Sri Lanka’s Proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The 39-page report, “‘If We Raise Our Voice They Arrest Us’: Sri Lanka’s Proposed Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” documents abusive security force surveillance and intimidation of activists and campaigners from minority Tamil families of those who “disappeared” during Sri Lanka’s civil war. The authorities are using draconian counterterrorism laws to silence dissenting voices, including those calling for truth and accountability, while government-backed land grabs target Tamil and Muslim communities and their places of worship.

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  • How Florida Judges Obstruct Young People’s Ability to Obtain Abortion Care

    The 39-page report, “Access Denied: How Florida Judges Obstruct Young People’s Ability to Obtain Abortion Care,” documents how in Florida many judges deny young people’s petitions, forcing them to continue a pregnancy against their wishes, travel outside the state, or seek a way to manage abortion outside the health system. Judges have the power to make highly subjective determinations about a young person’s maturity and interests. Vague criteria in state law enable highly arbitrary decision-making, with judges making decisions based on factors such as the young person’s grades and impressions of their demeanor during a nerve-wracking hearing.

    Cover of Florida Abortion report
  • A new multimedia report details the impact of criminal groups involved in illegal land grabbing and logging inside Terra Nossa, a land-reform settlement intended for small-scale agriculture and sustainable collection of forest products in the state of Pará. The situation there shows the link between environmental destruction, violence, and poverty in many rural communities that depend on the sustainable use of the forest across the Amazon.
    Terra Nossa
  • Addressing Domestic Violence in Tunisia

    The 94-page report, “So What If He Hit You?: Addressing Domestic Violence in Tunisia,” found that despite the commitment of some officials and one of the strongest laws against domestic violence in the Middle East and North Africa, poor implementation of the law leaves women at risk of violence. The authorities fail to systematically respond, investigate, and provide protection to women who report violence, and a lack of funding for support services, such as shelter, has left many survivors with nowhere to escape.

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  • Widespread Human Rights Violations Under El Salvador’s “State of Emergency”

    The 89-page report, “‘We Can Arrest Anyone We Want’: Widespread Human Rights Violations Under El Salvador’s ‘State of Emergency’” documents mass arbitrary detention, torture and other forms of ill-treatment against detainees, enforced disappearances, deaths in custody, and abuse-ridden prosecutions. President Nayib Bukele’s swift dismantling of judicial independence since he took office in mid-2019 enabled the abuses.

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  • The Exploitation of Personal Data in Hungary’s 2022 Elections

    The 85-page report, “Trapped in a Web: The Exploitation of Personal Data in Hungary’s 2022 Elections,” examines data-driven campaigning in Hungary’s April 3, 2022, elections, which resulted in a fourth consecutive term for Fidesz and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Human Rights Watch found that the government repurposed data it collected from people applying for services to spread Fidesz’s campaign messages. The blurred lines between government and ruling party resources, including data, and the capture of key institutions by the government led to selective enforcement of laws that further benefited Fidesz.

  • Violence Against Protesters and Unaccountable Perpetrators in Iraq

    The 40-page report, “To Sleep the Law: Violence Against Protesters and Unaccountable Perpetrators in Iraq,” details specific cases of killing, injury, and disappearance of protesters during and after the 2019-2020 popular uprising in central and southern Iraq. Al-Kadhimi took power in May 2020 promising justice for the murders and disappearances, but when he left office in October 2022, his government had made no concrete progress on holding those responsible to account.

  • Experiences of Children Repatriated from Camps for ISIS Suspects and Their Families in Northeast Syria

    The 63-page report, “‘My Son is Just Another Kid’: Experiences of Children Repatriated from Camps for ISIS Suspects and Their Families in Northeast Syria,” documents the experiences of approximately 100 children who have been repatriated or returned to France, Germany, Kazakhstan, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Uzbekistan between 2019 and 2022. Human Rights Watch found that despite years of detention in life-threatening conditions with insufficient water, fresh food, and health care, and little to no access to education, many of the children appear to be adjusting well and performing well in school. Many have reintegrated smoothly and enjoy a wide range of activities with their peers, including football, skating, cycling, dancing, crafts, and music.

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  • Union Busting in Cambodia’s Garment and Tourism Sectors

    The 97-page report, “Only ‘Instant Noodle’ Unions Survive: Union Busting in Cambodia’s Garment and Tourism Sectors,” documents how the Cambodian government and some employers have used various legal and administrative tactics during the Covid-19 pandemic to weaken Cambodia’s independent union movement and violate workers’ rights. Measures adopted to address the severe economic impacts of the pandemic have punished independent unions while benefitting employer-friendly unions, which could register quickly with the government, like “making instant noodles,” in the words of a prominent union leader.

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  • Pushbacks and Deportations of Afghans from Turkey

    The 73-page report, “‘No One Asked Me Why I Left Afghanistan,’ says that Turkey has stepped up pushbacks and deportations to Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover there in August 2021. Human Rights Watch also found that that Afghans inside Turkey are being blocked from registering for international protection and that Afghans facing imminent deportation are often given no opportunity to make refugee claims. As of October 20, 2022, the Presidency of Migration Management in Turkey’s Interior Ministry reported 238,448 “irregular migrants whose entrance to our country has been prevented” in 2022, most of them Afghans. Turkey reported deporting 44,768 Afghans by air to Kabul in the first eight months of 2022, a 150 percent increase over the first eight months of 2021.

  • The Family Separation Crisis in the US Child Welfare System

    The 147-page report, “‘If I Wasn’t Poor, I Wouldn’t Be Unfit’: The Family Separation Crisis in the US Child Welfare System,” documents how conditions of poverty, such as a family’s struggle to pay rent or maintain housing, are misconstrued as neglect, and interpreted as evidence of an inability and lack of fitness to parent. Human Rights Watch and the ACLU found significant racial and socioeconomic disparities in child welfare involvement. Black children are almost twice as likely to experience investigations as white children and more likely to be separated from their families.

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  • Why Social Audits Can’t Fix Labor Rights Abuses in Global Supply Chains

    The 28-page report, “‘Obsessed with Audit Tools, Missing the Goal’: Why Social Audits Can’t Fix Labor Rights Abuses in Global Supply Chains,” highlights the problems with social audits and certifications for suppliers, including in the apparel sector, and is focused on labor rights abuses. Policymakers in the European Union and elsewhere considering legislation to regulate how corporations respect rights and environmental standards in their own operations and global value chains should not rely on such audits or certifications as proof of compliance.

  • Alternative Processes for Negotiating a Killer Robots Treaty

    The 40-page report, “An Agenda for Action: Alternative Processes for Negotiating a Killer Robots Treaty,” is copublished by Human Rights Watch and the Harvard Law School International Human Rights Clinic. It proposes that countries initiate a treaty-making process based on past humanitarian disarmament models, such as for the treaty banning cluster munitions.

  • Impact of Camp Shutdowns on People Displaced By Boko Haram Conflict in Nigeria

    The 59-page report, ‘“Those Who Returned Are Suffering’: Impact of Camp Shutdowns on People Displaced by the Boko Haram Conflict in Nigeria” documents the effect of the shutdowns, which have disrupted food support for internally displaced people and compelled them to leave the camps. The authorities have failed to provide adequate information or sustainable alternatives to ensure their safety and well-being. As a result, displaced people are struggling to meet their most basic needs including food and shelter in the places to which they have returned or where they have resettled.

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  • Bahrain’s Political Isolation Laws

    The 38-page report, “You Can’t Call Bahrain A Democracy: Bahrain’s Political Isolation Laws,” documents the use of Bahrain’s 2018 political isolation laws to keep political opponents from running for parliament seats or even serving on the boards of governors of civic organizations. Human Rights Watch found that the government’s targeted marginalization of opposition figures from social, political, civil, and economic life in Bahrain resulted in a spectrum of other human rights abuses.

  • Bahrain Death Sentences Follow Torture, Sham Trials

    The 61-page report, “‘The Court is Satisfied with the Confession’: Bahrain Death Sentences Follow Torture, Sham Trials,” based primarily on court records and other official documents, found serious and persistent human rights violations underlying the convictions and death sentences of cases of eight men examined for the report. The men are among 26 who are currently on death row, their appeals exhausted. Trial and appeal courts cavalierly dismissed credible allegations of torture and ill-treatment during interrogation instead of investigating them, as required by international and Bahraini law. The courts routinely violated defendants’ rights to fair trials, including the right to legal counsel during interrogation, the right to cross-examine prosecution witnesses, and through reliance on secretly sourced reports.