Reports

A Global Look at How Governments Repress Nationals Abroad

The 46-page report, “‘We Will Find You’: A Global Look at How Governments Repress Nationals Abroad,” is a rights-centered analysis of how governments are targeting dissidents, activists, political opponents, and others living abroad. Human Rights Watch examined killings, removals, abductions and enforced disappearances, collective punishment of relatives, abuse of consular services, and digital attacks. The report also highlights governments’ targeting of women fleeing abuse, and government misuse of Interpol.

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  • July 20, 2021

    Kenya’s Pandemic Cash Transfer Program Riddled With Irregularities

    The 66-page report, “‘We Are All Vulnerable Here’: Kenya’s Pandemic Cash Transfer Program Riddled with Irregularities” found that only a small fraction of vulnerable families in Nairobi benefited from the program, which was characterized by lack of transparency, cronyism, nepotism and outright favoritism. Government officials failed to follow the stated selection criteria or to share information that should have enabled more vulnerable families to enroll.

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  • July 14, 2021

    The Impact of Abortion Prosecutions in Ecuador

    The 128-page report, “‘Why Do They Want to Make Me Suffer Again?’ The Impact of Abortion Prosecutions in Ecuador” documents how these laws are having widespread harmful consequences in Ecuador, costing lives through increased maternal mortality and morbidity, cutting women and girls off from essential services, and undermining broader efforts to promote sexual and reproductive health. Women and girls charged with abortion often experience violations of their rights to medical confidentiality and due process, and face significant obstacles to accessing quality legal representation. The prosecutions affect not only women who wish to end an unwanted pregnancy but also those who experience miscarriages or obstetric emergencies, or urgently require post-abortion care.

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  • July 6, 2021

    China’s Crackdown on Tengdro Monastery and Restrictions on Communications in Tibet

    The 61-page report, “‘Prosecute Them with Awesome Power’: China’s Crackdown on Tengdro Monastery and Restrictions on Communications in Tibet ,” details, for the first time, the government’s crackdown on Tibetan monks in the little-known Tengdro monastery. In September 2019, police in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, found private messages on a cell phone lost by Choegyal Wangpo, a Tibetan monk. Several messages had been exchanged with Tibetan monks living in Nepal, including records of donations after the 2015 Nepal earthquake. The police responded with a raid on the monastery that resulted in multiple arrests, a suicide, and, in 2020, a secret trial of four monks.

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  • June 30, 2021

    How China’s Long Reach of Repression Undermines Academic Freedom at Australia’s Universities

    The 102-page report, “‘They Don’t Understand the Fear We Have’: How China’s Long Reach of Repression Undermines Academic Freedom at Australia’s Universities,” describes Chinese government surveillance of pro-democracy students from the mainland and Hong Kong in Australian universities. Students are broadly aware that such surveillance takes place, leaving them fearful. Many alter their behavior and self-censor to avoid threats and harassment from classmates, and being “reported on” to authorities back home.

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  • June 22, 2021

    Harassment and Detention of Opponents, Rights Defenders and Journalists Ahead of Elections in Nicaragua

    The 37-page report, “Critics Under Attack: Harassment and Detention of Opponents, Rights Defenders, and Journalists Ahead of the Elections,” found that in the run-up to presidential elections set for November 7, 2021, high-profile arrests and other serious human rights violations against critics appear to be part of a broader strategy to eliminate political competition, stifle dissent, and pave the way for President Daniel Ortega’s re-election to a fourth consecutive term. Between June 2 and 20, Nicaraguan authorities detained and opened seemingly politically motivated criminal investigations against five leading opposition presidential candidates and at least nine prominent government critics.

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  • June 17, 2021

    Immigration Detention in Canada and its Impact on Mental Health

    The 100-page report, “‘I Didn’t Feel Like a Human in There’: Immigration Detention in Canada and Its Impact on Mental Health,” documents how people in immigration detention, including those fleeing persecution and seeking protection in Canada, are regularly handcuffed, shackled, and held with little to no contact with the outside world. With no set release date, they can be held for months or years. Many are held in provincial jails with the regular jail population and are often subjected to solitary confinement. Those with psychosocial disabilities – or mental health conditions – experience discrimination throughout the process.

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  • June 16, 2021

    Digital Sex Crimes in South Korea

    The 96-page report, “‘My Life is Not Your Porn’: Digital Sex Crimes in South Korea” found that despite legal reforms in South Korea, women and girls targeted in digital sex crimes – acts of online and tech-enabled gender-based violence – face significant difficulty in pursuing criminal cases and civil remedies, in part due to entrenched gender inequity. Digital sex crimes are crimes involving digital images – almost always of women and girls – that are captured without the victim’s consent, shared nonconsensually, or sometimes manipulated or faked.

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  • June 7, 2021

    Bangladesh’s Relocation of Rohingya Refugees to Bhasan Char

    The 58-page report, “‘An Island Jail in the Middle of the Sea’: Bangladesh’s Relocation of Rohingya Refugees to Bhasan Char,” finds that Bangladesh authorities transferred many refugees to the island without full, informed consent and have prevented them from returning to the mainland. While the government says it wants to move at least 100,000 people to the silt island in the Bay of Bengal to ease overcrowding in Cox’s Bazar refugee camps, humanitarian experts have raised concerns that insufficient measures are in place to protect against severe cyclones and tidal surges. Refugees on the island reported inadequate health care and education, onerous movement restrictions, food shortages, a lack of livelihood opportunities, and abuses by security forces

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  • June 3, 2021

    Oil Palm Expansion in Indonesia Risks Peatlands and Livelihoods

    The 71-page report, “‘Why Our Land’: Oil Palm Expansion in Indonesia Risks Peatlands and Livelihoods,” examines the conduct of PT Sintang Raya, a subsidiary of South Korean Deasang Corporation, in three tidal villages in West Kalimantan province. Human Rights Watch found that the company has established and expanded its plantations in peatlands, which help to address climate change, without genuine consultation with local residents and without adequate compensation for loss of their farmland or livelihoods. Police have harassed, intimidated, and prosecuted villagers who have resisted or protested.

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    A child carries palm kernels collected from the ground across a creek at an oil palm plantation in Sumatra, Indonesia, November 2017.
  • June 1, 2021

    China’s Two-Child Policy and Workplace Gender Discrimination

    The 37-page report, “‘Take Maternity Leave and You’ll Be Replaced’: China’s Two-Child Policy and Workplace Gender Discrimination,” draws on court documents, surveys, social media posts, and media reports to detail the various forms of pregnancy-related discrimination women have experienced during the two-child policy era. 

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  • May 26, 2021

    Covid-19, Poverty, and Child Labor in Ghana, Nepal, and Uganda

    The 69-page report, “I Must Work to Eat”: Covid-19, Poverty, and Child labor in Ghana, Nepal, and Uganda,” was co-published with Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER) in Uganda, and Friends of the Nation in Ghana. Researchers examined the rise in child labor and poverty during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the pandemic’s impact on children’s rights. Children described working long, grueling hours for little pay after their parents lost jobs or income due to the Covid-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns. Many described hazardous working conditions, and some reported violence, harassment, and pay theft.

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  • May 25, 2021

    Momentum to Revise Japan’s Legal Gender Recognition Process

    The 43-page report, “‘The Law Undermines Dignity’: Momentum to Revise Japan’s Legal Gender Recognition Process,” documents the persistent barriers transgender people face in Japan under the Gender Identity Disorder (GID) Special Cases Act. The procedure for changing one’s legally recognized gender, which requires sterilization surgery and an outdated psychiatric diagnosis, is anachronistic, harmful, and discriminatory. Many transgender people in Japan and domestic medical, legal, and academic experts, as well as international health and human rights bodies, have said that the law should be substantially revised.

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  • May 17, 2021

    Increased Inequalities in Children’s Right to Education Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic

    The 125-page report, “‘Years Don’t Wait for Them’: Increased Inequalities in Children’s Right to Education Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic,” documents how Covid-related school closures affected children unequally, as not all children had the opportunities, tools, or access needed to keep on learning during the pandemic. The heavy reliance on online learning exacerbated the existing unequal distribution of support for education, Human Rights Watch found. Many governments did not have the policies, resources, or infrastructure to roll out online learning in a way that ensured that all children could participate on an equal basis.

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  • May 6, 2021

    Women’s Access to Health Care in Afghanistan

    The 39-page report, “‘I Would Like Four Kids—If We Stay Alive’: Women’s Access to Health Care in Afghanistan,” documents barriers to Afghan women and girls obtaining health care and the healthcare system’s deterioration due to declining international support. The drop in international donor funding has already had a harmful—and life-threatening—impact on the lives of many women and girls, as it affects access to and quality of health care.

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  • April 27, 2021

    Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution

    The 213-page report, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution,” examines Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. It presents the present-day reality of a single authority, the Israeli government, ruling primarily over the area between the Jordan River and Mediterranean Sea, populated by two groups of roughly equal size, and methodologically privileging Jewish Israelis while repressing Palestinians, most severely in the occupied territory.

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