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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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Domestic Violence Goes Unaddressed in Tajikistan

What is happening in Tajikistan in terms of domestic violence? Reports indicate that at least one out of five, and probably more, women in Tajikistan have been abused by a current or former husband or partner. The number is likely much higher…
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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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So, all abortion is banned in the Dominican Republic? Yes. Even in instances where a woman or girl is pregnant from rape or incest, if her life is in danger, or if the fetus won’t survive outside the womb. But the ban, in effect since 1884,…
Rosa Hernández stands in her home below a photo of her daughter, Rosaura Almonte Hernández, who died in 2012 at age 16.
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The idea that domestic violence is not a serious criminal offense is hard to grasp. How did this happen? Russia doesn’t have a national domestic violence law. Some acts of domestic violence can be prosecuted under the criminal code as assault,…
In February 2017, parliament decriminalized first instances of battery among family members.
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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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Domestic violence occurs everywhere, and in most countries it’s a criminal offense. But in Papua New Guinea - a Pacific nation near Australia experiencing a virtual epidemic of domestic violence - beating your wife often isn’t treated as a crime, although…
woman holding a child
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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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As the children’s rights advocate for Human Rights Watch, one of the questions I’m asked most frequently is why the US has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Currently, only two other countries – South Sudan and Somalia – have yet to…
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New Bill Officially Gives Youths Sent to Prison for Life an Opportunity for Parole

In an important step forward for juvenile justice, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill giving young offenders in California a second chance. Human Rights Watch and others campaigned for years against California’s extreme juvenile sentencing, and…
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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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A chance to earn parole for California’s Sara Kruzan

During his last day in office, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted the prison sentence of one of the state’s most egregiously sentenced victims of child sex trafficking. Sara Kruzan, sentenced to life in prison without parole at the age of…
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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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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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In a groundbreaking step forward for juveniles in the criminal justice system, the governor of Colorado announced on August 29 the creation of a clemency board for youth offenders. It is the first time that a state has amended its clemency process to…
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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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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…