• April 20, 2015
    Today is National Weed Day in the United States. That may prompt chuckles among many, but, as lighthearted as much of today’s commentary may be, U.S. marijuana policy is no laughing matter.
  • April 20, 2015
    California hit a milestone this month with the first release under new laws of a man sentenced as a teenager to life without parole. Edel Gonzalez was 16 at the time of his crime and spent nearly 24 years in prison.
  • April 20, 2015
    A proposed bill to regulate nongovernmental groups would severely curb Ugandans’ basic rights, Chapter Four Uganda and Human Rights Watch said today. The bill would subject groups to such extensive government control and interference that it could negate the very essence of freedom of association and expression. A complete version of the bill was published in the government gazette on April 10, 2015, and is expected to be debated in parliament soon.
  • April 20, 2015
    Senegal has prosecuted only a handful of cases involving children who are trafficked and forced to beg by abusive teachers in Quranic schools despite a decade-old law outlawing the practice.
  • April 20, 2015
  • April 20, 2015
    Pakistani lawmakers should reject a new cybercrime prevention bill which contains provisions which threaten rights of privacy and freedom of expression.
  • April 20, 2015
    Somali state security forces forcibly evicted about 21,000 displaced people in the capital, Mogadishu, in early March 2015.
  • April 20, 2015
    Azerbaijan’s international partners should insist on the release of wrongfully detained and imprisoned critics as the country prepares to host the first European Games. Human Rights Watch released a new video on April 20, 2015, featuring prominent activists and journalists detained in the months leading up to the games.
  • April 19, 2015
    The European Union (EU) should act immediately to prevent further deaths at sea, Human Rights Watch said. As many as 700 migrants and asylum seekers are feared dead in a single shipwreck in the Mediterranean north of Libya on April 19, 2015, bringing the estimated death toll to over 1,000 in one week
  • April 19, 2015
    A review of the prosecution’s evidence in a mass trial of 51 alleged supporters of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood shows that the government presented no evidence of criminal behavior besides the testimony of one police officer.
  • April 18, 2015
    Ukrainian authorities should ensure that the investigation into the murder of Oles Buzyna, a journalist who was shot and killed on April 16, 2015, is effective, impartial, and transparent.
  • April 17, 2015
    Unidentified militia fired on a hospital in southern Yemen that pro-Houthi soldiers had endangered, in violation of the laws of war, Human Rights Watch said today. All parties to Yemen’s conflict should take necessary measures to ensure that medical facilities and personnel do not come under attack so that patients can be treated.
  • April 17, 2015
  • April 17, 2015
    The systems of surveillance that Edward Snowden revealed in both the UK and US depend on law for their justification, and are facing legal challenges in both countries’ legislatures.
  • April 17, 2015
    Israel's arrest of a Palestinian lawmaker for unknown reasons lacks all due process; Kenya looks to oust Somali refugees after this month's Garissa attack; and violence in South Africa is targetign immigrants - these were among the most popular posts to Dispatches...
  • April 17, 2015
    Human Rights Watch has over 190 staff tweeting human rights developments from around the world. Here are some of their most popular tweets from the last seven days.
  • April 17, 2015
    Uzbek authorities have transferred an imprisoned human rights defender to a punishment cell, a move that indicates they may intend to arbitrarily extend his sentence on trumped-up charges. The authorities should immediately and unconditionally release the human rights defender, Azam Farmonov, and should not arbitrarily extend his sentence.
  • April 17, 2015
    A new Malawi law that sets 18 as the minimum age for marriage is an important step toward preventing child marriage. The Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Act (Marriage Act) of 2015 became law following the president’s assent. Malawi’s child marriage rates are among the highest in the world, with one out of two girls married before they turn 18.
  • April 16, 2015
    Thai authorities should drop criminal proceedings against two journalists for reporting on trafficking of ethnic Rohingya “boat people,” Human Rights Watch said today. Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian, the editor and correspondent of the news website Phuketwan, were charged one year ago, on April 17, 2014, with criminal defamation and the Computer Crimes Act based on a complaint filed by the Thai navy.
  • April 16, 2015
  • April 16, 2015
    The US Congress should promptly enact legislation introduced on April 16, 2015 that would provide needed protections for children working in US tobacco farming, Human Rights Watch said today. Bills were introduced simultaneously in the Senate by Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois and in the House of Representatives by Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island.
  • April 16, 2015
    Azerbaijan’s conviction on April 16, 2015, of a leading human rights activist and government critic, Rasul Jafarov, reflects the government’s relentless crackdown against independent voices. The authorities should immediately release Jafarov and vacate his politically motivated conviction. The authorities should also end their ongoing harassment of the country’s human rights community and allow human rights groups to function freely.
  • April 15, 2015
    Airstrikes by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition that hit a dairy factory in Yemen on March 31, 2015, killed at least 31 civilians and wounded another 11. The governments that participated in the attacks should investigate the airstrikes, which may have been indiscriminate or disproportionate, in violation of the laws of war.
  • April 15, 2015
    Evidence indicates that Sudan dropped cluster bombs on civilian areas of Southern Kordofan’s Nuba Mountains in February and March 2015.
  • April 15, 2015
    Democratic Republic of Congo authorities should immediately release seven peaceful activists who have been wrongfully detained, some since March 15, 2015.
  • April 15, 2015
  • April 15, 2015
    Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop should raise human rights concerns with senior Iranian officials during her visit to Tehran on April 18, 2015. Bishop is the first senior figure in the Australian government to visit Iran in more than a decade.
  • April 15, 2015
    The Saudi Arabia¬–led bombing campaign in Yemen is off to a dreadful start, at least when it comes to the civilian toll. During the first week of military operations against Houthi fighters, the Arab coalition’s warplanes struck heavily populated areas in the capital, Sanaa, and other civilian centers. Dozens of civilians, including children, died in the strikes.
  • April 15, 2015
    Last August, the world watched in horror as the extremist armed group Islamic State, also known as ISIS, attacked Iraq’s Yezidi community. Thousands fled without food or water into the nearby Sinjar mountains, but ISIS fighters waylaid many, executing men and abducting thousands of people, mainly women and children. Rumors of forced marriage and enslavement of Yezidi girls and women swirled, and were later confirmed as a trickle of women and girls – number into the hundreds – escaped. Human Rights Watch researchers Samer Muscati and Rothna Begum interviewed 20 of these women and girls and shared their findings with Amy Braunschweiger.
  • April 15, 2015
    The European Commission is working on its ‘comprehensive migration agenda’ while migrants continue to die at sea. Its tenets should be self-evident, yet some proposals for it are troubling.
  • April 15, 2015
    Reports of 400 lives lost in the Mediterranean between April 11-13, 2015, should force the European Union to implement a vast search-and-rescue operation.
  • April 15, 2015
    The prominent Saudi activist and lawyer Waleed Abu al-Khair has completed a year of a 15-year prison term that stems solely from his peaceful criticism of the Saudi government and human rights advocacy.
  • April 15, 2015
    Asylum seekers and migrants in Serbia experience harassment and abuse at the hands of Serbian police.
  • April 15, 2015
    The World Bank’s action plan responding to an internal review on the bank’s resettlement practices does not address the serious failings the review found, 85 nongovernmental organizations and independent experts from 37 countries said in a letter to the World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim.
  • April 14, 2015
    The extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has carried out systematic rape and other sexual violence against Yezidi women and girls in northern Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch conducted research in the town of Dohuk in January and February 2015, including interviewing 20 women and girls who escaped from ISIS, and reviewing ISIS statements about the subject.
  • April 14, 2015
    The Chinese government’s decision to release five feminists on bail who had been held arbitrarily in Beijing for more than a month is a welcome step, yet until all charges against them are formally dropped, the five remain criminal suspects and can still be indicted, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • April 14, 2015
  • April 14, 2015
  • April 14, 2015
    “Even after I escaped from them and live far away from my village, I am still afraid,” a 17-year-old girl who escaped from Boko Haram last year told us in June. “I think of death many times.”
  • April 14, 2015
    The nightmare of 12-year-old “Jalila” began when Islamic State fighters abducted her, along with her family, in northern Iraq. They separated her from her family and imprisoned her in a house in north-eastern Syria with other abducted Yezidi women and girls. Then the jihadist fighters came, one after another, to inspect them. One singled Jalila out, took her home, and proceeded to rape her for three days. Six other Islamic State fighters eventually took possession of Jalila during her captivity, she told me recently—three of them raped her.
  • April 14, 2015
    The United Nations Security Council should act to prevent and address sexual violence in armed conflict, including promoting greater participation of women in peacebuilding efforts, Human Rights Watch said today. On April 13, 2015, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made public a report on conflict-related sexual violence in 19 countries during 2014 that described challenges due to poor monitoring, limited support services, and lack of accountability.
  • April 14, 2015
    A group of Portuguese-speaking countries that accepted Equatorial Guinea as a member in July 2014 should investigate ongoing serious human rights violations in their newest member state, EG Justice, Conectas Direitos Humanos, and Human Rights Watch said today.
  • April 14, 2015
    The Malian government should act to curtail rising violent crime and abuses by armed groups and state security forces that threaten the security of the population in northern and central Mali. Two years after a French-led military intervention in the embattled country, there remains widespread lawlessness and insecurity.
  • April 13, 2015
    Evidence strongly suggests that Syrian government forces used toxic chemicals in several barrel bomb attacks in Idlib governorate between March 16 and 31, 2015, Human Rights Watch said today. Syrian rescue workers reported that these attacks affected at least 206 people, including 20 civil defense workers. One attack killed six civilians, including three children. The attacks violated the Chemical Weapons Convention and a United Nations Security Council resolution.
  • April 13, 2015
    Kim Il-Sung should be remembered as North Koreans mark his birthday on April 15, 2015, for creating a state characterized by rights violations and crimes against humanity, Human Rights Watch said today. During his 46 years of rule, Kim established an authoritarian government that annihilated civil and political rights, purged and persecuted dissidents, and created a personality cult that compelled absolute obedience to him.
  • April 13, 2015
  • April 13, 2015
    US President Barack Obama should place Iraq’s abusive sectarian militias at the top of his agenda for his meeting with the Iraqi prime minister, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the president. Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi is scheduled to meet with Obama on April 14, 2015, in Washington, DC.
  • April 13, 2015
    Uganda will hold elections in early 2016 in what will be President Museveni’s 30th year in power.
  • April 13, 2015
    Last month Wu Rongrong was taken into custody for planning to protest on International Women's Day against sexual harassment in China. Since then, the Chinese authorities have formally detained her and four other activists for "creating disturbances."
  • April 13, 2015
    What's at stake in the Chinese Government's proposed new restrictions on independent organizations?