• Despite great strides made by the international women’s rights movement over many years, women and girls around the world are still married as children or trafficked into forced labor and sex slavery. They are refused access to education and political participation, and some are trapped in conflicts where rape is perpetrated as a weapon of war. Around the world, deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth are needlessly high, and women are prevented from making deeply personal choices in their private lives. Human Rights Watch is working toward the realization of women’s empowerment and gender equality—protecting the rights and improving the lives of women and girls on the ground.

  • Women in the sewing division of a factory in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Women constitute about 90 percent of the workforce in Cambodia’s garment industry.
    Cambodia’s government should improve enforcement of its labor law to remedy rights violations in the garment industry, said Human Rights Watch in a March 17, 2015 letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen. The government should improve coordination between different ministries to ensure that all garment factories are registered and regularly monitored by labor inspectors.

Reports

Women's Rights

  • Apr 22, 2015
    We write today to thank you for meeting with a Human Rights Watch delegation last month to discuss our concerns regarding some key provisions of the Organic Integral Criminal Code (Código Orgánico Integral Penal). We would like to follow up on that discussion to share our concerns regarding the criminalization of abortion, and respectfully urge you to spearhead a reform process to ensure that Ecuador complies with its international human rights obligations.
  • Apr 22, 2015
    Ecuador’s National Assembly should decriminalize abortion in line with recommendations made by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the president of the assembly’s Justice Commission. In February 2015, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women urged Ecuador to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape, incest, and severe fetal impairment.
  • Apr 20, 2015
  • Apr 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.
  • Apr 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.
  • Apr 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.
  • Apr 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.
  • Apr 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.
  • Apr 10, 2015
    The undersigned individuals and organisations write to express our deep concern about the arbitrary detention of Wu Rongrong, Zheng Churan, Wei Tingting, Wang Man and Li Tingting and to urge the Ministry of Public Security to immediately and unconditionally release them and drop all charges.
  • Apr 1, 2015