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A federal judge in California ruled on April 21 that the Iraqi extradition case against Omar Ameen, a resettled refugee in the U.S., was based on an alleged series of events that is "simply not plausible." The evidence the government presented,…
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When protests erupted in Baghdad and other parts of central and southern Iraq in October 2019, tens of thousands of mostly young people took to the streets demanding improved government services and more action to curb widespread corruption. The…
Iraqi security forces fire tear gas to disperse protesters during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019.
News
UK nationals committed abuses in Iraq after 2003 on a significant scale. The International Criminal Court’s Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) Final Report on the UK and Iraq on December 9 is the latest official report to find that members of UK…
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While eyes were fixed on elections in the United States last week, a president in Europe resigned to face trial for atrocity crimes committed more than 20 years ago. Kosovo’s Specialist Prosecutor’s Office formally charged President…
Then-President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi during a press conference in Kosovo capital Pristina on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019.  ©2019 Visar Kryeziu/AP Photo
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My heart sank as my colleague told me recently about the latest torture victim from Iraq who had contacted us to share his story. I had heard the same kinds of accounts from other victims of torture in detention, including the same names of two…
Juveniles’ cell at Tal Kayf prison, taken in April 2019 and shared confidentially with Human Rights Watch, shows extreme overcrowding at the prison.
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Over the four years that I have monitored human rights in Iraq, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) officials have often touted their superiority to the central government in Baghdad in respecting human rights. When I have met in Erbil with regional…
Woman holding up a sign in Arabic
News
At the peak of the Covid-19 infections, on April 30, the Serbian government published data that 574 people living in residential care institutions, including those for people with disabilities, had been infected with the virus. More recent numbers…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
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Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi has been in office only a month, but he has wasted no time in taking on some of Iraq’s most serious human rights issues more earnestly than many of his predecessors. While these moves are a positive sign, Al-…
Woman holding up a sign in Arabic
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The death of the Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi comes two years after ISIS lost most of its Iraq territory and less than a year after the last major battles against ISIS in Syria. While al-Baghdadi’s death means that his…
Men, suspected of being affiliated with the Islamic State, gather in a prison cell in the northeastern Syrian city of Hasakeh on October 26, 2019.
News
Basra holds more of Iraq’s oil reserves than any other governorate. By last  December, Iraq was exporting 3.726 million barrels of oil a day, generating US$6.1 billion a month in state revenue. And yet this wealth has not bought…
Drone footage taken by the Norwegian Refugee Council in Basra city in October 2018. © 2018 Norwegian Refugee Council
News
Western European intransigence on ensuring that citizens detained abroad as ISIL suspects or their family members can return home made world headlines recently when an Iraqi court sentenced nine French citizens to death following trials…
A woman walks with a child in Roj camp, which holds foreign wives and children of Islamic State (ISIS) members, in northeast Syria, September 2018. © 2018 Delil Souleiman/AFP/Getty Images
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He was just a 14-year-old schoolboy when the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) took over his city, Mosul, in northern Iraq. His school soon shut down. With little else to do, he said, he joined ISIS to make money. He said he received twenty days of…
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Sometimes complex policy issues are best captured in a simple question. If ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is captured alive tomorrow, who should prosecute him, where and for what crimes? When I pose this question to policymakers – in Western…
News
Across Iraq, there are men, women and children – perhaps over 100,000 if one extrapolates from statistics the government has issued on people detained on terror charges - that society has labeled “ISIS families.” In some cases, their fathers, husbands or…
Graffiti that reads "Daesh (ISIS)," marks the home of relatives of an ISIS member in a west Mosul neighborhood, Iraq. © 2018 Private.
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In January 2017, in an Erbil café, I met a woman called Nahla*, a breast cancer survivor who was stuck living under ISIS through much of its time controlling Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. Her husband had died years before after an…
Members of the Iraqi National Security Service arrest a young man they suspect of being affiliated with ISIS in eastern Mosul on March 15, 2017. © 2017 Sam Tarling
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As children across Serbia enjoy their summer break, for some children the next school year can’t start soon enough. It may be their first chance to get an education. The Serbian government formally pledged in June that all children with…
Marina  [pseudonym], a 4-year-old girl with developmental disabilities who spent ten months of her life in an institution, with her foster sister. © 2015 Jasenko Rasol for Human Rights Watch
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The London summit this week could kick-start the revival of the stalled reform process in the region – but won’t if human rights and the rule of law stay off the agenda

  Western Balkan and European Union leaders meet in London this week for a summit that could be a chance to revive stalled reforms and focus attention on critical issues. Unfortunately, there is every chance it will turn out to be full of hot…
Migrants are seen in front of a dorm destroyed during Bosnian 1992-1995 war, in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina May 11, 2018.
News
They make for compelling viewing: interviews with members of ISIS about why they joined, what they did and saw, what they confront after defeat and capture. These pieces might seem to give us insight into what motivates ISIS members.…
A member of the Iraqi security forces walks past a wall painted with the black flag commonly used by ISIS in Mosul, Iraq, January 8, 2017. © 2017 Reuters