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Re: Protecting Human Rights in Australia’s Foreign Policy

Dear Minister Payne, Congratulations on your reappointment as foreign minister. Human Rights Watch looks forward to working with you to make protection of human rights a strong pillar of Australia’s foreign policy. We attach a…
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Human Rights Council Seat Demands Greater Leadership

(Sydney) – The Australian government should make the protection of human rights a central focus of its foreign policy, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the recently reappointed Foreign Minister Marise Payne that was released today. …
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Human Rights Council Panel commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention

As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention, I wish to address the crucial role of the International Criminal Court in realizing its ideals. This year also marks the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the ICC’s…
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Interactive Dialogue with COI on Syria

Human Rights Watch thanks the Commission of Inquiry for highlighting the devastating and unlawful acts committed by parties on both sides of the conflict during the offensive on Eastern Ghouta between February and April 2018. Over the months leading up to…
A fighter from Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands next to debris of damaged buildings in Raqqa, Syria, September 25, 2017. © 2017 REUTERS
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Urgent Debate on deteriorating situation of human rights in Eastern Ghouta at the Human Rights Council

We express the greatest concern for the situation in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, as it continues to deteriorate significantly. And we welcome this urgent debate. As UN Secretary General Guterres told the Human Rights Council at…
An elderly man walks near a damaged building in the besieged town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, Syria.
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More International Support Needed for Clearance

(Beirut) – Homemade landmines have killed and injured hundreds of civilians, including more than 150 children, in Raqqa, Syria since the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) was pushed out of the city in October 2017, Human Rights Watch…
Warning about mines written on outside wall of building in Raqqa, Syria, January 21, 2018.
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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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As members of the UN Security Council debate this week about whether to renew their Syria chemical weapons investigation, they might want to read Wilfred Owen’s World War One poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” It describes an attack in which a man…
A poison hazard danger sign is seen in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib province, Syria on April 5, 2017.
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Item 4 Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria

Human Rights Watch supports the findings of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians. An investigation by Human Rights Watch has established that the Syrian government forces have used nerve agents on…
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters on their way to Raqqa, Syria June 6, 2017© 2017 Reuters
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Detainee Rights, Indiscriminate Attacks, Treatment of Displaced People

(Beirut) – The United States-led coalition, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and other local armed groups should make protecting civilians and respect for human rights a priority in the offensive to retake Raqqa from the Islamic…
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters on their way to Raqqa, Syria June 6, 2017© 2017 Reuters
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Security Forces, Prisoners, Women, Among Those Executed

(Erbil) – The Islamic State (also known as ISIS) executed and dumped the bodies of possibly hundreds of detainees at a site near Mosul, Human Rights Watch said today. Multiple witnesses told Human Rights Watch that the bodies of those killed,…
‘Hammam al-Alil mass grave marked and fenced’ Caption: A marked and fenced ISIS mass grave in Hammam al-Alil, 30 kilometers south of Mosul, discovered in November 2016.
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Item 2 – Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner on his Annual Report

We share the High Commissioner’s concerns about current threats to human rights values, and to the international framework itself. Whether the Council can rise to these challenges will depend on a number of factors. First, leadership: many…
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Lessons for Impending Battles in Iraq and Syria

(Beirut) – Homemade landmines have killed and injured hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children, in Manbij, a city in northern Syria. The antipersonnel mines, often called improvised explosive devices, were planted by the…
A family member stands next to the graves of three children who were killed when an explosive device planted by ISIS in a school in Manbij detonated on September 27.