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Trafficking, Exploitation, Torture, Abusive Prison Conditions

(Addis Ababa) – Ethiopians undertaking the perilous journey by boat across the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden face exploitation and torture in Yemen by a network of trafficking groups, Human Rights Watch said today. They also encounter abusive prison…
African migrants receive food and water inside a football stadium in the Red Sea port city of Aden in Yemen, on April 23, 2019. © AFP/Getty Images
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The killing of 33 inmates in the Brazilian state of Roraima is another sign that the country's prisons are disgracefully out of control. Many of the bodies were decapitated, a practice widely used by gangs to terrorize their enemies. …
A relative of a prisoner holds a local newspaper, which shows a headline about a deadly prison riot, in front of Anisio Jobim prison in Manaus, Brazil, on January 3, 2017.
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The United States is providing early release this weekend for 6,000 inmates who have been serving federal sentences for non-violent drug crimes -- the biggest one-time release of inmates in US history. It's a sign of a tectonic shift occurring in the…
U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff depart a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 30, 2015.
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Pernambuco’s prisons have become a haven of private enterprise. Imagine, if you can, what it is like to be imprisoned there. For 2,000 reais (USD530), you could buy a place to sleep, a narrow wooden cubicle where you can throw a mattress and prop a fan.…
Makeshift “barracos,” or cubicles, inside Pavilion 7 at Presídio Juiz Antônio Luiz L. de Barros (PJALLB), in Recife.
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Among Brazil’s Overpacked Prisons, Pernambuco Tops the List

(São Paulo) – The Brazilian state of Pernambuco has effectively turned over its vastly overcrowded prisons to hand-picked inmate “keyholders,” Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The Pernambuco prison system holds more than three times as…
Penitenciária Agro-Industrial São João
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“Custody Hearings” Improve Due Process, Reduce Prison Overcrowding

(São Paulo) – The Constitution, Justice and Citizenship Commission in Brazil’s Senate should approve a bill that would introduce basic due process procedures to prevent arbitrary detention, Human Rights Watch said today. The measure can also reduce prison…
A judge holds a custody hearing for a detainee in São Paulo on May 11, 2015, with the participation of a prosecutor and a public defender.
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Custody Hearings Help Curb Overcrowding

(São Paulo) – A pilot program in northeastern Brazil is reducing the number of people sent to pretrial detention, a major factor in prison overcrowding and gang recruitment, Human Rights Watch said today. The program in Maranhão state promptly brings…
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UK-Ethiopia Agreement on Deportations Puts Suspects at Risk

(London) - The UK government should not rely on unreliable "diplomatic assurances" against torture to deport national security suspects to Ethiopia, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the UK government. In December 2008, the United Kingdom…
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Proposed Counterterrorism Legislation Violates Human Rights

(Nairobi) - Ethiopia's draft counterterrorism law could punish political speech and peaceful protest as terrorist acts and encourage unfair trials if enacted, Human Rights Watch said today. The government and members of parliament should amend the draft…
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SummaryBackgroundAnalysis of the Draft Anti-Terrorism Legislation     Defining Terrorism     Infringement of Freedoms of Speech and Expression     Expansion of Police Powers without Due Process Guarantees         Powers of Arrest, Search, and Seizure…
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Government Outlaws Most Human Rights Work, Imprisons Opposition Leaders

(New York) - On January 6, 2009, Ethiopia's parliament enacted a new law on nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that criminalizes most human rights work in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch said that the law is a direct…
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Detainees Held Weeks Without Charge

(New York) - The Ethiopian government should immediately free 53 ethnic Oromos arrested several weeks ago on allegations of support for terrorism if it cannot credibly charge them, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch said that a court…
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The US-backed Ethiopian military has secreted away scores of "suspects" – including pregnant women and children – and fueled anti-American rancor in Africa

Ifo Refugee Camp, Kenya - Ishmael, a 37-year-old shepherd from the Ogaden region in Ethiopia, looked at me with tears in his eyes. Ethiopian forces – who had already killed his mother, father, brothers and sisters – murdered his wife days after they were…
Report
Summary Tens of thousands of ethnic Somali civilians living in eastern Ethiopia's SomaliRegionalState are experiencing serious abuses and a looming humanitarian crisis in the context of a little-known conflict between the…
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Donors Should Act to Stop Crimes Against Humanity

(Nairobi) - In its battle against rebels in eastern Ethiopia's Somali Region, Ethiopia's army has subjected civilians to executions, torture, and rape, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. The widespread violence, part of a vicious…
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(New York) – The Central Intelligence Agency secretly operated illegal prisons for terrorism suspects in multiple locations in Poland and Romania from 2003 to 2005, according to a report released today by the Council of Europe, a European…
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Kenya, US and Ethiopia Cooperate in Secret Detentions and Renditions

Kenya, Ethiopia, the United States and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia cooperated in a secret detention program for people who had fled the recent conflict in Somalia, Human Rights Watch said today. In a March 22 letter to the Kenyan…
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Thomas Amolo Director of Political Affairs  Ministry of Foreign Affairs  Nairobi, Kenya  Dear Mr. Amolo, Human Rights Watch's research has found that the governments of Kenya, Ethiopia, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, and the United…