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Majid Khan Publicly Describes Torture at Sentencing Hearing

For the first time, a United States military commission jury urged clemency for a Guantanamo Bay detainee, Majid Khan, at a sentencing hearing. The jury’s recommendation, noting the severe abuse Khan endured while in detention, highlights the profound…
Photo of a man with black hair and a bear
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Despite US Federal Court Ruling, Continued Detention Likely

In a small step toward justice, a United States federal judge ruled this week that because Haroon Gul, an Afghan held at Guantanamo Bay, was not a member of Al-Qaeda or an associated force, the US had no legal basis for detaining him. The US…
Afghan refugee Roman Khan at a refugee camp near Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar in September 2020, displays a photograph of his brother Asadullah Haroon, who is detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
News

Children and Youth Have a Right to Comprehensive Information

Alabama’s Governor Kay Ivey has signed a bill that will update the US state’s sexuality education law, removing inaccurate and stigmatizing language about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Previously, Alabama state law required…
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Guantanamo Testimony on Waterboarding, Black Sites

In his testimony last week in the pre-trial hearing of five men charged with plotting the September 11 attacks on the United States, Dr. James Mitchell vividly described his role in torturing detainees in the program he helped design…
The closed Camp X-Ray detention facility is seen in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba, April 16, 2019.
News

Court Hears from Architects of CIA Torture Program

In the gallery at the back of the courtroom at Guantanamo Bay’s military commission hearing, I could open a copy of Enhanced Interrogation, James Mitchell’s widely available book chronicling his role in the United States Central…
In this photo reviewed by US military officials, flags fly in front of the tents of Camp Justice, April 18, 2019, in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.
News

Recent Attacks Show Need to Re-Examine Priorities

If there is one thing the massacre at a Jewish synagogue, the pipe bombs mailed to leading Democratic party figures, and the racist violence that claimed the lives of two African-Americans in a Louisville Kroger store last week show, it…
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Holds Hearings on State’s Role in CIA Secret Renditions Program

There’s been no justice for victims of the US Central Intelligence Agency’s rendition, torture, and secret detention program created after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. But a unique citizen-led initiative in North…
The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia, U.S. on August 14, 2008.
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Evidence of US Complicity in Abuses by UAE and Yemeni Forces

The Associated Press reported today that US forces were involved in the interrogation of detainees held in secret prisons in Yemen where torture is widespread. The centers are run by United Arab Emirati (UAE) and UAE-backed Yemeni…
An Emirati and South Yemen flag painted in Yemen’s port city of Aden. By 2017, Emirati and South Yemen flags flew in many parts of Aden, which President Hadi declared the temporary capital of Yemen after Houthi-Saleh forces took over Sanaa in 2014.
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Children Suffer When Moms Can’t Bail Out

The bail system punishes mothers when their children get held in jail. Mothers have to arrange visits and pay for phone calls. Mothers borrow money to pay bail bond fees. Mothers cut food budgets and scrape together rent, while making…
Women walk along a corridor at the Los Angeles County women's jail.
News

Legislature’s Vote Sets Example for Other US States

In a major victory for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students, Utah has repealed its “no promo homo” law restricting discussions of homosexuality in schools. On Monday, Governor Gary Herbert signed SB 196, revising a state law…
Josh Greer, a student who has been the target of bullying and discrimination in school, writes in his journal in his bedroom in Cache Country, UT, October 2016.
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Join the Raise the Age Campaign

Ensuring that children in conflict with the law are treated justly and effectively has been a global concern of Human Rights Watch for 20 years. We have advocated against the death penalty for children in Iran, Sudan, and Yemen, and against life…
Raise the Age
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Gina Haspel’s Troubling History with ‘Enhanced Interrogation Techniques’

At his confirmation hearing last month, Mike Pompeo, now head of the US Central Intelligence Agency, made clear that US law bars the CIA from using “enhanced interrogation techniques” – methods more commonly known as “torture.” So his hiring yesterday of…
The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia, U.S. on August 14, 2008.
News

Rebranding US Counterterrorism Program is Discriminatory, Alienating

Amid the uproar over President Donald Trump’s temporary travel ban, along comes yet another proposal in the same discriminatory spirit: to revamp a United States government program created to counter all violent ideologies so that it would focus solely on…
Muslim women listen to remarks during a news conference held by House Democrats to introduce legislation "to ensure that no one is denied entry into the United States because of their religion" at the U.S. Capitol in Washington February 2, 2017.
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Other States Should Abandon Discriminatory Proposals

Lawmakers in South Dakota have withdrawn a discriminatory bill that would have barred transgender students from using locker rooms consistent with their gender identity. The Senate Education Committee was scheduled to hear testimony on the bill, SB…
The South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre, South Dakota, February 2016.
News

No Hope of Entering US, At Least for Now

On Saturday, I spent a damp, cold day at Khazir camp, about an hour outside of Erbil, which houses thousands of Iraqi civilians who have fled Islamic State control and recent fighting to retake Mosul. I was there to learn more about the detention of  many…
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News

State Lawmakers Double Down on Baseless Fearmongering

Yesterday, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard pledged to veto a discriminatory bill that would restrict transgender students from accessing locker rooms and facilities that match their gender identity. The bill, SB 115, was introduced this week…
The South Dakota State Capitol building in Pierre, South Dakota, February 2016.
News

Future Whistleblowers Are Watching

Update: On Friday, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to President Obama urging that he commute the sentence of Chelsea Manning. On January 17, President Obama ordered Manning be freed, having served nearly 7 years of her sentence, on May 17, 2017, rather…
A supporter of Edward Snowden holds a combination photo featuring U.S. President Barack Obama and Edward Snowden, during a news conference in Hong Kong on June 14, 2013.
News

Keeping Facility Open Threatens US National Security

US president-elect Donald Trump’s tweet yesterday that everyone held at Guantanamo Bay is “extremely dangerous” is ill-informed. What’s worse, his proposed course of action – stopping all releases – shows a lack of understanding about the danger of…
A detainee paces around a cell block while being held in Joint Task Force Guantanamo's Camp VI at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba March 22, 2016.
News

Trump Should Not Reinstate Them

President Barack Obama did the right thing today by repealing federal counterterrorism regulations that required tens of thousands of non-citizen Muslims to register with the government. The action may slow down President-elect Donald Trump if he moves to…
Protesters march past the White House during a protest to shut down the existing Muslim registry program NSEERS in Washington U.S., December 12, 2016.
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Students Should be Able to Use Facilities Consistent With Gender Identity

On Friday, the United States Supreme Court announced it will hear a case in its upcoming term that could help secure the rights of transgender students in schools. At the center of the case is Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old transgender boy in…
U.S. Supreme Court is seen in Washington, U.S., October 3, 2016.