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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.
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Yesterday, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia inked an agreement that says Indonesian women working in Saudi homes will be able to keep their passports, communicate with their families, get paid monthly, and have time off. The new pact comes in the wake of years…
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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…
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2012 brought significant progress for the rights of domestic workers, with dozens of countries adopting policy or legislative measures to strengthen protections for domestic workers, including 8 that moved to ratify the ILO Convention Concerning Decent…
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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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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…
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As told by Nadim Houry, director of Human Rights Watch's Beirut office It was 2008, and along Hamra Street, one of Beirut's main thoroughfares, women's rights demonstrators had placed a series of identical cutouts shaped like women's bodies. Painted red…
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From Lebanon’s advocacy campaign to June’s international convention

As told by Nisha Varia, senior researcher in the Women's Rights Division Each poster in the ad campaign featured a woman in the uniform typically worn by housekeepers and nannies, complete with ruffled apron. Below the image were facts about abuse of…
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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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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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Ahead of the release of a Human Rights Watch report on the arbitrary detention of women and girls in "social rehabilitation" facilities, the Libyan government in meetings with executive director Kenneth Roth promised to investigate these abuses. Aisha al…
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Human Rights Watch's March 4 report, "Double Standards: Women's Property Rights Violations in Kenya," documented the denial of property rights to thousands of Kenyan women, especially widows. Now two critically important United Nations bodies have taken…
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Millions of women in sub-Saharan Africa are robbed, beaten, raped, and evicted-often by their own in-laws-because women are deemed unworthy of equal property rights. A recent Human Rights Watch report, "Double Standards: Women's Property Rights…
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HRW recently received a letter from the office of the President of Zambia, Levy Mwanawasa, stating that following his review of our report on sexual abuse of girls in Zambia and how this exposes them to HIV infection, he ordered the establishment of an…
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Forces on all sides in the Congo conflict have committed war crimes against women and girls. HRW's report, "The War Within The War: Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Eastern Congo," documents the frequent and sometimes systematic use of rape and…