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For Survivors of Abuse, Shelters Offered Lifeline

“My parents warned me they will kill me if I ever leave this shelter,” Najla, a woman of about 30, told me. “The worst thing is that I don’t have anyone to support me.” She has been in a shelter in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat for several years…
Afghan women sew in their bedroom at a women's shelter in Kabul, March 20, 2017. A non-descript building tucked away in a residential neighborhood is one of the few hidden sanctuaries where battered women can seek support. 
Report
Summary The international reconstruction effort in Afghanistan after 2001 created an opportunity to advance human rights, and women’s and girls’ rights in particular. Although its achievements have fallen short of what was envisioned, significant…
News

International Women’s Day Should Prompt Real Reforms

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets, calling on their governments to take widespread sexual violence against women and children seriously, and to implement real reforms. But rather than listening to experts and…
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News

Death Penalty Push Ignores Real Solutions to Regional Failings

(New York) – South Asian governments should disregard populist death penalty rhetoric and listen to their own experts to prevent and end sexual violence against women, Human Rights Watch said in a video released today. Experts on sexual violence from…
202010asia_bangladesh_rape_student_protest
Report
Summary In late 2014, police officers entered the home of Lim Ok Kyung, a smuggler in her forties from North Korea’s South Hwanghae province. The police were looking for, and found, home appliances smuggled from China. Lim Ok Kyung was detained at a…
News

Torture, Lack of Due Process, Arbitrary Punishment, Corruption Rampant

(Seoul) – The North Korean pretrial detention and investigation system is arbitrary and lacks any semblance of due process, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Former detainees described systematic torture, dangerous and unhygienic…
An overhead illustration of people in a crowded jail cell
News

Forced Return Exposes Them to Risk of Torture, Other Abuses

(New York) – China should not forcibly deport seven detained North Koreans who face a grave risk of torture and other abuses if returned to North Korea, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should grant asylum to the members of the group…
Pedestrians walk by a statue of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong outside the railway station in the Chinese city of Dandong bordering North Korea in northeastern China's Liaoning Province, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019.
Report
  Summary Oh Jung Hee is a former trader in her forties from Ryanggang province. She sold clothes to market stalls in Hyesan city and was involved in the distribution of textiles in her province. She said that up until she left the country in…
News

Impunity for Assault and Rape by Men in Power

North Korean officials commit sexual violence with little concern for the consequences, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The government fails to investigate and prosecute complaints, or to provide protection and…
Woman being questioned by a secret police investigator. Former detainees say that secret police investigators can easily harass female detainees during questioning.
Video
North Korean officials commit sexual violence with little concern for the consequences. The government fails to investigate and prosecute complaints, or to provide protection and services to victims, and even asserts that the country is implausibly free…
News

Policy Bans Government Doctors from Conducting Abusive Tests

A new policy in Afghanistan promises to bar government health workers from engaging in the abusive practice of forcing women and girls to undergo invasive and medically meaningless vaginal and anal exams to determine whether they are “…
A demonstrator attends a rally outside the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, Belgium, October 5, 2016.
News

Reports of Ill-Treatment Show Need for Transparency, Monitoring

(Paris) – Uzbek authorities should immediately and unconditionally release an Afghan citizen whose 13-year imprisonment and alleged torture in custody have only recently become known, the Association for Human Rights in Central Asia, International…
A guard in a solitary confinement block at an unidentified prison in Uzbekistan. Prisoners in solitary confinement in Uzbekistan’s prisons experience cramped cells without bedding—some in total darkness, others with permanent bright lights
News

Groundbreaking 2009 Law Hasn’t Brought Justice for Victims

It seemed like a breakthrough. In 2009, when then-President Hamid Karzai signed Afghanistan’s Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW Law), women’s rights activists celebrated a hard-won victory. They looked to a future…
Members of civil society organizations chant slogans during a protest to condemn the killing of 27-year-old woman, Farkhunda, who was beaten with sticks and set on fire by a crowd of men in central Kabul in broad daylight on Thursday, in Kabul March 24, 2
News

Exhorts Philippine Soldiers to Shoot Female Rebels in their Vaginas

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte turned up his incendiary rhetoric against the communist insurgency, declaring last week that he would pay members of indigenous communities 20,000 pesos (US$380) for each rebel they killed. …
New People’s Army rebels sing during an anniversary celebration in Surigao del Sur province in the southern Philippines, December 2010.
News

Abusive ‘Virginity Exams’ Re-Traumatize Victims

“I will never report such a case again,” said Farida, a midwife in rural Afghanistan, after a judge humiliated her in a public courtroom for her efforts to document a case of sexual assault involving two child victims. Farida…
An Afghan woman in Chaghchran capital of Ghor province June 2, 2014.
News

Investigate and Shutter Unofficial Police Lock-Up Cells

(New York) – The Philippine government should immediately release the alleged drug suspects unlawfully detained in a Manila police station “secret jail,” and ensure their protection after release, Human Right Watch said today. The…
Philippines: Release and Protect “Secret Jail” Detainees PHOTO
News

Demand Accountability on Occasion of Kim Jong-Un’s Birthday

(Seoul) – January 8 celebrations planned for the 33rd birthday of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un only spotlight the daily reality of terrible human rights abuses North Koreans face, Human Rights Watch said today. The annual celebrations are filled with…
Kim Jong-Un Korean Central News Agency
News
On Saturday, something rare occurred in Afghanistan: a Kabul court convicted a man of raping a 10-year-old girl. Rapes are rarely reported and even less frequently tried in Afghan courts. But the victim, Hamida (her real name withheld to protect her…
News

President Ghani Should Back Sweeping Reforms Now

(New York) – Afghanistan’s new government should take urgent steps to combat sexual harassment of women in education, employment, and public life, Human Rights Watch said today. There are no laws in Afghanistan that specifically prohibit sexual harassment…