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Governments Should Halt Trade in Surveillance Technology

(New York) – Recent reports that NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware has been used for surveillance of dozens of journalists, human rights activists, and others demonstrate the urgent need for governments to suspend the trade in surveillance technology until…
People march in Budapest, Hungary during a July 26, 2021 protest against the Hungarian government over reports that it has used Pegasus spyware.
News

15-Year-Old Joins over 1,000 Children at Risk of Covid-19 in Detention Centers

Bangladesh authorities on Saturday arrested a 15-year-old for “defaming” Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed in a Facebook post. It was an especially egregious move in a wave of arbitrary arrests targeting critics of the ruling party with the harsh and…
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina meets with officials in Tokyo, May 29, 2019.
News
Amid protests against racism and police brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington likened police investigations of arrested protesters and their associates to contact tracing for COVID-19. This reckless analogy…
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News

Blocking Access Could Cost Lives

UPDATE: Ethiopia announced that it would restore phone and internet service to western Oromia after a three-month shutdown. (New York) – Intentionally shutting down or restricting access to the internet violates multiple…
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Urgently Act to Prevent COVID-19 Outbreak in Refugee Camps

(New York) – The Bangladesh government’s internet blackout and phone restrictions at Rohingya refugee camps are obstructing humanitarian groups from addressing the COVID-19 threat, Human Rights Watch said today. The shutdown is risking the health…
Rohingya refugees wait at a crowded relief distribution point at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, March 24, 2020.
News

Netra News Latest to be Blocked in Free Speech Crackdown

(New York) – Bangladesh authorities are blocking access to online news sites in violation of the right to free speech and access to information, Human Rights Watch said today. The government has also adopted advanced methods to block or conduct…
Bangladeshi photojournalists and journalists form a human chain infront of National Press Club protesting the attacks on them during the students' ongoing protest demanding safe roads, in Dhaka, Bangladesh on August 7, 2018.
News

Faces Up to a Year in Prison at January 2 Trial

(Tunis, December 28, 2019) – Moroccan authorities should unconditionally release and drop charges against a journalist jailed for a 9 months-old tweet criticizing a judge, Human Rights Watch said today. Omar Radi, 33, is due to be tried…
Journalist Omar Radi in Casablanca, Morocco, 2018. © Fanny Hedenmo
News

Abrar Fahad’s Brutal Murder Highlights Impunity for Abuses

On October 6, Abrar Fahad, 21, was summoned from his dorm room at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) to Room 2011, known among students as the “torture cell.” The room is run by members of the Chhatra League…
Bangladesh Student Union stage a torch light procession rally to protest the murder of Abrar Fahad, a student of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), who was allegedly beaten to death by Bangladesh Chhatra League men.
News

Poet, Lawyer, Activists Jailed in Free Speech Crackdown

(New York) – Bangladesh authorities made a series of new arrests in their crackdown on the right to free speech, Human Rights Watch said today. The arrests were based on vague charges such as “hurting religious sentiment” or undermining “law and…
A Bangladeshi reads a news report that makes mention of Facebook along with other social networking service, on his mobile phone in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Thursday, Dec. 20, 2018.
News

Ahead of Elections, Government Won’t Tolerate Criticism

(New York) – The Bangladesh government has embarked upon intensive and intrusive surveillance and monitoring of social media ahead of national elections, raising concern over a chilling effect on speech, Human Rights Watch said today. Draconian new laws…
Police in Bangladesh have registered hundreds of complaints under the Information and Communication Technology Act, including against authors of social media posts and journalists criticizing the political leadership and the ruling Awami League party.
News

Digital Security Act is Overly Broad, Ripe for Abuse

(New York) – The Digital Security Act passed by the Bangladeshi parliament last week, despite vehement opposition from the country’s journalists, strikes a blow to freedom of speech in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. The law, which…
Bangladesh's President Abdul Hamid (3rd R) and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (2nd L) walk near female members of the Bangladesh army at the national parade ground in Dhaka on December 16, 2015.
News

Periodic Rights Review Response Ignored Main Concerns

(Geneva) – The Bangladesh delegation to the United Nation’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva on May 14, 2018, failed to respond to pressing human rights concerns in the country, Human Rights Watch said today. The law minister,…
Tear gas is seen while police takes their position in the street Dhaka, Bangladesh, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
Report
Summary On April 9, 2018, Bangladesh listed its new Digital Security Bill in parliament, which was then sent to a parliamentary standing committee for review. The proposed law is in part intended to replace section 57 of the Information…
News

Cabinet Approves New Law That is Overly Broad and Ripe for Abuse

(New York) – The Bangladeshi government should review and reform the proposed Digital Security Act (DSA) instead of enacting the law in its current form, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 29, 2018, the cabinet approved a…
Bangladesh's President Abdul Hamid (3rd R) and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (2nd L) walk near female members of the Bangladesh army at the national parade ground in Dhaka on December 16, 2015.
News

5-Year Sentence Based on Possibly Coerced Confession

(Tunis) – Moroccan authorities should urgently review the conviction of an activist sentenced to five years in prison in possible reprisal for his activism in a social protest movement, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should ensure that no…
Elmortada Iamrachen in Casablanca, Morocco, 2017. © 2017 Le Desk
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.
Report
Summary My brother asked, “Can I have your identity? What is your force? Are you RAB, CID, DB?” They did not identify themselves. He asked several times. They did not wear any uniform and they had no legal arrest warrant. Nothing. They just said, “…
News

Harsh Penal Code Undercuts Press Law Reforms

(Tunis) – Morocco’s recent overhaul of its speech laws leaves intact the country’s famous red lines on critical speech, as well as other provisions that could land people in prison solely for peaceful expression, Human Rights Watch said…
Newsstand in Rabat, Morocco. © 2017 Human Rights Watch
News

Government Asks Facebook to Play a Direct Role

It is a challenge for governments to manage the onslaught of social media that can incite public violence. But too often, a state crackdown is aimed more at silencing critics than maintaining public order. This is certainly the case in Bangladesh.…
Screenshot of the "Moja Losss?" Facebook page.
Report
Summary On the morning of February 28, 2013, the opposition Jamaat-e-Islami party called a strike to protest the death penalty handed down against its leader, Delwar Hossain Sayedee, who had been convicted by Bangladesh’s International Crimes…