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Missteps Show Need for Congressional Oversight to Catalyze Change

(Washington, DC, May 19, 2022) – The US military’s review of a 2019 airstrike in Syria highlights fundamental and ongoing flaws in US handling of accountability for civilian harm, Human Rights Watch said today. The US Defense Department on May 17,…
Black smoke billows from the last small piece of territory held by Islamic State forces as US-backed fighters attack the area with artillery and airstrikes in Baghouz, Syria, March 3, 2019. © 2019 AP Photo/Andrea Rosa
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The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may seem a world away from Florida, but it’s only 700 miles from Orlando. Growing up here myself, I never thought twice about what Guantanamo’s high financial and moral cost meant for me as a Floridian…
In this photo reviewed by US military officials, flags fly in front of the tents of Camp Justice, April 18, 2019, in Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.
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As People Are Expelled to Danger, States Sue to Keep Practice in Place

Following the Biden administration’s recent announcement that it would rescind an abusive Trump-era summary expulsion policy in May, the US states of Arizona, Louisiana, and Missouri this week sued to force the administration to continue turning…
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Biden Administration Should Focus on Dignified, Humane, and Fair Treatment

Since March 2020, the United States has misused an antiquated section of public health law – Title 42 – to expel migrants quickly, without giving them a chance to ask for asylum. That looks to be coming to an end. The Centers for Disease Control…
People hold a protest sign that reads "Save asylum"
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As U.S. officials face continued criticism for the mistreatment and mass expulsions of Haitians who arrived at the U.S. southern border, with many given no chance to apply for asylum, the situation of another group of Black asylum seekers is now also in…
Report
Summary After the United States rejected her asylum claim and deported her in October 2020, Esther,[1] a Cameroonian woman, found herself trapped in a nightmare in the country she had previously fled. “I was arrested and detained [by gendarmes]... I…
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Flawed Asylum Denials; Abuses in Detention and After Deportation

(Washington, DC) – Cameroonian authorities subjected dozens of asylum seekers deported by the United States to serious human rights violations between 2019 and 2021, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 149-page report, “‘How…
A hand reaches through bars
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Human Rights Watch Statement for the Record

Statement of Human Rights Watch on  “‘Targeted Killing’ and the Rule of Law:  The Legal and Human Costs of 20 Years of U.S. Drone Strikes" before the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 9, 2022. Human Rights Watch thanks the Senate…
The dome of the US Capitol seen through a glass ceiling in Washington, DC, April 29, 2021.
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Why President Biden should fulfill his pledge to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay

Two decades ago, on Jan. 11, 2002, the US military began detaining Global War on Terror (GWOT) prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, opening one of the longest and darkest chapters of its abusive responses to the 9/11 attacks. The US has unlawfully…
The first foreign Muslim men imprisoned by the US military at the detention center at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, in the so-called “global war on terror.” Since January 2002, the US has held nearly 800 men and boys at Guantánamo. Of the 39 who currently remain, 27 have never been charged. © 2002 Shane McCoy/Greg Mathieson/Mai/Getty Images
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High-Level Pronouncements Marred by Systemic Racism, Abuse of Asylum Seekers

(Washington, DC) – The administration of President Joe Biden has made slow progress protecting human rights in the United States, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2022. "The Biden administration has made some big-picture…
Hughes Van Ellis (left), a Tulsa Race Massacre survivor and World War II veteran, and Viola Fletcher (second right), oldest living survivor of the massacre, testify about the massacre’s ongoing impact before the US House of Representatives in Washington, DC, on May 19, 2021.
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Groups Urge Biden Administration to Rescind Trump Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) Rules

Hon. Alejandro N. Mayorkas           Secretary of Homeland Security          U.S. Department of Homeland Security           2707 Martin Luther King…
Lizbeth, una mujer salvadoreña que busca asilo en Estados Unidos, posa  en la casa de un familiar en Tijuana, México, donde fue enviada a esperar por el resultado de su caso, el 5 de noviembre de 2019
Report
Summary As the harmful effects of immigration detention become more widely known and the appropriateness of detaining migrants is increasingly questioned, governments are looking at alternatives to detention as more humane and rights-respecting…
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Majid Khan Publicly Describes Torture at Sentencing Hearing

For the first time, a United States military commission jury urged clemency for a Guantanamo Bay detainee, Majid Khan, at a sentencing hearing. The jury’s recommendation, noting the severe abuse Khan endured while in detention, highlights the profound…
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Despite US Federal Court Ruling, Continued Detention Likely

In a small step toward justice, a United States federal judge ruled this week that because Haroon Gul, an Afghan held at Guantanamo Bay, was not a member of Al-Qaeda or an associated force, the US had no legal basis for detaining him. The US…
Afghan refugee Roman Khan at a refugee camp near Pakistan's northwestern city of Peshawar in September 2020, displays a photograph of his brother Asadullah Haroon, who is detained at the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
Report
  Summary In 2017, a US Border Patrol agent kneed a woman in the lower pelvis, leaving bruises and pain days later, according to her statement to a government official screening her asylum claim. In a separate incident that year, a Border…
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Since the 9/11 attacks, U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and elsewhere have carried out targeted killings that frequently kill and injure civilians.

On September 17, Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the head of U.S. Central Command, gave an extraordinary news conference in which he admitted that the United States had killed an aid worker in Kabul and his family; McKenzie apologized, adding that…
The Pentagon, Washington, DC, United States.
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President Joe Biden was determined to end U.S. involvement in the Afghan "forever war" by the twentieth anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. He should also use the anniversary to announce a definitive end to the forever "global war on terror."…
Detainees apprehended after September 11, 2001 in a holding area under surveillance of the US military at Camp X-Ray at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba on January 11, 2002. 
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On September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda hijackers turned four commercial airliners into instruments of terror, killing nearly 3,000 people and devastating the lives of thousands more. The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in the United States…
Bellevue Hospital memorial to victims of the World Trade Center attacks in New York, September 19, 2001. 
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Victims of Attacks Still Await Justice

The September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States were foremost a tragedy for the nearly 3,000 victims and their families. Lives were snuffed out, destinies forever changed, in acts of violence that elicited shock and outraged the world over. Many…
A man stands in the rubble after the collapse of the first World Trade Center Tower in New York City on September 11, 2001.
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Ensure Prompt Access to UN Refugee Agency for Protection

(New York) – Indian authorities should immediately free all detained Myanmar asylum seekers, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should investigate the deaths of two women who had fled Myanmar and died in custody in Manipur state from Covid…
A Myanmarese man looks towards the Indian side at the India-Myanmar border in Mizoram, India, Saturday, March 20, 2021. 
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