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Stories from People with Disabilities During Canada’s Extreme Heatwave

When temperatures in British Columbia, Canada, soared to nearly 50 degrees Celsius/122 degrees Fahrenheit this past summer, people with disabilities and older people were left unprotected. Hundreds of older people died. Heatwaves are expected to become…
Camper van at sunset
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Migrants Face Human Rights Abuses at EU Borders; Impunity Persists

Dawn was breaking when Akram and around 20 others dragged themselves up the banks of the Glina river, their bodies bruised from beatings by Croatian police officers. Some of them were barefoot and so badly injured they could barely walk. Akram was back…
Migrants warm their hands above a fire in Bosnia and Herzegovina, January 11, 2021.
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How Ten Years of Advocacy and Incremental Changes Add Up

In Greece, a recent high-profile court ruling and policy change mark momentous human rights victories for migrants and children. On October 7, an Athens court ruled that the country’s far-right xenophobic political party, Golden Dawn, whose members…
A woman sits with her children in Victoria Square in Athens, Greece, awaiting transfer after being evicted from their place of residence, July 20, 2020.
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Laetitia Bader, Human Rights Watch’s Horn of Africa Director, recently returned from a research mission in Sudan to interview refugees who fled the fighting that broke out in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in early November 2020. For several weeks, federal…
People who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region ride a bus to the Village 8 temporary shelter near the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, December 1, 2020. 
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Canada Is Failing Indigenous Peoples Facing Threats to Food, Health, and Land

In some of the most remote stretches of Canada – from the provincial norths to the territories – First Nations are facing serious threats to their ways of life because of the effects of climate change. A rapidly changing environment means harvesting food…
Weenusk First Nations members packing their sleds ahead of a hunt near Peawanuck, Ontario, December 14, 2019.
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The Global Pandemic Offers Chance to Embrace Clean Energy

It’s been three months since governments around the world implemented lockdowns in response to Covid-19. The virus has killed hundreds of thousands and forced millions more into joblessness and destitution. With the global transport of people and goods…
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COVID-19 in Europe, the Central Eurasian Region, and Turkey

What are some of your biggest concerns about the coronavirus moving through Europe and Central Asia? Europe is one of the world’s epicenters of COVID-19 cases. There’s an awful death toll in Italy and Spain with the numbers of dead going up…
Military police officers patrol at a market in Budapest, Hungary, March 31, 2020.
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How has the situation on Lesbos changed since your last visit? When I was here in 2016, I couldn’t imagine things being worse. We saw a lawless situation in Moria refugee camp. There were around 6,000 people in the camp,…
Migrants who arrived yesterday to Greece from Turkey eat bread as they try to warm themselves at the village of Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday, March 6, 2020.
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How European Development Banks Fail the Very People They Claim to Assist

Why did you focus your research on these oil palm plantations? These plantations provide jobs for many people. But their workers are being underpaid and exposed to unhealthy working conditions. The European development banks that finance these…
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Being Outside is a Health Risk for Some of Zambia’s Children

How did you first become aware of the problem in Kabwe? We learned about it from an environmental group several years ago but became interested in doing our own research after seeing a young person from Kabwe speak at a United Nations event.…
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Discrimination against War-Zone Pensioners in Eastern Ukraine

  Seventy-eight-year-old Galina lives in a city on the front line separating Ukrainian troops and Russian-backed armed groups in eastern Ukraine. Before the fighting began five years ago, collecting her Ukrainian pension was as simple as a five…
Older people lining up at bank machines in government-controlled areas of Ukraine.
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Left Destitute and Sick, Communities Defy Police Abuse and Threats to Assert their Rights

What changes for a community once a mine starts operating? Most mining in South Africa takes place in rural areas, where people live off the land and their livestock. Mining often forces people to leave the land they use for farming and grazing…
Coal mine in Somkhele viewed from Ocilwane village in Fuleni, KwaZulu-Natal. © 2018 Rob Symons
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Older People in England Put At Risk By Improper Social Care Assessments

“Dad becoming ill was a gradual process,” recalls Farhaz’s son Mohammed, chatting quietly in the living room of their modest family home in east London while his dad sleeps in a nearby room. “He began to get forgetful, emotional, and started crying a lot…
Farhaz is helped from his bed to the living room by his wife Barsha.  © 2018 Stephanie Hancock/Human Rights Watch
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Activists in Lamu Challenge Power Despite Threats

Tell me about Lamu and the activists you spoke to. Lamu county is a beautiful, scenic tourist destination with long white beaches lined with palm trees and hotels and cafes catering to foreign and domestic tourists. The mostly-Muslim…
Residents and environmental activists  protesting against  lack of consultations and government failure to address environmental concerns in respect ofo the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project in Lamu island, Kenya, March 1, 2012.
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Tell me more about mountaintop removal. Today it’s done almost exclusively in southern West Virginia, but has been done in Eastern Kentucky, and parts of Tennessee and Virginia too. Scientific studies show that people living near this type of…
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Brazil’s Industrial Farmers Spray Dangerous Chemicals Near Schools, Villages

  What’s happening with pesticides in Brazil?  Brazil’s an agriculture powerhouse in terms of the amount of land under farming. The farming of soy, sugarcane, cotton, and corn is done at an industrial scale and pesticides are used…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
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The Stories From People With Disabilities Who Have Endured Humanitarian crises

Simplice – Central African Republic The frustration burned in Simplice Lenguy’s eyes as he spoke about the situation faced by people with disabilities since conflict erupted in the Central African Republic. In…
Ali, a 22-year-old Afghan asylum seeker with a disability, living in Moria camp, on the beach in Lesbos, Greece. He told Human Rights Watch he can’t access showers in the camp and sometimes tries to wash himself in the sea.
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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.
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Swedish and German Authorities Pursuing Cases for War Crimes in Syria

What kind of cases have been brought to trial so far? To date, seven cases for war crimes in Syria were brought to trial, three in Sweden and four in Germany. These few cases have mostly been against members of the Islamic State [ISIS], Jabhat…
Illustration © 2017 Brian Stauffer for Human Rights Watch