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UN Security Council Misses Key Opportunity to Confront Atrocious Rights Record

It is a bitter irony that on the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Security Council will give North Korea’s atrocious human rights record a free pass. In 2014, a blistering UN…
Kim Jong-Un watches a performance in Pyongyang, North Korea, on February 23, 2017.
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On Friday, United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson convened a high-level debate on North Korea’s nuclear program at the United Nations Security Council, as tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and…
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at a Security Council meeting on the situation in North Korea at the United Nations, in New York City, U.S., April 28, 2017.
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Opposition to Withdrawal by States

The African Union made headlines Tuesday for purportedly agreeing to mass withdrawal from the International Criminal Court. The reality is more complex. The decision by AU member states welcomes the announced withdrawals by South Africa,…
A general view shows the headquarters of the African Union (AU) building in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 29, 2017.
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Two years ago, a United Nations-mandated commission of inquiry exposed North Korea’s devastating human rights violations and crimes against humanity. The world learned that North Korean officials have killed, tortured, kidnapped, raped, and deliberately…
Security Council members cast their votes in favor of the adoption of the agenda on human rights abuses by North Korea in New York on December 10, 2015.
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Earlier today, United Nations Security Council members listened as the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, outlined in startling detail the abuses that have inflicted immeasurable suffering on the people of North Korea for…
UN Security Council session on the situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, New York, December 10, 2015
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The Senegalese justice minister, Sidiki Kaba, said yesterday in an interview that the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) is facing a “crisis of confidence” on the African continent because of its sole focus on Africa to date. As president of…
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“Rule #1 in the camp: you should never ask why you were there. Many of those who asked were publicly executed.” Listening to Mrs. Kim Hye-sook share the horror of life as an inmate in one of North Korea’s notorious political prison camps at a packed event…
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Charles Taylor is staying in prison. A United Nations-backed court today delivered an appeals judgment affirming the original verdict against the former Liberian president, upholding his 50-year sentence for war crimes and crimes against humanity…
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Sierra Leone passed up a chance today for victims of its brutal civil war to see justice done. Ibrahim Bah, an alleged arms dealer to the notoriously brutal Revolutionary United Front (RUF) rebels during the war, was supposed to face the music in court.…
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On October 30, 2008, justice for victims of atrocities committed during the course of Liberia's long and brutal years of armed conflict took a major step forward in a very unlikely location: Miami, Florida. On that afternoon, an American jury issued its…
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On June 20, the special war crimes court for Sierra Leone handed down its first three convictions of members of a rebel group, the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council. In her sentencing statement, the judge noted that the three convicted were “responsible…
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Former Liberian President Charles Taylor was captured as he attempted to escape Nigeria on March 29, and he was transferred to the U.N.-backed war crimes court in Sierra Leone. Human Rights Watch played a leading role in pressing government and U.N.…
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Torture is common in China’s criminal justice system. Recent HRW research suggests that abuses are particularly likely in Tibet and Xinjiang. In Tibet, authorities have subjected religious figures and activists to mistreatment in detention.    In…
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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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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…
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A Colombian Army officer whose links with abusive paramilitary groups was a focus of our February 2000 report, "The Ties That Bind: Colombia and Military-Paramilitary Links," is now being prosecuted by civilian courts, in part due to the high profile…