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Human Rights Watch Helped Keep International Attention on ‘House of Torture’

In early August, Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev announced that the notorious Jaslyk prison would be closed. Jaslyk’s planned closure offers hope that Uzbekistan is on the path to making serious improvements in its terrible…
Screenshot from a video showing a photo of a prisoner working at Uzbekistan's Jaslyk prison.
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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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Fighting Forced Labor in Uzbekistan’s Cotton Fields

  At age 60, Elena Urlaeva has been arrested, beaten, strip searched and threatened so many times that she stopped counting. She must slip out of her house under cover of darkness when no one is…
Uzbek human rights defender Elena Urlaeva, detained at a psychiatric hospital from March 1 to March 23, 2017.
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Sanjar Umarov lifted his pants legs and rolled down his socks to show the scars that criss-crossed his ankles. Umarov, a former political prisoner from Uzbekistan, said the scars served as a permanent reminder of his time in the “monkey cage,” a cell that…
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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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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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On May 14, the European Union for the first time called explicitly for the release of Uzbek human rights defenders who have been imprisoned since the 2005 massacre of civilians by government forces in Andijan. It also reaffirmed and extended its policy…
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In a landmark decision on October 3, the European Union agreed to sanction Uzbekistan over its refusal to allow an independent inquiry into the recent massacre in the city of Andijan. Human Rights Watch has steadfastly called on the international…
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On June 27, direct intervention by Human Rights Watch contributed to the United Nations airlift of 439 Uzbek refugees to safety. The refugees had fled to Kyrgyzstan from Uzbekistan, where a government massacre killed hundreds of people in the city of…
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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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Briefing to the 60th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights

Objective     The Commission on Human Rights should adopt a resolution condemning the Uzbek government’s appalling human rights record. The resolution should call on the Uzbek authorities to undertake a number of urgent steps required to bring the country…
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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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On January 27, foreign ministers of the fifteen E.U. member states and their Uzbek counterpart gathered in Brussels for the E.U.-Uzbekistan Cooperation Council, the single most important bilateral meeting of the year between the E.U. and Uzbekistan.…
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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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Following several years of intensive advocacy by Human Rights Watch and others, the Uzbek government finally agreed to extend an invitation to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture to visit the country. The visit, which took place from November…
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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…