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New Law Bans Discrimination, Promotes Inclusion

On May 5, Armenia’s parliament adopted the law on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This is a long-awaited reform with the potential to change the lives of the roughly 200,000 people with disabilities in Armenia by protecting them from…
A boy sits on a swing in the courtyard of an orphanage for children with disabilities, Yerevan, Armenia.
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Dominic Ongwen’s Status as Child Victim Factors into Punishment

The International Criminal Court (ICC) today imposed a 25-year-sentence on Dominic Ongwen, a former leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The sentence marks an important milestone in the search for justice for victims of the grave international…
Dominic Ongwen at his confirmation of charges hearing in ICC courtroom I on 21 January 2016 © ICC-CPI.
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Dominic Ongwen, Kidnapped by the LRA at Age 10, to Face ICC Judgment

After a four-year trial, in February the International Criminal Court will deliver its judgment in the case of Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander of the brutal rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). He is charged with 70 counts of war crimes and…
Dominic Ongwen, a senior commander in the Lord's Resistance Army, sits in the court room of the International Court in The Hague, Netherlands
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Ensure Transparency, End Institutional Care

Serbia has taken a positive step to better protect people from Covid-19 by agreeing to release data on the total number of Covid-19 infections and deaths inside social care institutions. People inside institutions are some of the most at-risk during…
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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UN Committee Finds New Evidence of Violence in Institutions

A recent review of Serbia finds that the government is failing to protect women with disabilities in institutions from violence. In its report, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) also…
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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Court Ruling Gives Hope for Greater Equality Before the Law

A recent decision by Armenia’s highest court promises to advance the right to equal justice for people with disabilities in Armenia. In 2015, Artur Hakobyan, a then 18-year-old military conscript reported that a military…
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With great sadness we share the news that Medi Ssengooba, a dear friend, partner, and colleague at Human Rights Watch, passed away last week after a short illness. Medi was a strong advocate, a sharp lawyer, and a kind and…
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Court Should Emphasize Victims’ Views in Choice of Counsel

Testimony before the International Criminal Court (ICC) resumed this month in the case against Dominic Ongwen, a Ugandan former commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The ICC has officially recognized over 4,000 victims to…
A community member in Lukodi stands next to a memorial of a May 19, 2004 massacre, one of the atrocities for which Dominic Ongwen is facing charges before the International Criminal Court. Over 4,000 victims are participating in the trial.
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Long Journey Home for Baby With Disabilities

At her local church in Yerevan, Armenia, Siranush lit a candle and prayed that her daughter would survive the night. Lusine, 22, was hovering between life and death in a nearby hospital after a terrible car crash. As Siranush pleaded for her daughter’s…
Armenia Orphanage Witness - Meri 1
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Countries Commit to Working Within the ICC System

A slew of African countries reaffirmed their backing for the International Criminal Court (ICC) during the past two days, giving much-needed support to the court in the wake of recently announced withdrawals by South Africa, Burundi, and Gambia.  …
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Government Should Implement Law Providing for Inclusive Education

Today, September 1st, will be an exciting first day of school for most Serbian children. But for many children with disabilities, it will be just one more day without a chance to learn, make friends, and interact with peers and teachers. Take for…
A living room in Veternik Institution where children and adults with disabilities spend most of their days. There are no toys, education materials, or carpets on the floor. The only available source of stimulation is a TV attached to the wall.
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The day Julija was born should have been a day of celebration for Jasmina and Ivica Čuković, a Serbian couple, who had tried for years to have a baby. But the events following their daughter’s birth in a public hospital in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital, left…
Julija Čuković, who spent ten months of her life in an institution, at home in Kragujevac with her parents, where she enjoys to play with her younger sister, also in the photo. © 2016 Zoran Stamenković
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It was just a bolt of pink cotton lying on the floor of a school gym but more than 20 years later, it haunts me still – soldiers tore off strips of that cloth, blindfolded dozens of men, trucked them to a nearby field, shot them, and buried all but a…
Two Bosnian Muslim women cry over a coffin July 10, 2005 with remains of their relative in a factory hall in Potocari where 610 victims of Srebrenica massacre wait for the funeral.
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As the African Union summit closed on January 31, 2016, Kenyan media ignited with reports that the African Union endorsed mass withdrawal of African countries from the International Criminal Court. But the reality is a lot less newsworthy than the main…
A general view shows delegates during the 26th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) at the AU headquarters in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 31, 2016.
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More than 50 million viewers of the Kony 2012 viral video now know that Joseph Kony, founder and leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, is a wanted man with the blood of many on his hands. Human Rights Watch has spent years investigating the horrors…
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Living with Disabilities in Uganda

As told by Shantha Rau Barriga Edna seemed shy, rounding her shoulders protectively over her baby. She was breastfeeding, and I could see the burn scars on the top of her head. Despite her initial self-consciousness, she told us her story, starting with…