Reports

IMF Social Spending Floors and the Covid-19 Pandemic

The 131-page report, “Bandage on a Bullet Wound: IMF Social Spending Floors and the Covid-19 Pandemic,” analyzes loans approved from March 2020, at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, until March 2023 to 38 countries, with a total population of 1.1 billion, and finds that the vast majority are conditioned on austerity policies, which reduce government spending or increase regressive taxes in ways likely to harm rights. It also finds that recent IMF initiatives, announced at the beginning of the pandemic, to mitigate these impacts such as social spending floors are flawed and ineffective in addressing the harms caused by the policies. The report features a case study of Jordan, where a series of IMF programs have introduced sweeping economic reforms over the past decade, but mitigation measures have been inadequate to address the harm to rights.

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  • Cluster Munition Attacks in Ukraine

    The 20-page report, “Intense and Lasting Harm: Cluster Munition Attacks in Ukraine,” details how Russian armed forces have used at least six types of cluster munitions in the international armed conflict in Ukraine.

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  • Stymied Reforms in the Maldives

    The 56-page report, “‘I Could Have Been Next’: Stymied Reforms in the Maldives,” finds that the Solih administration, more than halfway into its five-year term, has not fulfilled election promises to reform the criminal justice system to address threats to free expression. The government has reduced its repression of free speech and the media, so reporters say they no longer fear state censorship or worry about facing criminal cases or fines for doing their jobs. Yet, the government has often relented to pressure from politicians and powerful religious groups, instead of upholding free speech and association

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  • United States’ Lack of Regulation Fuels Crisis of Unaffordable Insulin

    The 92-page report, “‘If I’m Out of Insulin, I’m Going to Die:’ United States’ Lack of Regulation Fuels Crisis of Unaffordable Insulin,” describes the human rights impacts of US government policies that make essential life-saving medication like insulin unaffordable for many people. Human Rights Watch found that exorbitant insulin prices and inadequate health insurance coverage can cause people to pay high out-of-pocket costs for insulin, contributing to dangerous and potentially lethal medicine rationing, forcing people to forgo other basic needs, and disproportionately affecting socially and economically marginalized groups.

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  • Greece’s Use of Migrants as Police Auxiliaries in Pushbacks

    The 29-page report “‘Their Faces Were Covered’: Greece’s Use of Migrants as Police Auxiliaries in Pushbacks,” found that Greek police are detaining asylum seekers at the Greece-Turkey land border at the Evros River, in many cases stripping them of most of their clothing and stealing their money, phones, and other possessions. They then turn the migrants over to masked men, who force them onto small boats, take them to the middle of the Evros River, and force them into the frigid water, making them wade to the riverbank on the Turkish side. None are apparently being properly registered in Greece or allowed to lodge asylum claims.

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  • Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone

    The 221-page report, “We Will Erase You From This Land’: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone,” documents how newly-appointed officials in Western Tigray and security forces from the neighbouring Amhara region, with the acquiescence and possible participation of Ethiopian federal forces, systematically expelled several hundred thousand Tigrayan civilians from their homes using threats, unlawful killings, sexual violence, mass arbitrary detention, pillage, forcible transfer, and the denial of humanitarian assistance. These widespread and systematic attacks against the Tigrayan civilian population amount to crimes against humanity as well as war crimes.

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  • Killings, Abductions, Torture, and Sexual Violence Against LGBT People by Armed Groups in Iraq

    The 86-page report, “‘Everyone Wants Me Dead’: Killings, Abductions, Torture, and Sexual Violence Against LGBT People by Armed Groups in Iraq,” documents cases of attempted murder of LGBT people by armed groups primarily within the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), which are nominally under the prime minister’s authority. Human Rights Watch also documented cases of abductions, extrajudicial killings, sexual violence, and online targeting of LGBT people by the police and armed groups. The Iraqi government is responsible for protecting LGBT people’s rights to life and security but has failed to hold those responsible for the violence accountable, Human Rights Watch found.

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  • Unlawful Detention and Abuse in Unauthorized Places of Detention in Uganda

    The 62-page report, “‘I Only Need Justice’: Unlawful Detention and Abuse in Unauthorized Places of Detention in Uganda,” documents enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, unlawful detention, torture, and other ill-treatment by the police, army, military intelligence, and Uganda’s domestic intelligence body, the Internal Security Organisation (ISO), most in unlawful places of detention in 2018, 2019, and around the January 2021 general elections.

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  • Abuses Against Older People in Armed Conflict

    The 49-page report, “No One Is Spared: Abuses against Older People in Armed Conflict,” describes patterns of abuses documented by Human Rights Watch between 2013 and 2021 against older people affected by armed conflicts in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Mali, Mozambique, Nagorno-Karabakh, Niger, South Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine. The report also draws on the serious protracted violence in two English-speaking regions of Cameroon, Myanmar security force atrocities against older ethnic Rohingya in Rakhine State, and the experiences of older refugees in Lebanon displaced by conflict in Syria.

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  • Movement Restrictions on Rights Activists in Vietnam

    The 65-page report, “Locked Inside Our Home: Movement Restrictions on Rights Activists in Vietnam,” documents the Vietnamese government’s routine violation of the right to freedom of movement and other basic rights by subjecting activists, dissidents, human rights defenders, and others to indefinite house arrest, harassment, and other forms of detention. The authorities have detained activists just long enough to prevent them from attending protests, criminal trials, meetings with foreign diplomats and a US president, and other events.

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  • Asylum Seekers Abused in the US and Deported to Harm in Cameroon

    The 149-page report, “‘How Can You Throw Us Back?’: Asylum Seekers Abused in the US and Deported to Harm in Cameroon,” traces what happened to the estimated 80 to 90 Cameroonians deported from the United States on two flights in October and November 2020, and others deported in 2021 and 2019. People returned to Cameroon faced arbitrary arrest and detention; enforced disappearances; torture, rape, and other violence; extortion; unfair prosecutions; confiscation of their national IDs; harassment; and abuses against their relatives. Many also reported experiencing excessive force, medical neglect, and other mistreatment in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in the US.

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  • Sri Lanka’s Failure to Reform the Prevention of Terrorism Act

    The 59-page report, ‘“In a Legal Black Hole’: Sri Lanka’s Failure to Reform the Prevention of Terrorism Act,” documents the Gotabaya Rajapaksa administration’s misuse of the PTA against the minority Tamil and Muslim communities, and to suppress civil society groups. The administration rejected pledges by the previous government to repeal the law after it was readmitted to the EU’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences plus (GSP+), which grants Sri Lanka special tariff-free access to EU markets.

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  • Private Takeover of Public Housing Puts Rights at Risk in New York City

    The 98-page report “The Tenant Never Wins: Private Takeover of Public Housing Puts Rights at Risk in New York City” examines the impact of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) program called Permanent Affordability Commitment Together (PACT), which utilizes a federal program called the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) to permit the privatization of some housing. Under PACT, which began in December 2016, NYCHA leases its public housing developments to private companies for 99 years and privatizes the buildings’ management. Human Rights Watch found that PACT conversions also mean the loss of key protections for residents, and, in two developments, may have contributed to increased evictions.

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  • LGBT People in Afghanistan After the Taliban Takeover

    The 43-page report, “‘Even If You Go to the Skies, We’ll Find You’: LGBT People in Afghanistan After the Taliban Takeover,” is based on 60 interviews with LGBT Afghans. Many reported that Taliban members attacked or threatened them because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Others reported abuse from family members, neighbors, and romantic partners who now support the Taliban or believed they had to act against LGBT people close to them to ensure their own safety. Some fled their homes from attacks by Taliban members or supporters pursuing them. Others watched lives they had carefully built over the years disappear overnight and found themselves at risk of being targeted at any time because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

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  • Ending Preventable Deaths from Cervical Cancer in Rural Georgia

    The 82-page report, “‘We Need Access’: Ending Preventable Deaths from Cervical Cancer in Rural Georgia” documents how state and federal policies neglect the reproductive healthcare needs of rural Black women. Cervical cancer is highly preventable and treatable. In 2020, 194 countries committed to ending cervical cancer globally, the first such commitment made for a cancer. While cervical cancer mortality rates have declined in Georgia over recent decades, they are still high and racial disparities persist.

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  • Families in Temporary Accommodation in London, UK

    The 51-page report, “I Want Us to Live Like Humans Again”: Families in Temporary Accommodation in London, UK,” examines how families across London are being placed in poor quality and uninhabitable accommodation, significantly violating their rights. The situation is due to a combination of reduced funding for local authorities, austerity-motivated cuts to the welfare system, and a lack of affordable permanent housing.

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