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For Survivors of Abuse, Shelters Offered Lifeline

“My parents warned me they will kill me if I ever leave this shelter,” Najla, a woman of about 30, told me. “The worst thing is that I don’t have anyone to support me.” She has been in a shelter in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat for several years…
Afghan women sew in their bedroom at a women's shelter in Kabul, March 20, 2017. A non-descript building tucked away in a residential neighborhood is one of the few hidden sanctuaries where battered women can seek support. 
News

Lawmakers Have Opportunity to Strengthen Flawed Law

Ainagul from Aktobe, Gulnara from Kostanai, Arailym from Almaty, and Madina from Karaganda: these women from cities across Kazakhstan share a painful connection. They are all survivors of domestic violence at the hands of their abusive partners or…
Participants protest against discrimination and gender-based violence during a rally held by members of feminist organizations and social activists in Almaty, Kazakhstan.
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Another Women’s Rights Group Could Be Labeled a “Foreign Agent”

In Russia, working to prevent and combat domestic violence can be considered a “political activity.” And that means risking state harassment and intimidation. The authorities are now targeting Nasiliu.net center, an awareness-raising group that…
The staff of Nasiliu.net center, an awareness-raising group that provides assistance to domestic violence survivors.  
News

Self-Defence Against Domestic Violence Should Count at Trial

Gulzhan Pasanova could spend 10 years in prison because in defending herself from her abusive husband, he died. On October 22, the Supreme Court of Kyrgyzstan will consider her case on appeal. In November 2019, Pasanova’s husband, accusing her of…
Cartoon about Domestic Violence by Tatiana Zelenskaya
News

Government Should Implement Legislation, Address Gaps in Protection for Victims

This month, after years of activism, Kuwaiti women’s rights activists won a new law establishing protections against domestic violence. The need for this law was underscored on September 9 when Fatima al-Ajmi, aged 35 and pregnant, was shot repeatedly…
The Kuwait city skyline is seen through the haze of a sand storm in Shuwaikh, Kuwait City.
News

Companies’ Respect for Rights at Particular Risk During Covid-19

This would have been the week: The German government had put the planned Supply Chain Act on its cabinet meeting agenda. If passed, the law would require companies to ensure that the rights of workers and communities in their supply chains are…
Workers sew clothes in a garments factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 25, 2020.
News

Ukraine Should Join The 34 Other European States That Have Ratified the Istanbul Convention

Violence against women and girls in Ukraine remains a serious problem. A 2019 study by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Ukraine found that two-thirds of women surveyed said they had “experienced psychological, physical or sexual…
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on during a press conference in the garden of the Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv, May 22, 2020.
News

Man Who Abused Wife in Viral Video Sentenced to Probation Only

After years of monitoring violence against women in Kyrgyzstan, and seeing little done to punish abusers, we thought this time might finally be different. It wasn’t. It looked like an open and shut case. The horrific abuse was captured on video…
An artistic representation of a domestic violence case in Kyrgyzstan. © Tatiana Zelenskaya
News

Public Abuse of Dead Woman’s Mother Will Deter Others Seeking Help

Two weeks ago, Madina Umaeva, 23, died in Russia’s Chechen Republic under suspicious circumstances. She had previously complained to family members about her husband repeatedly beating her. On the day she died, neighbors heard screams from her house…
The head of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov, on December 13, 2011.
News

Calls to Strengthen Justice and Support for Abuse Survivors

A video depicting horrific domestic abuse, circulating recently on social media in Kyrgyzstan, shows a man slapping his wife and pouring water over her head. The woman’s hands are tied behind her back, and tires, weighted down with stones, hang over her…
An artistic representation of a domestic violence case in Kyrgyzstan.
News

Government Blocks Key Treaty as Covid-19 Exposes Scale of Domestic Abuse

Amidst a disturbing global uptick in reports of domestic violence during Covid-19 lockdowns, Hungary has taken a leap backwards in protecting women. On May 5, parliament, where ruling party Fidesz has a two-thirds majority, blocked…
Candles and silhouettes representing victims are placed during a rally to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women outside the Parliament in Budapest, Hungary, November 25, 2018.
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Covid-19 Galvanizes Momentum for Regulating Companies

The European Union is a step closer to developing regulations for holding companies accountable for their actions. On April 28, European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, pledged support for binding rules requiring companies to conduct…
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News

Workers Fear Increase in Union Busting at Factories During Covid-19 Lockdown

In previous years on May 1, workers across Myanmar would rally and march in solidarity for workers’ rights and justice. But this May Day the streets will be quiet, as no marches are allowed with Covid-19 lockdowns and curfews in place. Most…
Workers shout slogans during a May Day march in Yangon, Myanmar, May 1, 2019.
News

Emergency Relief Urgent as Millions Face Losing Their Livelihoods

“When will those of us who were fired get paid?” “Should I go to the factory?” “When will I get my wages?” Concerned workers have been swamping Kalpona Akter’s grassroots organization, the Bangladesh Centre for Workers Solidarity, for…
Garment factory workers wear face masks as they walk out at the end of their work shift March 20, 2020, near Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
News

Government Should Ensure Protection for Survivors During COVID-19 Lockdown

While Kazakhstan authorities fight the spread of coronavirus by putting much of the country under lockdown, they should ensure domestic violence victims can still access refuge and services despite quarantine measures. On…
A woman rides a bus wearing face protective mask amid concerns over the coronavirus, in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, March 16, 2020.
News

Lockdown Measures Increase Risks for Women and Girls

For 4 days, Juliet M., a 16-year-old Kenyan, was held captive by a man and sexually assaulted. She was rescued by neighbors and is now being cared for in a safe house in Nairobi. The attacker reportedly said he kidnapped her because he needed…
Kenyans make their way home before the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew in Nairobi, Kenya, April 6, 2020.
News

Domestic Violence Services Need to Be Classified As “Essential”

Under Kyrgyzstan’s present state of emergency, which includes a curfew from 8pm to 7am, it has become a lot more difficult for women to escape domestic violence. Many are too afraid to call the police or help centres, says Tolkun Tulekova, acting…
Cartoon about Domestic Violence by Tatiana Zelenskaya
News

River Island Signs Pledge to Disclose Supply Chain

Last week, River Island, a United Kingdom fashion brand, signed onto a global effort to be more transparent about the factories that produce its products. In December 2019, Human Rights Watch, together with the Clean Clothes…
A branch of River Island seen on Oxford Street in London, United Kingdom
News

43 Workers Dead in Delhi After Factory Fire

On Sunday morning in Delhi, a fire broke out in a factory that produced school bags. Many factory workers, migrants from other parts of India, were sleeping inside. More than 40 people, reportedly including several children, died in the blaze that…
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News

Government Response to European Court Defies Belief – and the Facts

According to Russian authorities, men in Russia are more likely to suffer from discrimination in domestic violence cases – an outrageous claim that flies in the face of the facts. The dubious statement is part of Russia’s…
A A protest performance staged by women’s rights activists in Saint Petersburg after Russia’s adoption of domestic violence legislation, January 2017.