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579 Cases in 3 Months Show Need for Reproductive Rights, Sanitation

As Covid-19 dominates headlines, the Zika virus silently continues to put women and children at grave risk in Brazil, and the country has not taken nearly enough steps to combat the mosquito-borne disease or help the families impacted by it. Brazil…
Raquel, 25, holds her daughter Heloisa in Areia, Paraíba state, Brazil. Raquel gave birth to twin daughters with Zika syndrome in April 2016. “I want to give my best to my daughters,” she said in an interview with Human Rights Watch.
News

Unsanitary Cells Prime Condition for Spreading Virus Outside Walls

(New York) – The unsanitary, overcrowded prisons and juvenile detention centers in most Latin American and Caribbean countries offer prime conditions for outbreaks of COVID-19 that could severely affect the health of detainees and of…
Inmates point from inside of La Modelo prison in Bogota, Colombia, Sunday, March 22, 2020.
News
Listening to the candidates running for president in Brazil, one would never know that just three years ago the Zika epidemic radically changed the lives of thousands of Brazilian families. Maria Carolina Silva Flor (“Carol”) and Maria…
Maria Gabriela Silva Alves (“Gabi”), age 2, with her mother, Maria Carolina Silva Flor (“Carol”), at their home in Esperança, Paraíba state, Brazil in 2018. Gabi was one of thousands of children born with disabilities caused by exposure to the Zika virus
Report
Summary On a Friday afternoon in October 2015, Luciana Caroline Albuquerque Bezerra, the executive secretary of health surveillance for the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, received a call from her boss, the secretary of health for the state. Two…
News

Investigate and Shutter Unofficial Police Lock-Up Cells

(New York) – The Philippine government should immediately release the alleged drug suspects unlawfully detained in a Manila police station “secret jail,” and ensure their protection after release, Human Right Watch said today. The…
Philippines: Release and Protect “Secret Jail” Detainees PHOTO
News
To enter the unsanitary, violent, and inhumane cells of Brazil’s prisons is to step into a cruel netherworld where neither Brazilian nor international law seem to apply. For nearly 37,000 women behind bars, there is added anguish. Under…
Painted fingernails of an inmate in the Women's Prison of Brasilia, Brazil, August 3, 2011.
News

Announced Pause in Anti-Drug Campaign Ignores Thousands of Victims

(New York) – The United Nations should lead an independent international investigation into alleged unlawful killings by the Philippine police linked to President Rodrigo Duterte’s abusive “War on Drugs,” Human Rights Watch said today. On January 30, 2017…
philippines un presser 20170130
News

Condoms Needed in High Schools to Curb HIV Transmission

Philippine officials, led by Senator Vicente Sotto III, have vowed to block a plan by the Department of Health to start distributing condoms to students as part of its efforts to stem the spread of HIV. The health department plan recognizes that the…
Students receive free condoms at an event organized by the United Nations Population Fund in Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, July 11, 2014.
News
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.
Report
Summary The Philippines is facing one of the fastest-growing epidemics of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the Asia-Pacific region. According to official statistics, HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men has increased…
News
The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised concern among public health officials across the Americas. The World Health Organization warned Sunday that the virus is likely to spread further across the region. At first glance,…
A woman walks away from her apartment as health workers fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighborhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.
News
The Philippine government has taken a serious step backward in its obligation to protect maternal health, reduce infant mortality, and prevent the spread of HIV. Last week, the Philippine Congress eliminated funding in the 2016…
An NGO health worker holds contraceptive pills during a family planning session with housewives availing free pills in Tondo, Manila August 6, 2012.
News
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.
News
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.
News

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
News

“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.
News
Philippine Senator Vicente Sotto III may have his way in scuttling a study on needle exchange, which is designed to reverse the rise of HIV infection among people who inject drugs. Giving clean needles to intravenous drug users, he argued in the Senate,…
News

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…
News

World Leaders at Conference to Address Need for ‘Green Economy’

(New York) – World leaders have a once in a generation chance to create a meaningful link between sustainable development and human rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today in a joint statement targeting Environment and Foreign…