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The following questions and answers address issues relating to international humanitarian law (the laws of war) governing the armed conflict between Israel and Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza that took place from May…
The Jala Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza. Israel's air force targeted the 13-floor Jala Tower housing Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television and the Associated Press news agency.
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When history reflects on the Syrian conflict, a defining hallmark will be the Syrian government’s deliberate targeting of civilians. Backed by Russian forces, the government has rained bombs on markets, hospitals, schools, and homes. In 2019 and 2020,…
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Who is Dominic Ongwen? What is the Lord’s Resistance Army? How did the ICC come to bring charges against Ongwen? What are the charges against Ongwen? How does Ongwen’s experience as a child soldier affect judicial proceedings against…
Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan commander in the Lord’s Resistance Army, waits for the judge to arrive as he made his first appearance at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.
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On January 31, 2020, the administration of President Donald Trump announced the reversal of US prohibitions on landmine production and use. The decision nullifies years of steps by the US to align its policy and practice with the 1997 treaty banning…
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Madam Secretary Grapples with Dilemmas Posed by Fully Autonomous Weapons

One of my favorite TV shows, Madam Secretary, aired an episode on Sunday focusing on “killer robots” or fully autonomous weapons, an issue Human Rights Watch has worked on since 2012. It was heartening to see a mainstream…
Photo from an episode of Madam Secretary that aired on CBS on October 20, 2019.
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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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Beginning early on March 26, 2015, a Saudi Arabia-led coalition used warplanes to attack the forces of Ansar Allah, known as the Houthis, in several locations in Yemen. The coalition members include: Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Qatar, Sudan,…
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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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A court ruling in London yesterday marked a rare victory in the search for justice for torture and other abuses by the UK, US, and allies in the years after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The London case involves Abdul Hakim Belhadj, a former…
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This Q & A was first issued on August 4, 2014 and updated on October 3, 2014 to reflect new policy. On September 23, 2014, the United States government announced a new policy with a commitment not to use antipersonnel landmines outside of…
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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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On June 27, 2014, the United States government announced a new policy foreswearing future production or acquisition of antipersonnel landmines. It said the Defense Department will conduct a detailed study of alternatives to antipersonnel mines and the…
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Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies will soon make possible the development of fully autonomous weapons, which would revolutionize the way wars are fought. These weapons, unlike the current generation of armed drones, would be…
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More impact as of July 12, 2012: Saudi Arabia has said that it will send two female athletes to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Saudi Arabia has announced that it will allow women athletes to compete in the Olympics for the first time,…