investigate whether bank projects are contributing to forced labor in Uzbekistan. The Cotton Campaign, a coalition of human rights, labor, investor, and business organizations dedicated to ending forced labor in the cotton sector of Uzbekistan, echoed calls that independent Uzbek groups made in a November 2014 letter to the Inspection Panel.
  • December 17, 2014
  • December 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.
  • December 17, 2014
    A Danish immigration report on Eritrea that suggests changing refugee policy for Eritrean asylum seekers is deeply flawed. Denmark and other European governments should await the outcome of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Eritrea, established in June 2014, before considering any major policy changes concerning Eritrea.
  • December 17, 2014
    The United Nations agency charged with combating illicit drug trafficking should withdraw its support for counter-narcotics police operations in Iran until the death penalty for drug offenses is abolished, six rights groups said in a letter published today. The groups made the plea after Iran’s judiciary hanged 18 alleged drug traffickers within 24 hours on December 3, 2014, bringing the number of drug offenders executed in the country during 2014 to at least 318.
  • December 16, 2014
    On the third anniversary of his death, former North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-Il should be remembered for presiding over systematic crimes against humanity against his own people, including a catastrophic famine, Human Rights Watch said today. Kim Jong-Il held power for a total of 17 years as head of one of the most closed and repressive governments in the world.
  • December 16, 2014
    At an event at the United Nations in Geneva this morning, the ambassadors of Norway and Argentina unveiled a set of six new “Guidelines” aimed at better protecting schools and universities from being used for military purposes during times of armed conflict. They are intended to respond to the practice of government forces and non-state armed groups converting schools and universities into bases or barracks, or using them as firing positions or places to cache weapons and ammunition.
  • December 16, 2014
    Klity Creek is now also one of the most heavily polluted industrial sites in all of Thailand. Eleven kilometres upstream is a former lead-processing factory. The factory, which started its operations in the mid-1960s, was ordered to close in 1998. But its toxic legacy remains.
  • December 16, 2014
    Kosovo’s newly formed parliament should promptly enact the legislative and constitutional changes required for the special court on post-war atrocity crimes to function.
  • December 16, 2014
  • December 16, 2014
    Unidentified rebel fighters have killed at least 184 civilians and wounded many others in attacks on villages in Beni territory in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo since October 2014. Such killings amount to war crimes.
  • December 15, 2014
    The prosecution of 35 football fans on coup-plot charges is a blatant misuse of the criminal justice system.
  • December 15, 2014
    (Bangkok) – The Thai government has failed to clean up toxic lead in a stream in western Thailand, threatening hundreds of families with serious and irreversible health problems, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Supreme Administrative Court’s order nearly two years ago to clean up Klity Creek, the first of its kind in Thailand, has been ignored by the government while villagers remain exposed to lead in water, soil, vegetables, and fish.
  • December 15, 2014
  • December 15, 2014
    Pakistan’s blasphemy law has claimed its first Bollywood victim.
  • December 15, 2014
  • December 15, 2014
    Bolivia should amend several laws that undermine the rights to freedom of association and expression, due process guarantees, and children’s rights. These laws, which are incompatible with Bolivia’s international human rights obligations, were approved during Morales’ second term, from 2010 through 2014.
  • December 15, 2014

    In early March 2013 the Russian government launched an unprecedented, nationwide campaign of inspections of thousands of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to identify advocacy groups the government deems “foreign agents” and force them to register as such. This list tracks the legal consequences of the law on dozens of NGOs.

  • December 15, 2014
  • December 15, 2014
    Russian authorities have failed in their obligation to prevent and prosecute homophobic violence.
  • December 15, 2014
    Any approach to Syria should be judged by its ability to stop the daily abuses against civilians. Advocates of local ceasefires must strive for a balance between immediate relief from the daily suffering and commitment to basic rights and the aspirations of Syrians.
  • December 15, 2014
    Heavily-armed criminals are subjecting residents of northern Côte d’Ivoire to a relentless pace of often-violent attacks on buses and private vehicles and in villages. Security forces have largely failed to protect the population or investigate the crimes.
  • December 15, 2014
    On the second anniversary of the enforced disappearance of prominent Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, we, the undersigned regional and international organizations, firmly condemn the Lao government’s ongoing refusal to provide any information regarding Sombath’s fate or whereabouts.
  • December 14, 2014
    Sudanese government forces and allied militias are unlawfully killing and otherwise abusing civilians in government-held areas in Sudan’s Blue Nile state.
  • December 14, 2014
    The South Korean Government should immediately stop using criminal defamation laws to silence the media.
  • December 14, 2014
    Russian authorities should act to end a campaign of intimidation and harassment against human rights defenders in Chechnya.