• The enormous US prison population, the world's largest, partly reflects harsh sentencing practices contrary to international law, such as disproportionately long prison terms and mandatory sentencing without parole. Those behind bars include a growing number of elderly people, whom prisons are ill-equipped to handle, and youth under age 18 held in adult prisons. Unauthorized immigrants and their families in the United States are vulnerable to abuses stemming from an outdated, ineffective immigration system that deprives them of basic rights, and increasing numbers are held in detention facilities. A number of abusive counterterrorism policies have continued under President Barack Obama, including detentions without charge at Guantanamo Bay.

  • An outreach team from Unity Of Greater New Orleans counsels a homeless man on housing options, January 2011.
    (New York) – Louisiana state laws and practices that prohibit access to sterile syringes and criminalize sex work contribute to an uncontrolled HIV epidemic and an extremely high AIDS death rate, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The AIDS death rate in Louisiana is more than double the US average. New Orleans police regularly interfere with sex workers who carry condoms, putting them and their clients at risk of HIV.

Reports

  • How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy
  • Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions
  • Evidence-Based Treatment for Drug Dependence at the United States Veterans Administration Department of Veterans Affairs

US Domestic Policy

  • Aug 20, 2014
    US Attorney General Eric Holder should press state and local officials during his visit to Ferguson, Missouri, on August 20, 2014, to reform police practices to improve respect for basic rights. Holder should also support federal reforms that could help address concerns about policing and racial discrimination raised during the Ferguson protests over the last 10 days.
  • Aug 18, 2014
    Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed changes to the agricultural Worker Protection Standard (WPS).
  • Aug 14, 2014
    Protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri, a predominantly African-American suburb north of St. Louis, after a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old.
  • Aug 14, 2014
    The humanitarian crisis of undocumented Central American children may have faded from the headlines, but the problem has not gone away.
  • Jul 30, 2014
    The undersigned civil liberties, human rights, and other public interest organizations write in support of the USA FREEDOM Act (S. 2685), which Senator Leahy reintroduced on July 29. We urge both the Senate and the House to pass it swiftly and without any dilution of its protections.
  • Jul 29, 2014
    The US Congress should support greater due process protections for migrant families rather than increasing funding for facilities to detain those crossing the US southern border, Human Rights Watch said today.
  • Jul 29, 2014
    The US Senate should move swiftly to approve a surveillance reform bill introduced on July 29, 2014, by Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy. The bill, known as the USA Freedom Act, is a significant improvement over a companion bill that the US House of Representatives passed on May 22 and, if approved, has the potential to end bulk collection of phone records in the US.
  • Jul 28, 2014
    Large-scale US surveillance is seriously hampering US-based journalists and lawyers in their work, Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union said in a joint report released today. Surveillance is undermining media freedom and the right to counsel, and ultimately obstructing the American people’s ability to hold their government to account, the groups said.
  • Jul 25, 2014
    The United States has failed to comply with key protections under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), Human Rights Watch said today. The US, which ratified the treaty in 1994, will appear before the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination for a periodic review of its record on August 13 and 14, 2014, in Geneva.
  • Jul 24, 2014
    The public debate over the recent surge in child migrants across the US border with Mexico should spur Congress to reform US immigration policy, Human Rights Watch said today, releasing a multimedia feature jointly with Time magazine and Platon/The People’s Portfolio.