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Focus on Human Rights
Violence in East Timor (September 27)
The Pinochet Decision (September 30)
Turkey: Focus on Human Rights (September 27)
Justice in Malaysia (September 17)
China: 10 Years After Tiananmen (September 9)
Civil War in Sierra Leone (August 30)
Cambodia: Focus on Human Rights (August 24)
Crisis in Kosovo (August 6)
India: Human Rights Abuses Fuel Conflict (July 16)
Monitoring the Northern Ireland Marching Season 1999 (June 30)
The Case Against Anwar Ibrahim (June 16)
Archive of the Latest News
Latest Reports from Human Rights Watch
Moscow Authorities Falsely Charging Ethnic Chechens
(September 30, 1999)--On September 20, police detained "Aslan," a Chechen man, and brought him to a police precinct, where he was searched, questioned, had his mug shot taken, and fingerprinted. Police entered data on Aslan in an all-Russia computerized criminal archive. His crime: failing to have registration documents.
Anti-Christian Violence on the Rise in India
(London, September 30, 1999) – The Indian government has failed to prevent increasing violence against Christians and is exploiting communal tensions for political ends, Human Rights Watch charged in a report released today. The 37-page report, Politics by Other Means: Attacks Against Christians in India, details violence against Christians in the months ahead of the country's national parliamentary elections in September and October 1999, and in the months following electoral victory by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian People's Party, known as the BJP) in the state of Gujarat.
Pinochet Extradition Seen
(London, September 30, 1999)- As the extradition hearings of Gen. Augusto Pinochet closed today, Human Rights Watch expressed confidence that Magistrate Ronald Bartle would commit the former dictator for extradition.
Clinton Meets Turkish Prime Minister Ecevit
(New York, September 28, 1999) -- Bulent Ecevit's meeting at the White House today, September 28, comes at a critical moment for Turkey. While Turkey's human rights record has improved, many abuses continue. Yesterday, 170,000 copies of the newspaper Akit ("Contract") were confiscated by Istanbul State Security Court, and legal proceedings were initiated against journalist Abdurrahman Dilipak for his "Open Letter to Mr. Bulent Ecevit, c/o President Clinton, The White House," which contained broad criticisms of the government, and in particular, the headscarf ban. The article contains no incitement to hatred or violence.
Rights Group Condemns Deaths in Turkish Prison
(New York, September 27, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today condemned the apparent use of excessive force by Turkish gendarmerie at the Ankara Closed Prison over the weekend that resulted in the deaths of eleven prisoners and serious injury to many others. Reports indicate that, in the course of putting down unrest that broke out in the prison on Sunday morning, the gendarmes forced their way into wings of the prison and beat prisoners with heavy truncheons.
Strong Independent Commission of Inquiry Urged for East Timor
(New York, September 27, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today urged the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to vote for the creation of an international commission of inquiry into possible crimes against humanity in East Timor. But the group warned that the effectiveness and credibility of an investigation could be undermined if it were closely tied to the Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights, commonly referred to by its Indonesian acronym, Komnas-HAM.
Pinochet Extradition Hearings "Historic"
(London, September 27, 1999)- Human Rights Watch described as "historic" the proceedings which begin today on the extradition of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.
Protect Refugees in West Timor
(New York, September 23, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today welcomed an agreement that would give staff of the UNHCR safe access to the violence- wracked refugee camps in West Timor, but cautioned that no discussion of resettlement or return should take place before the physical security of all who fled or were forced to West Timor is completely secured.
Rights Group Calls for Timor Probe
(New York, September 23, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today will urge the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, meeting in emergency session in Geneva, to establish a high-profile commission of inquiry to investigate human rights abuses in East Timor.
Arrests of Activists in Malaysia
(New York, September 21, 1999)-- Human Rights Watch today expressed concern over the arrests since Sunday of at least eleven human rights activists and opposition figures in Kuala Lumpur.
Dozens Reported killed by Nigerian Soldiers
(New York, September 21, 1999)—Human Rights Watch has received disturbing reports that Nigerian government security forces have killed several dozen people over the last two weeks in and around Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State, in Nigeria's oil-producing region.
East Timor Alert: Stop Transmigration!
(New York, September 20, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch warned today that tens of thousands of East Timorese pushed out to West Timor by Indonesian army-backed militias could be "transmigrated" to other parts of Indonesia within weeks, making it nearly impossible for them to return home.
Accountability for Crimes Against Humanity in East Timor
(New York, September 20, 1999)— On September 14, the United Nations Security Council condemned the violence perpetrated in East Timor since the August 30, 1999 referendum and demanded "that those responsible for such acts be brought to justice." This briefing paper examines some of the issues surrounding such accountability. Those guilty of human rights abuses in East Timor could be brought to justice before a new ad hoc international tribunal, before the courts of Indonesia, or before the courts of other countries. The first step, however, will be solid documentation of the human rights crimes that have been committed.
The Extradition of General Augusto Pinochet
(September 20, 1999)—On September 27, 1999, formal extradition ("committal") proceedings against Gen. Augusto Pinochet will begin. These proceedings are expected to last about a week. Human Rights Watch, which took part in the Pinochet hearings before the House of Lords, has prepared the following background paper to help untangle some complex legal issues.
Rights Group Condemns Moscow Round-ups
(September 17, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today condemned the detention of 20,000 non-Muscovites by the Moscow police. City authorities have justified the round-ups as a security measure in response to the recent bombings in Russia, which have claimed about 200 lives so far. Government officials in Moscow have asserted that Chechens bear responsibility for the recent explosions.
Robinson Addresses Security Council: "It's About Time"
(New York, September 16, 1999) -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights should address the Security Council on a regular basis, Human Rights Watch urged today. Mary Robinson's speech today marked the first-ever appearance by a U.N. Human Rights Commissioner before the Security Council. She spoke as part of the Security Council debate on the Secretary-General's report on civilians in armed conflicts.
U.S. Government Must Return Seized Haitian Documents
(New York, September 16, 1999) – Five years after the U.S.-led multinational intervention in Haiti, Human Rights Watch criticized the U.S. government for its refusal to return seized army and death-squad documents to Haitian law enforcement officials.
Human Rights Watch Announces Landmark Endowment Campaign
(New York, September 15, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today announced a $45 million endowment campaign, the most ambitious fund-raising effort ever undertaken by a humanitarian advocacy group. Campaign Chair Fiona Druckenmiller said that the campaign had already secured cash and pledges totaling $38 million toward its $45 million goal. The amount came from fewer than fifty donors.
HRW Urges Adoption of UN Security Council Resolution On East Timor
(New York, September 14, 1999)-- Human Rights Watch today called for immediate adoption of a resolution now under consideration by the U.N. Security Council that would enable immediate deployment of a multinational force in East Timor. But it warned that the lack of clarity over the exact role of the Indonesian armed forces needed urgently to be resolved either in the resolution or in subsequent protocols in order to forestall further atrocities.
Iran: Revolutionary Court Death Sentences Condemned
(New York, September 14, 1999) -- The head of Tehran's revolutionary Court has announced that four as yet unnamed people have been sentenced to death in relation to student demonstrations there last month. Human Rights Watch today called for the retrial of the four in a public court and with full access to the procedural safeguards set out in international law.
Turkmen Authorities Must Answer For Death of Political Prisoner
(September 14, 1999)--Human Rights Watch today called on the government of Turkmenistan for a full investigation into the death of political prisoner Khoshali Garaev. Garaev, thirty-seven, died under extremely suspicious circumstances in a prison in the city of Turkmenbashi in western Turkmenistan.
Protection for Displaced Persons in East and West Timor
(New York, September 13, 1999)-- Up to one-third of East Timor's population of 800,000 have been displaced from their homes over the last seven days. Most of these people are displaced within East Timor. Thousands are in police stations and district and subdistrict military commands, believing the only safety lies with those responsible for the violence. Others are in church compounds or have fled to the hills, anywhere where they can escape.
U.N. Failed to Avert Angola Disaster
(New York, September 13, 1999)—The United Nations made fatal errors in its mission to Angola, where civilians now face starvation and massive human rights abuse as a result of the resurgent war, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
Habibie Decision Welcomed But What Are The Terms?
(New York, September 12, 1999)-- Human Rights Watch welcomed Indonesian President Habibie's announcement on Sunday that he was accepting the United Nations' offer of an multinational peacekeeping force for East Timor. It warned, however, that the period between the announcement and the arrival of international troops could be the most dangerous of all for the East Timorese who support independence.
Detention of Kazakh Opposition Leader Condemned
(September 11, 1999)-- Human Rights Watch today condemned the detention of former Kazakh Prime Minister Akezhan Kazhegeldin at a Moscow airport, and called on the Russian government to deny Kazakhstan's request to extradite him. Human Rights Watch believes that Kazakh authorities seek to arrest Mr. Kazhegeldin in order to quash his political activities.
Refugee Camps in W. Timor Offer No Refuge
(New York, September 10, 1999) -- People fleeing the terror in East Timor or being forced out by militias have no protection over the border, Human Rights Watch said today. The same army-backed militias are now in West Timor patrolling the refugee camps, bus terminals, and even the main airport, and some of them have already attacked pro-independence refugees.
HRW Condemns Reported Threat Against Journalists In Burundi
(New York, September 10, 1999)—Human Rights Watch today strongly condemned the reported statement of the Burundian Minister of Defense directing that journalists should be considered enemies and legitimate military targets if they entered zones of conflict in Burundi.
N. Ireland Police Report Fails to Address Past Abuses
(New York, September 9, 1999)—Human Rights Watch today welcomed some recommendations in the report on police reform issued today by the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, but expressed profound disappointment that the commission failed to address accountability for abuses committed in the past by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).
Israeli Justice Minister Should Start Torture Prosecutions
(New York, Thursday September 9, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today called on Yossi Beilin, Israel's minister of justice, to take immediate steps to prosecute all members of the General Security Service (GSS) who are responsible for torture. In a letter to Beilin, Human Rights Watch also urged him to introduce legislation clearly prohibiting torture and ill-treatment by the GSS.
Kenyan Children Suffer Frequent Beatings by Teachers
(Nairobi, September 9, 1999) -- Violent physical punishment, inflicted at the hands of teachers, is a regular part of the classroom experience for many Kenyan children, Human Rights Watch charged in a report released today.
Clinton Should Press China on Human Rights
(New York, September 9, 1999)—President Clinton should press Chinese President Jiang Zemin for human rights improvements as a precondition for Beijing getting normal trading status on a permanent basis, Human Rights Watch said today. On September 11, Clinton will meet with Jiang in New Zealand during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit.
Northern Ireland: Human Rights and the Patten Report
(New York, NY, September 8, 1999)—On Thursday, September 9, the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, chaired by former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten, will release its long awaited report on policing reform. Human Rights Watch researchers are available to the media to discuss the report's recommendations.
Chinese Targeting Eastern Tibetans
(New York, September 8, 1999) --In a report released today, Human Rights Watch describes how China's intolerance of Tibetan political activity extends into areas of Sichuan, Gansu, Yunnan, and Qinghai provinces. Half of the Tibetans under Chinese rule live in these areas, known as "eastern Tibet," outside the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
East Timor: Martial Law Will Make Things Worse
(New York, September 7, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch said today that President Habibie's declaration of martial law in East Timor, apparently at the urging of Indonesian armed forces commander General Wiranto, could make a terrible situation worse. It urged Indonesia's donors to continue to press Habibie to invite an international peacekeeping force to East Timor.
Academic Leaders Speak Out in Defense of Embattled Iranian Scholar
(New York, September 7, 1999) -- In an open letter today to the new head of the Iranian judiciary, the Human Rights Watch Academic Freedom Committee called for immediate review of the arrest and conviction of Mohsen Kadivar.
East Timor: The World Must Act Or Be Complicit In The Killing
(New York-September 5, 1999) Human Rights Watch today charged that Western governments were not doing all they could to stop the violence spreading across East Timor in the wake of the vote in favor of independence there last week.
Human Rights Agenda For Albright In Vietnam
(New York, September 4, 1999)—Human Rights Watch called on U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to put human rights high on the agenda in her discussions with officials in Vietnam this week.
Indonesian Government Must Prevent East Timor Bloodbath
(New York, September 3, 1999)—The next forty-eight hours could bring widespread death and destruction in East Timor unless world leaders exerted maximum pressure on the Indonesian government, Human Rights Watch said today.
Iran: Grant Jewish Prisoners Their Rights
(New York, September 2, 1999) -- Human Rights Watch today expressed concern over the detention and forthcoming trial of thirteen Iranian Jews accused of espionage. The thirteen prisoners have been held in detention without access to lawyers and without visits from their family members since March 21, 1999. Iranian news reports say that "thirteen Jews and a few Muslims" will go on trial in Shiraz.
N. Ireland: Judgement in Moloney Case Sets Dangerous Precedent
(New York, September 2, 1999) - Human Rights Watch today condemned a court decision requiring journalist Ed Moloney to surrender notes from interviews conducted with the William Alfred Stobie, nine years ago.
East Timor: Suspend Aid Until Militias Brought Under Control
(September 1, 1999, New York)—In the wake of a new militia attack near United Nations headquarters in Dili, East Timor on Wednesday night, Human Rights Watch called for immediate suspension of all military training and assistance programs to the Indonesian army until there is some evidence that it is making a serious effort to bring its proxy militias under control.
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