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New Human Rights Watch Campaign Against Whitewashing Rights Violations

(Beirut) – The Saudi government has spent billions of dollars hosting major entertainment, cultural, and sporting events as a deliberate strategy to deflect from the country’s image as a pervasive human rights violator, Human Rights Watch said today.…
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Safety Concerns for Activists, Ex-Crown Prince, Cleric

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia has denied some prominent detainees contact with their family members and lawyers for months, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter requesting access to the country and private prison visits with detainees. The situation…
Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul had been on hunger strike for six days before Saudi authorities finally allowed her parents to visit on August 31, according to family members. Al-Hathloul had spent almost three months before that in incommunicado detention.
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Palestinians, Jordanians Face Vague Charges, Allege Torture

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s mass trial of 68 Jordanian and Palestinian residents raises serious due process concerns amid accusations of abuse, Human Rights Watch said today. In March 2018, Saudi authorities carried out a wave of arrests…
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Previous Campaign Marred by Lack of Due Process, Torture Allegations

  (Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s new mass arrest of 298 government employees on suspicion of corruption raises human rights concerns, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi…
Women walk past a poster of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during Janadriyah Cultural Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 12, 2018.
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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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As the G20 Summit approaches and world leaders get ready to meet in Buenos Aires on Friday, a cloud of suspicion looms over Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. His visit to Argentina was supposed to help him rebuild his shattered…
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(Beirut) – Lawless armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) morphed into disastrous trends for the region in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its 2018 World Report. “Failed leadership, failed…
Smoke billows behind a building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 3, 2017, during clashes between Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. © 2017 Getty Images
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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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Criminalizes Criticisms of King and Crown Prince as Terrorism Offense

(New York) – Saudi Arabia’s new counterterrorism law includes vague and overly broad definitions of acts of terrorism, in some cases punishable by death, Human Rights Watch said today. The law replaces a widely criticized…
Saudi King Salman and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attend a graduation ceremony in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, January 25, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
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Resolve ‘Disappearances’, Grant Access to Detention Sites

(Beirut) – The UAE supports Yemeni forces that have arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and abused dozens of people during security operations, Human Rights Watch said today. The UAE finances, arms, and trains these forces, which…
Hadrami elite forces guard Mukalla from Al-Qaeda by creating check-points.
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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 Republican candidate for president of the United States speaks and writes approvingly of so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.” He is referring to a program run by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that subjected people the US detained…
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Endangers Freedom of Association

(São Paulo) – President Dilma Rousseff should veto a counterterrorism bill whose overbroad and vague language could be used to undermine freedom of association and expression in Brazil, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the president. “…
Students demonstrate in front of Brazil´s National Congress in Brasilia to demand more investment in public education. June 27, 2013.
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On March 4, President Francois Hollande awarded the Legion of Honor, once considered France’s most prestigious award, to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef for “countering extremism and fighting terrorism,” according to the Saudi Press Agency. …
French President Francois Hollande (R) welcomes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef of Saudi Arabia at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, March 4, 2016.
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Prominent Shia Cleric Among 47 Executed

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities carried out the largest mass execution in the country since 1980, putting 47 men to death on January 2, 2016. According to the Saudi state news agency, all of the men were convicted on terrorism charges, and most were members…
A girl carries a picture of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was executed along with 46 others in Saudi Arabia, during a protest against the execution in front of the United Nation's building in Beirut, Lebanon.
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Vague Language Can Be Used to Stifle Dissent

A counterterrorism bill under consideration in Brazil contains overbroad and vague language that endangers basic human rights such as freedom of association and expression, Human Rights Watch said today. Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies should reject the bill…
Students demonstrate in front of Brazil´s National Congress in Brasilia to demand more investment in public education. June 27, 2013.
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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.