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Tens of thousands of workers trapped in highly abusive conditions

Lebanon’s restrictive and exploitative kafala (sponsorship) system traps tens of thousands of migrant domestic workers in highly abusive conditions amounting, at worst, to modern slavery. The law fails to protect the workers, and the establishment…
Protestors holding banners calling for the abolishment of Lebanon's controversial kafala sponsorship system.
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With the conclusion this summer of both UEFA Euro 2020 and CONMEBOL Copa America, qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup, to be held in Qatar during November-December 2022, are set to resume next month. To a greater extent than previous tournaments…
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Her job had been going well, the woman told me. But her married boss started making sexual advances, which she rebuffed. Then he gave her a gift — a clock. She put it in her bedroom, but the light bothered her, so she kept moving it. “But every…
Women protest to demand stronger government action to fight the spread of intimate photos and footage taken by hidden cameras in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2018.
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Labor Laws Can Support Women Trying to Escape Abuse

Under Covid-19-related lockdowns in 2020, most violent crime in France dropped. Reports of domestic violence and rape went up. The pandemic contributed to a 30 percent increase in reported domestic violence cases within two weeks of…
Protestors marching to demand the end of femicide and violence against women in Paris, France, November 23, 2019. 
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Eighteen years ago, in February 2003, Human Rights Watch interviewed Angela P, who was 10 years old when the brutal armed group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) kidnapped her in northern Uganda. At age 15,  she was forced to become a “wife” to an LRA…
Dominic Ongwen at his confirmation of charges hearing in ICC courtroom I on 21 January 2016 © ICC-CPI.
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As domestic violence rates soar in Europe under COVID-19 restrictions, women’s groups protest government inaction from Poland to Turkey.

As violence against women repeatedly grabs headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, women across Europe are at the forefront of mass protests demanding government action to protect women from abuse. Some argue that women shouldn’t risk their lives…
Protesters with a banner reading "Women's Strike" take part in a rally against the Polish government’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on prevention and combating of domestic violence, in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
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Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record. In its latest attempt, Saudi…
Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record.
News
My heart sank as my colleague told me recently about the latest torture victim from Iraq who had contacted us to share his story. I had heard the same kinds of accounts from other victims of torture in detention, including the same names of two…
Juveniles’ cell at Tal Kayf prison, taken in April 2019 and shared confidentially with Human Rights Watch, shows extreme overcrowding at the prison.
News

After Iranian women started sharing stories of sexual violence, the Iranian authorities have been forced to act.

Across the past three weeks, dozens of Iranian women of various backgrounds have taken to social media, in their own #MeToo moment, to report their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. The police have announced they have taken action against…
Iranian women wearing masks to protect themselves from the coronavirus walk at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran on February 20, 2020.
News
The perversity of what passes for a criminal justice system in Bahrain will be on full display on  July 13, when Mohamed Ramadan and Hussein Moosa make their final bid to escape execution. The two are scheduled to appear before the country’s…
Mohamed Ramadan (left) and Hussein Ali Moosa (right).
News
If one were intent on spreading coronavirus, one would pack many people into tightly crowded, unhygienic spaces with poor ventilation, irregular access to water, deficient medical care, and little testing to know who is infected with the virus. One…
Inmates are lined up during a security operation under the watch of police at Izalco prison in San Salvador, El Salvador, on April 25, 2020.
News

New Measures an Important First Step, But More is Needed

In the wake of the chilling "Nth room" case, the South Korean government recently announced an inter-agency plan to "eradicate digital sex crimes." This response is a testament to the women's rights activists who have fought for years to…
Women protest to demand stronger government action to fight the spread of intimate photos and footage taken by hidden cameras in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2018.
News
“When I was 13… I got pregnant from my older brother… He raped me starting when I was 11,” a girl from Guatemala told one of us in 2015. She was one of the 2 million girls under 15 worldwide who give birth each year, often due to sexual…
A woman holds a packet of contraceptive pills, in Harare, Thursday, April 9, 2020.
News

The Trump administration is talking about freezing immigration for 60 days, at a time when it’s urgent to address the vulnerability of thousands of Venezuelans in the United States.

As COVID-19 spreads, it’s clearer than ever that millions of Venezuelans who have fled a brutal government crackdown and an already collapsed health system in their home country can’t return safely. The U.S. government has the ability to grant…
People protest outside the children's hospital JM de los Rios because of lack of medicines, in Caracas, Venezuela March 12, 2020.
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In crowded, unhygienic prisons, the spread of the disease presents a serious threat. Will President Sisi put reason before punishment?

  In a country like Egypt where basic rights are severely stifled, there are many rights-related ramifications during a public health crisis. One of the most urgent is the impact on vulnerable groups, such as those in closed, densely crowded…
An Egyptian police officer at the entrance of the Tora prison in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
News
How has the situation on Lesbos changed since your last visit? When I was here in 2016, I couldn’t imagine things being worse. We saw a lawless situation in Moria refugee camp. There were around 6,000 people in the camp,…
Migrants who arrived yesterday to Greece from Turkey eat bread as they try to warm themselves at the village of Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday, March 6, 2020.
News
It was disappointing to read a recent article by a  senior police officer, Emilian Kayima, in The New Vision blaming women for being victims of sexual violence. Instead of taking on the men responsible for the violence and abuse, Kayima,  a former police…
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