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Stories from People with Disabilities During Canada’s Extreme Heatwave

When temperatures in British Columbia, Canada, soared to nearly 50 degrees Celsius/122 degrees Fahrenheit this past summer, people with disabilities and older people were left unprotected. Hundreds of older people died. Heatwaves are expected to become…
Camper van at sunset
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Government Should Support Community Activists Working to Protect Survivors

Gladys Koskey, 48, has always kept her home in Trans Mara, southwestern Kenya, open to friends and relatives. But in the past decade, her home has also become an important refuge for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. Gladys leads a group of…
Gladys Koskey helps a nine-years-old rape survivor who lives in her home with her writing.
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New Research on Three Incidents from 2020 Conflict

Three unlawful attacks on medical facilities by Azerbaijani forces during the six-week armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have come to light in recent Human Rights Watch research in the region. Human Rights Watch documented multiple unlawful…
View from the window of the Martakert military hospital, which was struck by Azerbaijani rocket artillery on October 14, 2020.
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Dominic Ongwen, Kidnapped by the LRA at Age 10, to Face ICC Judgment

After a four-year trial, in February the International Criminal Court will deliver its judgment in the case of Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander of the brutal rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). He is charged with 70 counts of war crimes and…
Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander in the Lord's Resistance Army, sits in the court room of the International Court in The Hague, Netherlands
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People with Disabilities Find Strength Despite Discrimination

“I think I wouldn’t have achieved so much in my life without my disability,” said Doaa Qashlan, a university graduate and disability rights activist living in Gaza. Doaa, who was born with a physical disability and uses a wheelchair or an electric…
Doaa Qashlan speaks to Human Rights Watch during an interview in Gaza, November 18, 2020.
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Women Tell Their Stories

Abortion in all instances, including rape, is illegal in Honduras. Any woman who has an abortion, and anyone found to have helped her, can be charged with a crime and imprisoned. For that reason, La Línea (“The Line”) was a rare resource in…
Lorena (a pseudonym) was unaware she was pregnant when she went to a hospital in intense pain two years ago. Doctors suspected she had attempted an abortion and called the police. She was taken from the hospital in handcuffs and is now facing charges.
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Indonesia Helps People With Mental Health Conditions Find New Lives

Sodikin There used to be a hut next to a family’s home in Cianjur, West Java. In it, a man named Sodikin lived locked up and unable to stand. He ate, slept, and went to the bathroom in the hut, which had one window no bigger than the palms of…
Man working in a clothing factory in Indonesia, stitching buttons
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Tales of Activism in the Fight Against Sexual Violence

Support and Justice - Aminetou Mint Ely More than two decades of activism helping Mauritania’s rape survivors have not dulled Aminetou Mint Ely’s fire. Always dressed in the brightly colored melahfas, traditional…
Rape survivors, NGO leaders, and activists supporting women’s and girls’ rights in Mauritania, Nouakchott, 2018.
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Even Government Offices in Iran Are Inaccessible for People With Disabilities

“I know it’s very dangerous,” she said. “Each time I get on an escalator with my wheelchair, I prepare myself for death. But I have no other choice. I have nobody to help me.”  In a new report, “‘I Am Equally Human’:…
© 2018 John Holmes for Human Rights Watch
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People with Disabilities in Brazil Forced to Live in Institutions

At age 25, Leonardo Barcellos de Albuquerque is finally where he wants to be – at home, living with his mother in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is creating his fourth music album – he released three other CDs over the past three years – and is also…
Leonardo_1
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Widespread Sexual Violence during Kenya’s 2017 Elections

    Judith Wavinya*, 30, was walking home on a cool August night in her neighborhood of Dandora in Nairobi, after spending the evening with her sister. She had to get back home to her three children and to prepare for the new day –…
Judith Wavinya (not her real name), 30, was attacked by two men on the night of August 11, 2017, as she was walking home. They asked if she knew them, threatened her with knives, and took her to an isolated place where they beat her badly and one of them
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The Stories From People With Disabilities Who Have Endured Humanitarian crises

Simplice – Central African Republic The frustration burned in Simplice Lenguy’s eyes as he spoke about the situation faced by people with disabilities since conflict erupted in the Central African Republic. In…
Ali, a 22-year-old Afghan asylum seeker with a disability, living in Moria camp, on the beach in Lesbos, Greece. He told Human Rights Watch he can’t access showers in the camp and sometimes tries to wash himself in the sea.
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How a Rape Survivor Found the Courage to Fight for Justice in India

What should have been a short ride from one village to another in India turned into a nightmare that will haunt Kajal (not her real name), a shy young woman, for the rest of her life.  Kajal, who was 23 and married at the time, had set out on…
A close-up photo showing the hands of a sexual violence victim in India.
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Long Journey Home for Baby With Disabilities

At her local church in Yerevan, Armenia, Siranush lit a candle and prayed that her daughter would survive the night. Lusine, 22, was hovering between life and death in a nearby hospital after a terrible car crash. As Siranush pleaded for her daughter’s…
Armenia Orphanage Witness - Meri 1
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The day Julija was born should have been a day of celebration for Jasmina and Ivica Čuković, a Serbian couple, who had tried for years to have a baby. But the events following their daughter’s birth in a public hospital in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, left…
Julija Čuković, who spent ten months of her life in an institution, at home in Kragujevac with her parents, where she enjoys to play with her younger sister, also in the photo. © 2016 Zoran Stamenković
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Liz Luras enlisted in the US Army because she came from a patriotic family – her father served in Vietnam and her grandfather fought in World War II – and to help pay for college. Her family, who lived in Oregon, couldn’t afford a car. To pay for her…
Liz on the day she spoke in front of Congress about rape in the military as part of Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN). Washington D.C. 2013 .
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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 a little girl, Ruth Riviera (not her real name) loved to step into her dad’s army boots and strut around the house with pride and self-importance. Her dad, a Non-Commission Officer in the US Army, was her childhood hero. She admired…