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  What are your main concerns about the coronavirus in Asia? Because testing is so poor in most of Asia, we have no visibility about how widespread infections are. Overcrowded cities where social distancing is challenging or impossible also…
Factory workers wearing protective masks return to Dhaka from northern and southern districts in Bangladesh amid the government’s shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, April 4, 2020.
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New Government Should Suspend Abusive Laws

(Tunis) – Tunisia’s new government, approved by Parliament on February 27, 2020, should make human rights a priority, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should protect fundamental rights in eight key areas: ending criminal…
A general view of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People in Tunis, Tunisia, May 2016.
News

Lack of a Constitutional Court Hinders Rights

(Tunis) – Tunisia still faces numerous hurdles to protecting its human rights gains nine years after Tunisians ousted the authoritarian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2020.    The…
A Tunisian woman walks past a graffiti that reads "Freedom is a daily practice" in Tunis April 26, 2011.
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Repeal Draconian Sedition Act

(New York) – The Malaysian authorities should halt the investigation targeting organizers of the Women’s March in Kuala Lumpur on March 9, 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The march’s organizers are being investigated for possible violations of…
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, left, passes the opening speech to King Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah during the opening of the 14th parliament session at the Parliament House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, March 11, 2019.
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New Government Faces Challenges in Carrying Out Reforms

(New York) – Malaysia’s human rights situation improved significantly in 2018 after the election of a new government that ran on a manifesto promising make the country’s rights record “respected by the world,” Human Rights Watch said today in…
Attendees hold up smartphones and wave Malaysian national flags and People's Justice Party flags at a Pakatan Harapan alliance event in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia, on Wednesday, May 16, 2018.
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Government-Approved Draft Law Sent to Chamber

(Tunis) – Tunisia’s parliament should take the landmark step of granting women equal rights in inheritance, Human Rights Watch said today. President Beji Caid Essebsi formally submitted a draft law to parliament on November 28, 2018,…
A Tunisian woman holds up a flag during a march to celebrate International Women's Day in Tunis March 8, 2014. © 2014 Reuters
News

Parties Should Back Moves to End Gender Discrimination

(Tunis) - The official rejection on August 26, 2018 by Ennahda, one of Tunisia’s main political parties, of a presidential initiative to establish full equality between men and women in inheritance is a blow to women’s rights in the…
Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi, Islamist Ennahdha Party leader Rached Ghannouchi, and Ennahdha Party vice-president Abdelfattah Mourou wave to the crowd on May 20, 2016 at the opening of Ennahdha's three-day congress in Tunis. ©2016 Fethi Belaid/AFP
News

Ban Marriage for Anyone under 18

When the news broke last week that a 41-year-old man from Kelantan had married an 11-year-old girl, alarm bells went off in Malaysia’s newly elected government as well as among nongovernmental groups. The Kelantan state police started …
Jina, a 22-year-old transgender woman, sports a tattoo of a butterfly—a transgender symbol signifying transformation.
News
Despite setbacks for women’s rights around the globe in 2017, some of the most exciting reforms and positive momentum emerged from the Middle East and North Africa. Tunisian women have new protections against violence. Migrant domestic workers in…
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.
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.
News

Progress on Women’s Rights; Regression on Justice

On September 14, Tunisia took a step forward by abolishing a 1973 Ministry of Justice directive prohibiting marriage between a Tunisian woman and a non-Muslim man. But the news wasn’t all good this week – a day earlier parliament…
A Tunisian woman holds up a flag during a march to celebrate International Women's Day in Tunis March 8, 2014. © 2014 Reuters
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Rape-marriage exoneration laws are relics of the colonial past. It's time to leave them there.

In recent weeks, the Tunisian, Jordanian, and Lebanese parliaments have repealed provisions in their penal codes that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Provisions like these, largely colonial-era relics, remain on the books…
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.
News

New Law Offers Protection, but Needs Funding

(Tunis) – The law on violence against women, including domestic violence, approved by the Tunisian parliament on July 26, 2017, is a landmark step for women’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today. Tunisian authorities should…
A Tunisian woman holds up a flag during a march to celebrate International Women's Day in Tunis March 8, 2014. © 2014 Reuters
News

Men Try to Avoid Rape Charges Through Forced Child Marriage

Survivors of rape often say they are left with devastating, sometimes lifelong, trauma. One woman who was sexually assaulted in Iraq described her feelings this way: “I have no past and no future at the moment. I am stuck in my anger and…
A woman walks past birdcages after she crossed the border from Malaysia into Thailand in Sungai Kolok in southern Narathiwat province March 8, 2013.
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A Tunisian man formerly held in secret United States Central Intelligence Agency custody have described previously unreported methods of torture that shed new light on the earliest days of the CIA program. Lotfi al-Arabi El Gherissi, 52, recounted being…
News
This month, Malaysia’s lower house amended the country’s Child Act 2001 without banning all marriage by girls and boys under the age of 18, as called for by several members of parliament and rights groups. Absent from the debate was any…
Malaysia
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First in Region to Lift Key Restrictions on International Treaty

(Tunis) – Tunisia has officially lifted key reservations to the international women’s treaty, an important step toward realizing gender equality, Human Rights Watch said today. The Tunisian government should next ensure that all domestic laws conform to…