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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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Obama says the U.S. won't spy on foreign leaders — but what about spying for them?

President Barack Obama appeared to have good news on Jan. 17 for foreign citizens appalled by months of revelations of U.S. surveillance overseas. The United States, he assured them in his much-awaited speech on new controls on snooping by the…
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(Washington, DC) – The Colombian government should ensure prompt, thorough, and impartial investigations into two bomb attacks against police stations in southwestern Colombia, which are reported to have killed at least 10 civilians and wounded more than…
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Stand up for Persecuted Human Rights Activists; Shut Guantanamo

(New York) - The award of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama should encourage him to apply his stated principles to both foreign and domestic human rights policy, Human Rights Watch said today. The Nobel committee awarded the prize…
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International Response Needed to Stop New Abuses and Ensure Justice

(New York) - International action is needed to end the Lord’s Resistance Army’s reported new spree of abductions and sexual violence and to help execute arrest warrants issued by the International Criminal Court for the group’s leaders. Human Rights…
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Allows Detention in Violation of Geneva Conventions

President George W. Bush’s new executive order on the Central Intelligence Agency’s detention and interrogation program is contrary to the Geneva Conventions, Human Rights Watch said today. The new order, issued today, purports to determine that the CIA’s…
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Human Rights Watch reiterated its call to President George W. Bush in a letter today to close immediately the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Human Rights Watch said the continued detention of hundreds of men without charge has undermined US efforts…
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No Need to Wait for Transfers or Creation of Military Commissions

Human Rights Watch reiterated its call to President George W. Bush in a letter today to close immediately the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. Human Rights Watch said the continued detention of hundreds of men without charge has undermined US efforts…
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Hicks Pleads Guilty; New Detainee Arrives

Two defense lawyers for Guantanamo detainee David Hicks were barred from representing their client yesterday, highlighting the failure of US military commissions to meet fair trial standards, Human Rights Watch said today. Hicks, the first person to be…
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Civilians in Darfur, Sri Lanka Need Protection

(Geneva) – The new U.N. Human Rights Council must take urgent action to address crises from Darfur to Sri Lanka and expand its focus beyond the Middle East, Human Rights Watch said today. The council begins its second regular session today. Thus far the…
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The Bush administration's get out of jail card for torturers

If the Bush administration is still good at anything, it's this: distracting its opponents and seizing little victories from what might have been big defeats. Take the administration's recent efforts to respond to the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan v…
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(Geneva) — With a membership that includes governments responsible for crimes against humanity, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights meeting in Geneva next week must take dramatic steps to restore its sinking credibility, Human Rights Watch said today.…
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Poor Interpretation, Panel Bias Highlight Flaws

The military commission proceedings against the first four detainees at Guantanamo Bay were mired in confusion because of fundamentally flawed legal procedures and inadequate interpreters, Human Rights Watch said today. The military commissions, held in…
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(Washington, DC) - Under President Bush's November 13th Military Order on military commissions, any foreign national designated by the President as a suspected terrorist or as aiding terrorists could potentially be detained, tried, convicted and even…