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.

An archival photo of a boat at sea


  • October 8, 2020

    Myanmar’s Mass Detention of Rohingya in Rakhine State

    The 169-page report, “‘An Open Prison without End’: Myanmar’s Mass Detention of Rohingya in Rakhine State,” documents the inhuman conditions in the 24 camps and camp-like settings in central Rakhine State. Severe limitations on livelihoods, movement, education, health care, and adequate food and shelter have been compounded by widening constraints on humanitarian aid. The abuses against the Rohingya amount to the crimes against humanity of apartheid, persecution, and severe deprivation of liberty.

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  • May 17, 2018

    The Special Criminal Court, a New Opportunity for Victims in the Central African Republic

    This report discusses the progress, obstacles, and challenges for the Special Criminal Court in its initial phases. Based on regular observation of the court and interviews with victim representatives, activists, court staff, UN representatives, donors, and government officials, Human Rights Watch offers observations on the current stage of the court’s development.

    Cover of the CAR report in English
  • May 3, 2018

    Lessons from Colombia, Georgia, Guinea, and the United Kingdom

    This report examines aspects of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s practices in its preliminary examinations, which determine whether the court’s criteria to open a full investigation are met. Human Rights Watch found serious obstacles to justice in national courts, and mixed success in spurring progress in domestic prosecutions through the office’s interactions with authorities in Guinea, Colombia, Georgia, and the United Kingdom. But Human Rights Watch concluded that the office’s engagement can help make an important contribution.

    Cover of the ICC report in English
  • March 7, 2018

    Treatment of Pakistanis in the Saudi Criminal Justice System

    This report documents the Saudi criminal justice system and Saudi courts’ rampant due process violations in criminal cases involving Pakistanis. The violations include long periods of detention without charge or trial, lack of access to legal assistance, pressure on detainees to sign confessions and accept predetermined prison sentences to avoid prolonged arbitrary detention, and ineffective translation services. Some defendants reported ill-treatment and poor prison conditions. 

    Cover of the Saudi Arabia report in English
  • January 12, 2018

    State Security Force and Renamo Abuses in Mozambique

    This report documents violent abuses in the country’s central provinces between November 2015 and December 2016. These include enforced disappearances, arbitrary detention, and the destruction of private property by government forces, and political killings, attacks on public transport, and looting of health clinics by the Renamo political party’s armed group. 

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    Cover of the Jan. 2018 Mozambique report in English.
  • December 19, 2017

    Burmese Army Crimes against Humanity in Tula Toli

    This report details the security force attack on several thousand villagers in Tula Toli, known officially as Min Gyi. Human Rights Watch documents how security forces trapped Rohingya villagers along a riverbank and proceeded to kill and rape men, women, and children, and torch the village.

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    Burma report cover in English
  • November 13, 2017

    How Guatemala’s Courts Could Doom the Fight against Impunity

    This  report documents a pattern of repeated and unjustifiable delays in criminal cases brought by the International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) and the Guatemalan Attorney General’s Office. 

    Cover for Guatemala Report
  • October 15, 2017

    Security Forces Violations in Kenya’s August 2017 Elections

    This report documents excessive use of force by police, and in some cases other security agents, against protesters and residents in some of Nairobi’s opposition strongholds after the elections. 

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    Cover for Kenya Report
  • October 3, 2017

    Justice for Syria in Swedish and German Courts

    This report outlines efforts in Sweden and Germany to investigate and prosecute people implicated in war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Syria. Drawing on interviews with 50 officials and practitioners working on these cases and 45 Syrian refugees in the two countries, Human Rights Watch documented the difficulties German and Swedish investigators and prosecutors face in taking up these types of cases, and the experience of refugees and asylum seekers with the authorities.

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    Cover for International Justice Syria Report
  • September 7, 2017

    Evidence of Atrocities and Cover-Up of Abuses Committed during Peru’s Armed Conflict

    This report provides an overview of existing evidence, including testimony by several soldiers that they tortured, killed, and forcibly disappeared people during military operations against armed groups in the 1990s. They said they did so under the orders—and sometimes in the presence of—Humala, who was allegedly stationed at the Madre Mía military base in the Alto Huallaga region in 1992 under the pseudonym “Captain Carlos.” In testimony provided to judicial authorities and interviews with Human Rights Watch and the media, several victims also implicated Humala in violations and in attempted cover-ups.

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    Cover of the Peru report
  • August 29, 2017

    Victims’ Legal Representation at the ICC in the Ongwen Case and Beyond

    This report compares the way victims’ lawyers were selected in one ongoing trial to broader trends in court practice. At the ICC, victims have a right to participate in trials and are represented at trial through lawyers. The court’s system of victim participation, a key innovation in international criminal justice, creates a critical link between communities affected by atrocities and the courtroom. But Human Rights Watch found that ICC practice is falling short of ensuring that the victims’ views are adequately considered in decisions about whether and how to organize victims’ legal representation.

    Cover of the international justice report on victim's legal representation in the Ongwen case and beyond
  • July 5, 2017

    War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity and the Special Criminal Court in the Central African Republic

    This report presents a comprehensive account of war crimes committed in three central provinces since late 2014, including more than 560 civilian deaths and the destruction of more than 4,200 homes. The crimes fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and the Special Criminal Court (SCC), a new judicial body that, when operational, will investigate and prosecute grave human rights violations and war crimes in the country since 2003.

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    Cover of the Central African Republic
  • December 19, 2016

    India’s Failure to End Killings in Police Custody

    This report examines police disregard for arrest regulations, custodial deaths from torture, and impunity for those responsible. It draws on in-depth investigations into 17 deaths in custody that occurred between 2009 and 2015, including more than 70 interviews with victims’ family members, witnesses, justice experts, and police officials. In each of the 17 cases, the police did not follow proper arrest procedures, making the suspect more vulnerable to abuse.

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    Cover for India Report
  • December 6, 2016

    Detention and Torture in the Chinese Communist Party’s Shuanggui System

    This report details abuses against shuanggui detainees, including prolonged sleep deprivation, being forced into stress positions for extended periods of time, deprivation of water and food, and severe beatings. Detainees are also subject to solitary and incommunicado detention in unofficial detention facilities. After “confessing” to corruption, they are typically brought into the criminal justice system, convicted, and sentenced to often lengthy prison terms.

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    Cover of China Report
  • November 13, 2016

    Iraqi Kurdish Forces' Destruction of Villages, Homes in Conflict with ISIS

    This report looked at destruction of homes between September 2014 and May 2016 in disputed areas of Kirkuk and Nineveh governorates, areas nominally under Iraqi government jurisdiction but under Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) control. The destruction, which took place after KRG Peshmerga forces routed Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters, targeted Arab homes while leaving Kurdish homes intact. KRG leaders have maintained that these are historically Kurdish areas that they intend to incorporate into the Kurdistan region.

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    Cover of Iraq