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When Pricila, a 32-year-old trans woman, fled El Salvador in February 2019, she had good reason to fear for her life. Police had beaten and sexually assaulted her, telling her they would make her a man. Gang members attempted to forcibly recruit her.…
A group of men and women march walk while holding rainbow pride flags
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Reporting Rape Survivors to Police Can Endanger Their Health

Brazilian authorities should revoke a Health Ministry regulation that erects new barriers to legal abortion access, Human Rights Watch said today. Among other measures in the August 27, 2020 regulation that could discourage women and girls from…
Women hold a banner calling for “legal, safe and free abortion,”
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The Trump administration has proposed a new federal regulation that would create insurmountable barriers to the vast majority of asylum claims, including by gutting the definition of refugee to the point where lesbian, gay, bisexual and…
201911US_lgbt_rights
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  In 2020, you should be watching for a growing trend of national legislatures requiring companies to live up to their responsibilities to workers, communities, and the environment. Millions of adults and children around the world suffer…
Children pan for gold
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“One day I was at a physical education class in the schoolyard when suddenly a helicopter started shooting down, then everyone ran to [take cover in] … the stands …. when the shooting ended, we ran into the school until my mother picked me up.”…
Letter sent by a child from Rio de Janeiro's Maré favela to Rio state judiciary about police operations
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Listening to the candidates running for president in Brazil, one would never know that just three years ago the Zika epidemic radically changed the lives of thousands of Brazilian families. Maria Carolina Silva Flor (“Carol”) and Maria…
Maria Gabriela Silva Alves (“Gabi”), age 2, with her mother, Maria Carolina Silva Flor (“Carol”), at their home in Esperança, Paraíba state, Brazil in 2018. Gabi was one of thousands of children born with disabilities caused by exposure to the Zika virus
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Talking to refugees from Syria, Iraq, Congo, and other troubled countries in the Greek island of Chios almost two years ago brought me close to tears several times. They told me about life under war-torn countries or living under abusive, authoritarian…
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The Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that 55 Brazilian children are among the thousands of immigrant detainees being held in US shelters and detention centers. US immigration agents separated the children from their parents as…
Veja Reunite families
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We arrived at the institution for people with disabilities on a day in November 2016. The door had heavy locks. Once inside, in the back of a room full of beds, we saw a woman waiving us closer. She had cerebral palsy and could not…
A man with disabilities looks out through the bars of a psychiatric ward in an institution in Rio de Janeiro. Persons locked in this section of the institution never left their rooms, according to staff.
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Last week, Rebeca Mendes Silva Leite, a 30-year-old woman from São Paulo, Brazil, asked Brazil’s Supreme Court for permission to safely and legally terminate an unplanned pregnancy she does not want to continue. No woman…
People participate in the SlutWalk protest on Copacabana Beach, here pope Francis will celebrate mass at night, in Rio de Janeiro, July, 2013. The sign reads "No more criminalization of women, abortion is a right". ©  REUTERS/Pilar Olivares
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Members of Brazil´s Chamber of Deputies should think of Luan Gabriel de Souza´s death when they vote, in the next few weeks, on a bill (PL 4,471/2012) that could improve investigations of killings by police. Luan was a rail-…
Luan Gabriel de Souza. Photo courtesy of Luan´s family.
News

Constitutional Amendment Would Harm Children, Society

This week, the Brazilian Senate will consider a constitutional amendment that would allow prosecutors to try 16- and 17-year-olds as adults. In a country with high levels of violence such as Brazil, it’s tempting to think that harsher…
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I met “Mariana,” a 20-year-old woman in Paraíba state, almost a year ago in the waiting area of a public hospital. I was investigating access to reproductive health services for women and girls in northeastern Brazil, and Mariana was one of my first…
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Clara is a community health worker’s dream client—she has absorbed all the training offered on preventing mosquito breeding in her home and implements it to perfection. I spoke to her last October in a favela in downtown Recife. She described how she…
Mother holding her child in Brazil.
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What It's Like for Teens Who Give Birth to Babies With Zika Syndrome.

Teenage girls are the forgotten victims of Brazil’s Zika outbreak. The virus, transmitted by mosquitos, leaves many babies of mothers infected during pregnancy with lifelong disabilities that require constant care. Because teenage girls in Brazil…
Wastewater and garbage are dumped directly into the river in a slum in the Coelhos neighborhood of Recife, Pernambuco state.
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After the horrendous attacks of September 11 in New York and Washington DC, the administration of US President George W. Bush reacted aggressively and with little respect for human rights: torture, secret or indefinite detention without trial, and mass…
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On a warm January afternoon in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Sandra, a forty-year-old tobacco farmer, dragged a lawn chair to a clearing in her front yard and motioned for me to sit. She was round-faced, with wispy blonde hair pulled into a…
2015-10-US-CRD_TOBACCO WORKER
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Luiz is one of the adolescents who would be tried as an adult in Brazil if its Congress approves a Constitutional amendment to lower the age of criminal majority. He is 17 and was living on the streets of a city near São Paulo in January when he was…
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Two years ago, when governments adopted a new international treaty to reduce mercury exposure globally, Brazil helped lead the way. It was one of the great supporters of the treaty, the Minimata Convention on Mercury, and signed it immediately. …