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New Restrictions Indicate Crackdown on Free Speech

(New York) – Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have been detaining and assaulting journalists and imposing new restrictions on media work, Human Rights Watch said today. The Taliban should call a halt to the assaults, drop the restrictions, and…
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Boost Aid for Civil Society, Education, Health, Media

(New York) – The US government should address fears of increased insecurity fueled by its announced plan to withdraw all military forces from Afghanistan by committing to expanded support for human rights, including women’s rights, Human Rights…
President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, about the withdrawal of the remainder of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 
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Attacks Highlight Need to Uphold Press Freedom in Peace Settlement

(New York) – Taliban forces are deliberately targeting journalists and other media workers, including women, in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch said today. Threats and attacks against journalists across the country have increased sharply since…
Afghan journalists film at the site of a bombing attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. 
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Unfair Trial on Vague Charge of ‘Acts Against a Foreign State’

(Beirut) – The decision of a United Arab Emirates (UAE) court to sentence a Jordanian resident of the UAE to 10 years in prison in October 2020 was based entirely on peaceful Facebook posts criticizing Jordan’s government, Human Rights Watch said…
Ahmed Etoum
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Elyas Daye Among Many in Media Facing Increased Taliban Threats

(New York) – An improvised explosive device (IED) attached to the car of Elyas Dayee, a reporter with Azadi Radio, exploded and killed him on November 11, 2020 in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, Human Rights Watch said today. Although the Taliban…
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Raid on Kabul Journalists’ Home an Act of Intimidation

An Afghan police raid on the home of two female journalists in Kabul raises concerns about rising threats to women in public life – in this case from the Kabul police, who seem to have taken a page out of the Taliban’s playbook. At about midnight…
Afghan National Police seen near the Defense Ministry compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, February 27, 2016. 
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Investigate Airstrike on Mosque School that Killed at Least 12 Children

(New York) – Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh has ordered the arrest of the individual who reported civilian casualties from an Afghan government airstrike on October 22, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. The Afghan air force struck a mosque…
Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh at an inauguration ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 9, 2020. 
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Free Expression Under Assault

  (Amman) – Jordanian authorities should immediately release and drop abusive charges against Emad Hajjaj, a cartoonist, Human Rights Watch said today. Jordanian authorities arrested Hajjaj on August 26, 2020, for publishing a satirical…
Emad Hajjaj
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Teachers’ Syndicate Board Released; Others Still Held

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have exploited the country’s Covid-19 pandemic to forcibly disperse public protests against the arbitrary closure of the country’s Teachers Syndicate and mass arrests of its leadership, Human Rights Watch said today…
 Jordanian police block a road in front of protestors in Irbid, north of Jordan on August 1, 2020.
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Latest Escalation in Media Restrictions

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have used a sweeping gag order, harassment, and arrests to limit media coverage of ongoing protests stemming from the arbitrary closure of the Jordanian Teachers’ Syndicate on July 25, 2020, Human Rights Watch said…
Thousands of Jordanian teachers march from the governorship building to the Professional Unions Complex to demand a reversal of the decision to close the Teachers Union, in Irbid, Jordan on August 01, 2020.
News

Abuses Persist, Protections Fragile as Peace Talks Begin

(New York) – The Taliban in Afghanistan have imposed severe restrictions on rights in areas under their control despite claims of reform, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Residents reported an inability to criticize or question…
Two children walk by armed soldiers in the countryside
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New Penalties for ‘Causing Panic’ About Pandemic

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have arrested media workers and others and issued a vaguely worded emergency decree that could chill online discussion about Jordan’s Covid-19 response, Human Rights Watch said today. Under the…
Jordanian police personnel guard at a checkpoint during the second day of a nationwide curfew, amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Amman, Jordan. © 2020 Reuters
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Targeted for Social Media Criticism, Protests

  (Amman) – Jordanian authorities are seeking to limit protests over austerity policies throughout 2019 by targeting protest leaders, participants, and other critics for harassment and…
Mafraq Protests
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Charges Restrict Free Expression

  (Amman) – Jordanian authorities have increasingly targeted political and anti-corruption activists on charges that violate the right to free expression, Human Rights Watch said…
Protestor raises the Jordanian flag during 2018 protest in front of the prime ministry building in Amman
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Press Freedom at Risk in Deadliest Country for Journalists

The role Afghanistan’s vibrant media plays in public life represents one of the most significant changes that have taken place in the country since 2001. But that achievement is under threat, as journalists face growing intimidation and…
Policemen help Afghan journalists, victims of a second blast, in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018.
News

Eliminate Criminal Penalties for Online Defamation

(Amman) – Proposed amendments to Jordan’s 2015 Electronic Crimes Law would overly restrict freedom of expression by stipulating criminal penalties for posting “fake news” or engaging in “hate speech” online, Human Rights Watch said…
Jordanian parliament in session. © 2016 Sam McNeil/AP Images
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3-Year Sentence, Fine Violated Right to Free Expression

(Beirut) – The United Arab Emirates should immediately release Tayseer al-Najjar, a Jordanian journalist who, on December 13, 2018, completed a three-year prison sentence, Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders said in a letter to the UAE…
MENA UAE Jordan Journalist Tayseer al-Najjar
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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
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Suicide Attack Targets First Responders, Journalists

Two years ago, Shah Marai, a photographer for Agence France Presse, described the pain of living in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, with little hope for a better future. “I don’t dare to take my children for a walk,” he wrote.  “All I…
Policemen help Afghan journalists, victims of a second blast, in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018.
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.