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Encouraging Signs They Are Set to Take More Leading Role

The Nordic countries proudly express steadfast commitment to human rights as a priority in foreign policy, but have been disappointingly inconsistent in practice. Sweden launched a feminist foreign policy in 2014 – a laudable approach that failed…
An Icelandic flag hangs outside a shop in Reykjavik, October 27, 2016.
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On International Day of the Girl, Imagine Life with Reproductive Rights Guaranteed

  Today, on International Day of the Girl, we have an opportunity to reflect on what life could be like if girls around the world had access to safe and legal abortion. I’ve done…
Lorena (a pseudonym) was unaware she was pregnant when she went to a hospital in intense pain two years ago. Doctors suspected she had attempted an abortion and called the police. She was taken from the hospital in handcuffs and is now facing charges.
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Mkhaitir, Bibi Not Yet Free Despite Court Rulings

Thanks to inhumane blasphemy laws, two former death row inmates living at distant ends of the Muslim world have much in common. Aasia Bibi spent eight years on Pakistan’s death row after a court sentenced her to death for “…
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Plan Would Link EU Funds to Rule of Law, Functioning Judiciary

It’s not every day the European Commission proposes something truly ground-breaking. But yesterday, when the EU announced a new plan to link EU funds given to member states to the health of their judiciary, it did just that.…
European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 28, 2015.
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Local Activists Addressing Discrimination, Slavery Also Face Government Obstacles

“You said human rights? You need to get the OK elsewhere,” said the hakim (a municipal officer) after we asked him to hold a press conference earlier this month in a hotel in Mauritania’s capital, Nouakchott. Normally, the hakim decides…
Human Rights Watch press conference in Nouakchott, Mauritania, February 12, 2018.
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Arrested Mauritanian Senator Mohamed Ould Ghadda Demands Fair Trial

Mohamed Ould Ghadda, the former Mauritanian senator, was sitting on the floor outside of a cell shared with eight other co-prisoners when I met him in Mauritania’s Nouakchott Prison about a week ago. “I refused to ask the…
Mauritanian authorities detained opposition leader, Mohamed Ould Ghadda, for two months on vague corruption charges. © 2016 Mohamed Ould Ghadda (Official Facebook Page)
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Other Council of Europe Countries Should Back LGBT Rights

As of March 1, Finland will allow same-sex couples to marry, bringing to thirteen the number of European countries with marriage equality laws.Nils Muiznieks, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, in a statement on February 21, affirmed…
LGBT Rainbow Flag
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Seeking justice for the ongoing grave human rights abuses in Syria has proven largely elusive. Now the shield of impunity is beginning to crack. Several countries, including Sweden, Germany, and France are in the process of investigating some…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
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People Without Dominican, Haitian Citizenship Stranded as Hurricane Matthew Approaches

Hurricane “Matthew” is set to hit Haiti and Jamaica. Southern Haiti will likely be hit hard, including Anse-a-Pitres, one of the poorest and most remote areas of the island.  My thoughts tonight are with Haitians, but also with the perhaps …
A boy fixes the roof of a makeshift tent at a refugee camp for Haitians returning from the Dominican Republic on the outskirts of Anse-a-Pitres, Haiti, September 6, 2015.