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Polish Authorities Should Allow Access to Territory and Asylum Process

While Poland’s government touts its role in the airlift of at-risk Afghans from Kabul, it has trapped 32 Afghans for over 3 weeks at its border with Belarus, preventing them from entering Poland to exercise their right to seek asylum and denying them…
Polish security forces surround migrants at the border with Belarus in Usnarz Gorny, Poland on September 1, 2021. 
News

Senate Should Reject Bill Preventing Foreign Media Owners

Poland’s lower house unleashed a major threat to media pluralism on August 11, approving a bill that prevents non-European shareholders from owning a majority stake in Polish media companies. While the government has argued it needs to strengthen…
A woman holds a sign with the words "Free media" in Warsaw, Poland on August 11, 2021.
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Reporting Not Matched by Action to Protect Democratic Institutions

The launch of the European Commission’s latest report on the state of rule of law in the European Union should be a milestone. It contains dozens of pages of analysis for each EU country on threats to democratic institutions, covering judicial…
European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders delivers the opening statements during a plenary session on the Commissions 2020 Rule of law report at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium on June 23, 2021. 
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Compromised Tribunal Rejects EU Rulings

The rule of law in Poland sustained another blow on July 14. The country’s politically compromised Constitutional Tribunal, acting at the behest of the Polish government, ruled that an April 2020 decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union…
A pro-EU protestor stands outside the Constitutional Tribunal in Warsaw, Poland, on April 28, 2021 with posters that say Rule of Law and No Polexit!
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Concerted Action Needed to Counter Rule of Law Threats in Poland and Hungary

(Brussels) – European Union affairs ministers should put the governments of Hungary and Poland on notice that there is no place for attacks on the rule of law in the EU and step up scrutiny of their human rights-abusive policies, Amnesty International…
European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 28, 2015.
News

Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
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To the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to provide input on the challenges and risks facing climate defenders for the upcoming report by the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. While recognizing that…
Activists from mining communities protesting at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on August 24, 2018, KwaZulu-Natal © 2018 Rob Symons
News

Potential Complicity in Unlawful Detention of ISIS Suspects, Children

Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden should promptly repatriate their nationals unlawfully held in life-threatening conditions in northeast Syria, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the four governments today.…
Children fly a kite at al-Hol camp in northeast Syria. 
News

Mark Istanbul Convention’s 10th Anniversary with Action

(Berlin) – Council of Europe member states should reinforce efforts to combat violence against women by swiftly ratifying and carrying out a landmark regional convention on women’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch released…
People gathered in Istanbul in March 2021 to protest Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, a treaty designed to safeguard women from gender-based violence. 
News

EU Should Act to Halt Dismantling of Poland’s Democratic Institutions

A government-captured court has removed Poland’s Human Rights Ombudsmen Adam Bodnar from his post, likely spelling the end of one of last independent checks on the country’s abusive government. The battle for the future of the Ombudsman has been…
Adam Bodnar, the outgoing Human Rights Commission for Poland, speaks to The Associated Press from his office in Warsaw, Poland, standing in front of the Polish and EU flags.
News

Investigate, Protect Rights Defenders, End Hateful Rhetoric

Update: Poland’s Ministry of the Interior responded to Human Rights Watch’s request for information and comment on our findings in a four-page letter dated April 8, 2021. The letter states that the government adheres to international law guaranteeing…
Protesters hold a banner of Strajk Kobiet (Women's Strike) during a protest in Warsaw on March 8,  International Women's Day, organized by the Women's Strike (Strajk Kobiet) against the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and the decision of the Constitutional Court.
News

France and Other EU States Should Act Decisively to Protect Rights in the EU

“I will go to an ‘LGBT-free zone’ in Poland,’” said Clément Beaune, French Secretary of State for European Affairs, in a December interview in which he also publicly came out as a gay man. But when he asked to visit Kraśnik, authorities denied him…
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News

European Commission Should Hold Government Accountable for Violating Fundamental Rights

The message was clear at this week’s European Parliament hearing on Poland’s near-ban on abortion: the European Commission should act decisively to protect the lives and rights of women and girls and stop erosion of the values on which the European…
Women's rights activists, holding posters of the Women's Strike action, protest further tightening of Poland's restrictive abortion law in front of the parliament building in Warsaw, Poland, on Tuesday, October 27, 2020.
News
For 30 days, beginning January 17, European Union commissioners received daily Twitter notifications linking to personal stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Poles who have been harmed  by the  so-called “LGBT Ideology…
People take part in a gay pride parade in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, June 8, 2019.
News

After eight years, civil society worldwide demands the government establish and reveal Sombath’s fate and whereabouts

15 December 2020: On the eighth anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, we, the undersigned organizations, reiterate our calls on the government of Laos to reveal his fate and whereabouts, and to investigate…
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Rule of Law Conditionality Preserved, but Implementation Severely Delayed

It smacks of irony that on Human Rights Day, the European Union caved into pressure and granted another concession to Hungary and Poland’s rights-abusing leaders in order to reach a deal on the EU budget. Germany, in one of its last acts as rotating…
Poland's Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, left, speaks with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a round table meeting at an EU summit at the European Council building in Brussels, December 10, 2020. 
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Chancellor Angela Merkel Bundeskanzleramt Willy-Brandt-Straße 1 10557 Berlin - Germany                           …
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As domestic violence rates soar in Europe under COVID-19 restrictions, women’s groups protest government inaction from Poland to Turkey.

As violence against women repeatedly grabs headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, women across Europe are at the forefront of mass protests demanding government action to protect women from abuse. Some argue that women shouldn’t risk their lives…
Protesters with a banner reading "Women's Strike" take part in a rally against the Polish government’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on prevention and combating of domestic violence, in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski