Attacks on Schools and Military Use of Schools in Ukraine

The 71-page report, “Tanks on the Playground,” documents the damage and destruction of schools and kindergartens in four Ukrainian regions during the first months of the fighting. Most of the damage to educational facilities resulted from aerial attacks, artillery shelling, rocket strikes, and, in some cases, attacks using cluster munitions – causing significant damage to roofs, the collapse of walls, and major debris in classrooms. Russian forces frequently looted and pillaged schools they occupied, a war crime.

The destroyed playground of a kindergarten


  • August 14, 2023

    Haiti Needs an Urgent Rights-Based Response to Escalating Crisis

    The 98-page report, “Living a Nightmare: Haiti Needs an Urgent Rights-Based Response to Escalating Crisis,” documents abuses committed by criminal groups and state inaction in four metropolitan Port-au-Prince communes – Cabaret, Cité Soleil, Croix-des-Bouquets, and Port-au-Prince itself – between January and April 2023. In Haiti, the state is nearly absent, impunity reigns, and nearly half the population is acutely food insecure. Human Rights Watch also assessed the humanitarian, political, and judicial crises, plus abuses of previous international interventions and the enduring legacy of slavery, exploitation, and abuse by colonial powers.

  • May 2, 2023
    Forces from both Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan committed apparent war crimes in attacks on civilians during their brief but intense armed border conflict in September 2022. The families of victims deserve justice and reparations to pave the way for a rights-respecting resolution to this ongoing dispute.
    Collage of four equally sized images. Top left image of a burnt Tajik ambulance. Top right image damaged house with a window and two doors. Bottom left image of a man on a bicycle looking at a damaged house. Bottom right image of a burned-out car
  • March 13, 2023

    The Consequences of Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine for Children in Ukrainian Residential Institutions

    The 55-page report, “We Must Provide a Family, Not Rebuild Orphanages,” documents risks to children from institutions in areas directly affected by the conflict as well as those evacuated to other areas of Ukraine or to European countries. According to government figures, Ukraine had more than 105,000 children in institutions before Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, the largest number in Europe. Nearly half were children with disabilities, according to UNICEF. Russia bears responsibility for the crisis facing these children, but the war adds to the urgency for Ukraine, with support from foreign governments and humanitarian agencies, to stop institutionalizing children and expand family- and community-based care.

  • 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.
    Crowd at the train station in Kramatorsk
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  • September 8, 2022

    Impact of the Armed Conflict in Syria on Children with Disabilities

    The 71-page report, “‘It Was Really Hard to Protect Myself’: Impact of the Armed Conflict in Syria on Children with Disabilities,” details the abuses faced by children with disabilities, including a heightened risk during attacks and a lack of access to the basic support services they need. The absence of inclusive and universal programs – including in education, delivery of humanitarian aid, and mental health and psychosocial support services – compounds the difficulties children with disabilities in Syria already experience.

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  • September 1, 2022

    “Filtration” and the Crime of Forcibly Transferring Ukrainian Civilians to Russia

    The 71-page report, “‘We Had No Choice’: ‘Filtration’ and the War Crime of Forcibly Transferring Ukrainian Civilians to Russia,” documents the transfers of Ukrainian civilians. The transfers are a serious violation of the laws of war that constitute war crimes and potential crimes against humanity. Russian and Russian-affiliated authorities also subjected thousands of Ukrainian citizens to a form of compulsory, punitive, and abusive security screening called “filtration.”

  • May 11, 2022

    Cluster Munition Attacks in Ukraine

    The 20-page report, “Intense and Lasting Harm: Cluster Munition Attacks in Ukraine,” details how Russian armed forces have used at least six types of cluster munitions in the international armed conflict in Ukraine.

  • April 6, 2022

    Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone

    The 221-page report, “We Will Erase You From This Land’: Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing in Ethiopia’s Western Tigray Zone,” documents how newly-appointed officials in Western Tigray and security forces from the neighbouring Amhara region, with the acquiescence and possible participation of Ethiopian federal forces, systematically expelled several hundred thousand Tigrayan civilians from their homes using threats, unlawful killings, sexual violence, mass arbitrary detention, pillage, forcible transfer, and the denial of humanitarian assistance. These widespread and systematic attacks against the Tigrayan civilian population amount to crimes against humanity as well as war crimes.

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  • February 23, 2022

    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.

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  • November 30, 2021

    Executions and Enforced Disappearances in Afghanistan under the Taliban

    The 25-page report, “‘No Forgiveness for People Like You,’ Executions and Enforced Disappearances in Afghanistan under the Taliban,” documents the killing or disappearance of 47 former members of the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) – military personnel, police, intelligence service members, and militia – who had surrendered to or were apprehended by Taliban forces between August 15 and October 31. Human Rights Watch gathered credible information on more than 100 killings from Ghazni, Helmand, Kandahar, and Kunduz provinces alone.

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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.

  • 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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  • November 20, 2020

    The Culture of Impunity in Post-Conflict Nepal

    The 53-page report, “No Law, No Justice, No State for Victims: The Culture of Impunity in Post-Conflict Nepal,” tracks 62 cases of extrajudicial killings that Human Rights Watch and Advocacy Forum first documented in 2008. The groups found that over a decade later, there has been little progress toward prosecutions, despite court orders requiring investigations to proceed, with the police and prosecutors saying that the government has told them these cases will be handled by transitional justice mechanisms. This inaction is helping to sustain an ongoing pattern of serious violations, including extrajudicial killings and torture by security forces.

  • October 15, 2020

    Syrian and Russian Strikes on Civilian Infrastructure

    The 167-page report, “‘Targeting Life in Idlib’: Syrian and Russian Strikes on Civilian Infrastructure,” details abuses by Syrian and Russian armed forces during the 11-month military campaign to retake Idlib governorate and surrounding areas, among the last held by anti-government armed groups. The report examines the abusive military strategy in which the Syrian-Russian alliance repeatedly violated the laws of war against the 3 million civilians there, many displaced by fighting elsewhere in the country. It names 10 senior Syrian and Russian civilian and military officials who may be implicated in war crimes as a matter of command responsibility: they knew or should have known about the abuses and took no effective steps to stop them or punish those responsible.

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  • September 14, 2020

    Obstruction of Aid in Yemen During Covid-19

    The 65-page report, “Deadly Consequences: Obstruction of Aid in Yemen During Covid-19,” details systematic interference in relief operations by Houthi authorities, Yemen’s internationally recognized government and affiliated forces, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-backed Southern Transitional Council. Despite increased needs, donors slashed funding in June 2020, partly because of the obstruction, forcing aid agencies to cut food, health care, and water and sanitation support to millions of people in need. The parties to Yemen’s five-year-long armed conflict should immediately end the obstruction. Donors should increase funding to aid agencies while pressuring the local authorities to respect the humanitarian principles of independence and impartiality. The United Nations should establish an independent inquiry into the extent of obstruction and shortcomings in the humanitarian community’s response.

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