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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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Despite their mandate to maintain peace and protect people in war-torn countries, some UN peacekeepers have themselves been abusers. Highly publicized allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic have…
Women walk by a United Nations peacekeeping armored vehicle guarding the outer perimeter of a school used as an electoral center at the end of the presidential and legislative elections, in the mostly muslim PK5 neighborhood of Bangui.
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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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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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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,…
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Government Pledged to Not Use Mines and to Help Clear Mines

Last week in Libya, Human Rights Watch witnessed the destruction of nearly 100 Chinese-made antivehicle landmines – weapons that kill or maim civilians, often children, long after the fighting has stopped. Human Rights Watch discovered a year ago that…
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1.     Who is Joseph Kony and what is the Lord’s Resistance Army? 2.    What is the LRA fighting for? 3.    How big is the LRA? 4.    Does the LRA target children? 5.    How many people have been affected by the long war with the LRA? 6.    Where is Kony…
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In October, 2011, the Obama administration said it would send 100 US military advisers to central Africa to help the region’s armies combat the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a vicious Ugandan rebel group. Human Rights Watch has pressed the US government…
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Following the attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush began a campaign of “targeted killings” against suspected members of al Qaeda and other armed groups. It has continued under the administration of President…
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Despite the regulations in Protocol III to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), incendiary weapons continue to cause needless and unacceptable suffering to civilians in conflicts around the world. These weapons produce conscience-shocking…