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After recruitment by Al-Shabab, children face difficult conditions in detention

How is it that children get involved with Al-Shabab in the first place?   Al-Shabab uses many means to recruit children, including enticements, deceit and force. Poor rural communities, with little protection, are particularly vulnerable to…
Photo of Somali children blindfolded.
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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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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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Today, child soldiers are fighting in at least 14 countries around the world. Boys and girls alike are forced into combat, exploited for their labor, and subjected to unspeakable violence.  A UN treaty prohibits the participation of children under the…
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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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Top UN Officials, 46 governments participate in Red Hand Day Campaign Ceremony

Yesterday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the forced recruitment and use of child soldiers as "one of the most appalling human rights abuses in the world today," and stated that "the entire United Nations system and I are determined to stamp…
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The International Criminal Court (ICC) decided in November to lift the suspension of the trial of the rebel leader Thomas Lubanga, who is accused of enlisting and conscripting children as soldiers and using them to participate actively in the conflict 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 August 29, Sri Lanka appointed a committee to investigate allegations of child recruitment by the Karuna group, a Tamil armed group allegedly linked to the government. In our January 2007 report, Human Rights Watch exposed patterns of abductions and…
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Following our reporting on militia violence and the use of child soldiers in Chad, the Chadian government pledged in May to cooperate with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in identifying and demobilizing children in armed forces. Since then,…
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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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WHAT PROBLEM IS BEING ADDRESSED? An estimated 250,000 children are exploited each day in state-run armies, paramilitaries and guerilla groups around the world. Called “child soldiers,” they serve as combatants, porters, human mine detectors and sex…
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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…
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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…
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On December 26, the Washington Post reported that persons held at a CIA interrogation center in Bagram air base in Afghanistan were being subjected to "stress and duress" techniques such as "standing or kneeling for hours" and "being held in awkward,…