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Canada Is Failing Indigenous Peoples Facing Threats to Food, Health, and Land

In some of the most remote stretches of Canada – from the provincial norths to the territories – First Nations are facing serious threats to their ways of life because of the effects of climate change. A rapidly changing environment means harvesting food…
Weenusk First Nations members packing their sleds ahead of a hunt near Peawanuck, Ontario, December 14, 2019.
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The Global Pandemic Offers Chance to Embrace Clean Energy

It’s been three months since governments around the world implemented lockdowns in response to Covid-19. The virus has killed hundreds of thousands and forced millions more into joblessness and destitution. With the global transport of people and goods…
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How European Development Banks Fail the Very People They Claim to Assist

Why did you focus your research on these oil palm plantations? These plantations provide jobs for many people. But their workers are being underpaid and exposed to unhealthy working conditions. The European development banks that finance these…
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Being Outside is a Health Risk for Some of Zambia’s Children

How did you first become aware of the problem in Kabwe? We learned about it from an environmental group several years ago but became interested in doing our own research after seeing a young person from Kabwe speak at a United Nations event.…
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New Treaty Defends People From Workplace Violence and Harassment

Can you explain what the ILO is? The International Labour Organization is the UN-based organization that deals with all issues related to employment and work. It’s where they set the minimum standards for everything to do with worker’s rights.…
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Left Destitute and Sick, Communities Defy Police Abuse and Threats to Assert their Rights

What changes for a community once a mine starts operating? Most mining in South Africa takes place in rural areas, where people live off the land and their livestock. Mining often forces people to leave the land they use for farming and grazing…
Coal mine in Somkhele viewed from Ocilwane village in Fuleni, KwaZulu-Natal. © 2018 Rob Symons
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Activists in Lamu Challenge Power Despite Threats

Tell me about Lamu and the activists you spoke to. Lamu county is a beautiful, scenic tourist destination with long white beaches lined with palm trees and hotels and cafes catering to foreign and domestic tourists. The mostly-Muslim…
Residents and environmental activists  protesting against  lack of consultations and government failure to address environmental concerns in respect ofo the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project in Lamu island, Kenya, March 1, 2012.
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Tell me more about mountaintop removal. Today it’s done almost exclusively in southern West Virginia, but has been done in Eastern Kentucky, and parts of Tennessee and Virginia too. Scientific studies show that people living near this type of…
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Brazil’s Industrial Farmers Spray Dangerous Chemicals Near Schools, Villages

  What’s happening with pesticides in Brazil?  Brazil’s an agriculture powerhouse in terms of the amount of land under farming. The farming of soy, sugarcane, cotton, and corn is done at an industrial scale and pesticides are used…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
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What are some of the misconceptions around being born intersex? Unfortunately, in our society we’re still at a point where most people don’t know the basic facts about being intersex. People think it is very rare, but really, up to two percent of the…
A poster by intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis
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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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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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Human Rights Watch and JUSTICE Amicus Brief to the UK House of Lords

The British government has sought to deport terrorism or national security suspects in reliance on diplomatic assurances against torture from the men's home governments. In two important cases to be heard in October 2008-RB and U v. Secretary of State…
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Amicus Brief to the US 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Khouzam v. Secretary Chertoff, et al.

Despite evidence that he would be tortured on return, the US government seeks to deport Sameh Sami S. Khouzam to Egypt on the basis of diplomatic assurances from the Egyptian government that Khouzam will not be tortured in Egyptian custody.  Human Rights…
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Argument to the US Court of Appeals on Suing Foreign Torturers in the US

Human Rights Watch filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the case of Yousuf v. Samantar, which is now before the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. In the brief, Human Rights Watch argues that when Congress passed the Torture Victim…
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Brief of Amici Curiae in re: Hill v. McDonough

Human Rights Watch joined with other amici insisting that Florida’s protocol for lethal injections violated fundamental human rights prohibitions against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
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Supreme Court of the United States, January 6, 2006

The detention and military commission systems created by the Executive to hold and try persons seized in the “war on terror” and implemented at the United States Naval Station in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (“Guantánamo”) violate the well-established norms of…