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Discriminatory Restrictions Affect Independence to Marry, Study, Work, Travel

(Beirut, March 29, 2021) – Qatar’s discriminatory male guardianship system denies women the right to make many key decisions about their lives, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 94-page report, “‘Everything I Have to Do is…
Women fly a kite in a park next to a body of water
News

Penal Code Amendments a Setback for Freedom of Expression

(Beirut) – Qatar has amended its penal code to restrict further the already-narrow space for free expression by setting criminal penalties for spreading “fake news” online, Human Rights Watch said today. The amendment, introduced…
An image of the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on a building in Doha, Qatar.
News

2022 World Cup Host Should Reform Anti-LGBT Laws

The government of Qatar should change its laws to end arbitrary censorship of articles about sexual orientation and gender identity and revoke its Penal Code provision that punishes same-sex relations with imprisonment between one to…
People look at a model of Al Thumama stadium during an unveiling ceremony at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar, August 24, 2017. © 2017 REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon
News

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can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…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.
News

Leading Bahraini Rights Activist Sentenced to Two Years in Prison

(Beirut) – Gulf governments have sustained their campaigns to silence peaceful critics during the first half of 2017, Human Rights Watch said today, updating an interactive website, created in November 2016, featuring targeted human rights activists. On…
Portraits of online activists in Gulf states.
News

Actions by Other Middle Eastern Countries a Blow to Free Speech

  (Beirut) – Arab countries engaged in a dispute with Qatar have shut down media outlets with links to or considered sympathetic to the Qatari government, Human Rights Watch said today. The action is a violation of freedom of…
The Al Jazeera Media Network logo is seen inside its headquarters in Doha, Qatar June 8, 2017.
News

Further Undermines Media Freedom

(Beirut) – Qatari authorities have blocked Doha News, the country’s only independent news website, in a move that undermines Qatar’s attempts to present itself as a center for media freedom in the Gulf region, Human Rights Watch said today. Doha News has…
Vodafone and Ooredo confirm Doha News, Qatar’s only independent news website, is blocked in Qater. Screengrab from Doha News website.
News

Region-Wide Crackdown on Social Media Activism

(Beirut) – Gulf governments have attempted to silence peaceful critics in response to a wave of online activism in recent years, Human Rights Watch said in an interactive website that began operating today. The governments have responded to online…
Portraits of online activists in Gulf states.
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

Gulf Countries Should Improve Laws, Ratify Treaty

(Beirut) – Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) should bring their national laws on domestic workers up to the standards set by the International Labour Organization (ILO) Domestic Workers Convention. All six countries should ratify the…
News
The Stoic philosopher Epictetus warned of the dangers of casually bad-mouthing the ruler in ancient Rome: “A soldier, dressed like a civilian, sits down by your side, and begins to speak ill of Caesar, and then you too, just as though you had received…
News

Gunmen Open Fire on Leading Investigative Reporter’s Car

(Washington, DC) – Colombia should ensure that the investigation into the attack on a leading investigative journalist thoroughly examines possible motives related to his work and identifies all responsible parties, Human Rights Watch said today. On the…
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“If I looked nice, he hit me,” Ana L., a mother of five in Colombia, told me. Ana (not her real name) detailed years of abuse by her partner. He beat her when she was pregnant, and hit her head so hard that she suffered permanent vision damage. She sought…
News

Ensure Perpetrators Prosecuted, Health Services for Victims of Rape, Domestic Violence

(Washington, DC) – Colombia’s laws on violence against women are not adequately protecting victims displaced by the armed conflict, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. Approximately two million internally displaced women and girls face…
News

Drop Charges Against Poet Charged With Insulting Emir

(Beirut) ­– Qatar’s ruler should not approve a draft media law unless loosely worded provisions penalizing criticism of Qatar or neighboring governments are removed, Human Rights Watch said today. The draft law builds in a double standard on free…
News
It’s the Americas’ largest reunion. Happening every three years, the Summit of the Americas brings together the heads-of-state of the region to talk about pressing concerns. Over the weekend in Cartagena, Colombia, the theme will be “Connecting the…
News
Joseph Kony, Thomas Lubanga and Charles Taylor are just the tip of the iceberg. The use of children as soldiers extends far beyond Africa. Last week in The Hague, the International Criminal Court, or ICC, found the Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga guilty…
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Projects Spotlight Crises in Congo and Colombia

(New York) - Human Rights Watch has won three prestigious Webby Awards for its video and multimedia work, drawing attention to human rights crises in Colombia and Congo. The winning projects tell the stories of brave human rights defenders and survivors…