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Junta Packs Jails with Opponents as Virus Thrives

Myanmar’s Covid-19 crisis is spiraling out of control, as the coronavirus spreads among the most marginalized populations, including those in the country’s prisons. The escalation of politically motivated arrests since the February 1 military coup…
People stand outside the gates of a prison
News

Wrongful Prosecutions Violate Rights to Counsel, Fair Trial of Accused

(Bangkok) – Myanmar’s security forces have recently arbitrarily arrested at least six lawyers defending political prisoners, violating both the lawyers’ rights and those of their clients, Human Rights Watch said today. The arrests deprive defendants…
Police car is seen on a street during the military coup demonstration.
News

Many Tell of Beatings, Ill-Treatment in Detention

(Bangkok) – Myanmar’s security forces have arbitrarily detained thousands of people and, according to numerous credible sources, subjected many to torture, routine beatings, and other ill-treatment since the February 1, 2021 military coup, Human…
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Detaining People to Coerce Others is Collective Punishment

(Bangkok) – Myanmar security forces are arbitrarily arresting and detaining family and friends of activists, protesters, and opposition members, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all those…
This image from an April 18, 2021 news report by Myawaddy TV shows people who security forces detained in the Yankin township of Yangon, Myanmar.
News

UN, Donors Should Urge Protection, Freedom of Movement on Bhasan Char

(New York) – The Bangladesh government has relocated nearly 20,000 Rohingya refugees to a remote island without adequate health care, livelihoods, or protection, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The United Nations and donor…
An elderly man carries luggage over his head as he walks he off a ship
News

Submission to the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons

This submission is based on Human Rights Watch research on human rights issues impacting older women,[1] including domestic violence, abuse, and neglect in residential institutions for older people, abuses during armed conflict, and health disparities…
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Account for Missing Politicians, Activists, Others at Risk of Torture, Death

(Bangkok) – Myanmar’s military junta has forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the February 1, 2021 coup, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have taken into custody politicians, election officials, journalists, activists, and…
A man is held by police during a crackdown on anti-coup protesters holding a rally in front of the Myanmar Economic Bank in Mandalay, Myanmar on February 15, 2021.
News

Transfers Need Independent Assessment, Refugees’ Informed Consent

(New York) – The Bangladesh government should immediately halt imminent relocations of Rohingya refugees to remote Bhasan Char island, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have reportedly prepared a list of 4,000 Rohingya refugees to be…
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Authorities Should Urgently Remove Armed Forces, Reopen Girls’ School

On vehicles mounted with machine guns, armed paramilitaries took over a girls’ primary school on June 14, 2020, according to a local human rights organization.  The armed men, from Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces, dug a trench around the school,…
This file photo shows a sign reading "Education is a right for a girl child" at a refugee settlement of people from South Sudan in Imvepi, Uganda, 27 June 2017.
News

End Assistance to All Military-Controlled Entities

(Tokyo) – The Japanese government should immediately cancel plans to donate money to purchase vehicles and communications equipment for the Myanmar police force, Human Rights Watch said today. The police force, which operates under the auspices of the…
Myanmar border guard police officers walk along a path in Tin May village in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, July 14, 2017.
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Copper-Cobalt Companies Confining Employees to Work Site

(Lubumbashi) – Multinational copper and cobalt mining companies in the Democratic Republic of Congo should take immediate steps to protect the rights of thousands of Congolese workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, a group of 11 international and…
Crowded living barracks for workers confined to a copper/cobalt mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo in May 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some workers have been confined for over two months.
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Burmese Authorities Are Using Covid-19 Response Measures as a Pretext to Harass and Extort Rohingyas

This is what life is like for the 130,000 internally displaced Rohingyas trapped in detention camps in central Rakhine state in Myanmar: in the camps, they have no future, with little access to land or livelihoods. They depend on foreign aid supplies and…
Rohingya refugees stand at the Kutupalong refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, April 1, 2020.
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Prison Time for Breaking Curfew, Quarantine Is Excessive and Unsafe

(Bangkok) – At least 500 people, including children, returning migrant workers, and religious minorities, have been sentenced to between one month and one year in prison in Myanmar since late March 2020 for violating curfews, quarantines, or other…
Pastor David Lah leaves court after an appearance on charges filed against him for holding religious services in April, Yangon, Myanmar, May 20, 2020.
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Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan Should Allow Free Flow of Information

(Geneva) – The World Health Organization (WHO) should press four governments that have shut down the internet to minority populations during the Covid-19 crisis to restore internet access, Human Rights Watch and 47 other organizations…
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Workers Fear Increase in Union Busting at Factories During Covid-19 Lockdown

In previous years on May 1, workers across Myanmar would rally and march in solidarity for workers’ rights and justice. But this May Day the streets will be quiet, as no marches are allowed with Covid-19 lockdowns and curfews in place. Most…
Workers shout slogans during a May Day march in Yangon, Myanmar, May 1, 2019.
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Refugee Camp Restrictions Threaten ‘Critical Services’

(Bangkok) – The Bangladesh government’s new Covid-19 restrictions on access to aid put Rohingya refugees at greater risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The lockdown measures cut humanitarian workers in refugee camps by 80 percent and put the…
Rohingya refugees place empty jars in a line while waiting to collect water in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on April, 20, 2020.
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Covid-19 No Basis for Pushing Back Boats

  (Bangkok) – Malaysia’s government is risking lives by pushing back overloaded boats of Rohingya refugees, Human Rights Watch said today. The government can appropriately respond to the Covid-19 pandemic without blocking life-saving rescues…
A screenshot of an exhausted Rohingya refugee receiving aid from the Bangladeshi coast guard. ©2020 Bangladeshi Coast Guard/Facebook
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Greater Action Needed to Reduce Numbers, Allocate Food Funds, Improve Hygiene

(Kinshasa) – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s overcrowded and unsanitary prisons are at grave risk of Covid-19 outbreaks that threaten the health and lives of detainees, guards, and the broader population, Human Rights Watch said today. Since…
The main entrance at Makala, Kinshasa’s central prison, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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Repeal ‘Insulting Religion’ Law, Support Freedom of Expression

(Bangkok) – Myanmar’s government should immediately drop all criminal charges against three street artists arrested for painting a mural that raises awareness about the coronavirus pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today. The artists, Zayar Hnaung…
Screenshot of the mural painted by three artists charged with "insulting religion" in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar (undated).