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Government financial support for fossil fuels, including through subsidies, presents a key obstacle to achieving emissions reductions urgently needed to address the climate crisis. Subsidies artificially reduce the costs of fossil fuel production and…
Pumpjacks at an oil well site near Epping, N.D., Oct. 1, 2018. © 2018 Jim Wilson/The New York Times/GDA via AP Images
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Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
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To the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to provide input on the challenges and risks facing climate defenders for the upcoming report by the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. While recognizing that…
Activists from mining communities protesting at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on August 24, 2018, KwaZulu-Natal © 2018 Rob Symons
News

Investigate, Protect Rights Defenders, End Hateful Rhetoric

Update: Poland’s Ministry of the Interior responded to Human Rights Watch’s request for information and comment on our findings in a four-page letter dated April 8, 2021. The letter states that the government adheres to international law guaranteeing…
Protesters hold a banner of Strajk Kobiet (Women's Strike) during a protest in Warsaw on March 8,  International Women's Day, organized by the Women's Strike (Strajk Kobiet) against the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and the decision of the Constitutional Court.
News

European Commission Should Hold Government Accountable for Violating Fundamental Rights

The message was clear at this week’s European Parliament hearing on Poland’s near-ban on abortion: the European Commission should act decisively to protect the lives and rights of women and girls and stop erosion of the values on which the European…
Women's rights activists, holding posters of the Women's Strike action, protest further tightening of Poland's restrictive abortion law in front of the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
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A case pending before Colombia’s Constitutional Court, brought by Causa Justa, creates a landmark opportunity to end an approach to abortion that violates the rights of women and health workers by decriminalizing this critically important health care…
News

As domestic violence rates soar in Europe under COVID-19 restrictions, women’s groups protest government inaction from Poland to Turkey.

As violence against women repeatedly grabs headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, women across Europe are at the forefront of mass protests demanding government action to protect women from abuse. Some argue that women shouldn’t risk their lives…
Protesters with a banner reading "Women's Strike" take part in a rally against the Polish government’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on prevention and combating of domestic violence, in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
News
(Berlin) – The Polish Constitutional Tribunal’s ruling to invalidate the constitutionality of access to abortion on the ground of “severe and irreversible fetal defect or incurable illness that threatens the fetus’ life” will further harm women and…
Protestors prepare to take part in a car demonstration organized by Women's Strike against imposing further restrictions on abortion law in Poland.
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(New York, August 13, 2020) – The Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdown are making it even harder for the Wayuu, an indigenous group in Colombia and Venezuela, to survive, Human Rights Watch and the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health said in a…
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Don’t Manipulate Pandemic to Endanger Women, Adolescents

UPDATE: On April 16, 2020, the Polish Parliament sent both the “Stop Abortion” bill and the “Stop Pedophilia” bill to committee for “further work.” This decision means neither bill has been rejected, but further consideration has been postponed…
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News

Attacks by Government Put Women, Services at Risk

(Brussels) – The Polish government is targeting women’s rights activists and organizations, putting women’s rights and safety at risk, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. More than two years after the first mass protests against…
Women’s rights supporters at a demonstration for International Women’s Day in Krakow, Poland, on March 8, 2018. The center sign uses the slogan “No Woman, No Country.”
Report
  Summary On October 3, 2016, thousands of demonstrators filled streets across Poland to protest the ruling Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, PiS) party’s attempt to enact a complete abortion ban. #CzarnyProtest (Black…
News

Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the UDHR at COP24

Today, as we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, governments at the climate summit COP24 in Poland are working around the clock to finalize the Paris “Rulebook” – the regulations that will guide the…
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News

Denials Come in Wake of New Law That Restricts Protest Rights

When I traveled to Poland to attend the United Nations climate conference yesterday, I passed through immigration without any problems. But not all representatives of civil society groups participating in the negotiations have been that lucky.…
Women climate change activists demand respect for rights at Paris Agreement signing ceremony outside the United Nations in New York, April 2016.
News

On Black Protest Anniversary, Support for Women’s Rights Needed

On October 3, 2016, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Poland in defiance of the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s attempt to enact a complete abortion ban.  #CzarnyProtest, or Black Protest, and #StrajkKobiet (…
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News
As this month’s climate talks in Germany come to an end, some participants are feeling a little queasy. Environmental activists and indigenous peoples worry about their ability to actively participate in the annual UN climate talks, in Katowice,…
Women climate change activists demand respect for rights at Paris Agreement signing ceremony outside the United Nations in New York, April 2016.
News

Proposed Bill Continues Roll Back on Reproductive Rights

(Warsaw) – Poland’s Parliament should listen to the voices of women across Poland and reject a regressive legislative proposal that would erode reproductive rights, more than 200 human and women’s rights groups from across the globe…
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News

On International Women’s Day, Remember the Dangers Women Activists Face

It has been a year since Ruth Alicia Lopez Guisao, a rights activist in Colombia, was assassinated by unidentified gunmen. She was an outspoken community leader that worked with Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups on land reform in the western department…
Ruth Alicia López Guisao.
News

Bill Will Limit Protests During COP24 Summit

In mid-January, the Polish parliament passed a government-sponsored bill which, will hamper the rights of environmental activists to protest at UN climate talks in December and subject them to government surveillance. President Andrzej Duda signed…
Environmental activists chain themselves to a logging machine during an action in the defence of one of the last primeval forests in Europe, Bialowieza forest, Poland May 24, 2017.