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Video Celebrates the 10-Year Anniversary of a Landmark Treaty

June 16 marks 10 years since the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopted a groundbreaking treaty establishing global labor standards to protect domestic workers’ rights. In that time, 32 countries have joined and dozens have improved labor…
Domestic worker and human rights organizations join forces in Geneva, to demonstrate alongside the opening policy negotiations. June 2010.
News

Migrant Workers Face Abuse and Exploitation

There are reports this week that Saudi authorities are seeking to abolish the notorious kafala (sponsorship) system in 2021. Under that system, some 10 million migrant workers’ legal status are tied to their employer—facilitating abuse and…
Trapped in Employer's home
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14 Governments Face Possible Military Sanctions

Last week the United States State Department named more countries than ever before – 14 – in its latest annual list of governments responsible for the recruitment and use of children as soldiers. Cameroon, Libya, and Nigeria were added this year,…
Rebel child soldiers gather in Gumuruk, South Sudan.
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Treaty’s 20th Anniversary Shows Uneven Progress, Need for Improvement

When I joined Human Rights Watch more than two decades ago, I quickly became involved with a global campaign to stop the use of child soldiers. Today marks 20 years since 1 of the campaign’s key accomplishments – the adoption of the United Nations…
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UN Report Finds Unfair Trials, Torture, Overreliance on Confessions

Over the past two years, Iraqi courts have processed more than 20,000 terrorism cases against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) suspects, including hundreds of children. But a new United Nations report finds that far from…
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New Report Suggests Ways to Strengthen International Law

Is there more international law can do to protect children caught up in war? That is the question raised by a major report released today as part of an inquiry on protecting children during conflicts. The Inquiry on…
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Forces in Northeast Issue Order to Prohibit Recruitment, Verify Ages

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of forces controlling parts of Syria’s northeast, has taken an important step towards ending the use of child soldiers in their ranks. The SDF issued a military order banning the…
Ain Issa displaced persons camp, one of three camps in northeast Syria where Human Rights Watch found the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) have been recruiting children for military participation, June 2017.
News

State Department Restores Burma and Iraq to its Annual List of Violators

I held my breath yesterday, waiting for the US State Department to issue its latest annual list of governments implicated in the use of child soldiers. Last year’s list was a disaster: then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson overruled his…
Child soldiers put down their guns in a disarmament and release ceremony in Jonglei state, South Sudan, February 10, 2015.
News

Philippines Should Demand Stronger Protections for Overseas Filipino Workers

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte threatened to cut off the flow of Filipino workers to the Middle East in response to incidents of rape and suicides of Filipinos in the region. “I’m sorry, all the Filipinos there, they…
News

Governments Renounce Child Marriage, Child Soldier Use, Attacks on Schools

For many children around the world, 2017 could hardly have been worse. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya children fled mass atrocities by government security forces in Burma, while millions are bearing the brunt of war and unprecedented…
Students and teachers from around the world call for schools and universities to be protected from military use.
News

No Excuse for Sending a 13-Year-Old to War

“How old are you?” the interviewer asks. “Thirteen,” replies the boy, in uniform. “Thirteen years – thirteen years old!” the interviewer repeats, proudly, as the camera pans upward to the grinning, bearded faces of…
A fighter stands amidst the ruins of buildings near the Clock Square in Raqqa, Syria October 18, 2017. Picture taken October 18, 2017.
News

Rare ‘Dissent Memo’ Says Secretary of State Contravened US Law

When US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson excluded Iraq, Burma, and Afghanistan from the State Department’s list of countries using child soldiers earlier this year, my colleagues and I at Human Rights Watch were angry. It turns out we…
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson holds a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017.
News

Many Child Soldiers Released, but more than 7,500 Newly Recruited Globally

Let’s start with the good news. A new United Nations report on children and armed conflict found that more than 5,700 child soldiers were released from armed groups in the Central African Republic and the Philippines last year, and for…
Child soldiers put down their guns in a disarmament and release ceremony in Jonglei state, South Sudan, February 10, 2015.
News

Tillerson Takes Burma, Iraq Off List Despite Evidence

Dozens of children were part of Burma’s armed forces as recently as last week. In Iraq, children have died fighting the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) with Iraqi government military units. But United States Secretary of State Rex…
United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks during a press conference at the State Department in Washington, U.S. June 21, 2017.
News

Video Shows Moment That Domestic Worker Screams for Help, Falls

Last week, a horrifying video of an Ethiopian domestic worker falling from what media reports say is the seventh floor of an apartment building in Kuwait went viral. The video appears to have been filmed by the worker’s employer inside the flat with the…
A female employer and her children are accompanied by their domestic worker, back right, as they walk through The Avenues, an indoor luxury shopping center in Kuwait City.
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Crackdown on Activists Undermines Fight for Rights

Lebanon marked International Human Rights Day on Saturday by deporting Sujana Rana, a Nepalese migrant domestic worker involved in the struggle for the rights of migrant domestic workers. Her arrest and deportation suggests…
Sujana Rana being deported to Nepal from Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport.
News

US Again Allows Military Aid to Countries Using Children as Fighters

US President Barack Obama announced yesterday that he will allow several governments that recruit and use child soldiers to continue receiving US military assistance – aid that is supposedly subject to child soldier-related restrictions. The decision wasn…
Child soldiers put down their guns in a disarmament and release ceremony in Jonglei state, South Sudan, February 10, 2015.
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Working up to 18 hours per day for weeks without breaks or a day off. Being paid little, or not at all. Locked in their employers’ home, fed food scraps, their passports confiscated. These abuses can amount to modern slavery as defined by the United…
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“[Fighting] is the only thing we can do, there is nowhere to go to school,” a child soldier in South Sudan told Human Rights Watch. The country’s armed conflict has kept half of all South Sudanese children out of school and shut down 70 percent of schools…
Congolese rebel fighter abandoned classroom