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Police Handed Enhanced Powers to Infiltrate Phones and Computers

The German parliament amended two laws on June 10th granting enhanced surveillance powers to segments of the federal police and intelligence services. They allow the use of spyware to hack into phones and computers circumventing encryption used by…
The logo of the messenger app Whatsapp is seen on the screen of a smartphone on April 28th, 2021 in Berlin, Germany.
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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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Foreign Minister Should Raise Issue of Attacks on Civil Society

Foreign Minister Ann Linde’s trip to Moscow this week, the first one during Sweden’s chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), comes as Russia is in the midst of a severe human rights crisis. Last month’s arrest…
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, meets with Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde in Moscow, February 2, 2021.
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Need Better Protection for Holy Sites and Comprehensive Efforts to Combat Rising Hate

The attack on a synagogue in Halle, Germany on Yom Kippur, Judaism’s holiest day of the year, is a terrifying reminder that the scourge of anti-Semitism persists in Europe today. A woman and a man were killed…
People mourn in front of a synagogue in Halle, Germany, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.
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Merkel should Raise Rights Concerns, Call for Activist’s Release

It’s been four years since a Kyrgyz president visited Germany, a period of change and some progress. In October 2017, Kyrgyzstan held competitive, peaceful elections ushering in a new president. The country has started negotiations to upgrade…
Kyrgyz President-elect Sooronbai Jeenbekov (front) attends an inauguration ceremony at the Ala-Archa state residence outside Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan November 24, 2017.
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Free Journalists, Rights Defenders, Politicians Jailed in Turkey

Given the present state of human rights in Turkey, the German government has come in for criticism over the elaborate plans for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey’s upcoming visit on September 28 and 29, including a state banquet…
From left to right: Ahmet Altan, Mehmet Altan, Nazlı Ilıcak
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Address Jailed Russian Activists, Attacks on Syrian Civilians

(Berlin) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel should raise critical human rights issues when she meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Meseberg, Germany, on August 18, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. The chancellor’s spokesperson has…
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017
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Tech Company Should Disclose Business Dealings with Turkmen Government

(Berlin) – German technology companies should publicly disclose whether they are considering sales to the Turkmenistan government, Human Rights Watch said today. They should also reveal what steps they have taken to assess whether any technology…
A screen showing a portrait of Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov inside the terminal of the newly built airport in Ashgabat
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Chancellor Visiting Amid New Levels of Repression

(Berlin) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on May 18, 2018 in Sochi is a crucial opportunity to press for the release of a wrongfully detained Russian human rights defender and to raise other key…
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017
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NetzDG is Wrong Response to Online Abuse

(Berlin) – The new German law that compels social media companies to remove hate speech and other illegal content can lead to unaccountable, overbroad censorship and should be promptly reversed, Human Rights Watch said today. The law sets a…
Session of the German lower house of Parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, February 1, 2018.
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  Chancellor Angela Merkel and Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer should take a stand in defense of European Union values and the rule of law by rejecting a political alliance with the rights-damaging policies of…
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban looks up during a plenary session at the European Parliament (EP) in Brussels, Belgium April 26, 2017.
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A Letter to France and Germany from an imprisoned Bahraini activist

By Nabeel Rajab, Director of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights - published in le Monde (in french) on 21 december 2016 It took years for the consequences of the west’s failures in the Middle East to be felt, but as the tragedy…
Open letter Nabeel Rajab (French) - Le Monde - 21 dec 2016
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Bahraini human rights activist Nabeel Rajab arrives for his appeal hearing at court in Manama, February 11, 2015.
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Democracy must be grounded in human rights. To many, that is obvious, but increasingly, we see some in Europe suggesting that democracy is about merely winning elections and then doing whatever the voters are deemed to want.  Democracy, for them, becomes…
Kenneth Roth Headshot
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Rolls Back Refugee Rights; Could Harm Children

(Stockholm) – The Swedish Parliament is expected to approve a restrictive new asylum bill on June 21, 2016, that could harm the well-being of migrant children in need of protection and undermine their opportunity to effectively integrate into Swedish…
Nour T., a 16-year-old Syrian girl, at a group home in Gothenburg, Sweden.
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Sustained Pressure Needed on Rights

(Berlin) – German officials should press President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan during his visit to Berlin to free unjustly imprisoned government critics and political activists, Human Rights Watch said today. German officials should also urge Aliyev to…
2016-6-eca-azerbaijan-germany-aliyev
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Repeal Law Privileging Foreign Leaders

(Berlin) – German authorities should defend freedom of speech, even if the contents of the speech are offensive to some, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should not afford heads of state greater privilege against provocative speech. …
2016-4-eca-boehmermann
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Germany’s foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, is visiting Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan this week – three countries plagued by serious human rights abuses. Uzbekistan has one of the world’s worst human rights records; Tajikistan is in the…
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier attends a news conference after a meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) in Moscow, Russia, March 23, 2016.
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(Berlin) Human rights activists, independent journalists, academics and others in Turkey are sounding the alarm bells over a dramatic worsening of human rights conditions in the country, and are urging Germany to listen.   On my recent visit to…
Riot police stand guard outside the Kanalturk and Bugun TV building in Istanbul, 28 October 2015
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In 2004, four Iraqis filed a criminal complaint with the German federal prosecutor against senior United States officials alleging torture by US armed forces in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. The US government strongly protested and warned that the complaint…
CIA torture pic 3