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Forcing Parental Involvement in Abortion Violates Rights

A law in the US state of Illinois that forces people under 18 to involve an adult family member in their abortion decision is failing some of the state’s young people and violating their human rights. In a new joint report with the American Civil…
An illustration of scales imposed over a woman's torso
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So, all abortion is banned in the Dominican Republic? Yes. Even in instances where a woman or girl is pregnant from rape or incest, if her life is in danger, or if the fetus won’t survive outside the womb. But the ban, in effect since 1884,…
Rosa Hernández stands in her home below a photo of her daughter, Rosaura Almonte Hernández, who died in 2012 at age 16.
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Questions and Answers

Updated February 8, 2018 What is Trump’s “Mexico City Policy,” also known as the “Global Gag Rule”? On January 23, 2017, United States President Donald Trump issued a Presidential Memorandum Regarding the Mexico City Policy.…
Women and girls wait with their children outside a doctor’s office in Chitwan, Nepal.
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It’s public knowledge that following the 9-11 attacks on the United States, the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) detained and tortured terrorism suspects in secret sites around the world. But new Human Rights Watch research provides…
CIA detainee torture abuse 2
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It is now widely acknowledged that after the 9/11 attacks in the US, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began a global detention and interrogation program through which it tortured and abused prisoners. Yet the US government has failed to hold…
Illustration of the scales of justice replaced by two people shackled by their wrists and dangling in the air.
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Questions and Answers

The Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international treaty adopted by the United Nations on November 20, 1989, establishing global standards to ensure the protection, survival, and development of all children, without discrimination. Countries…
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Is some sense of sanity finally slipping into the torture debate in the US? Yesterday, after years of criticism for failing to call it by its name, the New York Times finally decided it would use the word “torture” to describe when US interrogators use…
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As the children’s rights advocate for Human Rights Watch, one of the questions I’m asked most frequently is why the US has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Currently, only two other countries – South Sudan and Somalia – have yet to…
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The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the US

Public registration laws cause serious harm to youth sex offenders – people under 18 who have committed any of a wide range of sex offenses, from the very serious, like rape, to the relatively innocuous, such as public nudity. The laws, which can apply…
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New Bill Officially Gives Youths Sent to Prison for Life an Opportunity for Parole

In an important step forward for juvenile justice, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill giving young offenders in California a second chance. Human Rights Watch and others campaigned for years against California’s extreme juvenile sentencing, and…
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A chance to earn parole for California’s Sara Kruzan

During his last day in office, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted the prison sentence of one of the state’s most egregiously sentenced victims of child sex trafficking. Sara Kruzan, sentenced to life in prison without parole at the age of…
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On August 24, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a federal prosecutor to review cases of post-9/11 detainee abuse and determine whether or not a criminal investigation is warranted.  Human Rights Watch has collected information on some 330 cases…
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Questions and Answers

Introduction After the attacks of September 11, 2001, US officials approved various interrogation methods that were illegal under both US and international law. These included such brutal practices as painful "stress positions," prolonged exposure to…
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Revise Policies to Ensure Fair Hearing

(London) - The ruling today by the European Court of Human Rights on the United Kingdom's detention policy for foreign terrorism suspects confirms that indefinite detention violates basic rights, Human Rights Watch said. The court ruled that the…
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In a groundbreaking step forward for juveniles in the criminal justice system, the governor of Colorado announced on August 29 the creation of a clemency board for youth offenders. It is the first time that a state has amended its clemency process to…
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On September 19, a majority of US senators voted to approve an amendment that would restore the right to habeas corpus, one of the oldest and most important checks on the arbitrary exercise of government power. Last year’s Military Commissions Act…
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On June 8, the Council of Europe released a report confirming allegations first made by Human Rights Watch in 2005 that the CIA used locations in Poland and Romania for the secret detention of terror suspects. During several years of research, we combed…
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On February 23, the Canadian Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the provisions of a Canadian immigration law that enabled the government to detain foreign terrorism suspects, often for years, without charge or trial and to deport them. Human Rights…