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Universal Jurisdiction Provides Opening for Justice for Long-Ignored Crimes

(Stockholm) – The opening of a landmark trial in Sweden on August 10, 2021 of an Iranian citizen accused of participating in the mass execution of political prisoners is an important moment for victims long denied recognition and justice. On July…
A human rights exhibition on Iran during the international campaign to demand justice for the victims of the 1988 massacre, held near the French National Assembly in Paris, November 14, 2017.
News
Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrate daily against the military junta in Burma (also known as Myanmar). Many Burmese people have expressed their opposition to the military's takeover of the democratically elected government – but they need the…
Mandalay University graduates bow their heads as they hold posters of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, a 19-year-old woman fatally shot by police on February 9 in Naypyidaw, during an anti-coup protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, February 14, 2021. 
News

Foreign Minister Should Raise Issue of Attacks on Civil Society

Foreign Minister Ann Linde’s trip to Moscow this week, the first one during Sweden’s chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), comes as Russia is in the midst of a severe human rights crisis. Last month’s arrest…
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, meets with Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde in Moscow, February 2, 2021.
News
Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record. In its latest attempt, Saudi…
Since the brutal murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state agents two years ago, Saudi Arabia has significantly ramped up its efforts to divert public attention from its dismal human rights record.
News
Canadians across the country welcomed the news last week that Vanessa Rodel and her young daughter, Keana, had finally found shelter in Montreal. They are two of “Snowden’s angels,” asylum-seekers whose kindness in sheltering the…
Asylum seekers, from left: Ajith Pushpa Kumara, Vanessa Mae Rodel and her daughter Keana, Nadeeka Dilrukshi Nonis and her son Dinath and daughter Sethmundi Kellapatha, and Supun Thilina Kellapatha, pose outside the building of Hong Kong's immigration depa
News

Sponsors in Quebec Stand Ready to Help

(Toronto) – Canada should urgently intervene to admit the asylum-seekers who assisted Edward Snowden in Hong Kong, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s immigration, refugees and citizenship minister.…
Two mothers hold their children in their arms as they wait outside the immigration department's building in Hong Kong, China.
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Summary These cases are important. We need to know that these trials are happening because these are the crimes we are fleeing. —Hassan, Syrian refugee in Germany, February 2017 Over the last six years the Syrian crisis has claimed the lives of an…
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Efforts to bring those responsible for atrocities in Syria before European courts are starting to bear fruit, notably in Swedish and German courts, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. While various authorities in Europe have opened…
News

Small Case in Sweden a Worthy Start

The photograph is disturbing. A young man in military fatigues is standing on dead bodies looking victorious. The posture of the Syrian soldier, with a grin suggesting pride and his military boot on a victim’s chest, suggests domination…
Stockholm District Court, where most of Sweden’s war crimes cases are adjudicated.
News
Canada’s Supreme Court on June 28, 2017 upheld a lower court’s injunction to require Google to delist web pages from a company that had been copying and selling a product belonging to Equustek Solutions Inc.. Google had already delisted all the company’s…
News

Lawyers Now Seek Refuge for Them in Canada

(New York) – Seven people who sheltered the whistleblower Edward Snowden in June 2013 are at risk of return to torture and persecution at home, Human Rights Watch said today. On May 11, 2017, the Hong Kong Immigration Department…
Protesters supporting Edward Snowden confront policemen as they demand that US President Barack Obama grant Snowden a pardon, outside the US Consulate in Hong Kong, China, on September 25, 2016.
News

Bill Would Bar Those Wearing Face Coverings from Receiving Government Services

Imagine you’re a young university student in Montreal, when you wrench your ankle badly. You head to the nearest hospital, expecting an exam and perhaps an X-ray. Instead, the person behind the registration desk takes one look at you and says the hospital…
Demonstrators hold signs as they protest against Quebec's proposed Charter of Values in Montreal, September 14, 2013.
News
Seeking justice for the ongoing grave human rights abuses in Syria has proven largely elusive. Now the shield of impunity is beginning to crack. Several countries, including Sweden, Germany, and France are in the process of investigating some…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
News

Refugee Crisis and Universal Jurisdiction Cases in Europe

What’s the basis for European courts to try atrocities committed in Syria and Iraq? What is universal jurisdiction? Does universal jurisdiction mean that every country can investigate any grave international crime committed in Syria and Iraq? What…
Syrian Man Carries Children After Barrel Bomb Attack
News

Video, Q&A Highlight Cases Spurred by Syrian, Iraqi Refugees

(Brussels) – Human Rights Watch released a question-and-answer document and video on October 20, 2016 that highlight the groundbreaking investigations and prosecutions in European countries of people accused of kidnappings, ill-treatment, and torture in…
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Refugees Assist Investigations in France, Germany and Sweden

As Bashar al-Assad’s forces ramped up their bombing campaign on rebel-held territory over the past year, his government may not have realized that they were cracking its shield against accountability for crimes committed in the Syrian conflict since 2011…
Shelters burning in Iqdah displaced persons camp near the closed Turkish border north of Aleppo after ISIS took over the camp on April 14.
News

Rolls Back Refugee Rights; Could Harm Children

(Stockholm) – The Swedish Parliament is expected to approve a restrictive new asylum bill on June 21, 2016, that could harm the well-being of migrant children in need of protection and undermine their opportunity to effectively integrate into Swedish…
Nour T., a 16-year-old Syrian girl, at a group home in Gothenburg, Sweden.
News

Abducted with Three Colleagues in 2013

(New York) – Human Rights Watch today joined eight other organizations in seeking the Canadian government’s support for the release of the Syrian human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, her husband, and two more of their colleagues. Her family in Canada has…