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Bill Would Have Criminalized Wide Range of Peaceful Expression

In a win for online freedom in Iraq, in February the Iraqi parliament said it will stop pushing forward a cybercrimes draft law until after it is amended so that it protects rather than infringes upon free speech. As it stood, the law would have…
Woman holding up a sign in Arabic
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Issue XV: The impact of COVID19- on women and girls’ education

UN Women, UNICEF and Human Rights Watch jointly issue this fifteenth alert to continue to highlight the gender specific impact of COVID-19 in Afghanistan. This alert focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and girls’ education and the…
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Ruling means justice for victim, first step toward directing policy changes

In a landmark ruling – its first on a domestic violence case in Russia – the European Court of Human Rights found that Russia’s lack of legislation to combat domestic violence, as well as the absence of protection orders, indicated a…
In February 2017, parliament decriminalized first instances of battery among family members.
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  Sexual Harassment in Garment Factories Eleven women garment workers from a factory in southern India sent a hand-written letter to a local union in late 2016.[1] They wrote: “The plight of women workers … we don’t have anyone who would…
Women Garment Industry
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Despite their mandate to maintain peace and protect people in war-torn countries, some UN peacekeepers have themselves been abusers. Highly publicized allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic have…
Women walk by a United Nations peacekeeping armored vehicle guarding the outer perimeter of a school used as an electoral center at the end of the presidential and legislative elections, in the mostly muslim PK5 neighborhood of Bangui.
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Julia adopted a baby girl born four months premature in 2008. The baby weighed just 1.5 pounds and had to be resuscitated. Julia and her partner longed to have more time with their baby during the 110 days she spent in the hospital, but had to save their…
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“It cannot be over-emphasized that when it comes to democracy, liberty of thought and expression is a cardinal value that is of paramount significance.” With these words, India’s Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment on March 24, struck down Section 66A…
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This week I had expected to be writing about a defamation case brought by Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Committee against an independent journalist in Osh, in southern Kyrgyzstan. To my surprise, the committee withdrew its complaint, and the court…
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Women in Peru facing tough reproductive choices got great news this week when the Ministry of Health adopted new abortion guidelines that should help doctors treat patients in need. Ninety years ago, Peru’s lawmakers decided that even though abortion is a…
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  Menstruation isn’t something that necessarily leaps to mind when one thinks of human rights. But May 28, 2014, the first-ever global Menstrual Hygiene Day, is designed to change that – it is a day established by a coalition of nongovernmental…
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This week, the European Union’s top court invalidated the EU’s data retention law, calling into question whether blanket data retention can ever be consistent with human rights requirements. This decision is a major victory for digital rights groups which…
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Yesterday, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia inked an agreement that says Indonesian women working in Saudi homes will be able to keep their passports, communicate with their families, get paid monthly, and have time off. The new pact comes in the wake of years…
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Yesterday, a 565-member forum in Yemen, created to help establish the building blocks for a new constitution, took the major step of releasing a report that recommended a minimum age for marriage of 18 for both boys and girls. The forum, which began in…
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Finally, a voice of reason in Russia’s legal system on the Pussy Riot case. Today Russia’s Supreme Court ordered the Pussy Riot verdict to be re-examined by the Moscow City Court. The legal representatives for one of the two still-imprisoned Pussy Riot…
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When Samantha learned she was pregnant, she hoped for a healthy delivery, a happy baby, and a smooth return to work. Life did not go according to plan. Samantha had a C-section, and the wound got infected. She took eight weeks of leave from work, much of…
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Tomorrow is the International Day of the Girl: a day to reflect on how girls are doing the world over and what is holding them back. We now know that a fundamental factor to determine whether a girl can enjoy her rights throughout her life is at what age…