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Forcing Parental Involvement in Abortion Violates Rights

A law in the US state of Illinois that forces people under 18 to involve an adult family member in their abortion decision is failing some of the state’s young people and violating their human rights. In a new joint report with the American Civil…
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It is now widely acknowledged that after the 9/11 attacks in the US, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began a global detention and interrogation program through which it tortured and abused prisoners. Yet the US government has failed to hold…
Illustration of the scales of justice replaced by two people shackled by their wrists and dangling in the air.
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Is some sense of sanity finally slipping into the torture debate in the US? Yesterday, after years of criticism for failing to call it by its name, the New York Times finally decided it would use the word “torture” to describe when US interrogators use…
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Cops Stop Harrassing Sex Workers for Carrying Condoms

Sex workers in San Francisco, Washington DC, and part of New York State can now carry condoms – protecting themselves and their clients from HIV/AIDS – without fearing that police will use the condoms as evidence of prostitution. In July, Human Rights…
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Four years after Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) launched a campaign to stop the misuse of the material witness statute to detain people indefinitely, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled the practice “…
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On August 24, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a federal prosecutor to review cases of post-9/11 detainee abuse and determine whether or not a criminal investigation is warranted.  Human Rights Watch has collected information on some 330 cases…
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On March 11, 2009 President Barack Obama signed legislation banning the export of any cluster munitions with a “dud rate” of greater than one percent. Only a tiny fraction of the US arsenal can meet that standard, so the ban is nearly comprehensive. The…
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In an unprecedented step forward, a federal judge blocked the Pentagon from returning a Tunisian national being held at Guantanamo on the grounds that he could face grave harm if sent back to Tunisia. The judge pointed to the types of abuses documented in…
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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 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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The US Army in January ordered the court-martial of Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Jordan, a key official allegedly implicated in detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Jordan is the first military officer to be charged under the doctrine of command…
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The European Parliament on November 29 released a report condemning European governments for facilitating illegal CIA operations in Europe. Human Rights Watch was the first human rights organization to report on secret CIA detention centers, and has…
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After Human Rights Watch issued a press release on Israel’s use of cluster munitions in populated areas of Lebanon and sent a letter to the U.S. National Security Advisor, the U.S. State Department blocked the transfer to Israel of 1,300 artillery…
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Following months of advocacy by Human Rights Watch, senior defense officials have said that the Pentagon in a forthcoming Army Field Manual has likely dropped its plans to make interrogation techniques classified information. Last year, we supported…
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In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that President Bush did not have authority to set up military commissions at Guantanámo Bay, Cuba. The court also found the military commissions illegal under both U.S.…
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The United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) issued a strong critique of the United States' record on torture, which included calling for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. The Committee is the first international body to hold…
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A report by U.N. human rights experts confirms what Human Rights Watch and other nongovernmental organizations have long documented-that the United States is violating international human rights law and the Geneva Conventions by indefinitely detaining,…
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In a new report by Human Rights Watch, United States soldiers have for the first time come forward to describe torture and other abuse by the U.S. military in Iraq, and the failure of superior officers to stop it. Human Rights Watch's report has…
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In two recent reports, Human Rights Watch has exposed the increasing reliance by Western governments on a practice called "diplomatic assurances," which enable those governments to return terror suspects to their home countries, many of which are known to…
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The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed an amendment offered by Representative Edward J. Markey that reaffirms the government's opposition to torture and prohibits the use of U.S. funds for the practice of "extraordinary rendition." The…