The War on Immigrants Inside the US War on Drugs

The 91-page report, “Disrupt and Vilify,” shows that the failure to reform disproportionately harsh federal immigration law has resulted in enormous numbers of deportations, splitting families apart, disrupting communities, and destabilizing people well-established in the US. For example, federal immigration law that treats some types of marijuana use as a deportable offense is at odds with many states’ recreational marijuana laws, penalizing immigrants and non-citizens for activities that are legal for citizens at the state level. The groups found that 500,000 people whose most serious offense was for drugs were deported between 2002 and 2020.

A man holds a photo of his son wearing a military uniform


  • February 21, 2023

    Digital Targeting and Its Offline Consequences for LGBT People in the Middle East and North Africa

    The 135-page report, “‘All This Terror Because of a Photo’: Digital Targeting and Its Offline Consequences for LGBT People in the Middle East and North Africa,” examines the use of digital targeting by security forces and its far-reaching offline consequences – including arbitrary detention and torture – in five countries: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Tunisia. The findings show how security forces employ digital targeting to gather and create evidence to support prosecutions.

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  • February 21, 2023 Interactive
    Russian forces deployed the type of missile system used in the attack on Kramatorsk train station that killed at least 58 civilians fleeing fighting in eastern Ukraine in April 2022, an investigation by Human Rights Watch and SITU Research reveals. The attack is a serious violation of the laws of war and an apparent war crime.
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  • February 15, 2023

    UK and US Forced Displacement of the Chagossians and Ongoing Colonial Crimes

    The 106-page report, “‘That’s When the Nightmare Started:’ UK and US Forced Displacement of the Chagossians and Ongoing Colonial Crimes,” documents the treatment of the Chagossians, an Indigenous people whom the UK and US forced from their homes in the 1960s and 1970s so that a US military base could be built on Diego Garcia, the largest of the islands. The UK, with US support, has prevented the Chagossians from returning home. Even though the UK and Mauritius surprisingly announced negotiations on the future of Chagos in November 2022, there has been no clear commitment to meaningful consultation with the Chagossians and to guarantee their right to reparations, including their right to return, in any settlement.

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  • February 14, 2023

    Violence Against Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women and Non-Binary People

    The 211-page report, “This Is Why We Became Activists: Violence Against Lesbian, Bisexual, and Queer Women and Non-binary People,” is a groundbreaking investigation into violence and discrimination in 26 countries. Human Rights Watch looked beyond the criminalization of same-sex conduct to analyze how sexist, patriarchal legal regimes such as male guardianship, unequal inheritance laws, and discrimination against single women violate LBQ+ people’s rights and leave them at a significant disadvantage in virtually very aspect of their lives. In addition to physical and sexual violence from family members, security forces, and others, LBQ+ people face discrimination at work, in land and property rights, fertility services, migration and resettlement, and unequal access to justice.

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  • February 9, 2023

    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.

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  • January 13, 2023
    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.
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  • December 8, 2022

    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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  • December 7, 2022

    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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  • December 1, 2022

    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.

  • November 29, 2022

    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.

  • November 21, 2022

    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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  • November 21, 2022

    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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  • November 18, 2022

    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.

  • November 17, 2022

    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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  • November 15, 2022

    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.