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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
News

Madam Secretary Grapples with Dilemmas Posed by Fully Autonomous Weapons

One of my favorite TV shows, Madam Secretary, aired an episode on Sunday focusing on “killer robots” or fully autonomous weapons, an issue Human Rights Watch has worked on since 2012. It was heartening to see a mainstream…
Photo from an episode of Madam Secretary that aired on CBS on October 20, 2019.
News

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.
News
“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…
News

12 Key Arguments for a Preemptive Ban on Fully Autonomous Weapons

The development of fully autonomous weapons, also known as “killer robots,” and the proposal to ban them preemptively have sparked impassioned debate at the international and national levels. Experts—including lawyers, ethicists, military specialists,…
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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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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…
News

Council of Europe Convention calls for hotlines, shelters, medical and forensic services

Hamiyet, a member of Turkey’s Kurdish minority, was a 15-year-old newlywed when her husband began beating her every evening after work. He hit her when she was pregnant with each of their nine children, and he raped her almost nightly. She sought help…
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The tragic attacks in Norway highlight growing intolerance against Muslims, Roma and migrants in Europe. Populist, anti-Muslim, anti-Roma and anti-immigrant parties have enjoyed recent electoral  success across Europe. Opinion surveys and political debate…
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The search engine stops censoring information and ideas in China

Last month, Google - one of the world's most important technology companies - stood up to the Chinese government by making it clear that it will not be complicit in censoring information and ideas. For years, corporations - including Google, Yahoo!,…
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As a candidate, Barack Obama signaled his clear intention to break with the Bush administration's abusive counterterrorism policies. Once sworn in as president, Obama immediately issued executive orders that set a course toward reform. Human Rights…
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Revise Policies to Ensure Fair Hearing

(London) - The ruling today by the European Court of Human Rights on the United Kingdom's detention policy for foreign terrorism suspects confirms that indefinite detention violates basic rights, Human Rights Watch said. The court ruled that the…
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Damascus Declaration Trial a Transparent Bid to Silence Critics

(Damascus) – Syria’s sentencing of a dozen leading democracy advocates to more than two years in prison is the latest evidence of Syria’s repression of opposition groups. The democracy activists, including doctors, lawyers, writers, and an artist, were…
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On September 19, a majority of US senators voted to approve an amendment that would restore the right to habeas corpus, one of the oldest and most important checks on the arbitrary exercise of government power. Last year’s Military Commissions Act…
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On May 30, Egypt’s General Public Prosecutor ordered the release of Abd al-Monim Mahmud, a prominent TV journalist and blogger who was arrested April 14 for criticizing torture. Immediately following his arrest, Human Rights Watch publicly called for his…
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On June 8, the Council of Europe released a report confirming allegations first made by Human Rights Watch in 2005 that the CIA used locations in Poland and Romania for the secret detention of terror suspects. During several years of research, we combed…
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On February 23, the Canadian Supreme Court unanimously ruled against the provisions of a Canadian immigration law that enabled the government to detain foreign terrorism suspects, often for years, without charge or trial and to deport them. Human Rights…