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Anniversary Marks Ongoing Assault on Women’s Rights, Rule of Law

(Brussels) – Women, girls, and all pregnant people have faced extreme barriers to accessing legal abortions in the year since a Constitutional Tribunal ruling virtually banned legal abortion in Poland, 14 human rights organizations said today. Since…
Women take part in a demonstration against the Polish abortion law, in Wroclaw, Poland, on March 17, 2021.
News

Decision Shows Need for Decisive Action to Defend EU Founding Values

An October 8 decision by Poland’s politically compromised Constitutional Tribunal came as a shock in the country and across Europe. In its ruling, the court decided that two core articles of the European Union’s founding treaties are incompatible with…
Cover for Poland Report
News

The ostensible assault on LGBT+ rights in Hungary, Poland and Russia has a very big target—anyone who signs up to universal norms.

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, used the visit by the pope to Budapest last month to advance his populist agenda. He said he had been encouraged by his meeting with Frances to advance ‘family values’. Indeed, Orbán claimed to have…
An activist holding the EU flag during a protest in Warsaw against “LGBT ideology free zones”. ©2021 Attila Husejnow / SOPA Images/Sipa USA
News

Believe or not, there are reasons for both sides to include human rights in the Mexico talks

It’s pretty clear why including a human rights agenda in the ongoing negotiations between Nicolás Maduro’s representatives and the Venezuelan opposition makes political sense for the opposition, which seeks conditions for a transition back to…
Jorge Rodriguez, left, representing the Maduro government, shakes hands with Venezuelan opposition delegate Gerardo Blyde Perez, in Mexico City, Friday, Aug. 13, 2021.
News

Polish Authorities Should Allow Access to Territory and Asylum Process

While Poland’s government touts its role in the airlift of at-risk Afghans from Kabul, it has trapped 32 Afghans for over 3 weeks at its border with Belarus, preventing them from entering Poland to exercise their right to seek asylum and denying them…
Polish security forces surround migrants at the border with Belarus in Usnarz Gorny, Poland on September 1, 2021. 
News

End Repression, Overhaul Judiciary, Free Political Prisoners, Allow Humanitarian Aid

(New York) – Nicolás Maduro’s representatives should commit to taking basic steps to restore respect for human rights and to holding free and fair elections when they sit down at the negotiating table with the Venezuelan opposition in September 2021,…
Head of the Venezuelan opposition delegation Gerardo Blyde, Kingdom of Norway representative Dag Nylander, Venezuelan National Assembly President Jorge Rodríguez, and Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard during the Inauguration of the Negotiation and Dialogue Process and Signature of the Memorandum of Understanding of Venezuela, at the National Museum of Anthropology on August 13, 2021, in Mexico City.
News

Senate Should Reject Bill Preventing Foreign Media Owners

Poland’s lower house unleashed a major threat to media pluralism on August 11, approving a bill that prevents non-European shareholders from owning a majority stake in Polish media companies. While the government has argued it needs to strengthen…
A woman holds a sign with the words "Free media" in Warsaw, Poland on August 11, 2021.
News

End Summary Deportations; Respect Due Process

(Washington, DC) – The Chilean government should stop summary deportations of Venezuelans and ensure that any deportations comply with international human rights law, Human Rights Watch said today. A series of rulings by Chile’s Supreme Court and…
Venezuelan migrants board a plane as they are being deported from Chile, at the General Diego Aracena Aguilar International Airport in Iquique, Chile, on February 10, 2021. 
News

Reporting Not Matched by Action to Protect Democratic Institutions

The launch of the European Commission’s latest report on the state of rule of law in the European Union should be a milestone. It contains dozens of pages of analysis for each EU country on threats to democratic institutions, covering judicial…
European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders delivers the opening statements during a plenary session on the Commissions 2020 Rule of law report at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on June 23, 2021. 
News
The situation in Venezuela, an International Criminal Court (ICC) member country, has been under preliminary examination by the court’s Office of the Prosecutor since February 2018. The Office of the Prosecutor carries out preliminary examinations to…
News

Compromised Tribunal Rejects EU Rulings

The rule of law in Poland sustained another blow on July 14. The country’s politically compromised Constitutional Tribunal, acting at the behest of the Polish government, ruled that an April 2020 decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union…
A pro-EU protestor stands outside the Constitutional Tribunal in Warsaw, Poland, on April 28, 2021 with posters that say Rule of Law and No Polexit!
News

Reports Have Helped Spotlight Abuses Including During the Covid-19 Pandemic

For years, Human Rights Watch has been documenting and exposing the brutal crackdown on dissent by the Nicolás Maduro government, the humanitarian emergency in Venezuela, and the resulting exodus of more than 5.6 million people since 2014. Our research…
A man kneels in front of police blocking a march called by opposition political leader Juan Guaido in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 10, 2020.
News

HRW Statement - Item 4 ID on the High Commissioner's report on Venezuela

We thank the High Commissioner for her report. The evidence on the ground shows that Venezuelan authorities have absolutely failed to comply with UN recommendations: Torture, inhumane treatment, forced disappearances and arbitrary detentions…
Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro holds a copy of the constitution during his annual address to the nation before lawmakers at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021.
News

Concerted Action Needed to Counter Rule of Law Threats in Poland and Hungary

(Brussels) – European Union affairs ministers should put the governments of Hungary and Poland on notice that there is no place for attacks on the rule of law in the EU and step up scrutiny of their human rights-abusive policies, Amnesty International…
European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 28, 2015.
News

Leaders Show Little Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Last week, an appeals panel of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) upheld the 2017 genocide conviction of Bosnian Serb wartime military commander Ratko Mladić. Chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said of Mladić, “His name…
A woman among the graves of victims of the Srebrenica genocide, at the memorial cemetery in Potocari, near Srebrenica, Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
News

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
News

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

Potential Complicity in Unlawful Detention of ISIS Suspects, Children

Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden should promptly repatriate their nationals unlawfully held in life-threatening conditions in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the four governments today.…
Children fly a kite at al-Hol camp in northeast Syria.