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Journalists Arbitrarily Detained, Beaten

(New York) – Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have imposed wide-ranging restrictions on media and free speech that are already stifling criticism and dissent, Human Rights Watch said today. During a late September meeting with journalists in…
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For Survivors of Abuse, Shelters Offered Lifeline

“My parents warned me they will kill me if I ever leave this shelter,” Najla, a woman of about 30, told me. “The worst thing is that I don’t have anyone to support me.” She has been in a shelter in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat for several years…
Afghan women sew in their bedroom at a women's shelter in Kabul, March 20, 2017. A non-descript building tucked away in a residential neighborhood is one of the few hidden sanctuaries where battered women can seek support. 
News

New Restrictions Indicate Crackdown on Free Speech

(New York) – Taliban authorities in Afghanistan have been detaining and assaulting journalists and imposing new restrictions on media work, Human Rights Watch said today. The Taliban should call a halt to the assaults, drop the restrictions, and…
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Boost Aid for Civil Society, Education, Health, Media

(New York) – The US government should address fears of increased insecurity fueled by its announced plan to withdraw all military forces from Afghanistan by committing to expanded support for human rights, including women’s rights, Human Rights…
President Joe Biden speaks from the Treaty Room in the White House on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, about the withdrawal of the remainder of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. 
News

Attacks Highlight Need to Uphold Press Freedom in Peace Settlement

(New York) – Taliban forces are deliberately targeting journalists and other media workers, including women, in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch said today. Threats and attacks against journalists across the country have increased sharply since…
Afghan journalists film at the site of a bombing attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. 
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International Women’s Day Should Prompt Real Reforms

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets, calling on their governments to take widespread sexual violence against women and children seriously, and to implement real reforms. But rather than listening to experts and…
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Death Penalty Push Ignores Real Solutions to Regional Failings

(New York) – South Asian governments should disregard populist death penalty rhetoric and listen to their own experts to prevent and end sexual violence against women, Human Rights Watch said in a video released today. Experts on sexual violence from…
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Elyas Daye Among Many in Media Facing Increased Taliban Threats

(New York) – An improvised explosive device (IED) attached to the car of Elyas Dayee, a reporter with Azadi Radio, exploded and killed him on November 11, 2020 in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, Human Rights Watch said today. Although the Taliban…
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Raid on Kabul Journalists’ Home an Act of Intimidation

An Afghan police raid on the home of two female journalists in Kabul raises concerns about rising threats to women in public life – in this case from the Kabul police, who seem to have taken a page out of the Taliban’s playbook. At about midnight…
Afghan National Police seen near the Defense Ministry compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, February 27, 2016. 
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Investigate Airstrike on Mosque School that Killed at Least 12 Children

(New York) – Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh has ordered the arrest of the individual who reported civilian casualties from an Afghan government airstrike on October 22, 2020, Human Rights Watch said today. The Afghan air force struck a mosque…
Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh at an inauguration ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 9, 2020. 
News

Women Tell Their Stories

Abortion in all instances, including rape, is illegal in Honduras. Any woman who has an abortion, and anyone found to have helped her, can be charged with a crime and imprisoned. For that reason, La Línea (“The Line”) was a rare resource in…
Lorena (a pseudonym) was unaware she was pregnant when she went to a hospital in intense pain two years ago. Doctors suspected she had attempted an abortion and called the police. She was taken from the hospital in handcuffs and is now facing charges.
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Press Freedom at Risk in Deadliest Country for Journalists

The role Afghanistan’s vibrant media plays in public life represents one of the most significant changes that have taken place in the country since 2001. But that achievement is under threat, as journalists face growing intimidation and…
Policemen help Afghan journalists, victims of a second blast, in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018.
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Policy Bans Government Doctors from Conducting Abusive Tests

A new policy in Afghanistan promises to bar government health workers from engaging in the abusive practice of forcing women and girls to undergo invasive and medically meaningless vaginal and anal exams to determine whether they are “…
A demonstrator attends a rally outside the Brussels Conference on Afghanistan, Belgium, October 5, 2016.
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Groundbreaking 2009 Law Hasn’t Brought Justice for Victims

It seemed like a breakthrough. In 2009, when then-President Hamid Karzai signed Afghanistan’s Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (EVAW Law), women’s rights activists celebrated a hard-won victory. They looked to a future…
Members of civil society organizations chant slogans during a protest to condemn the killing of 27-year-old woman, Farkhunda, who was beaten with sticks and set on fire by a crowd of men in central Kabul in broad daylight on Thursday, in Kabul March 24, 2
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Suicide Attack Targets First Responders, Journalists

Two years ago, Shah Marai, a photographer for Agence France Presse, described the pain of living in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, with little hope for a better future. “I don’t dare to take my children for a walk,” he wrote.  “All I…
Policemen help Afghan journalists, victims of a second blast, in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018.
News

Abusive ‘Virginity Exams’ Re-Traumatize Victims

“I will never report such a case again,” said Farida, a midwife in rural Afghanistan, after a judge humiliated her in a public courtroom for her efforts to document a case of sexual assault involving two child victims. Farida…
An Afghan woman in Chaghchran capital of Ghor province June 2, 2014.
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Lawmakers Set to Discuss Loosening Notoriously Strict Anti-Abortion Law

This week, lawmakers in Honduras will have the chance to allow some women access to abortion, reversing restrictions first imposed more than 30 years ago. Under the current law, terminating a pregnancy is illegal and carries a heavy prison sentence,…
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Alleged Threats, Intimidation Demand Thorough Probe

A purported recording of an encounter between members of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s security detail and a journalist is a troubling reminder of the fragility of the country’s hard-won media freedom. Alyas Tahiri, a…
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani attends Afghan Independence Day celebrations in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2016.
News
Journalism is an increasingly deadly profession in Afghanistan. That is the chilling message from the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC), based on statistics it released this week documenting attacks against the media over the past year. …
A cameraman films a news anchor at Tolo TV studio in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 18, 2015.