Newsletter: The Week in Rights

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Human Rights Watch THE WEEK IN RIGHTS

September 18, 2014

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Witness: Girl Interrupted – Nika’s Story

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Seven-year-old Nika brims over with life, dancing and singing her way around the kitchen of her family’s home outside Moscow. All smiles, she pauses to tell a visitor about the ballerinas she saw perform at a recent Christmas show, recites bits of poetry, and then scampers off to the living room – littered with toys and children’s books – to play with her younger sister.

It’s hard to believe that hours after Nika’s birth, doctors told her mother, Lyudmila, or Mila, Kirillova, that as a baby with Down's syndrome, Nika would never develop – that in the best-case scenario, she would say “Mama” by age 36. That day, doctors began pressuring Mila and her husband to institutionalize Nika, to leave their baby in a special hospital ward for abandoned children, Mila told Human Rights Watch researcher Andrea Mazzarino.

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ASIA In Vietnam, Pervasive Deaths, Injuries in Police Custody

Police throughout Vietnam abuse people in their custody, in some cases leading to death. The Vietnam government has a human rights crisis on its hands and should investigate and start holding abusive police accountable.

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EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA Dispatches: A Heinous Act, More Deaths on the High Seas

This week, news emerged of three separate shipwrecks in the Mediterranean with the unbearable estimate of 700 presumed dead. The few survivors of the worst incident told the International Organization for Migration and Italian police that smugglers deliberately rammed their boat when migrants objected to being transferred to what looked like an even less seaworthy vessel, a particularly heinous act by human smugglers already known for unscrupulous and sometimes deadly practices.

See the Latest News in Europe/Central Asia >>

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EUROPE AND CENTRAL ASIA In Iraq, Survivors Describe Government Airstrike

The Iraqi government should promptly investigate an airstrike that hit a school housing displaced people near Tikrit on September 1. The attack killed at least 31 civilians, including 24 children, and wounded 41 others. According to three survivors, no fighters from the armed group Islamic State or other military objects were in or around the school at the time.

See the Latest News in the Middle East/North Africa >>

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VIDEO

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The movie trailer for E-TEAM – about the work of four Human Rights Watch emergency researchers – was released this week. The film is set to be released by Netflix on October 24. Watch Now >>

RIGHTS ACTIVIST

Four courageous advocates for human rights will receive the prestigious Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism. Shin Dong-Hyuk, from North Korea, is one. Learn More >>

PUBLICATION

The Long Arm of Justice
Lessons from Specialized War Crimes Units in France, Germany, and the Netherlands
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