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Important Problems Remain

UK troops who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity overseas, can still be prosecuted in UK courts. In May the UK government reversed course on a plan that would have effectively immunized from prosecution UK forces who allegedly committed…
The International Criminal Court, or ICC, is seen in The Hague, Netherlands, November 7, 2019. 
News

Repeal Prevention of Terrorism Act to Meet International Commitments

(New York) – The Sri Lankan government’s pardon of 16 prisoners convicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), however welcome, does not address the urgent need to repeal the draconian law, Human Rights Watch said today. The European…
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's addresses parliament in Colombo, Sri Lanka, August 20, 2020.
News

Prime Minister’s Letter at Odds with Rule of Law

In a deeply unsettling letter made public this week, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asserted the United Kingdom’s strong opposition to the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) Palestine investigation. The letter, sent to the Conservative…
ICC permanent premises
News

Concerns of Government Retaliation Against Rights Advocates

(New York) – The United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka is a victory for victims of abuses to help them obtain information, accountability, and justice, Human Rights Watch said today. The UN and member countries should emphasize…
In this April 6, 2015, file photo, Sri Lankan ethnic Tamil women sit holding placards with portraits of their missing relatives as they protest out side a railway station in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
News

Rebuke of International Criminal Court Jurisdiction is Alarming

The International Criminal Court (ICC) last week handed down a historic ruling  confirming that the court’s prosecutor has the power to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity  in Palestine. After half a century of impunity since…
The International Criminal Court, or ICC, is seen in The Hague, Netherlands, November 7, 2019. 
News
Diplomats at the United Nations Human Rights Council don’t expect someone allegedly associated with a death squad to be among their colleagues. Yet that is the situation confronting officials in Geneva since Sri Lanka’s new permanent…
News

UN Human Rights Council Should Pursue Accountability

(Geneva) – Sri Lanka’s government is aggressively attacking efforts to hold officials to account for past grave abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 93-page report, “Open Wounds and Mounting Dangers: Blocking…
A older man in glasses clapping
News
UK nationals committed abuses in Iraq after 2003 on a significant scale. The International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) Final Report on the UK and Iraq on December 9 is the latest official report to find that members of UK…
News

British Authorities Have Dismal Record of Addressing War Crimes

(London) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s decision to close a preliminary examination of alleged war crimes by British forces in Iraq is likely to fuel the perception of a double standard in international justice, Human Rights…
News
For households around the world, soon it will be the time of the month to start thinking about next month’s rent, mortgage or housing loan payments. Billions of people have been directly or indirectly affected by Covid-19. This unprecedented public…
Homeless women sleep outside on a mattress in the "Villa 31" neighborhood during a government-ordered lockdown to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday, May 6, 2020.
News

Presidential Pardon Shows Rajapaksa’s Indifference to Army Atrocities

(New York) – Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s pardon of a soldier convicted of massacring eight civilians, including children, shows the administration’s disregard for justice for the worst abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, center, sings the national anthem during an event to mark the anniversary of country's independence from British colonial rule in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena)
News

ABC Investigation Exposes Alleged 2012 War Crimes in Afghanistan

(Sydney) – Australia’s Defence Department should reexamine previously dismissed cases of alleged summary executions and other war crimes in Afghanistan in light of new evidence, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Defence…
Australian SAS search operation in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, in May 2012. Screenshot from ABC News, Four Corners, March 16, 2020.
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Targeting Violators Abroad Promotes Accountability

(Sydney) – The Australian government should introduce a new law to allow targeted sanctions against serious human rights violators abroad, Human Rights Watch said today in a submission to parliament’s human rights subcommittee. The proposed law…
 In this Feb. 13, 2019, file photo Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison addresses media at Parliament House in Canberra.
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Rajapaksa Government Should Uphold Commitments to UN Rights Council

(New York) – Sri Lankan security forces and intelligence agencies have intensified surveillance and threats against families of victims of enforced disappearance and activists supporting them since Gotabaya Rajapaksa became president in…
A woman holds a picture of a missing relative at a protest calling for investigations into enforced disappearances, Colombo, Sri Lanka, February 14, 2020.
News

Provide Justice for Past Crimes, Prevent Future Abuses

(New York) – The winner of Sri Lanka’s presidential election on November 16, 2019 will face enormous challenges to deliver justice for past crimes and prevent future abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. Since Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009,…
Sri Lanka's elections chief Mahinda Deshapriya displays ballot boxes that will be used in the upcoming presidential election in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. The voting is scheduled to be held on Nov. 16.
News

Reinvigorate Commitment to Justice for Civil War Atrocities

(New York) – Sri Lankan authorities have failed to bring to justice those responsible for the execution-style killing of 17 aid workers 13 years ago, Human Right Watch said today. On August 4, 2006, alleged Sri Lankan security forces…
Candles are burned at the memorial for slain humanitarian workers from Action Contre La Faim in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, August 11, 2006.
News

Government Should Pursue Full Investigations, Fair Trials

The Australian government is taking an important step by helping eight Australian children of suspects of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) return home from northeast Syria. The children were held for months without charge under horrific…
Rusafa Central Criminal Court in Baghdad.
News

Without Progress on Justice, Abuses Persist

(New York) – Ten years since the end of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war, the government has failed to provide justice for the conflict’s many victims, Human Rights Watch said today. The conflict ended on May 18, 2009, with the total defeat…
Women mourn at the graves of their relatives who died in 2009 during the last days of the war in Mullivaikkal, Sri Lanka, May 18, 2015.