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Summary Iraq is holding parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021. Without change, hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities will face barriers to participation and some of them may not be able to vote. The exact number of people with…
News

Urgent Need to Improve Accessibility Before Upcoming Elections

(Beirut) – People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a…
A voter who uses a wheelchair at a polling place in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on May 12, 2018. 
News

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.
News

Displaced Iraqis’ Rights Trampled Repeatedly

(Beirut) – The Iraqi army has unlawfully evicted dozens of families from a village north of Baghdad since July 2021 in an apparent family feud involving a government minister, Human Rights Watch said today. The 91 families from al-Aetha, a village in…
Government buses waiting to move families from one camp in Anbar governate to another during a previous wave of camp closures in December 2018.  © 2018 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
News

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. 
News

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!
News

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
A federal judge in California ruled on April 21 that the Iraqi extradition case against Omar Ameen, a resettled refugee in the U.S., was based on an alleged series of events that is "simply not plausible." The evidence the government presented,…
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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
News

Vulnerable People Stripped of Services During Pandemic

Update 8/25/21: In a letter dated August 13, 2021, the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut responded to Human Rights Watch laying out the measures the government is taking to ensure that returns are not forced, and saying that it is providing food, shelter, and…
Government buses waiting to move families from one camp in Anbar governate to another during a previous wave of camp closures in December 2018.  © 2018 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
News

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
When protests erupted in Baghdad and other parts of central and southern Iraq in October 2019, tens of thousands of mostly young people took to the streets demanding improved government services and more action to curb widespread corruption. The…
Iraqi security forces fire tear gas to disperse protesters during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019.
News

Human Rights Watch Introduces Country Index Based on Laws, Policies

(Beirut) – Governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) should outlaw the violent discipline of children, Human Rights Watch said today, introducing an index categorizing countries in the region based on their laws and policies. The MENA…
2020 Dadu Shin for Human Rights Watch
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

Bill Would Have Criminalized Wide Range of Peaceful Expression

In a win for online freedom in Iraq, in February the Iraqi parliament said it will stop pushing forward a cybercrimes draft law until after it is amended so that it protects rather than infringes upon free speech. As it stood, the law would have…
Woman holding up a sign in Arabic
News

Appeals Court Should Consider Flagrant Irregularities

(Beirut) – A court in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq sentenced three journalists and two activists to six years in prison on February 16, 2021, in deeply flawed proceedings, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities continue to hold two other…
Families of the journalists and activists on trial on February 16, 2021, sitting outside the Erbil District Court of Appeal.
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.