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Bilateral Dialogue Should Address Enforced Disappearances

(Sydney) – The Australian government should press the Lao government to take concrete steps to improve its poor human rights record at the seventh Australia-Laos Human Rights Dialogue on December 9, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. In a…
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Afghanistan Crisis No Excuse to Ignore Rights Concerns

(Brussels) – The European Union should urge Central Asian governments at a gathering on November 22, 2021, to increase efforts to protect human rights, at a time when Afghanistan and regional issues are high on the agenda, Human Rights Watch said…
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the five Central Asian countries at the 15th EU-Central Asia Ministerial Meeting in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan on July 07, 2019.
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Restrictions on Media Freedoms, Political Participation in Upcoming Vote

(Berlin) – Uzbek authorities have ramped up restrictions on media freedoms and kept opposition candidates off the ballot for the presidential election scheduled for October 24, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. In releasing a question-and-…
Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev receives Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (not pictured) in Tashkent.
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On October 24, 2021, Uzbekistan will hold its first presidential election since President Shavkat Mirziyoyev came to power in September 2016, following the death of Islam Karimov, the country’s longtime authoritarian president. Uzbekistan has garnered…
Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev speaking in Qingdao, China on June 9, 2018. © 2018 AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko.”
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Urgent Need to Improve Accessibility Before Upcoming Elections

(Beirut) – People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a…
A voter who uses a wheelchair at a polling place in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on May 12, 2018. 
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Displaced Iraqis’ Rights Trampled Repeatedly

(Beirut) – The Iraqi army has unlawfully evicted dozens of families from a village north of Baghdad since July 2021 in an apparent family feud involving a government minister, Human Rights Watch said today. The 91 families from al-Aetha, a village in…
Government buses waiting to move families from one camp in Anbar governate to another during a previous wave of camp closures in December 2018.  © 2018 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
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President Should Immediately Prohibit Torturous Exams

(Washington, D.C.)—Authorities in Uzbekistan have subjected at least six men to forced anal examinations between 2017 and 2021 in order to prosecute them for consensual same-sex relations, nine human rights groups said today. Forced anal examinations…
Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev speaking in Qingdao, China on June 9, 2018. © 2018 AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko.”
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Human Rights Watch Introduces Country Index Based on Laws, Policies

(Beirut) – Governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) should outlaw the violent discipline of children, Human Rights Watch said today, introducing an index categorizing countries in the region based on their laws and policies. The MENA…
2020 Dadu Shin for Human Rights Watch
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Appeals Court Should Consider Flagrant Irregularities

(Beirut) – A court in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq sentenced three journalists and two activists to six years in prison on February 16, 2021, in deeply flawed proceedings, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities continue to hold two other…
Families of the journalists and activists on trial on February 16, 2021, sitting outside the Erbil District Court of Appeal.
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Ensure Effective Investigation; Condemn Flagrant Homophobia

Update (May 4, 2021): Police detained the blogger, Miraziz Bazarov, on April 29, immediately after he was discharged from the hospital where he had been recovering from a violent attack by unidentified assailants on March 28. A court placed Bazarov…
Amir Timur statue, in Amir Timur square, Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
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Abusive Provisions Persist; Proposal Fails Compliance with International Norms

(Berlin) – Uzbekistan should ensure that its new Criminal Code does not just tinker with some problematic provisions, but reflects meaningful reform, Human Rights Watch said today. The new Criminal Code should seek in good faith to comply fully with…
Exterior of Barak-khan Madrasah in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
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Important Step, but More Action Needed to Rein in Continued Attacks

(Beirut) – On February 15, Iraqi authorities detained at least four men, with alleged ties to a unit within the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or Hashad, formally under the control of the prime minister) who are alleged to have killed at least four…
Ali Naseer Alawy, after armed masked men beat him and used an acid mixture to try to remove a tattoo on his arm.
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Known for Criticizing Local Authorities

(Berlin) – An outspoken blogger from Uzbekistan faces up to 10 years in prison in a dubious extortion case brought by local authorities in the country’s southeast region, Human Rights Watch said today. Plainclothes officers detained the blogger,…
Otabek Sattoriy.
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Uphold, Reaffirm Human Rights Protections

(Berlin) – Government responses to the acute human rights challenges posed by Covid-19 across Central Asia negatively affected right to health, media freedoms, and access to justice, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021.…
Uzbek students take open-air entrance exams in Tashkent on September 2, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic.
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Improved Trials Should Be Replicated

(Beirut) – A special committee of judges to adjudicate cases of children in detention in Iraq for alleged links to the Islamic State (ISIS) during the first half of 2020 appeared to comply with international human rights standards better than other…
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British Authorities Have Dismal Record of Addressing War Crimes

(London) – The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s decision to close a preliminary examination of alleged war crimes by British forces in Iraq is likely to fuel the perception of a double standard in international justice, Human Rights…
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Lawmakers to Decide on Abusive Cybercrimes Measure

(Beirut) – Iraqi lawmakers are considering a draft law on information technology crimes that could be used to stifle free expression, Human Rights Watch said today. Free speech is already under attack in Iraq, and on November 23, 2020 lawmakers…
The opening session of Iraq’s new parliament on September 3, 2018 in Baghdad, Iraq.
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Government Should Show Progress on Pledge to Locate Victims

(Beirut) – Iraqi authorities should fulfill a commitment to locate victims of enforced disappearance and ensure that those responsible are held accountable, Human Rights Watch said today. Since taking office in May 2020, Prime Minister Mustafa Al-…
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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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Unlawful Action Allegedly Politically Motivated

(Beirut) – Kurdish authorities have unlawfully closed two offices of a private media outlet, NRT, for over a month, apparently for covering protests and for broadcasts critical of the ruling party, Human Rights Watch said today. The Kurdish…
The NRT headquarters in Sulaymaniyah, in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.