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Government Should Reduce Pretrial Detention, Strengthen Judicial Independence

“We are tired of living like this, we live worse than animals,” a Haitian prisoner recently told the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). His testimony and those of the more than 800 prisoners in 12 jails are part of a comprehensive…
A detainee pulls a large stock pot filled with rice and beans during lunch inside the National Penitentiary in downtown Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Febuary. 13, 2017. 
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End Sweeping Border Expulsions, Re-designate Haiti for Temporary Protected Status

In 1993, when I was a junior staff member at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, I saw first-hand the tragic repercussions of US President Bill Clinton’s failure to follow through on the promise he made as a candidate to…
A migrant from Haiti wearing a mask in the colors of the Mexican and US flags stands at a border crossing with others, waiting to asylum in the US, February 19, 2021. 
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Government Should Protect LGBT People from Violence, Discrimination

William Alejandro Martínez, a trans man from Honduras, stood up for his rights when military police officers stopped him in Comayagüela in May 2019 and asked to see his identity card. They questioned him about his gender identity, physically assaulted…
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Independent Review Recommends Funding to Address Harms

An external review of the World Bank Group’s private funding institutions found that social and environmental abuses caused by their development projects went largely unaddressed, leaving victims without remedies. The review focused on the…
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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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Past Raids Led to Killings, Rape

Last week Haiti’s minister of justice and public security announced that government forces would conduct a raid to curb gang violence in Village de Dieu, a low-income neighborhood in Port-au-Prince. He gave “good people” 72 hours to…
People go about their day in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019.
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Reported Killings of LGBT Hondurans Increased in 2019

The LGBT Pride March in Honduras’s San Pedro Sula, which drew 450 people, was the uplifting culmination of a week of Pride activities that also included more sober reflections, such as a candlelight vigil for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and…
A Honduran trans woman participates in the Pride March in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.
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Proposed Secure and Protect Act Attempts to Block Asylum Claims

If you follow the twisted logic of Senator Lindsey Graham’s Secure and Protect Act to its ultimate conclusion, the US would all but shut its doors to Central American refugees – full stop. A vote on the bill in the US Senate Committee…
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Activists Call for Gender Identity Law, Equal Marriage, Adoption

I traveled to Honduras last week to document violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Violence abounds, according to Honduran LGBT activists, but there are also plenty of stories of courage, pride, and…
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The people in the Central American caravan making their way to the US border with Mexico are facing real life-and-death issues that need to be addressed. What they don’t need is to be overshadowed by posturing and threats, particularly from the…
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Gangs Threaten Children, Parents

Maria* and Carlos* never wanted to leave Honduras with their three children, they told me. But then gangs began threatening Carlos and their 13-year-old son Eddy*. The family moved houses, but one evening masked men came to their little…
A Honduran mother and her 3-year-old daughter wait with fellow asylum seekers on the Mexican side of the Brownsville-Matamoros International Bridge after being denied entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers near Brownsville, Texas, U.S., June
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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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Honduras Leads the Way, Passes Law Making Practice Illegal

When Honduras parliamentarians this week unanimously passed a bill making child marriage illegal, they took leadership on an issue that deserves urgent attention in Latin America. As momentum builds across the globe to end this abusive…
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Lawmakers Set to Discuss Loosening Notoriously Strict Anti-Abortion Law

This week, lawmakers in Honduras will have the chance to allow some women access to abortion, reversing restrictions first imposed more than 30 years ago. Under the current law, terminating a pregnancy is illegal and carries a heavy prison sentence,…
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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…
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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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Plan Better to Prevent Problems in Hurricane’s Wake

It’s hard to imagine another disaster on the scale of the 2010 earthquake and the subsequent cholera epidemic in Haiti. Yet the latest reports on the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti on October 4, suggest its devastating effects,…
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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.
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What does a clean toilet have to do with human rights? A surprising amount actually. In Haiti,  latrines and water for drinking and hand washing are extremely scarce in schools. Nearly 60 percent of schools lack toilets and more than three-fourths lack…
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The death last weekend of former Haitian dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier cut short a historic court case that could have brought him to justice for human rights crimes. But Duvalier was not the only defendant charged with human rights crimes that include…