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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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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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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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View Photos of Cluster Munitions A child lying on a hospital bed, his face blank with shock, his stomach ripped open. Bloodied bodies of civilians strewn in the streets. The look of panic and anguish on a woman's face as she falls under a rain of…
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Submitted in Advance of the EU-Georgia Human Rights Dialogue

This note aims to outline key areas of concern in Georgia's human rights record that we hope to see addressed on the occasion of the European Union's upcoming Human Rights Dialogue with Georgia. We believe this dialogue is a crucial opportunity to…
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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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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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US Campaign to Ban Landmines Press Release

The Pentagon announced Monday that the US military would continue to use and export even the most unreliable cluster bombs over the next decade. This policy decision comes shortly after 111 countries, including major NATO allies, agreed to a global treaty…
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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 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 July 27 the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNICEF announced a $129 million joint appeal to provide education for Iraqi refugee children in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt. Jordan also announced that it will give all Iraqi…
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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…