• 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.

  • Tigisi (not her real name), now 12, was forced to marry at age 9, but now attends a boarding school with the support of NAFGEM, a local organization. Simanjiro, Tanzania. August 9, 2014.
    Child marriage in Tanzania limits girls’ access to education and exposes them to serious harms. Human Rights Watch documented cases in which girls as young as seven were married. The government should set 18 as the minimum marriage age for girls and boys as a first step toward eradicating child marriage and improving the lives of girls and women.

Reports

Women's Rights

  • Jan 20, 2015
    We write in advance of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women’s upcoming review of Ecuador to highlight areas of concern regarding the Ecuadoran government’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). This submission is based on the Human Rights Watch report on sexual and reproductive health and rights in Ecuador published in 2013, “Rape Victims as Criminals: Illegal Abortion After Rape in Ecuador” (Annex 1) and is focused on violations of the right to health, which are inconsistent with Article 12 of the Convention.
  • Jan 19, 2015
  • Jan 19, 2015
    Lebanon’s religion-based personal status laws discriminate against women across the religious spectrum and don’t guarantee their basic rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Lebanon has 15 separate personal status laws for its recognized religions but no civil code covering issues such as divorce, property rights, or care of children. These laws are administered by autonomous religious courts with little or no government oversight, and often issue rulings that violate women’s human rights.
  • Jan 16, 2015
    We write in advance of the 60th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and its review of Kyrgyzstan to highlight areas of concern regarding the government of Kyrgyzstan’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). This submission addresses Articles 2, 3, and 5 of the Convention, with reference to Article 15.
  • Jan 13, 2015
    If the Canadian government has chosen to ignore demonstrated violence against indigenous women and girls, it has registered loud and clear on the global human rights agenda.
  • Jan 12, 2015
    Human Rights Watch is writing in response to your announcement that the City of New Orleans would be forming an internal task force to review mishandled rape cases. We urge you to go further. Specifically, we ask that the task force become a permanent mechanism to ensure that investigations are being conducted properly, and that best practices continue to be implemented long after the media coverage has ceased, or, in the alternative, support a city ordinance that codifies best practices that have been proven to work in other cities. At a minimum, we ask that police no longer be allowed to monitor themselves.
  • Jan 11, 2015
    There have been some encouraging reforms in Kuwait since its last UPR in 2010. For example, in January 2013 a judicial decision granted women the right to apply for posts as prosecutors, allowing them to therefore enter the career path to become judges eventually. However Kuwait has yet to reform any of the provisions in its personal status laws that discriminate against women.
  • Dec 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.
  • Dec 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.
  • Dec 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.