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Why Poverty and Inequality are Human Rights Issues

Human Rights Watch has long documented how, when people live in poverty, their ability to exercise all their human rights erodes. Because of this, we have pushed governments to end abuses that contribute to poverty. We have recently decided to…
girls from the Kalokol Girls Primary School fetch water
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Being Outside is a Health Risk for Some of Zambia’s Children

How did you first become aware of the problem in Kabwe? We learned about it from an environmental group several years ago but became interested in doing our own research after seeing a young person from Kabwe speak at a United Nations event.…
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Left Destitute and Sick, Communities Defy Police Abuse and Threats to Assert their Rights

What changes for a community once a mine starts operating? Most mining in South Africa takes place in rural areas, where people live off the land and their livestock. Mining often forces people to leave the land they use for farming and grazing…
Coal mine in Somkhele viewed from Ocilwane village in Fuleni, KwaZulu-Natal. © 2018 Rob Symons
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Brazil’s Industrial Farmers Spray Dangerous Chemicals Near Schools, Villages

  What’s happening with pesticides in Brazil?  Brazil’s an agriculture powerhouse in terms of the amount of land under farming. The farming of soy, sugarcane, cotton, and corn is done at an industrial scale and pesticides are used…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
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  What is it like in Recife and Campina Grande, the cities in northeastern Brazil that you visited? AK: What was shocking to me was the vast inequality. There are these beautiful high-rises and a beautiful beach in Recife, and then there…
Raquel bathes her daughter Heloisa, a girl with Zika syndrome born in April 2016. Raquel says she cannot afford the medicines her twin daughters need for convulsions.
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Equatorial Guinea has the highest GDP per capita of any African country. What’s gone wrong?         About 20 years ago the country discovered oil, and virtually overnight it went from being one of the poorest…
After spending several million dollars on government buildings in Malabo, the capital, and Bata, the nation’s economic center, Equatorial Guinea is pouring billions of dollars into building a new administrative capital, Oyala, in the middle of the jungle.
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Secondary Education Inaccessible for Many Children in Tanzania

Two in five adolescents are out of school in Tanzania, although the country has declared education a national priority and abolished school fees and financial contributions. Lack of money is, however, only one of the reasons why education ends after…
An unfinished science laboratory next to a classroom at a secondary school in Shinyanga region, northern Tanzania.
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Debt buying-companies,  a huge US industry, purchase delinquent debts—mostly credit card debts -- that lenders have given up on collecting.  Each year these companies sue hundreds of thousands of people in an effort to collect the debt and turn…
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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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In the Philippines, children dive underwater, swim down a wooden shaft barely wider than their shoulders, and mine for gold – all while breathing through a flimsy, narrow tube. We haven’t seen underwater mining – called compressor…
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