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Why Sex Work Should be Decriminalized

How did you find sex workers willing to talk about their work despite it being illegal in South Africa? It’s very difficult to gain sex workers’ trust without connections to people already actively supporting sex workers. For one, because their…
Sex workers wearing masks lead a march to mark International Sex Workers Rights Day in Johannesburg March 3, 2011
News

How Former President Jammeh Trapped, Raped, and Sexually Exploited Women

When did you first hear that Jammeh had raped and sexually assaulted women? The first stories surfaced when Human Rights Watch Senior Counsel Reed Brody and I started collecting evidence for the “Campaign to Bring Yahya Jammeh and his Accomplices to…
Fatou “Toufah” Jallow, May 25, 2019.
News
Despite their mandate to maintain peace and protect people in war-torn countries, some UN peacekeepers have themselves been abusers. Highly publicized allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers in the Central African Republic have…
Women walk by a United Nations peacekeeping armored vehicle guarding the outer perimeter of a school used as an electoral center at the end of the presidential and legislative elections, in the mostly muslim PK5 neighborhood of Bangui.
News
Although it is more than eight years since hundreds of women were brutally raped during post-election violence in Kenya, the harrowing events of 2007/8 continue to affect survivors to this day. Destitute, in ill health and often…
Nafula K.,46, was gang raped together with three other women by four men in January 2008 while at an IDP camp.
News
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.
News
Women make up half the population, yet in times of war, in peace talks, and in rebuilding efforts, women are rarely at the table. The issues that impact them and their families – from living safely in camps for the internally displaced to holding rapists…
News
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…
News

The "finger" test found to violate rights

After a man she was in a relationship with raped her, Sandhya went to a hospital for an examination and treatment. "The clerk told me a male doctor will conduct the test [forensic examination] and asked me whether that was ok," Sandhya, who is in her 20s…
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…
News
On April 27, 2011, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the elimination of the city's backlog of 6,132 untested sexual assault evidence kits, or "rape kits," collected through December 2008. This important announcement came two years after…
News
After years of our advocacy on ending rape as a weapon of war, we were proud to see the Security Council vote to create a senior position dedicated to ending sexual violence in armed conflict. The groundwork was laid in June 2008, when the Security…
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The 15-year-old girl, looking even younger than her years, lay on a mattress in a shelter in eastern Congo, her sleeping newborn son beside her. "I was just coming back from the river to fetch water," Regine told Juliane Kippenberg, senior children's…
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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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12-year-old Mia came to the rape treatment center in Santa Barbara because her school counselor suspected sexual abuse. At the rape center, she consented to a long and invasive exam, during which a nurse collected forensic and DNA evidence that could be…
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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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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…
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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…