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Summary Iraq is holding parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021. Without change, hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities will face barriers to participation and some of them may not be able to vote. The exact number of people with…
News

Urgent Need to Improve Accessibility Before Upcoming Elections

(Beirut) – People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a…
A voter who uses a wheelchair at a polling place in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on May 12, 2018. 
News

Allow Expert Access to Kazakhstan; Lift Ban

(Berlin) – Kazakh authorities have banned a Russian-American researcher from the country for five years in apparent efforts to stymy his work documenting abuses of ethnic minorities in neighboring China, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Gene Bunin
News

Displaced Iraqis’ Rights Trampled Repeatedly

(Beirut) – The Iraqi army has unlawfully evicted dozens of families from a village north of Baghdad since July 2021 in an apparent family feud involving a government minister, Human Rights Watch said today. The 91 families from al-Aetha, a village in…
Government buses waiting to move families from one camp in Anbar governate to another during a previous wave of camp closures in December 2018.  © 2018 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
News

Governments Should Halt Trade in Surveillance Technology

(New York) – Recent reports that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used for surveillance of dozens of journalists, human rights activists, and others demonstrate the urgent need for governments to suspend the trade in surveillance technology until…
People march in Budapest, Hungary during a July 26, 2021 protest against the Hungarian government over reports that it has used Pegasus spyware.
News

Decree Allows for Third Gender Option in Identification Documents

Starting July 21, 2021, Argentina’s National Identity Document and passports now include a third gender category, “X,” allowing people to choose to be designated other than female or male. The move makes Argentina the first country in Latin America to…
President Alberto Fernández (center) with other authorities and members of social organizations, form an 'X', at the Bicentennial Museum in Casa Rosada, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 21, 2021
News

Over 130 Targeted for Alleged Membership in Groups Deemed ‘Extremist’

(Berlin) – Authorities in Kazakhstan have targeted at least 135 people across the country with criminal investigations and prosecutions for alleged participation in banned “extremist” political opposition groups, Human Rights Watch said today. Over…
Koshe Party activists handing out information leaflets in Nursultan, Kazakhstan’s capital, before the unregistered group was banned by court order. February 18, 2020.
News

Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child

Submission to the Committee on the Rights of the Child regarding Children’s Rights and Alternative Care June 30, 2021 Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the Committee on the Rights of the Child ahead of its upcoming Day…
News

Government Urged to Fully Implement Reforms

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has slammed Kazakhstan – again – for harassing union leaders. At the ILO’s annual conference, earlier this June, Kazakhstan drew the ire of the Committee on the Application of Standards, which reviews…
A worker prepares pipes to service an oil well on oil fields operated by a subsidiary of the KazMunayGas Exploration Production JSC in Kyzylorda region, southern Kazakhstan on January 21, 2016.
News
A federal judge in California ruled on April 21 that the Iraqi extradition case against Omar Ameen, a resettled refugee in the U.S., was based on an alleged series of events that is "simply not plausible." The evidence the government presented,…
202004us_detention_immigration
News

Vulnerable People Stripped of Services During Pandemic

Update 8/25/21: In a letter dated August 13, 2021, the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut responded to Human Rights Watch laying out the measures the government is taking to ensure that returns are not forced, and saying that it is providing food, shelter, and…
Government buses waiting to move families from one camp in Anbar governate to another during a previous wave of camp closures in December 2018.  © 2018 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
News

Feminist Activists Attacked and Threatened

On May 29, Zhanar Sekerbaeva and Gulzada Serzhan, co-leaders of the feminist group Feminita, were holding a private event to discuss gender equality in Shymkent, a city in southern Kazakhstan, when unidentified men tried to break up the gathering by…
Feminita Kazakstan Activist Arrested
News

Potential Complicity in Unlawful Detention of ISIS Suspects, Children

Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden should promptly repatriate their nationals unlawfully held in life-threatening conditions in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the four governments today.…
Children fly a kite at al-Hol camp in northeast Syria. 
News
When protests erupted in Baghdad and other parts of central and southern Iraq in October 2019, tens of thousands of mostly young people took to the streets demanding improved government services and more action to curb widespread corruption. The…
Iraqi security forces fire tear gas to disperse protesters during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019.
News

Instagrammer Faces Criminal Prosecution for Satirical News

Temirlan Ensebek, a 25-year-old from Almaty, Kazakhstan, is under criminal investigation on charges of “disseminating knowingly false information” in connection with the satirical Instagram account Qaznews24, which he ran for a few weeks in April. If…
Temirlan Ensebek Kazakhstan Free Speech Detained
News

Human Rights Watch Introduces Country Index Based on Laws, Policies

(Beirut) – Governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) should outlaw the violent discipline of children, Human Rights Watch said today, introducing an index categorizing countries in the region based on their laws and policies. The MENA…
2020 Dadu Shin for Human Rights Watch
News

Bill Would Have Criminalized Wide Range of Peaceful Expression

In a win for online freedom in Iraq, in February the Iraqi parliament said it will stop pushing forward a cybercrimes draft law until after it is amended so that it protects rather than infringes upon free speech. As it stood, the law would have…
Woman holding up a sign in Arabic
News

Appeals Court Should Consider Flagrant Irregularities

(Beirut) – A court in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq sentenced three journalists and two activists to six years in prison on February 16, 2021, in deeply flawed proceedings, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities continue to hold two other…
Families of the journalists and activists on trial on February 16, 2021, sitting outside the Erbil District Court of Appeal.
News

Unsanitary Conditions in Formosa; Isolation, Quarantine Centers; Free Speech Restrictions

(Washington, DC) – Authorities in Argentina’s northern province of Formosa have employed often abusive and unsanitary measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, Human Rights Watch and the Johns Hopkins University’s centers for Public Health and…
People held in mandatory quarantine at School N°18, which served as a quarantine center, in the city of Formosa, on January 21, 2021.
News

Activists Demand Equality, Better Protection

By Vika Kim International Women’s Day 2021, on Monday, was the first time authorities in Almaty, Kazakhstan allowed a march celebrating the day to proceed. I joined the five-kilometer march along one of the city’s main roads, with hundreds of…
International Women’s Day march in Almaty, Kazakhstan, March 8, 2021.