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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…
An illustration of scales imposed over a woman's torso
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After Pledging Reforms, UK Development Bank Should Implement Them

A United Kingdom development bank, CDC Group, has taken another step toward addressing human rights abuses at oil palm plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In May, the bank committed to reforming its complaints mechanism and adopting a…
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Canada Is Failing Indigenous Peoples Facing Threats to Food, Health, and Land

In some of the most remote stretches of Canada – from the provincial norths to the territories – First Nations are facing serious threats to their ways of life because of the effects of climate change. A rapidly changing environment means harvesting food…
Weenusk First Nations members packing their sleds ahead of a hunt near Peawanuck, Ontario, December 14, 2019.
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Meaningful Consultations with People with Disabilities Needed For Future Law

Activists and disability groups recently scored a key victory in Mexico: A regressive draft mental health bill was put on hold before reaching the Senate for a vote. The bill was based on a coercive approach to treatment of people with psychosocial…
Reyna (izquierda) y César, ambos con discapacidad física, dijeron haber sobrevivido violencia por parte de sus familiares. Viven juntos en Monterrey, Nuevo León.
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Accurate Data Key to Protecting the Forest Defenders

For the first time, Brazils’ Attorney General’s office has produced a report analyzing violence against Indigenous peoples, Afro-Brazilian rural communities, and other at-risk rural communities by people engaged in illegal logging, mining, and land…
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The Global Pandemic Offers Chance to Embrace Clean Energy

It’s been three months since governments around the world implemented lockdowns in response to Covid-19. The virus has killed hundreds of thousands and forced millions more into joblessness and destitution. With the global transport of people and goods…
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Implementing Commitments Would Protect Tens of Thousands on Plantations

Four European development banks have announced they will require a major palm oil company in the Democratic Republic of Congo to take steps to redress human rights abuses recently reported by Human Rights Watch. The 95-page report, A…
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How European Development Banks Fail the Very People They Claim to Assist

Why did you focus your research on these oil palm plantations? These plantations provide jobs for many people. But their workers are being underpaid and exposed to unhealthy working conditions. The European development banks that finance these…
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Agreement Signed to Monitor Social Care and Mental Health Institutions

Authorities in Indonesia have taken an important step to uphold the rights of people with psychosocial disabilities (mental health conditions) across the country. A number of national agencies, including the National Human Rights…
Members of a family sit on the floor at home watching tv.
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Being Outside is a Health Risk for Some of Zambia’s Children

How did you first become aware of the problem in Kabwe? We learned about it from an environmental group several years ago but became interested in doing our own research after seeing a young person from Kabwe speak at a United Nations event.…
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Left Destitute and Sick, Communities Defy Police Abuse and Threats to Assert their Rights

What changes for a community once a mine starts operating? Most mining in South Africa takes place in rural areas, where people live off the land and their livestock. Mining often forces people to leave the land they use for farming and grazing…
Coal mine in Somkhele viewed from Ocilwane village in Fuleni, KwaZulu-Natal. © 2018 Rob Symons
News

All Children Should Have Access to School

Why did you focus on Kazakhstan for this report? The Kazakh government has committed to improving education opportunities for children with disabilities, but so far we haven’t seen that commitment lead to meaningful change. We wanted to better…
First grade math class in a mainstream inclusive school in Almaty, Kazakhstan, includes at least one child with disabilities.
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Activists in Lamu Challenge Power Despite Threats

Tell me about Lamu and the activists you spoke to. Lamu county is a beautiful, scenic tourist destination with long white beaches lined with palm trees and hotels and cafes catering to foreign and domestic tourists. The mostly-Muslim…
Residents and environmental activists  protesting against  lack of consultations and government failure to address environmental concerns in respect ofo the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project in Lamu island, Kenya, March 1, 2012.
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Tell me more about mountaintop removal. Today it’s done almost exclusively in southern West Virginia, but has been done in Eastern Kentucky, and parts of Tennessee and Virginia too. Scientific studies show that people living near this type of…
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Brazil’s Industrial Farmers Spray Dangerous Chemicals Near Schools, Villages

  What’s happening with pesticides in Brazil?  Brazil’s an agriculture powerhouse in terms of the amount of land under farming. The farming of soy, sugarcane, cotton, and corn is done at an industrial scale and pesticides are used…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
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Prisoners with Disabilities Serving Time in Solitary, Face Physical, Sexual Abuse

How is it that 50 percent of Australia’s prison population has a disability? Eighteen percent of Australia’s general population has a disability. The most common type of disabilities found in prisons are mental health conditions. People with…
A prisoner lies in his solitary confinement cell in the safety unit at Lotus Glen Correctional Centre, northern Queensland.
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What are some of the misconceptions around being born intersex? Unfortunately, in our society we’re still at a point where most people don’t know the basic facts about being intersex. People think it is very rare, but really, up to two percent of the…
A poster by intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis
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Currently in Indonesia, over 18,000 people with psychosocial disabilities (mental health conditions) are kept in chains – in part because of a dearth of mental health services. But that may begin to change. During a meeting with Human Rights Watch…
A man with psychological disability appears to be chained to a wooden bed.
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More than 57,000 people in Indonesia with mental health conditions have been chained and locked up in overcrowded rooms or filthy sheds at least once in their lives. About 18,000 are still believed to be shackled, despite a 1977 government ban on pasung, …
A man with a psychosocial disability lies chained at the wrist on a platform bed at the Bina Lestari healing center in Brebes, Central Java. All residents of the healing center are chained. © 2015 Andrea Star Reese for Human Rights Watch