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This week I had expected to be writing about a defamation case brought by Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Committee against an independent journalist in Osh, in southern Kyrgyzstan. To my surprise, the committee withdrew its complaint, and the court…
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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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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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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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Damascus Declaration Trial a Transparent Bid to Silence Critics

(Damascus) – Syria’s sentencing of a dozen leading democracy advocates to more than two years in prison is the latest evidence of Syria’s repression of opposition groups. The democracy activists, including doctors, lawyers, writers, and an artist, were…
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On May 30, Egypt’s General Public Prosecutor ordered the release of Abd al-Monim Mahmud, a prominent TV journalist and blogger who was arrested April 14 for criticizing torture. Immediately following his arrest, Human Rights Watch publicly called for his…
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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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Human Rights Watch has played a critical role in persuading the Chilean government to move forward with legal reforms aimed at scrapping the country's repressive laws on "insult to authority" (known as desacato). Such laws, which criminalize strongly…
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A Human Rights Watch press release expressing concern about an upsurge in harassment of media in Albania has triggered a lively debate on press freedom in the country.
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Human Rights Watch and partner NGOs scored a victory for free expression in Turkey with the February 13 acquittal of Turkish publisher Fatih Tas. Tas had been charged with dispensing "separatist propaganda" for publishing a book by Noam Chomsky that…
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On June 22, King Mswati III of Swaziland issued a royal decree that allows banning of publications without appeal, eliminates bail for some crimes, and increases the punishment for defamation. The royal edict was issued shortly after the banning of two…
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Freedom of expression in Chile remains shackled by military-era restraints. Although the country has recently made strides in prosecuting the abuses of the Pinochet dictatorship, the same repressive defamation laws that the military regime regularly…