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Their Countries of Origin Must Bring Them Home

“They won’t shoot us, my darling. Mummy is right here with you, don’t worry.” The German mother’s words, spoken in almost a whisper, did not stop her young son’s whimpers. Desperate text and voice messages have…
A girl stands in the annex of al-Hol camp in northeast Syria, where more than 11,000 women and children from nearly 50 nationalities are confined as family members of Islamic State (also known as ISIS) suspects. The Kurdish-led coalition controlling north
News
Western European intransigence on ensuring that citizens detained abroad as ISIL suspects or their family members can return home made world headlines recently when an Iraqi court sentenced nine French citizens to death following trials…
A woman walks with a child in Roj camp, which holds foreign wives and children of Islamic State (ISIS) members, in northeast Syria, September 2018. © 2018 Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images
News

Rights Groups Urge Key Countries to Press for Information

Today, eight Syrian civil society and international human rights organizations called on a number of UN Security Council member states to urgently address the widespread arbitrary detentions, kidnapping, torture and other-ill treatment, and enforced…
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Sometimes complex policy issues are best captured in a simple question. If ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is captured alive tomorrow, who should prosecute him, where and for what crimes? When I pose this question to policymakers – in Western…
News
Baraa Zayani, a 4-year-old Tunisian boy, has been held for the past two years in a militia-run prison in Libya. In 2016, a bullet tore through his stomach during clashes between armed groups that killed his father, a member of the…
View from hill overlooking Ain Issa displacement camp in Syria, May 2018. © Human Rights Watch
News
In the last few weeks, hundreds of Syrian families learned that their loved ones who had disappeared in government detention facilities had died. Many said that they found out as they requested routine records from the Syrian…
cover syria report
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On March 20 of last year, an aircraft of the US-led coalition struck a boarding school in Mansourah, near Raqqa, Syria. The building was completely destroyed. What was hit and who died in this strike has been a subject of…
Entrance to the Badia school that was struck by coalition aircraft on March 20, 2017.
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After four years of the Islamic State’s control, the new rulers of the devastated city of Raqqa have a long and overwhelming to-do list. One of the urgent tasks is to reestablish a functioning judicial system that can provide justice for victims,…
The ruins of a market and bakery in Tabqa after an airstrike, in all likelihood carried out by US-led coalition forces, on March 22, 2017.
News
The military battle for Raqqa city appears to be over. The Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), with support from the US-led coalition, seized the Raqqa National Hospital, one of the last bastions of the Islamic State (ISIS) in the city earlier today. Coalition…
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters on their way to Raqqa, Syria June 6, 2017© 2017 Reuters
News

Time for Judicial Triage

The Raqqa Civilian Council building was full of people with complaints when I visited in July. The council, based in the Syrian town of `Ayn Issa, was set up in April to govern the areas in Raqqa province that US-backed Syrian…
Author interviewing local Tabqa residents after ISIS had been pushed out of city (July 2017).
News
(London) – The attack at the Manchester Arena on the night of May 22, 2017, was a despicable act of violence, Human Rights Watch said today. According to official sources, at least 22 people were killed in the bombing, and 59…
A woman lays flowers for the victims of the Manchester Arena attack, in central Manchester, Britain May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Darren Staples
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.