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When Flights Resume, Step Up Evacuation Efforts for Citizens, Afghans at Risk

As governments scrambled to evacuate their nationals and Afghans at risk from Afghanistan following the Taliban takeover in August, Ukraine made headlines last month with its rescue in Kabul of nearly 100 Ukrainians and Afghans at risk. The…
Ukrainian citizens gathered outside Hamid Karzai International airport in early September 2021 asking Ukraine to evacuate them, Kabul Afghanistan.
News

For Survivors of Abuse, Shelters Offered Lifeline

“My parents warned me they will kill me if I ever leave this shelter,” Najla, a woman of about 30, told me. “The worst thing is that I don’t have anyone to support me.” She has been in a shelter in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat for several years…
Afghan women sew in their bedroom at a women's shelter in Kabul, March 20, 2017. A non-descript building tucked away in a residential neighborhood is one of the few hidden sanctuaries where battered women can seek support. 
News

Recognize Status for Afghans Waiting on US Bases

United States President Joe Biden inherited a refugee resettlement program on life support after the administration of former President Donald Trump decimated it. Biden promised to resuscitate the program and raised the refugee admissions ceiling to…
A man walks with a child through Doña Ana Village in Fort Bliss, where Afghan refugees are being housed, in New Mexico on September 10, 2021.
News

‘They Cannot Eliminate Us from Society’

“We decided to protest to demand our basic rights: the right to education, to work, and political participation. We want the Taliban to know that they cannot eliminate us from society.” Those were the words of Arezo, a young woman from Kabul who…
Women gather to demand their rights under Taliban rule during a protest in Kabul, Afghanistan on September 3, 2021.
News

Ensure Fair Trials, Support for Victims

Two members of Ansaroul Islam, an armed Islamist group in Burkina Faso, were recently sentenced to 20 years in prison for a 2018 attack on a primary school. Victims of the attack welcomed the verdict, which provided some rare accountability for…
Young student's in a classroom
News

Polish Authorities Should Allow Access to Territory and Asylum Process

While Poland’s government touts its role in the airlift of at-risk Afghans from Kabul, it has trapped 32 Afghans for over 3 weeks at its border with Belarus, preventing them from entering Poland to exercise their right to seek asylum and denying them…
Polish security forces surround migrants at the border with Belarus in Usnarz Gorny, Poland on September 1, 2021. 
News

Dodging Responsibility with Hostile Rhetoric and Harmful Policies

Instead of showing leadership and compassion for people fleeing Taliban rule in Afghanistan, European Union leaders seem bent on a monstrous PR campaign to tell Afghans (and European voters) that those fleeing Afghanistan should not even think about…
Polish soldiers build a fence with concertina wire at the border with Belarus in Krynki, Poland, on August 27, 2021.
News

Many Unable to Flee Afghanistan Face Grave Risks

Yesterday’s bombing at Kabul’s international airport has drastically curtailed evacuation flights for at-risk Afghans. The effort was already winding down, after getting out some human rights defenders, women’s rights activists, journalists,…
Two men hold guns while riding in the back of a truck through a city street
News

International Community Needs to Increase Efforts to Help Afghans at Risk

A set of bombing attacks at the southeast gate of Kabul’s international airport on Thursday killed over 60 Afghans and at least 12 US soldiers, and wounded many more. The airport’s gates have reportedly now been closed, apparently bringing an end to…
Smoke rises from an explosion outside the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan on August 26, 2021.
News

August 31 Departure Leaves Many Fearing Persecution Behind

Thousands of Afghans fearing persecution by the Taliban remain waiting outside Kabul’s airport, or sheltering in their homes, hoping be evacuated out of Afghanistan. But the United States-led multinational airlift is about to wrap up.…
People inside an aircraft line up to disembark
News

Human Rights Council’s Credibility Hinges on Taking Strong Action at Emergency Session

As reports mount of grave human rights abuses by the Taliban in Afghanistan, the United Nations Human Rights Council will hold an emergency session this week. It should immediately mandate the strongest possible monitoring mechanism. Before their…
22 اگست، 2021 کو کابل، کے نواحی علاقے وزیر اکبر خان میں ایک چیک پوسٹ پر طالبان جنگجو ڈیوٹی دے رہے ہیں۔
News

Failure to Investigate Attacks on Press Undermines Media Freedom

The arrests this week of four journalists in Kandahar underscore rising concerns the Afghan government is trying to shield itself from media criticism. Among the many threats they face, Afghanistan’s embattled journalists should not also have to face…
Afghan journalists film at the site of a bombing attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, February 9, 2021.
News

Governments Need to Match Commitments with Action

Earlier in July, governments, philanthropies, and the private sector pledged almost $40 billion at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris to fight gender inequality over the next five years. The aim is to accelerate progress on women’s and girls’…
A girl holds the hand of a boy in Agadez, Niger on October 9, 2018.
News

Taliban Advances a Threat to Many Activists, Journalists, Educators

For many Afghans, the middle-of-the-night departure of US forces from Bagram Air Base was like a kick in the teeth after 20 years of supposed partnership. As the US withdrew its remaining troops from Afghanistan, Afghan government forces appear to be…
A US flag is lowered as American and Afghan soldiers attend a handover ceremony from the US Army to the Afghan National Army, at Camp Anthonic, in Helmand province, southern Afghanistan on May 2, 2021.
News

Twenty Rights Groups Call for Justice and Accountability

Human Rights Watch today joined Afghan and international human rights organizations calling for a United Nations-mandated fact-finding mission to investigate escalating attacks on civilians in Afghanistan to promote justice and accountability.…
The mother of a schoolgirl who was among those killed in the brutal May 8, 2021 bombing of the Sayed ul-Shuhada girls' school stands inside a classroom with bouquets of flowers on empty desks as a tribute to the dead, in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 16, 2021. 
News

Bring to Justice Those Responsible for Killing 10 Deminers

The United Nations, governments, and humanitarian groups working to eradicate landmines and explosive remnants of war are condemning the reprehensible killing of 10 Halo Trust deminers and wounding of 16 others in Afghanistan on Tuesday. As a co-…
Clearance operator from the Halo Trust clearing a steep, rocky hillside in Afghanistan.
News

More than 500 Civilians Killed by Armed Islamists in the Sahel Since Early 2021

Just after 2 a.m. on June 5, armed Islamist fighters stormed an artisanal gold mining site outside Solhan village in Burkina Faso’s northeastern Yagha province. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that the attackers opened fire on everyone that moved,…
A man reads the L'Observateur Paalga newspaper in Ouagadougou on June 7, 2021, about the attacks that happened in Solhan. 
News

Donors Should Sustain Vital Services While Decrying Violations

Donor countries to Afghanistan say they want to keep protecting the human rights of women and girls, even as international troops prepare to depart the country. But a bill introduced in the United States Senate last week raises tricky issues about how…
Women walking Nadir Khan Overlooking Kabul womens rights us withdrawl
News

Attackers Target Girls Leaving Kabul High School

Scenes from Sayed ul-Shuhada High School in Kabul, Afghanistan, where as many as 85 people including many schoolgirls were killed in an attack this weekend, should break anyone’s heart. They certainly broke mine. In 2017 a filmmaker and I spent a week…
Books, notebooks, and other school supplies are left behind after May 8's deadly bombings near a school in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 9, 2021.
News

International Women’s Day Should Prompt Real Reforms

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets, calling on their governments to take widespread sexual violence against women and children seriously, and to implement real reforms. But rather than listening to experts and…
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