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President Bolsonaro Continues to Oppose Measures that Could Save Lives

President Jair Bolsonaro went on national TV last week and claimed to have adopted all necessary measures to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. As he was speaking, thousands of Brazilians banged pots on their windows in disagreement – with good reason.…
An overhead view of a cemetery
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Proposed Health Code Would Improve Protection for Women, Girls, LGBTI People

Ecuador’s National Assembly has approved a new health code that would help all in Ecuador enjoy better access to health care. The bill, nearly 8 years in the making, was approved on August 25 by a vote of 79 to 58, and now requires the signature of…
The flag of Ecuador. 
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Bolsonaro Disregards WHO Recommendations Even After Testing Positive

Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro spent months downplaying Covid-19 and refusing to take measures to protect himself and the people around him. He visited stores; he let supporters congregate around him; he shook hands – all without wearing a mask. On…
Brazil´s President Jair Bolsonaro (center, wearing a white shirt) poses for a picture with US Ambassador Todd Chapman (center, wearing a hat) and several ministers during a luncheon at the ambassador´s residence, July 4, 2020.
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New Regulation Important Step Towards Better Rights Protection

On May 6, Brazil’s National Secretariat of Social Assistance published a federal regulation aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19 in institutions for people with disabilities and homes for older people. The regulation, which provides guidelines…
A psychiatric ward in an institution in Rio de Janeiro. Residents of most institutions in Brazil live in depersonalized conditions, have few if any personal belongings, and have little or no privacy.
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579 Cases in 3 Months Show Need for Reproductive Rights, Sanitation

As Covid-19 dominates headlines, the Zika virus silently continues to put women and children at grave risk in Brazil, and the country has not taken nearly enough steps to combat the mosquito-borne disease or help the families impacted by it. Brazil…
Raquel, 25, holds her daughter Heloisa in Areia, Paraíba state, Brazil. Raquel gave birth to twin daughters with Zika syndrome in April 2016. “I want to give my best to my daughters,” she said in an interview with Human Rights Watch.
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Authorities should investigate and bring those responsible to justice

Police in Guayaquil, Ecuador – the heart of the country’s coronavirus epidemic – used apparent excessive force to break up a peaceful protest held on May 14 by civil society groups, beating and injuring demonstrators.  The 40…
People transporting the remains of deceased loved ones wait in a slow moving line outside Jardines de la Esperanza Cemetery to hold burials in Guayaquil, Ecuador, April 6, 2020.
News

Afro, Indigenous Communities Especially at Risk

  Internally displaced people in Colombia often live in overcrowded conditions with limited access to water and food. These families, who fled violence in their home regions and often struggle economically, face further risk from Covid-19.…
A photograph sent to Human Rights Watch showing the living conditions of a displaced indigenous community in Buenaventura, Colombia. Their limited access to water and health services means that Covid-19 could spread quickly through the community.
News

State of Emergency Can’t Bar Access to Justice

Ecuador’s Constitutional Court has issued an important decision upholding the fundamental right to an effective remedy for human rights violations amidst the country’s current state of emergency. The April 28 ruling comes after a series of…
Families wearing masks wait outside their homes in the neighborhood of Cristo del Consuelo for food handouts from the local government in Guayaquil, Ecuador, April 14, 2020.
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Government Moves Could Weaken Oversight Despite Serious Health Risks

This week, in a puzzling move, the Brazilian regulatory agency on public health, ANVISA, approved a new set of rules establishing risk of death as the only criterion for classifying a pesticide as “extremely toxic.” Until now, ANVISA…
Drone view of a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Some of the houses are around 20 meters from the adjacent sugarcane plantation.
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Survivors and Advocates Seek Help from UN Human Rights Committee

Norma* (*indicates a pseudonym) was 12 when her father began raping her. She became pregnant shortly thereafter. Though abortion is legal in Ecuador when a woman or girl’s life or health is in danger, no one told her this. She gave birth despite…
#NiñasNoMadres
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Simple Changes Could Mean Big Improvements for Children with Zika Syndrome

This dispatch is part of a series focusing on children with zika syndrome and their families. To read more, please visit the blog: Zika: Brazil's Forgotten Families.   Every day, Kássia Consuelo Carneiro wakes up…
Davi with his mother Kássia, father Daniel and older sister Maria Clara.
News

Parents Still Face Fight to Get the Help Their Children Need

This dispatch is part of a series focussing on children with zika syndrome and their families. To read more, please visit the blog: Zika: Brazil's Forgotten Families.   Three-year-old Gaby has long curly…
Carol and her husband Joselito with their three children
News

Care Should Evolve as Children Born with Zika Grow

Maria Gabriela Silva Alves will have no party for her second birthday today. No cake. No gifts. No celebration. Gabi, as her parents call her, has congenital Zika syndrome, and her parents simply cannot afford it. …
Maria Carolina Silva Flor and Joselito Alves dos Santos with their 18-month-old daughter, Maria Gabriela Silva Alves, pictured after the launch of the Human Rights Watch report Neglected and Unprotected, July 2017.
News

Water, Sanitation Problems That Intensified Zika Outbreak Persist

Brazil’s public health emergency related to the Zika virus is over, the country’s health ministry said yesterday. But we should not declare victory over the mosquito-borne virus. The announcement came 18 months…
Wastewater and garbage are dumped directly into the river in a slum in the Coelhos neighborhood of Recife, Pernambuco state.
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Last year, I entered a prison cell in Brazil seemingly designed to breed tuberculosis. Sixty men shared only six cement bunks. Most slept on the bare floor, some in a tangle of hammocks. The intense heat and humidity made the stench of sweat, feces, and…
2015AME_Brazil_Prisons_PHOTO
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The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised concern among public health officials across the Americas. The World Health Organization warned Sunday that the virus is likely to spread further across the region. At first glance,…
A woman walks away from her apartment as health workers fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighborhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.
News
When Ecuador’s National Assembly begins debating a draft criminal code reform today, Ecuadoran women will notice a regressive change to the draft debated last year — the law does not eliminate the prohibition of abortion in cases of rape. Human Rights…