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Law’s Gaps Should be Fixed by Next Government

(Berlin) – A new law on human rights in supply chains adopted by the German Parliament on June 11, 2021, ushers in a long-awaited shift to mandatory company compliance rules in Germany, Human Rights Watch said today. The German parliament acted…
A 9-year old girl collects sand at a mining site in Uganda.
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Call for an Effective Human Rights Due Diligence Law

(Berlin) – A German law that would require companies to exercise due diligence throughout their supply chains could greatly benefit children’s rights, Human Rights Watch, Kindernothilfe, Plan International Germany, Save the Children, Terre des hommes…
Child labor in an informal gold mine in Ghana
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Companies’ Respect for Rights at Particular Risk During Covid-19

This would have been the week: The German government had put the planned Supply Chain Act on its cabinet meeting agenda. If passed, the law would require companies to ensure that the rights of workers and communities in their supply chains are…
Workers sew clothes in a garments factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh, July 25, 2020.
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  In 2020, you should be watching for a growing trend of national legislatures requiring companies to live up to their responsibilities to workers, communities, and the environment. Millions of adults and children around the world suffer…
Children pan for gold
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Groups Call for Law on Human Rights Protection in Companies’ Sourcing Practices

Knowing where products are made is key to stopping human rights abuses in the global supply chain.  An alliance of 64 NGOs and trade unions in Germany – including Human Rights Watch – has launched a Supply Chains Law Campaign urging the…
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Protecting Rights in Global Supply Chains

Our lives are full of products produced in faraway countries—think of the clothes you wear or the device you are reading this on. In many cases, consumers have little information about how they are produced, or under what conditions.…
A garment worker sews clothing in a building near the site of the Rana Plaza building collapse.
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Widespread Rights Abuses

(Berlin) – G20 labor ministers gathering in Germany on May 18 and 19, 2017, should pledge to protect human rights in global supply chains, Human Rights Watch said today. Germany currently holds the presidency of the G20, a group of 20 governments from…
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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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On a warm January afternoon in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Sandra, a forty-year-old tobacco farmer, dragged a lawn chair to a clearing in her front yard and motioned for me to sit. She was round-faced, with wispy blonde hair pulled into a…
2015-10-US-CRD_TOBACCO WORKER
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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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For Children in the Fields, Serious Health Risks and Schooling Lost

(Almaty, July 14, 2010) - Many migrant tobacco workers in Kazakhstan have been cheated and exploited, and some trapped into forced labor, Human Rights Watch said in a report issued today. Kazakh farm owners employ the migrant workers for seasonal work.…