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International human rights groups demand release of Viasna members on first anniversary of crackdown

On the first anniversary of the unprecedented crackdown on the Human Rights Center Viasna ("Viasna") in Belarus, 23 international and Belarusian human rights organizations are launching a campaign to demand the release of seven detained Viasna members,…
In The Hague, Netherlands, on August 7, a demonstrator holds a placard showing the names of some of those arbitrarily detained in Belarus for protesting against President Alexander Lukashenko, and calling for their release.
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Allowing Private Employers to Ban Religious Dress Hurts Muslim Women Most

Protection of religious freedom – for Muslim women in particular – was dented last week by the European Union’s highest court’s ruling that permits employers to discriminate against people who wear religious dress. Ruling on two cases brought by…
Young women with headscarves sit in the Bundestag in Berlin, Germany on January 31, 2020. 
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Free Expression Under Serious Threat

(New York) – The Bangladesh government’s increasingly violent crackdown on media freedom is of urgent concern on World Press Freedom Day, nine nongovernmental organizations said in a letter today to Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations High…
Journalists work in front of a Covid-19 Hospital in Dhaka, Bangladesh on April 20, 2021. 
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Provide Essential Medical Supplies; Urge India to Free Rights Defenders, Address Abuses

(Brussels) – European leaders at the May 8, 2021 summit with their Indian counterparts should prioritize the deteriorating human rights situation in India, including the right to health, eight organizations said today. With a devastating Covid-19…
People suffering from breathing problems receive free oxygen support at a gurdwara, a place of assembly and worship for Sikhs, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease, in Delhi, India.
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Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrate daily against the military junta in Burma (also known as Myanmar). Many Burmese people have expressed their opposition to the military's takeover of the democratically elected government – but they need the…
Mandalay University graduates bow their heads as they hold posters of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, a 19-year-old woman fatally shot by police on February 9 in Naypyidaw, during an anti-coup protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, February 14, 2021. 
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Unfair Trial on Vague Charge of ‘Acts Against a Foreign State’

(Beirut) – The decision of a United Arab Emirates (UAE) court to sentence a Jordanian resident of the UAE to 10 years in prison in October 2020 was based entirely on peaceful Facebook posts criticizing Jordan’s government, Human Rights Watch said…
Ahmed Etoum
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Rights, Rule of Law Key in Response to Region’s Crises

(Brussels) – The European Union (EU) should set consequences if Central Asian governments fail to meet more ambitious human rights goals, Human Rights Watch said today. The EU’s response to political turmoil, such as in Kyrgyzstan, or to challenges…
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell in Brussels, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020.
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EU Should Act on Latest Blow to Press Freedom

In the most recent attack on media freedom in Hungary, the country’s Media Council last week unexpectedly announced it would revoke Klubradio’s frequency as of February 2021. It justified its decision by referring to the independent, commercial station’s…
Klubradio’s president, Andras Arato, is seen on air in Klubradio's studio in Budapest, Hungary, March 2020. 
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Free Expression Under Assault

  (Amman) – Jordanian authorities should immediately release and drop abusive charges against Emad Hajjaj, a cartoonist, Human Rights Watch said today. Jordanian authorities arrested Hajjaj on August 26, 2020, for publishing a satirical…
Emad Hajjaj
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Teachers’ Syndicate Board Released; Others Still Held

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have exploited the country’s Covid-19 pandemic to forcibly disperse public protests against the arbitrary closure of the country’s Teachers Syndicate and mass arrests of its leadership, Human Rights Watch said today…
 Jordanian police block a road in front of protestors in Irbid, north of Jordan on August 1, 2020.
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Latest Escalation in Media Restrictions

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have used a sweeping gag order, harassment, and arrests to limit media coverage of ongoing protests stemming from the arbitrary closure of the Jordanian Teachers’ Syndicate on July 25, 2020, Human Rights Watch said…
Thousands of Jordanian teachers march from the governorship building to the Professional Unions Complex to demand a reversal of the decision to close the Teachers Union, in Irbid, Jordan on August 01, 2020.
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End Pressure on Media; Respect, Protect Independent Journalism

(Budapest) – The firing of Szabolcs Dull, the editor-in-chief of Hungary’s biggest independent news website, Index, on July 22, 2020 has political interference written all over it, Human Rights Watch said today. The dismissal is a blow to media…
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán addresses supporters after the announcement of partial results of the parliamentary election in Budapest, Hungary, April 8, 2018.
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Hong Kong, Xinjiang Responses Should Top Agenda

(Brussels) – European Union leaders should use the forthcoming EU-China summit to press for an end to Beijing’s grave and systemic human rights violations, Human Rights Watch said today. The 22nd EU-China summit will be held virtually, because of the…
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel participate in a media conference after a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the European Council building in Brussels, March 9, 2020.  
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New Penalties for ‘Causing Panic’ About Pandemic

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have arrested media workers and others and issued a vaguely worded emergency decree that could chill online discussion about Jordan’s Covid-19 response, Human Rights Watch said today. Under the…
Jordanian police personnel guard at a checkpoint during the second day of a nationwide curfew, amid concerns over the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Amman, Jordan. © 2020 Reuters
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Targeted for Social Media Criticism, Protests

  (Amman) – Jordanian authorities are seeking to limit protests over austerity policies throughout 2019 by targeting protest leaders, participants, and other critics for harassment and…
Mafraq Protests
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Sakharov Prize to Uyghur Scholar Spotlights Xinjiang Crisis

(Brussels) – The European Parliament should use its 2019 Sakharov Prize, awarded to the unjustly detained Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti, to significantly increase pressure on China to release him, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the…
In this Feb. 4, 2013 file photo, Ilham Tohti, an outspoken scholar of China's Uighur minority, gestures as he speaks during an interview at his home in Beijing, China.
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Charges Restrict Free Expression

  (Amman) – Jordanian authorities have increasingly targeted political and anti-corruption activists on charges that violate the right to free expression, Human Rights Watch said…
Protestor raises the Jordanian flag during 2018 protest in front of the prime ministry building in Amman
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Eliminate Criminal Penalties for Online Defamation

(Amman) – Proposed amendments to Jordan’s 2015 Electronic Crimes Law would overly restrict freedom of expression by stipulating criminal penalties for posting “fake news” or engaging in “hate speech” online, Human Rights Watch said…
Jordanian parliament in session. © 2016 Sam McNeil/AP Images