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Police Handed Enhanced Powers to Infiltrate Phones and Computers

The German parliament amended two laws on June 10th granting enhanced surveillance powers to segments of the federal police and intelligence services. They allow the use of spyware to hack into phones and computers circumventing encryption used by…
The logo of the messenger app Whatsapp is seen on the screen of a smartphone on April 28th, 2021 in Berlin, Germany.
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Major Advance for Victims of Abuses During Yahya Jammeh Rule

(Berlin) – The arrest in Germany on March 16, 2021, of an alleged former Gambian “death squad” member suspected of crimes against humanity is an important step for Gambian victims and international justice, Human Rights Watch said today. “Bai…
Members of the Gambian paramilitary group known as the Junglers. The Junglers have been implicated in serious human rights violations including torture, enforced disappearances, and killings.
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Universal Jurisdiction Provides Opening for Justice

  (Berlin) – The start of a landmark trial in Germany of two people alleged to be former Syrian intelligence officials on crimes against humanity charges is an important chance for victims to see justice done, Human Rights Watch said today.…
Illustration © 2017 Brian Stauffer for Human Rights Watch
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Free Journalists, Rights Defenders, Politicians Jailed in Turkey

Given the present state of human rights in Turkey, the German government has come in for criticism over the elaborate plans for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey’s upcoming visit on September 28 and 29, including a state banquet…
From left to right: Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak
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Chancellor Visiting Amid New Levels of Repression

(Berlin) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 18, 2018 in Sochi is a crucial opportunity to press for the release of a wrongfully detained Russian human rights defender and to raise other key…
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017
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NetzDG is Wrong Response to Online Abuse

(Berlin) – The new German law that compels social media companies to remove hate speech and other illegal content can lead to unaccountable, overbroad censorship and should be promptly reversed, Human Rights Watch said today. The law sets a…
Session of the German lower house of Parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, February 1, 2018.
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  Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer should take a stand in defense of European Union values and the rule of law by rejecting a political alliance with the rights-damaging policies of…
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban looks up during a plenary session at the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels, Belgium April 26, 2017.
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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
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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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(Berlin) Human rights activists, independent journalists, academics and others in Turkey are sounding the alarm bells over a dramatic worsening of human rights conditions in the country, and are urging Germany to listen.   On my recent visit to…
Riot police stand guard outside the Kanalturk and Bugun TV building in Istanbul, 28 October 2015
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In 2004, four Iraqis filed a criminal complaint with the German federal prosecutor against senior United States officials alleging torture by US armed forces in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The US government strongly protested and warned that the complaint…
CIA torture pic 3
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Interpol Had Rejected Cairo’s Request to Issue Notice for Extradition

(Berlin) – German authorities should urgently investigate the detention of the Egyptian journalist Ahmed Mansour in Berlin, Human Rights Watch said today. German authorities have revealed few of the details that led to his detention, but government…
Al Jazeera's journalist Ahmed Mansour gestures as he arrives for a news conference in Berlin, Germany on June 23, 2015.
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Listening to the debate in Europe on the threat from the extremist group Islamic State (IS) and returning fighters feels like Groundhog Day. Its black-and-white presentation, the existential nature of the alleged threat, the notion that governments should…
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More Governments Should Set up Specialized War Crimes Units

(The Hague) - Governments wanting to limit impunity for the most serious international crimes should look to the examples of three European countries showing leadership in this area. Specialized war crimes units composed of police, prosecutors, and…
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Today Julian Assange, the Wikileaks publisher, begins his third year confined in the Ecuadorean embassy in London. He fled there, receiving political asylum, when Sweden sought his extradition to answer sexual assault allegations. Although both Assange…
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General Assembly Should Pass Strong Resolution on the Right to Privacy in the Digital Age

(New York) – The United Nations General Assembly should approve a new resolution and make clear that indiscriminate surveillance is never consistent with the right to privacy, five human rights organizations said in a November 20, 2013 letter to members…
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Rogge’s Failure to Uphold Olympic Charter Led to Preventable Rights Crises in Beijing, Sochi

(New York) – The election of Thomas Bach as the new International Olympic Committee (IOC) president should open a new day in the enforcement of human rights principles enshrined in the Olympic Charter. Bach succeeds Jacques Rogge, whose 12-year tenure as…
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Panama Releases Ex-CIA Figure Wanted for Rendition

(Milan) – Italy should continue its efforts to obtain justice for abuses by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), despite Panama’s decision to free a former CIA Milan station chief wanted by Italy. Media reports indicated that Panamanian…
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The Arab uprisings have been a poignant reminder of how the Internet can promote free expression and assembly, but also how governments can try abuse it. The medium used by demonstrators to organize protests and bring medical supplies to Tahrir Square,…