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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…
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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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Urgent Need for More Reform to Prevent Future Abuses

Saudi Arabia has commuted the death sentence imposed on Ali Mohammed al-Nimr for participating in protests when he was a child. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman also announced the government would finally establish a criminal code that will “…
Ali al-Nimr was one of at least three Saudi men on death row for protest-related crimes committed when they were children.
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…
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New Human Rights Watch Campaign Against Whitewashing Rights Violations

(Beirut) – The Saudi government has spent billions of dollars hosting major entertainment, cultural, and sporting events as a deliberate strategy to deflect from the country’s image as a pervasive human rights violator, Human Rights Watch said today.…
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Safety Concerns for Activists, Ex-Crown Prince, Cleric

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia has denied some prominent detainees contact with their family members and lawyers for months, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter requesting access to the country and private prison visits with detainees. The situation…
Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul had been on hunger strike for six days before Saudi authorities finally allowed her parents to visit on August 31, according to family members. Al-Hathloul had spent almost three months before that in incommunicado detention.
News

Government Should End All Executions, Protect Children from Abuse

On August 26, the Saudi Human Rights Commission announced the judiciary would review three death sentences in accordance with a recent decree to halt capital punishment for child offenders. Ali al-Nimr, Dawoud al-Marhoun, and Abdullah al-Zaher were…
Ali al-Nimr was one of at least three Saudi men on death row for protest-related crimes committed when they were children.
Report
Summary On February 29, 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed an agreement outlining a phased withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in exchange for Taliban commitments not to allow attacks on the US or its allies from Afghan territory.…
News

Male Guardianship, Sexual Harassment Amongst Major Concerns

Over the past two weeks, Saudi women have taken to Twitter, using pseudonyms, to share their experiences with sexual harassment, the reasons behind their hesitance to report these abuses to the authorities, and demands for the abolition of…
© 2016 Human Rights Watch
News

Previous Campaign Marred by Lack of Due Process, Torture Allegations

  (Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s new mass arrest of 298 government employees on suspicion of corruption raises human rights concerns, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi…
Women walk past a poster of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during Janadriyah Cultural Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 12, 2018.
News

Trafficking, Exploitation, Torture, Abusive Prison Conditions

(Addis Ababa) – Ethiopians undertaking the perilous journey by boat across the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden face exploitation and torture in Yemen by a network of trafficking groups, Human Rights Watch said today. They also encounter abusive prison…
African migrants receive food and water inside a football stadium in the Red Sea port city of Aden in Yemen, on April 23, 2019. © AFP/Getty Images
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

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

Resolve ‘Disappearances’, Grant Access to Detention Sites

(Beirut) – The UAE supports Yemeni forces that have arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and abused dozens of people during security operations, Human Rights Watch said today. The UAE finances, arms, and trains these forces, which…
Hadrami elite forces guard Mukalla from Al-Qaeda by creating check-points.
Report
Summary We all have to live in the borders of the boxes our dads or husbands draw for us. —Zahra, 25-year-old Saudi woman, April 7, 2016 It can mess with your head and the way you look at yourself. How do you respect yourself or how [can…
News

Torture Allegations Ignored in Unfair Trials

(Beirut) – Three Saudi men are awaiting execution for alleged, protest-related crimes committed while they were children. Saudi judges based the capital convictions primarily on confessions that the three defendants retracted in court and said had been…