Reports

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.

Ugandan soldiers patrol in Magere, Uganda, January 14, 2021.

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  • February 10, 2022

    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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  • November 3, 2021

    International Alternatives to Detaining Immigrants

    The 94-page report “Dismantling Detention: International Alternatives to Detaining Immigrants,” examines alternatives to detention in six countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. Human Rights Watch found that alternatives to detention such as case management services, can effectively address government interests in immigration enforcement while protecting migrants’ rights and often offering a range of other benefits.

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  • October 19, 2020

    Abuses and Due Process Violations in Pretrial Detention in North Korea

    The 82-page report, “‘Worth Less Than an Animal’: Abuses and Due Process Violations in Pretrial Detention in North Korea,” provides a unique and detailed description of the country’s opaque criminal justice system. It highlights North Korea’s weak legal and institutional framework, and the political nature of the courts and law enforcement agencies under the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

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  • July 6, 2017

    Secret Detentions and Enforced Disappearances in Bangladesh

    This report found that at least 90 people were victims of enforced disappearance in 2016 alone. While most were produced in court after weeks or months of secret detention, Human Rights Watch documented 21 cases of detainees who were later killed, and nine others whose whereabouts remain unknown. 

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  • May 15, 2017

    The Detention and Deportation of Californian Parents

    This report is based on data obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request to federal immigration authorities. The data covers nearly 300,000 federal detentions of immigrants in facilities in California over a four-and-a-half-year span. Over that period, an average of about 65,000 immigrants a year were detained in California in 15 facilities. Many were parents of US citizen children. Although the records for most of the period do not specify whether detainees have US citizen children, the records for one nine-month span (October 2014 to June 2015) generally do, and statistical methods can reliably fill the gaps. Analyzing the records for that nine-month span, Human Rights Watch found that nearly half – 42 percent – of detainees had US citizen children.

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  • May 8, 2017

    Dangerous & Substandard Medical Care in US Immigration Detention

    This report reveals systemic failures, such as unreasonable delays in care and unqualified medical staff, that are likely to expose a record number of people to dangerous conditions under President Donald Trump’s ramped-up deportation and detention plans.

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  • July 21, 2016

    Arbitrary Detentions, Enforced Disappearances, and Torture in Eastern Ukraine

    This report is based on interviews with 40 victims of abuses, their family members, witnesses, victims’ lawyers, and other sources. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch documented nine cases of arbitrary, prolonged detention of civilians by the Ukrainian authorities – including some cases of enforced disappearances – in informal detention sites and nine cases of arbitrary, prolonged detention of civilians by Russian-backed separatists. Most of the cases detailed in the report took place in 2015 and the first half of 2016.

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  • May 22, 2016

    Detention and Prosecution of Tibetans under China’s “Stability Maintenance” Campaign

    This report shows how changing patterns of unrest and politicized detentions, prosecutions, and convictions from 2013-2015 correlate with the latest phase of the government’s “stability maintenance” campaign – a policy that has resulted in unprecedented surveillance and control in Tibetan villages and towns.

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  • April 5, 2016

    Inadequate Conditions for Prisoners with Psychosocial Disabilities in France

    This report documents the lack of adequate mental health care and appropriate conditions for prisoners with psychosocial disabilities. The situation is exacerbated by overcrowding, stigma, and isolation, Human Rights Watch found. A shortage of mental health professionals in many prisons means that appointments are infrequent and often, brief and limited to prescribing medication. The lack of adequate conditions and care also results in difficult working conditions for prison staff.

     

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  • March 29, 2016

    Failure to Deliver HIV Services in Louisiana Parish Jails

    This report documents the inadequate, haphazard, and in many cases, non-existent HIV testing, treatment, and linkage to care in the jails.

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  • March 23, 2016

    Abuse against Transgender Women in US Immigration Detention

    This report documents 28 cases of transgender women who were held in US immigration detention between 2011 and 2015. More than half of the transgender women Human Rights Watch interviewed were held in men’s facilities at some point. Half also spent time in solitary confinement, in many cases allegedly for their protection. But solitary confinement is a form of abuse in and of itself, and many who had spent time there experienced trauma and profound psychological distress.

     

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  • October 19, 2015

    The Prison Crisis in the Brazilian State of Pernambuco

    This 31-page report documents how prison authorities have ceded control of detention facilities to the “keyholders,” who sell drugs and sleeping space to fellow detainees, and deploy violent “militias” to enforce their rule, according to former detainees, family members, and two state officials interviewed by Human Rights Watch.

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  • December 8, 2013

    Mistreatment of Drug Users and "Undesirables" in Cambodia’s Drug Detention Centers

    The 55-page report documents the experiences of people recently confined in the centers, who described being thrashed with rubber water hoses and hit with sticks or branches. Some described being punished with exercises intended to cause intense physical pain and humiliation, such as crawling along stony ground or standing in septic water pits.

  • October 11, 2011

    Arbitrary Detention, Physical Abuse, and Suicide inside a Lao Drug Detention Center

    This report examines conditions in the Somsanga Treatment and Rehabilitation Center, which has received a decade of international support from the United States, the United Nations, and other donors. Detainees are held without due process, and many are locked in cells inside barbed wire compounds.

  • September 7, 2011

    Forced Labor and Other Abuses in Drug Detention Centers in Southern Vietnam

    The 121-page report documents the experiences of people confined to 14 detention centers under the authority of the Ho Chi Minh City government. Refusing to work, or violating center rules, results in punishment that in some cases is torture.