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How a Teacher Finds the Courage to Do Her Job Despite Risks to Her Life

When Juliana (not her real name), 31, took a full-time position teaching history at a school just outside Buea, the capital of Cameroon’s Anglophone South-West region, she had no idea that her profession would put her life at risk. Today, she knows of…
Desks in an empty classroom
News

Attacks on Civilians in Idlib, Syria

On a hot morning in late May in the town of Ariha, in the northwest Syrian governorate of Idlib, Fadel Faham’s elderly mother woke him up at around 9:30 in the morning and asked him to go to their family’s café. He put on a light T-shirt to keep cool in…
On May 27 a large munition struck a residential area in the town of Ariha, across from the Banat Ariha school, killing at least 13 civilians and wounding at least 21, including four members of Fadel Faham’s.
News

Rohingya Children’s Education Blocked at Every Turn

Some of these children and their families resorted to buying Bangladeshi identity documents as the only way to secure a secondary school education and their future. Now, the authorities are targeting and expelling those students. Government policy is…
Rohingya refugee students demonstrate
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Even Government Offices in Iran Are Inaccessible for People With Disabilities

“I know it’s very dangerous,” she said. “Each time I get on an escalator with my wheelchair, I prepare myself for death. But I have no other choice. I have nobody to help me.”  In a new report, “‘I Am Equally Human’:…
© 2018 John Holmes for Human Rights Watch
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Rohingya Refugee Has Spent 4 Years on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island

He made the journey from Burma by boat to Thailand, to Malaysia, to Indonesia, and then to Australia’s Christmas Island. But when his boat reached Australian waters, Australian immigration officials questioned him and transferred him to a detention center…
Refugees and asylum seekers protest against Australia’s offshore processing policy at a detention center on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea.
News

Refugees in Jordan Suffer Collective Expulsions to Syria

Syrians who thought they had escaped their civil war by fleeing to neighboring Jordan have been summarily deported to their war-ravaged country without explanation. Jordan’s government says refugees are being sent back to protect national security…
A lone man crosses Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. The camp population fell from 203,000 during its peak in April 2013 to 80,000 by July 2017.
News
Last February, when Iran hosted a major international beach volleyball competition, Mina took a huge risk. She traveled to the games, in an attempt to enter the stadium and cheer Iran’s team on in person. It was a risk because Iran has banned…
Iran women FIVB
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They survived treacherous boat journeys between Turkey and Greece, barbed wire in Hungary, and cascading border closures across the Balkans – a journey, mainly on foot, that took months. Now, safe in Germany, with the most dangerous part of their trek…
Hassan fled Damascus and after arriving in Berlin began volunteering at a refugee center, handing out clothes, food and baby carriages.
News
Despite the chilly morning air in Berlin, Dr. Sami Sharif prefers to sit at one of the café’s outside tables, where he can smoke. He sips his espresso and smiles, as he tells me that when he was younger, he didn’t want to be a doctor at all, he wanted to…
The café where Dr. Sami Sharif was interviewed.
News
Samir is chatty and smart. Little of the 11-year-old’s confident demeanor reveals the horrors he has seen. Sitting bolt upright in one of his family’s two armchairs, the young Syrian politely answers questions, eager to share his story of uprooting and…
School supplies belonging to a Syrian refugee child enrolled in her local public school.
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2015 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…
Yara Bader
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2015 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…
Nisha Ayub
News
In the end, the family was deported to Afghanistan over pink sneakers and platform sandals. Zohrah, 17, and her sister Hasina, 15, sounded furious, in a teenager kind of way, when they talked about their arrest and how it led them, their father…
News

How Iran's Crackdown on Rights Compelled One Man to Leave His Home

The Iranian activist Kaveh Kermanshahi was free on bail in 2010 when an Iranian court sentenced him to four years in prison for his work on Kurdish and women’s rights. Kermanshahi, who was 26 at the time, decided he couldn’t return to prison, where he had…
News

Sussan Tahmesebi Receives the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism

Sussan Tahmasebi returned to her native Iran in 1999 for what she thought was a quick trip to reconnect with her roots, but she ended up staying for nearly 10 years, helping develop civil society to defend women’s rights. She helped to start one of the…
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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…
News
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…
News
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…
News
2009 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…