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How Xenophobia Has Robbed One Young Girl of Her Sense of Belonging

There is one thing 10-year-old Keshia (not her real name) wishes for with all her might: to leave South Africa for good. South Africa might be the place of her birth and the only country where she has ever lived, but she cannot call it home. When, she…
Keshia completes her homework in her family’s home in Johannesburg in August 2020. ©2020 Private
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From Fighting Apartheid to Demanding Equality for Women and LGBT People

On August 9, 1956, 20,000 women of all races marched through the streets of Pretoria, South Africa in defiance of apartheid. They stood outside the Union Buildings, the government seat, protesting apartheid, and sang, “You strike a woman, you strike a…
Women march on the Union Buildings protesting apartheid in Pretoria, South Africa, August 9, 1956.
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Human Rights Official Returns to her Hometown to Help Change its Track Record

Anny Castillo’s job is to help change all of this. Castillo is head of the Tumaco “personeria,” a human rights agency. In Colombia, each municipality has a personeria, an office designed to promote access to public services, address human…
Tumaco, Colombia
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Sisandua Hani’s fight to keep her son in school

Ntsikelelo is small for his age, and quite a handful. One moment, the 8-year old rolls around on the floor, the next instant he paces the room, impatiently and with big strides. The colorful picture books his mother has spread out on a low table hardly…
sisandua
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As Women Flee Violence in Rural Areas, Cities Offer No Safe Haven

I sat down with Mercedes on a sleepy afternoon in Medellin, Colombia. She was nervous. I was exhausted. Mercedes was my 60th interview with women and girls in Colombia – all of whom survived sexual or family violence, and all of whom had fled their close-…
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It is every pregnant woman's greatest fear - getting sick during your pregnancy and harming your baby.  For many of us, these fears are mitigated by the knowledge that we have access to good health care and caring professionals.  Melke was not so lucky…
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Following intense advocacy by Human Rights Watch, Democratic leaders from the House of Representatives announced on June 29 that they would oppose a US-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) until Colombia shows evidence of sustained results in addressing…
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In response to our reports, the United States is paying closer attention to human rights concerns in the process of paramilitary demobilization in Colombia. Our work helped to spark interest in the issue by the U.S. Congress, which led to an unprecedented…
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Human Rights Watch's March 2004 HIV/AIDS report, Deadly Delay, highlighted laws in South Africa preventing children's access to life-saving medicine and antiretroviral treatment. This month, the government expanded the definition of a caregiver or…
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Briefing to the 60th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights

Objective     The Commission on Human Rights should recommend the expansion of the United Nation’s human rights work in Colombia, including an increase in the number of permanent staff of the Office of the High Commissioner in Colombia, renegotiation of…
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In Colombia’s armed conflict, more than 11,000 child combatants fight for guerrilla and paramilitary groups, and account for one-fourth of the groups’ armed forces. The Colombian government took new steps toward ending the use of child combatants on…
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Human Rights Watch effectively urged the US Congress to continue to require the State Department to certify Colombia's compliance with human rights conditions twice annually (not the reduction to once proposed by Republicans in the House of…
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Human Rights Watch assisted several threatened human rights prosecutors in Colombia, one of whom became the first Colombian prosecutor involved with human rights cases to receive direct assistance from the United States to gain political asylum and…
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On November 8, in Bogota, Colombia, Human Rights Watch released "A Wrong Turn: The Record of the Colombian Attorney General's Office." The report documented how Colombia's Attorney General, Luis Camilo Osorio, has undermined or derailed key human rights…
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Along with two other leading human rights groups (AI & WOLA), Human Rights Watch issued a document refuting the State Department's certification that Colombia is in compliance with the human rights conditions of U.S.…
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In July 1997, paramilitaries working with the Colombian Army killed more than thirty residents of Mapirip醤, Meta. Army general Jaime Usc醫egui was implicated in the massacre and sentenced by a military tribunal to serve only forty months in prison. In a…
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Human Rights Watch's latest report on Colombia, "'Sixth Division:' Military-Paramilitary Ties and U.S. Policy in Colombia," presents evidence that officers in army brigades and in some police units routinely flout or circumvent orders to break ties to…
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On July 10, Human Rights Watch issued a public letter to Manuel Marulanda, the commander-in-chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (known as the FARC), Colombia's main rebel group. Based on a HRW mission to territory in Colombia…