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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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The "finger" test found to violate rights

After a man she was in a relationship with raped her, Sandhya went to a hospital for an examination and treatment. "The clerk told me a male doctor will conduct the test [forensic examination] and asked me whether that was ok," Sandhya, who is in her 20s…
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Council of Europe Convention calls for hotlines, shelters, medical and forensic services

Hamiyet, a member of Turkey’s Kurdish minority, was a 15-year-old newlywed when her husband began beating her every evening after work. He hit her when she was pregnant with each of their nine children, and he raped her almost nightly. She sought help…
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On April 27, 2011, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the elimination of the city's backlog of 6,132 untested sexual assault evidence kits, or "rape kits," collected through December 2008. This important announcement came two years after…
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Amicus Curiae brief filed with the Supreme Court

Human Rights Watch and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers filed an amicus brief in the case of Ashcroft v. Al-Kidd before the Supreme Court. The case challenges the US government's misuse of the material witness statute to investigate…
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Today, child soldiers are fighting in at least 14 countries around the world. Boys and girls alike are forced into combat, exploited for their labor, and subjected to unspeakable violence.  A UN treaty prohibits the participation of children under the…
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After years of our advocacy on ending rape as a weapon of war, we were proud to see the Security Council vote to create a senior position dedicated to ending sexual violence in armed conflict. The groundwork was laid in June 2008, when the Security…
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The 15-year-old girl, looking even younger than her years, lay on a mattress in a shelter in eastern Congo, her sleeping newborn son beside her. "I was just coming back from the river to fetch water," Regine told Juliane Kippenberg, senior children's…
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12-year-old Mia came to the rape treatment center in Santa Barbara because her school counselor suspected sexual abuse. At the rape center, she consented to a long and invasive exam, during which a nurse collected forensic and DNA evidence that could be…
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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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Top UN Officials, 46 governments participate in Red Hand Day Campaign Ceremony

Yesterday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the forced recruitment and use of child soldiers as "one of the most appalling human rights abuses in the world today," and stated that "the entire United Nations system and I are determined to stamp…
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The International Criminal Court (ICC) decided in November to lift the suspension of the trial of the rebel leader Thomas Lubanga, who is accused of enlisting and conscripting children as soldiers and using them to participate actively in the conflict in…
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Argument to the Supreme Court of Argentina on International Standards on Juvenile Detention

Human Rights Watch filed an amicus brief in the case of García Méndez, Emilio and Musa, Laura Cristina s/case No. 7537 that is now before the Supreme Court of Argentina. We argue that the system by which Argentine judges authorize the detention of…
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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 August 29, Sri Lanka appointed a committee to investigate allegations of child recruitment by the Karuna group, a Tamil armed group allegedly linked to the government. In our January 2007 report, Human Rights Watch exposed patterns of abductions and…