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Independent Investigation, Alignment with International Standards Needed

(Washington, DC) – Facebook has wrongfully removed and suppressed content by Palestinians and their supporters, including about human rights abuses carried out in Israel and Palestine during the May 2021 hostilities. The company’s acknowledgment of…
A Palestinian demonstrator holds a banner of the Facebook logo.
News

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
Her job had been going well, the woman told me. But her married boss started making sexual advances, which she rebuffed. Then he gave her a gift — a clock. She put it in her bedroom, but the light bothered her, so she kept moving it. “But every…
Women protest to demand stronger government action to fight the spread of intimate photos and footage taken by hidden cameras in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2018.
Report
Summary This report, based on interviews with survivors and experts, and a survey, documents the spread and impact in South Korea of what are referred to there as “digital sex crimes.” Digital sex crimes are crimes involving non-consensual intimate…
News

Government Response to Digital Sex Crimes Inadequate

(Seoul) – Widespread internet posting in South Korea of sexual images of women and girls without their consent is having a devastating impact on the victims, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should be doing more to prevent and…
A group of women sit holding protest signs that read "My Life Is Not Your Porn"
News

Services, Education, and Broader Change Needed to Combat Deep Gender Inequity

On November 26, a horrifying episode in South Korea neared its end when a court in Seoul sentenced Cho Joo-bin to 40 years in prison. Cho ran a network of online chat rooms on Telegram, where he and several accomplices shared videos of sexual violence…
Women protest to demand stronger government action to fight the spread of intimate photos and footage taken by hidden cameras in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2018.
News

New Measures an Important First Step, But More is Needed

In the wake of the chilling "Nth room" case, the South Korean government recently announced an inter-agency plan to "eradicate digital sex crimes." This response is a testament to the women's rights activists who have fought for years to…
Women protest to demand stronger government action to fight the spread of intimate photos and footage taken by hidden cameras in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2018.
News

Blind spots in location-tracking data can threaten both public health and human rights

The coronavirus pandemic has spurred interest in big data to track the spread of the fast-moving pathogen and to plan disease prevention efforts. But the urgent need to contain the outbreak shouldn’t cloud thinking about big data’s potential…
202004bhr_bigdata_coronavirus
News
For authoritarian-minded leaders, the coronavirus crisis is offering a convenient pretext to silence critics and consolidate power. Censorship in China and elsewhere has fed the pandemic, helping to turn a potentially containable threat into a…
People wearing masks, attend a vigil for Chinese doctor Li Wenliang, in Hong Kong, February 7, 2020.
News

Survivors’ Rights Need to be at Forefront of All Justice Responses

Last week, online sexual violence against women drew widespread public attention in South Korea when police arrested the operator of multiple sexual abuse chat rooms on messaging apps like Telegram. The disturbing case involves the alleged…
Cho Ju-bin, center, leader of South Korea's online sexual blackmail ring called "Nth room," is surrounded by journalists while walking out of a police station as he is transferred to prosecutors' office for further investigation in Seoul, South Korea
News

Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images Linked with Suicide

We only know her as “A,” and she is dead. The court ruled this week in the case of a young woman in South Korea who killed herself after learning she had been secretly filmed in a changing room of the hospital where she worked. She had suffered “…
Women protest to demand stronger government action to fight the spread of intimate photos and footage taken by hidden cameras in Seoul, South Korea, July 7, 2018.
News

Rights Defenders Imprisoned, Free Expression Prosecuted

(Beirut) – Participants in the ‘Peace to Prosperity’ workshop on June 25 and 26 in Manama, and journalists covering the event, should question Bahraini officials about the government’s jailing of human rights defenders and suppression…
Bahraini anti-government protesters hold up images of jailed human rights activist Nabeel Rajab during a solidarity protest on May 14, 2015.
News

Human Rights Watch Appeals Expulsion Order of Staff Member

This week, I attended a Jerusalem District Court hearing for Human Rights Watch’s appeal of the Israeli government’s decision to revoke the work permit of, and expel, our Israel and Palestine director, Omar Shakir.  Thirty…
HRW's Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir in Ramallah, May 2018.
Video
The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas authorities in Gaza routinely arrest and torture peaceful critics and opponents. As the Palestinian Authority-Hamas feud has deepened, each has targeted the other’s supporters. In…
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

Spyware Industry Needs Regulation

Ethiopian authorities have carried out a renewed campaign of malware attacks, abusing commercial spyware to monitor government critics abroad, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should immediately cease digital attacks on activists and…
Surveillance computer hacker business
News

Attacks, Threats, and Harassment

(Beirut) – Human rights defenders, activists, and social media bloggers have been physically attacked, detained, threatened, harassed, and disappeared by armed groups, some of whom are affiliated with the state authorities, in Tripoli and…
Demonstrators gather to protest against the presence of militias in the Libyan capital in Tripoli's Martyrs' Square on March 17, 2017.
News

Says Hostile to Privacy, Democratic Freedoms

This week, the European Union’s top court once again found that blanket data retention mandates are hostile to privacy and democratic freedoms, and incompatible with EU law. Such mandates require service providers to store data on all of the provider’s…
Report
Summary The final stage of the [2011] revolution was in Sirte. We were filled with hope. Then step by step, Daesh took over. Now we feel we are cursed. -“Ali,” resident who fled ISIS in Sirte In…