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2014 Recipient of the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism

Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people…
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Applying International Human Rights Standards to Drug Detention Centers

The widespread ill-treatment and abuse experienced by people who use illicit drugs has received increasing attention as a human rights issue.One area of particular concern is the violation of human rights in the course of— and sometimes even in the name…
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The following is a compilation by Human Rights Watch of accounts by thirty-three former detainees at Guantanamo of their experiences there. Human Rights Watch interviewed sixteen of the detainees, reviewed press reports containing statements by former…
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Human Rights Watch has repeatedly tried to gain access to U.S. detention facilities in Iraq but U.S. military officials in Baghdad have denied requests for visitation rights. Human Rights Watch is able to have regular access to prisons and detention…
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Since the mid-1990s, Armenian authorities have used administrative detention as a tool of repression, locking up protesters and activists at times of political tension. The 2003 presidential election and its aftermath mark the most sustained, extensive…
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A Human Rights Watch Backgrounder

According to the latest statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, more than two million men and women are now behind bars in the United States. The country that holds itself out as the "land of freedom" incarcerates a higher percentage of its people…
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A Human Rights Watch Press Backgrounder

In this briefing, we present new figures documenting racial disparities state-by-state in the incarceration of African Americans and Latinos.1 We hope they will help state residents and public officials to understand their state-specific…
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This background paper highlights the international law issues surrounding the status and treatment of Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan in U.S. custody. It cites the need for a formal and individualized determination of prisoner of war status…
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A Human Rights Watch Background Briefing

International humanitarian law categorically prohibits hostage-taking. On April 12, 2000 Israel's highest court ruled that the administrative detention of Lebanese nationals as "bargaining chips" -- hostages -- was illegal under Israeli domestic law,…
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Middle East Watch (MEW) conducted a fact-finding mission to Egypt in January and February 1992, to investigate arrest and detention practices and allegations of torture of individuals held in the custody of the security forces. Participating in the…