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Migrant Workers Face Abuse and Exploitation

There are reports this week that Saudi authorities are seeking to abolish the notorious kafala (sponsorship) system in 2021. Under that system, some 10 million migrant workers’ legal status are tied to their employer—facilitating abuse and…
Trapped in Employer's home
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New Human Rights Watch Campaign Against Whitewashing Rights Violations

(Beirut) – The Saudi government has spent billions of dollars hosting major entertainment, cultural, and sporting events as a deliberate strategy to deflect from the country’s image as a pervasive human rights violator, Human Rights Watch said today.…
Nicki Minaj
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Safety Concerns for Activists, Ex-Crown Prince, Cleric

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia has denied some prominent detainees contact with their family members and lawyers for months, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter requesting access to the country and private prison visits with detainees. The situation…
Prominent women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul had been on hunger strike for six days before Saudi authorities finally allowed her parents to visit on August 31, according to family members. Al-Hathloul had spent almost three months before that in incommunicado detention.
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Unwarranted Amid Health Risks, Global Travel Restrictions

    (Beirut) – People in immigration detention in Gulf countries pending deportation should be given alternatives to detention amid health risks and global travel restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Human…
A worker rests at his accommodation in Qadisiya labor camp, Saudi Arabia August 17, 2016.
News

Previous Campaign Marred by Lack of Due Process, Torture Allegations

  (Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s new mass arrest of 298 government employees on suspicion of corruption raises human rights concerns, Human Rights Watch said today. Saudi…
Women walk past a poster of Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud during Janadriyah Cultural Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 12, 2018.
News

Trafficking, Exploitation, Torture, Abusive Prison Conditions

(Addis Ababa) – Ethiopians undertaking the perilous journey by boat across the Red Sea or Gulf of Aden face exploitation and torture in Yemen by a network of trafficking groups, Human Rights Watch said today. They also encounter abusive prison…
African migrants receive food and water inside a football stadium in the Red Sea port city of Aden in Yemen, on April 23, 2019. © AFP/Getty Images
News

French Arms Sales to Coalition Raise Complicity Concerns

(Paris) – President Emmanuel Macron of France should raise serious concerns with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince regarding laws-of-war violations in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said today. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan of the United Arab…
Saudi-led coalition aircraft struck three apartment buildings in Faj Attan, a densely populated neighborhood in Sanaa, on August 25, 2017. Two of the buildings were completely destroyed and the third suffered extensive damage. Saudi-led coalition aircraft
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

Ensure Due Process; Investigate Torture, Liberty Violations

(Berlin) – Ukraine’s Security Service (SBU) arbitrarily detained a Ukrainian woman, held her incommunicado, and tortured her, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities charged the woman, Daria Mastikasheva, with treason, and a court in Dnipro has…
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Resolve ‘Disappearances’, Grant Access to Detention Sites

(Beirut) – The UAE supports Yemeni forces that have arbitrarily detained, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and abused dozens of people during security operations, Human Rights Watch said today. The UAE finances, arms, and trains these forces, which…
Hadrami elite forces guard Mukalla from Al-Qaeda by creating check-points.
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Under a new agreement Somalia is sending between 600 and 1,000 domestic workers to Saudi Arabia in time for Ramadan. The month of fasting usually brings an increase in the demand for domestic workers as employers often host large iftar meals to break…
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Saudi Arabia's new terrorism law might look like a step forward, if only because it's written down. Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries with no written criminal penal code, and the penal regulations that authorities have issued are so vague that…
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Yesterday, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia inked an agreement that says Indonesian women working in Saudi homes will be able to keep their passports, communicate with their families, get paid monthly, and have time off. The new pact comes in the wake of years…
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Legal Advances in Two Dozen Countries Globally as New Treaty Enters Into Force

(Montevideo) – The Middle East depends heavily on domestic workers but trails other regions in adopting critical reforms to protect their rights, the International Domestic Workers Network (IDWN), the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), and…
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Absence of Enforcement Mechanism Will Inhibit Effectiveness

(Beirut) – Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers broke new ground on August 26, 2013, by passing a draft law criminalizing domestic abuse. The law, however, does not detail specific enforcement mechanisms to ensure prompt investigations of abuse allegations…
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New EU Presidency Should Set Example for Justice

(Brussels) – As Lithuania takes over the European Union’s rotating presidency it should lead by example, meet its legal obligations, and reopen its investigation into its own complicity in CIA secret prisons, US enforced disappearances, and alleged…
News

Denied Bail, Family Fears for His Health

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities should ensure a fair trial for the Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr, Human Rights Watch said today. Criminal justice authorities should make sure he gets immediate access to adequate medical care for gunshot wounds received during his…
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Khaled al-Natour, Held Incommunicado, Should be Charged or Freed

(Beirut) – Saudi authorities should immediately disclose the whereabouts and condition of the Jordanian activist Khaled al-Natour, and free him or charge him with a recognizable criminal offense. Saudi security forces detained al-Natour at King Khaled…
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Rizana Nafeek was a child herself -- 17 years old according to her birth certificate -- when a four-month-old baby died in her care in Saudi Arabia. She had migrated from Sri Lanka only weeks earlier to be a domestic worker for a Saudi family. Although…