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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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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.
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New ‘Ageing Equal’ Campaign Calls Out Ageism Worldwide

Today, as the world marks the international day of older persons, Human Rights Watch is joining with older people and other groups to support the launch of the Ageing Equal campaign to raise global awareness of the human rights of older…
201809health_olderpeople_nursinghome
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The Humanitarian Crisis’ Disproportionate Impact on Older People

I met Fernando Arvelo (pseudonym), a 74-year-old Venezuelan, at a soup kitchen in Cúcuta, the main Colombian city across the border from Táchira state in Venezuela. Fernando moved to Táchira from his home state – a 20-hour drive – soon after his wife,…
A 74-year-oldVenezuelan man eats lunch at a soup kitchen in Cúcuta, a Colombian city across the Venezuelan border, July 28, 2018.
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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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On International Women’s Day, Remember the Dangers Women Activists Face

It has been a year since Ruth Alicia Lopez Guisao, a rights activist in Colombia, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen. She was an outspoken community leader that worked with Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups on land reform in the western department…
Ruth Alicia López Guisao.
News

Court Ruling Opens the Way to Marriage Equality

Taiwan’s constitutional court this week paved the way for marriage equality in the country by striking down the legal definition of marriage as “between a man and a woman.” The landmark decision declared this limited…
Supporters hug each other during a rally after Taiwan's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry, the first such ruling in Asia, in Taipei, Taiwan May 24, 2017.
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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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Transgender Woman Helps People ‘Searching for Answers’

I was in Colombia last week to speak at an event about my work for Human Rights Watch with a focus on homophobic and transphobic bullying. I was to be interviewed by Brigitte Baptiste, who I had never met. When I took my seat in front of hundreds of…
Brigitte Baptiste (L) and Human Rights Watch LGBT Advocacy Director Boris Dittrich, Colombia, February 2017.
News

UN Experts Should Address Issue During Review of Estonia’s Rights Record

This week, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child will review Estonia’s child rights record. It is crucial that this include child statelessness. As of January 2016, about 6.1 percent of Estonia’s population…
Estonia's President Toomas Hendrik addresses the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S. September 21, 2016.
News
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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Colombia’s Peace Agreement a Dirty Deal, Without Justice for Atrocities

“The worst thing is that you can’t have a baby,” Andrea told Human Rights Watch when we interviewed her in 2002. Andrea was describing her time as a 11-year-old girl in the ranks of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas. Two years…
A Colombian guerilla woman holds her AK-47 as she takes part in a line of rebels during an army parade of fighters of the FARC in Villa Colombia camp near San Vicente del Caguan, Caqueta province, April 29, 1999.
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Architects of Colombia Accord with FARC Should Take Note

On July 13, El Salvador’s Supreme Court overturned a 1993 amnesty law that prevented prosecutions of those responsible for grave human rights abuses committed during the country’s decade-long armed conflict. The court was courageous in upholding the right…
A man holds a banner that reads "impunity", during a protest outside the Special Military Security Unit base in San Salvador, August 24, 2011.
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Marleny was just ten years old when members of an armed group gang-raped her in 2011. She fell pregnant from the rape, but was able to terminate her pregnancy safely and legally. Marleny, not her real name, lives in Colombia, where women and girls have…
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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.
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The state of emergency President Nicolás Maduro declared days ago for the Venezuelan border area should have raised red flags internationally. But it didn’t, and credible allegations of human rights violations are on the rise. The emergency…
Venezuela deportations
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In 2011 an unknown attacker raped “Monica,” a human rights defender supporting victims displaced by the country’s protracted armed conflict. She immediately reported the rape to authorities, but they didn’t help her get access to health care. More than a…
A home in the rural area of Municipality San Carlos Antioquia abandoned by persons displaced by violence, with graffiti of a woman’s body left by armed groups.
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Isabel P. (pseudonym) was sexually assaulted in 2011 by a man she believed had ties to a criminal gang that had emerged from one of the many paramilitary groups involved in Colombia’s bloody, five decade conflict. When she filed a criminal complaint, she…
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Last week, Colombia’s senate passed an important bill that is a major step in aiding and protecting sexual violence survivors – especially those who are raped or assaulted by guerillas, paramilitaries, Colombian forces, or others in the context of the…