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Attacks on Schools During the Nagorno-Karabakh War

  The first children died on the first day of the war. On September 27, 2020 a shell killed Victoria Gevorgyan. She was just 9 years of age. The shell landed in the yard of her home in the Martuni region of Nagorno-Karabakh. On the same…
A collage of eight images showing damage to schools
News

New Research on Three Incidents from 2020 Conflict

Three unlawful attacks on medical facilities by Azerbaijani forces during the six-week armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh have come to light in recent Human Rights Watch research in the region. Human Rights Watch documented multiple unlawful…
View from the window of the Martakert military hospital, which was struck by Azerbaijani rocket artillery on October 14, 2020.
News

A Tale of Brutal Repression and Extraordinary Resilience

Many have been arbitrarily detained, imprisoned, or forcibly disappeared. Some died while in state custody. Some live with permanent physical ailments and mental trauma as a result of torture by the authorities. Some, after suffering years of unrelenting…
Liu Xiaobo addresses the crowd at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, May 1, 1989.
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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
News

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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Tobacco Companies Fail to Warn Zimbabwe’s Farmers of Nicotine Poisoning’s Dangers

  Everyone sat on a thatched blanket spread outside under the warm sun, near the tobacco curing barn, with flat farmland, green grass and the occasional tree stretching as far as the eye could see. Admire (not his real name), a tobacco farmer…
A woman sorts dried tobacco leaves in Harare, Zimbabwe while a child sits nearby.
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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

After Losing Their Husbands, Zimbabwe’s Widows Face Losing Their Land, Property, and Livelihood

When Moud Gohwa Taremeredzwa lost her first husband at the age of 26, she faced a stark choice: move in with her deceased husband’s elder brother as his new wife, or lose everything she had worked and lived for –including her children. Moud opted for the…
Moud Gohwa Taremeredzwa is a Zimbabwean widow who successfully fought property grabbing relatives in court
News
Leila Alieva realized she was on the Azerbaijani government’s radar in June 2014. Only a few months later, in August, she would board a plane to flee the country she called home. Now, more than two years later, she still hasn’t been able to return.…
More than two years later, activist Leila Alieva still hasn’t been able to return to Azerbaijan.
News
Elchin Abdullayev was an election observer in Baku in October 2003 when he was arrested for compiling evidence of election violations and openly protesting against them. He was thrown in jail and tortured so badly that he had to be hospitalized. …
Elchin Abdullayev, human rights activist in Azerbaijan
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Growing up in Soviet Azerbaijan, Zohrab Ismayil learned first-hand how people barely benefited from the country’s natural resource wealth. Witnessing this inequality prompted Zohrab to join the fight for his country’s independence, which came…
2016-10-20-azerbaijan-zohrab-ismayil
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Leyla Yunus’s family in Azerbaijan suffered the worst of Bolshevism and then Stalinism, as her relatives were shot or sent to internal exile. Her grandfather, who died when she was 18, told her that although he was sent to prison, he avoided being sent to…
2014_Azerbaijan_LeylaYunus
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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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At 14, Justine firmly believed that the world was her oyster and the future hers to shape and conquer.  She was bright and her mother made enough money as a seamstress to send her to a decent public school in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.  “I…
Zimbabwe child marriage
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2015 Recipient of the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism

UPDATE: On May 25, 2016, the Supreme Court ordered the release of Khadija Ismayilova from prison. While her conviction still stands and her freedoms are curtailed by the authorities, including her freedom of movement, this is a moment to celebrate. Human…
Khadija Ismayilova
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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
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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…
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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

Winners Named for the 2012 Alison Des Forges Award

Update: Because Salah Marghani was appointed Libya's justice minister on October 31 he is unable to accept the Alison Des Forges Award. (New York) - Two courageous and tireless advocates for human rights have been selected as recipients of the prestigious…
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