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Last updated Wednesday, October 1, 2003

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Focus on Human Rights

Background on War in Iraq  (October, 2003)

Russian Federation / Chechnya: Renewed Catastrophe  (October, 2003)

Afghanistan: Human Rights Watch Key Documents  (September, 2003)

September 11 Attacks: Crimes Against Humanity
The Aftermath
 (September, 2003)

Iran: Stop Punishing Student Activists
(New York, October 1, 2003) Iranian authorities should stop using university disciplinary committees as a means to punish students for participating in political protests, Human Rights Watch said today.
Israel: West Bank Barrier Endangers Basic Rights  (Français)
(New York, October 1, 2003) The United States should deduct the cost of the West Bank separation barrier from U.S. loan guarantees for Israel, Human Rights Watch said today.
Chadian Activist Fired by International Agency    (Français)
(New York, September 30, 2003) - Souleymane Guengueng, a torture victim and award-winning human rights activist from Chad, has been fired from his position with the World Bank-backed Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC), Human Rights Watch said today. The Commission apparently took the measure in reprisal for his campaign to bring to justice the former dictator of Chad, Hissène Habré.
U.S. Supreme Court Should Review and Reject Secret Detentions  (Français)
(Washington, D.C., September 30, 2003) The U.S. Supreme Court should overturn a lower court decision allowing the Justice Department to keep secret the names of over 1,000 people arrested in the United States following the September 11 attacks, Human Rights Watch said today.
Uzbekistan: Government Blocks Political Meeting
(New York, September 30, 2003) The Uzbek government has effectively blocked the Erk Democratic Party from holding its congress in Tashkent and has increased persecution of the opposition party’s members, Human Rights Watch said today.
Colombia: President Must Affirm ICC at the U.N.
(New York, September 29, 2003) Colombian President Álvaro Uribe should reiterate his government's commitment to the International Criminal Court (ICC) when he addresses the U.N. General Assembly, Human Rights Watch said today.
Uzbekistan: Human Rights Defender Loses Appeal
(New York, September 26, 2003) An Uzbek court upheld the conviction of a human rights defender for homosexual conduct in violation of his basic rights, Human Rights Watch said today.
Thailand: Burmese Protesters Should Be Released
(New York, September 25, 2003) -- The Thai government should immediately release fifteen Burmese activists arrested on September 18 in front of the Burmese embassy in Bangkok, Human Rights Watch said today.
Azerbaijan: Bush Should Call for Fair Elections
(New York, September 24, 2003) The Bush administration should press publicly for free and fair elections in Azerbaijan, Human Rights Watch said today. Azerbaijan’s presidential elections are scheduled for October 15.
Nepal/Bhutan: Refugee Women Face Abuses  (in Nepali)
(New York, September 24, 2003) Bhutanese refugee women in Nepal encounter gender-based violence and systematic discrimination in access to aid, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and governments meeting in Geneva next week must take decisive action to eliminate such abuses in refugee settings worldwide.
Iraq: U.S. Military Responses Imperil Journalists
(New York, September 24, 2003) Overaggressive reactions by U.S. military forces in Iraq are putting journalists and other civilians in unnecessary danger, Human Rights Watch said today.
Human Rights Watch Commentary on Dutch Asylum Policy
(September 24, 2003) -- Human Rights Watch identified shortcomings in three aspects of Dutch asylum policy and practice—the AC procedure; the treatment of child migrants and asylum seekers; and reception conditions for certain categories of asylum seekers. In our presentation today, we would like to briefly identify the inadequacies of the Minister’s assertions that the Netherlands is meeting its international obligations to protect the rights of migrants and asylum seekers in each of these areas.
Afghanistan: Bush Should End Support to Warlords, Work to Expand ISAF
(New York, September 23, 2003) -- When U.S. President George W. Bush meets with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan on Tuesday, he should commit the United States to withdrawing financial support and arms deliveries to regional warlords and military commanders responsible for human rights violations, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to President Bush today.
Uzbekistan: Neighborhood Committees Violate Rights
(Tashkent, September 23, 2003) Uzbekistan’s neighborhood committees violate fundamental human rights, carrying the government's repressive policies to the local level, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.
Russia: Displaced Chechens in Ingushetia Face Abuses

(New York, September 22, 2003)-- Russia’s forces are committing abuses against displaced Chechens in Ingushetia as the brutality of the conflict in Chechnya spills over into this neighboring republic, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
Colombia's Checkbook Impunity
(September 22, 2003) -- Colombian President Álvaro Uribe has presented a bill to his congress that would allow paramilitaries who have committed atrocities to skip prison for a fee. Among them are men that have ordered and carried out the killings of thousands of Colombian civilians.
New Approaches to Asylum in the U.K. Must Respect Rights
(New York, September 22, 2003) New approaches to asylum being considered in the United Kingdom and the European Union threaten the fundamental rights of asylum seekers and migrants, Human Rights Watch said today.
Malaysia: Detainees Should Go Free
(September 20, 2003) -- Malaysia should charge or release nine detainees held under its harsh Internal Security Act (ISA) at the end of their two-year terms, Human Rights Watch said today. Extending the administrative detention, which is set to expire on September 23, will undermine possibilities for reform under Malaysia's new government.
Sudan: Human Rights and Political Inclusion Must Be Part of Sudan Peace Agreement
(September 19, 2003) -- Any lasting peace agreement in Sudan must provide meaningful guarantees for the protection of the human rights of all segments of Sudanese society including their rights to participate in post-conflict political processes.
Dubai: Migrant Workers at Risk
(New York, September 19, 2003) - The World Bank should help end the exploitation and abuse of migrant workers in the Persian Gulf and beyond, Human Rights Watch said as the international financial institution prepares to hold its annual meetings in Dubai.
Indonesia: Aceh Closure Threatens Civilians
(New York, September 19, 2003) - Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri should allow international humanitarian agencies full and unfettered access to Aceh, where recent military offensives may have sparked a humanitarian crisis, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today.
Colombia: Widespread Use of Child Combatants  (Español,  Deutsch)
(Santafé de Bogotá, September 18, 2003) — More than 11,000 children fight in Colombia's armed conflict, one of the highest totals in the world, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Both guerrilla and paramilitary forces rely on child combatants, who have committed atrocities and are even made to execute other children who try to desert.
Sudan: Human Rights and Political Inclusion Must Be Part of Sudan Peace Agreement
(September 17, 2003) -- Any lasting peace agreement in Sudan must provide meaningful guarantees for the protection of the human rights of all segments of Sudanese society including their rights to participate in post-conflict political processes.
Mexico: Action Needed on Fox's Rights Agenda
(New York, September 18, 2003) — President Vicente Fox should instruct state officials to cooperate with investigations into past human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a letter sent to Fox today. Substantive progress is urgently needed if Mexico is to carry out the human rights agenda articulated in Fox's recent state of the union address.
Liberia: Where the Arms Come from
(September 17, 2003) -- Liberia urgently needs more peacekeepers. But West Africa as a whole needs sustained and skillful diplomacy just as badly. The continuing war in Liberia is a regional war, and the United States has lost many opportunities to engage West African governments in ways that might have lessened the suffering this war has caused. The Bush administration should not lose any more chances.
Eritrea: Release Political Prisoners
(New York, September 17, 2003) The Eritrean government should release political prisoners and allow for freedom of the press, Human Rights Watch said on the second anniversary of a major crackdown against civil society. Eritrea's practice of arbitrary arrests and detentions continues to this day.
Vietnam: Refugee Monk's Arrest a Mockery of Justice
(New York and London, September 17, 2003) The Vietnamese government should immediately release Thich Tri Luc, a Buddhist monk who was arrested and forcibly repatriated to Vietnam after receiving refugee status in Cambodia, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today.
Liberia: U.N. Action Needed to End Rights Abuses
(New York, September 16, 2003) - Liberian government forces and rebel fighters are committing grave human rights abuses while peacekeeping forces remain inadequate, Human Rights Watch said today in a briefing paper.
Human Rights Watch Mourns Anna Lindh
(New York, September 15, 2003)—With the tragic death of Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh, the human rights movement lost one of its most accomplished, principled advocates, Human Rights Watch said today.
Lebanon: End Harassment of Rights Activists
(New York, September 13, 2003) Lebanon should halt its repeated harassment of human rights activists, Human Rights Watch said today. The Lebanese government must remove all travel and other restrictions on Samira Trad, whose organization Frontiers Center promotes the rights of refugees and other marginalized people in the country.
AIDS Law Project of South Africa Honored

(Montreal, September 12, 2003) — The AIDS Law Project (ALP), a pioneering organization that helps combat HIV/AIDS by protecting the rights of the millions affected by the disease in South Africa, is the recipient of the 2003 “Award for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights” from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Human Rights Watch.
September 11 Two Years On
(New York, September 10, 2003) - On this second anniversary, Human Rights Watch expresses its deep sympathy for all the victims of the September 11th attacks, and the many other massive, direct and indiscriminate attacks against civilians that have been a tragic hallmark of the past year.
United States: Lift Restrictions on Clean Needle Programs   (Español)
(New York, September 9, 2003) — Government interference with sterile syringe programs is thwarting HIV prevention efforts in California, Human Rights Watch said in a new report today. State laws and local enforcement are preventing drug users from obtaining the sterile syringes they need to protect themselves from HIV.
Chile: 30 Years After the Coup, A Chance for Justice
(Washington, DC, September 9, 2003) Chile must now hold accountable those responsible for gross human rights violations under military rule, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today. The paper was issued to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the military coup that overthrew the government of Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973.
Global Progress on Banning Landmines
(New York, September 9, 2003) -- Eighteen countries destroyed their stockpiles of antipersonnel mines in the past year, according to the annual global report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), released today in Washington, D.C.
Tunisia: Government Steps up Harassment of Activists
(New York, September 6, 2003) Tunisian authorities have stepped up harassment of human rights activists in the past week, Human Rights Watch said today.
Iraq: Security Council Must Ensure Justice   (Letter)
(New York, September 5, 2003) - The United Nations Security Council must ensure that justice for Saddam Hussein's victims is part of Iraq's political transition, Human Rights Watch said today. The Council is currently debating a new resolution on Iraq.
India: Protect Gujarat Activists Now
(New York, Sept. 5, 2003) - The Indian government must protect three activists harassed and intimidated for their efforts to protect witnesses to last year's massacres in Gujarat, Human Rights Watch wrote in a letter to the Indian government today.
OSCE meeting on Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination
(Vienna, 4-5 September 2003) -- The right to be free from racial discrimination is a fundamental principle of human rights law -- and a fundamental principle of the human rights the OSCE upholds. Under international human rights law, states are obliged to combat discrimination in all its forms.
U.S.: Full Marriage Rights for Same-Sex Partners
(New York, September 4, 2003) U.S. state governments should extend civil marriage to same-sex partners to ensure the equality of gay and lesbian people, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today. The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution will hold hearings on the issue today.
Turkmenistan: Dissident’s Father Sent into Internal Exile
(New York, September 4, 2003) The Turkmen government should immediately free a dissident’s elderly father who was forced last week into internal exile, Human Rights Watch said today.
China: Discrimination Fuels HIV/AIDS Crisis  en Français

(Hong Kong, September 3, 2003) -- Widespread discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS is fueling the spread of the epidemic in China, Human Rights Watch charged in a new report released today.
Burma: Release Aung San Suu Kyi Immediately
(New York, September 3, 2003) China, Japan, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) should work for the immediate and unconditional release of Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and her supporters, Human Rights Watch urged today.
Mauritania: No Democracy for Opposition Voices
(New York, September 3, 2002) The Mauritanian government's harassment of opposition figures undermines any chance of free and fair elections, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the Mauritanian president today.
Croatia Fails Serb Refugees
(Zagreb, September 3, 2003) Eight years after the end of the war in Croatia, ethnic discrimination continues to impede the return of hundreds of thousands of Croatian Serbs displaced by the war, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today.
Nepal: Bhutanese Refugee Screening Seriously Flawed
(Kathmandu, September 2, 2003) The screening of Bhutanese refugees by the governments of Bhutan and Nepal is fundamentally flawed, a joint mission of non-governmental organizations said at the end of a two-week mission to India and Nepal.