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.

An older woman stands in the doorway of a destroyed home


  • November 9, 2021

    Access to Services for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region

    The 89-page report, “‘I Always Remember That Day’: Access to Services for Gender-Based Violence Survivors in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region,” documents the serious health impact, trauma, and stigma experienced by rape survivors ages 6 to 80 since the beginning of the armed conflict in Tigray in November 2020. Human Rights Watch highlighted the human cost of the Ethiopian government’s effective siege of the region, which has prevented an adequate and sustained response to survivors’ needs and the rehabilitation of the region’s shattered healthcare system.

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  • August 5, 2021

    Implementing Afghanistan’s Elimination of Violence against Women Law

    The 32-page report, ‘I Thought Our Life Might Get Better’: Implementing Afghanistan’s Elimination of Violence against Women Law,” focuses on the experiences of Afghan women in their attempts to pursue justice against family members and others responsible for violence. Human Rights Watch found that limited enforcement of the landmark Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law has left many women and girls with no path to key protections and justice. With the Taliban making sweeping territorial gains, the prospect of a Taliban-dominated government also threatens constitutional and international law protections for Afghan women’s fundamental rights.

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  • October 5, 2017

    Sexual Violence by Armed Groups in the Central African Republic

    This report documents 305 cases of rape and sexual slavery by members of armed groups between early 2013 and mid-2017. The predominantly Muslim Seleka and the largely Christian and animist militia known as “anti-balaka,” two main parties to the conflict, have used sexual violence as revenge for perceived support of those on the other side of the sectarian divide.

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    Cover for Central African Republic Report
  • May 18, 2016

    Life under ISIS in Sirte, Libya

    The report, “‘We Feel We Are Cursed’: Life under ISIS in Sirte, Libya,” also finds that ISIS is inflicting severe hardship on the local population by diverting food, medicine, fuel, and cash, along with homes it seized from residents who fled, to fighters and functionaries it has amassed in the Mediterranean port city. As the de facto government in Sirte, ISIS has the duty to ensure that all residents are able to exercise their basic human rights, including the rights to food and health.

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  • March 23, 2016

    Repression and Abuse of Women Human Rights Defenders, Activists, and Protesters in Sudan

    This report documents efforts by Sudanese authorities to silence women who are involved in protests, rights campaigns, and other public action, and who provide social services and legal aid, as well as journalists.

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  • February 15, 2016

    Reparations for Survivors of Kenya’s 2007-2008 Post-Election Sexual Violence

    This report is based on interviews with 163 women and girls, nine male survivors, and witnesses of rape or other sexual violence in the post-election period. Human Rights Watch found that most of the survivors interviewed were still in dire need of medical attention, leaving them unable to work or pursue education, adding to their poverty and hunger. The government has recently promised reparations, which should be designed in consultation with survivors of sexual violence to ensure their full inclusion in all programs.

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  • July 22, 2015

    Destruction of Villages, Killings, and Sexual Violence in Unity State South Sudan

    Thise 42-page report is based on more than170 interviews in June and July with survivors and witnesses. More than 125 of these were displaced by fighting or attacks on their villages by government troops or allied militia from the Bul Nuer ethnic group. Human Rights Watch documented shocking accounts of about 60 unlawful killings of civilian women, men, and children, including the elderly. Some were hanged and others shot, and others were burned alive. Interviewees were selected randomly and the number of cases documented by Human Rights Watch almost certainly represents only a fraction of the total.

    UNMISS camp near Bentiu
  • February 11, 2015

    Sudanese Army Attacks against Civilians in Tabit

    The 48-page report documents Sudanese army attacks in which at least 221 women and girls were raped in Tabit over 36 hours beginning on October 30, 2014. The mass rapes would amount to crimes against humanity if found to be part of a widespread or systematic attack on the civilian population.

  • September 23, 2014

    Survivors of Nepal’s Conflict-Era Sexual Violence

    The 78-page report documents sexual violence by both government forces and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) combatants during the conflict, which ended with a peace agreement in 2006. Many of these crimes remain unreported, with survivors isolated and unable to find ways to access justice and redress.

  • September 8, 2014

    Sexual Exploitation and Abuse by African Union Forces in Somalia

    This 71-page report documents the sexual exploitation and abuse of Somali women and girls on two AMISOM bases in Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, since 2013. The AU soldiers, relying on Somali intermediaries, have used a range of tactics, including humanitarian aid, to coerce vulnerable women and girls into sexual activity.

  • July 2, 2014

    Women on the Front Lines of Syria's Conflict

    This 47-page report profiles 17 Syrian women who are now refugees in Turkey. Through written and photographic portraits, the report documents ways in which the conflict impacts women in particular.

  • February 13, 2014

    A Five-Point Plan to Curtail Sexual Violence in Somalia

    This 72-page report provides a roadmap for the government and its international donors to establish a comprehensive strategy to reduce rape, provide survivors with immediate and urgent assistance, and develop a long-term approach to end these abuses.

  • May 27, 2013

    Women’s Rights in the New Libya

    This 40-page report highlights key steps that Libya should take to meet its international obligations by firmly rejecting gender-based discrimination in both law and practice.

  • November 14, 2012

    Obstacles to Health, Justice, and Protection for Displaced Victims of Gender-Based Violence in Colombia

    This 101-page report documents how recent improvements in Colombia’s laws, policies, and programs on rape and domestic violence have not translated into more effective justice, healthcare, and protection for displaced women and girls. More than half of the country’s roughly four million displaced are female.