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Report by Human Rights Watch Associate Director for Women’s Rights, Heather Barr

The plight of Afghan women under the Taliban was used in many countries to convince voters to support the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks on the US. “Only the terrorists and the Taliban forbid education to women,”…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
News

Situation Worsening Every Day

There is no better symbol for the disappearance of women’s rights in Afghanistan than the end of the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and the return of the Ministry for Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. When the Taliban on September 7 announced…
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News
In the first Taliban news conference after the group regained control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid sought to reassure women. “Our sisters, our men have the same rights,” he said. But Afghan women know the…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
News
Over 10 million children are out of school in Nigeria and the global pandemic has only made it harder for young people to stay in school. There have been dire consequences for girls, who are at risk of being married off. In a recent report,…
A woman protests against child marriage in Lagos, Nigeria.
News
Now that evacuations from Kabul’s airport have ended and the last foreign troops have gone, the focus shifts to the long-term human rights crisis in Afghanistan. The issue is what life will be like in Afghanistan—especially for women and girls—and what…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
News
Time is running out for tens of thousands of Afghans trying to flee the Taliban after their takeover of the country.  President Joe Biden stated on Friday that military forces stationed at Kabul airport have a “mission to…
Afghan families get off the Spanish military plane at the Torrejón de Ardoz military base in Madrid. The flight that left Kabul was carrying five Spaniards and 48 Afghan refugees, including 10 minors. 
News
In a news conference on Tuesday, the first since the Taliban gained control of the Afghan capital, Kabul, the official Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mujahid sought to reassure women. “Our sisters, our men have the same rights,” he said. “They are…
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News

Now that the Taliban are back, what does that mean for women's rights?

“But can we trust the Taliban on women’s rights?” has been a favorite question of journalists in recent years. The answer used to be “no”; the answer now is that it doesn’t matter much. The Taliban have swept back to power, and dealing with them…
A painted mural with Arabic writing on a building
News
Doris is a 75-year-old woman from Kayaba informal settlement in Nairobi. As with most families in the settlement, her house is a single dilapidated room with mud walls, a corrugated iron roof, and dirt floors. There is no clean running water, and she…
People stand outside a purple building with a mural on it that says "Corona is Real"
News

However China Frames its Population Policy, Birth Limits Fundamentally Infringe on Women’s Reproductive Rights

On 1 June, I woke up to the news that the Chinese government had announced that it will allow all couples in the country to have three children, an increase from two. I joked to myself, “Finally, I’m legal!” I was born illegally as the third child…
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News
Her job had been going well, the woman told me. But her married boss started making sexual advances, which she rebuffed. Then he gave her a gift — a clock. She put it in her bedroom, but the light bothered her, so she kept moving it. “But every…
Women protest to demand stronger government action to fight the spread of intimate photos and footage taken by hidden cameras in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2018.
News

Labor Laws Can Support Women Trying to Escape Abuse

Under Covid-19-related lockdowns in 2020, most violent crime in France dropped. Reports of domestic violence and rape went up. The pandemic contributed to a 30 percent increase in reported domestic violence cases within two weeks of…
Protestors marching to demand the end of femicide and violence against women in Paris, France, November 23, 2019. 
News

Government Should Ratify Landmark Treaty on Workplace Violence

Stella (not her real name) had worked in Mukono as a waitress for about a year and a half and came to the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA Uganda) in 2019 to seek help because her supervisor was harassing her. What began as “uncomfortable…
Grace Twisimire, 25, sits in her shop selling clothes and plastic shoes in Kampala, Uganda, June 20, 2020.
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Climate action plans have to include measures to redress women disproportionately affected by deforestation and plantation expansion.

On a rainy day in April 2018, I rode a small speedboat along the Kapuas River in West Kalimantan province, Indonesia, headed for three tidal swamp villages, whose residents had protested against the expansion of oil palm plantations on their farmland and…
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News
On the campaign trail and during his first three months in office, President Biden promised a US return to a multilateral foreign policy that supports human rights. That is an important vision for the Middle East, a region often destabilized…
President Joe Biden speaks about foreign policy, at the State Department in Washington, February 4, 2021. 
News
Eighteen years ago, in February 2003, Human Rights Watch interviewed Angela P, who was 10 years old when the brutal armed group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) kidnapped her in northern Uganda. At age 15,  she was forced to become a “wife” to an LRA…
Dominic Ongwen at his confirmation of charges hearing in ICC courtroom I on 21 January 2016 © ICC-CPI.
News
In late February of this year, Russia’s criminal investigative agency announced that it had referred to a court an investigation into criminal negligence by two police officers that happened on January 14, 2020 in the Siberian city of…
In February 2017, parliament decriminalized first instances of battery among family members.