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The U.S. has sent considerable military assistance to Ukraine. That aid needs to be linked to human rights concerns.

When Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, has his first meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden on August 30, he will be looking for reassurances and commitment from Washington. The U.S. has been a close supporter of Ukraine and has in recent years…
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky looks on during a press conference in the garden of the Mariinsky Palace in Kyiv, May 22, 2020.
News
The European Court of Human Rights found on 19 September that Finland violated its positive duty to protect the right to life of nine students and a teacher in a mass shooting at their vocational institute. It is only the second time that the court…
School #1 in Beslan, North Ossetia. 2004.
News

The Consequences of Conflict for Displaced People with Disabilities in Eastern Ukraine

"I am grateful for help. But sometimes it’s hard ... The attitude here is: if you want to be left in peace, go back home. But where is home? Everyone who could, who had a place to go, had already left." The ongoing war in eastern Ukraine has divided…
Elena Mikhailovna, 66, and Varya, 11 Sviati Hory, October 2019.
News
  In 2020, you should be watching for a growing trend of national legislatures requiring companies to live up to their responsibilities to workers, communities, and the environment. Millions of adults and children around the world suffer…
Children pan for gold
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The news this week that Ukraine has become the 100th country to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration—a Norwegian initiative to make schools safer even during war—has me thinking about two schools at almost opposite ends of Europe. They…
Damaged school in Nikishine Rebel fighters deployed inside the school between September 2014 and February 2015 and exchanged intense fire with Ukrainian forces.
News

Many from Non-Government-Controlled Areas Face Bureaucracy, Discrimination

On a hot August day, I stood in line at the Migration Service of Ukraine. I had just gotten married and needed to change my last name in my passport. For most Ukrainians, this wouldn’t require significant effort. But I’m registered in…
Older people crossing the broken bridge at the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint.
News
On March 31, Ukrainians will go to the polls to vote in the country’s second presidential elections since fighting began five years ago between Ukrainian forces and Russian-backed armed groups. President Petro Poroshenko will face off against a record 43…
People wait at passport control after crossing the contact line between Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian troops in Mayorsk, Ukraine, February 25, 2019.
News

As European and Ukrainian leaders gather in Brussels, it's time to highlight the need for further protection of fundamental rights and freedoms in Ukraine.

On 9 July, Brussels will host the 20th EU-Ukraine Summit, the annual exercise when Kyiv and the European block highlight their strong bilateral relations. No doubt, the Ukrainian president, Petro Poroshenko, and European Union leaders…
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk arrive for a joint news conference following the EU-Ukraine summit in Kiev, Ukraine, July 13, 2017.
News

More than a dozen men disappeared without a trace during Russia's annexation of Crimea. Their families are still waiting for news — and justice

We stopped for petrol on our way to Belogorsk, a small town in Crimea. I was there in October with a colleague, researching human rights issues. Brand new yellow signs inside the petrol station were in Russian, Crimean Tatar and English…
Statue of a Russian soldier in Simferopol, Crimea.
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Ukraine is moving to undo a March 2017 law that imposed an excessive burden on anti-corruption activists to publicly report their income and assets. That's good. But it will instead require NGOs to prepare extensive, onerous public reports…
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“This used to be our home but it’s not anymore.” A Simferopol resident, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons, told us this when we spoke with her in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula that Russia has occupied since…
2016-3-eca-crimea-man-children
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I get out of bed at 5 a.m., just as the curfew is being lifted in Donetsk, the capital of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) in eastern Ukraine. It’s pitch dark outside and I feel privileged — really and truly privileged — to be able to…
On the border of the "neutral zone", it can take hours to cross from separatist to government territory.
News

Fighting and Torture Continue to Rack Eastern Ukraine

November was unseasonably warm this year in Donetsk, an eastern Ukrainian city under pro-Russian separatists’ control. As you walk down Pushkin Boulevard, watching golden leaves gently drop to the ground, stop by a fancy coffee wagon and inhale the autumn…
2016-11-28-eca-ukraine-donetsk-scars
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Refugee Crisis and Universal Jurisdiction Cases in Europe

What’s the basis for European courts to try atrocities committed in Syria and Iraq? What is universal jurisdiction? Does universal jurisdiction mean that every country can investigate any grave international crime committed in Syria and Iraq? What…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
News
Last week Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch published a joint report documenting incommunicado and secret detention of civilians by the warring sides in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Among the places we noted where civilians had been held in…
© 2016 Human Rights Watch cover illustration with two men tied up
News

Why It's Time to End Secret Detention in Ukraine

Kostyantyn Beskorovayny spent 15 months jailed secretly by the Ukrainian Security Services (SBU). An active member of the Communist party in the small eastern town of Kostyantynivka, he was no supporter of Ukraine’s government- but not a “separatist”…
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News
“Come in,” the stylish middle-aged woman says as she leads me into her bright spacious kitchen. Her husband disappeared without a trace in March last year when he was driving from Donetsk, the capital of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR…
2016-6-eca-donetsk
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The armed conflict that swept eastern Ukraine in 2014 and is still ongoing displaced close to a million people, who fled the fighting. Among those left behind, trapped in the war zone, were those too frail, too sick, or too poor to flee. Many…
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