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A new treaty to deepen the link between environmental protection and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean has the potential to reduce the conflicts that lead to the murders of so many environmental defenders in the region.  The…
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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  In January, a colleague of mine at Human Rights Watch predicted that 2018 would be the “year of the courts” for LGBT people’s rights. Seven months into the year, courts around the world have indeed come down with important rulings that…
The Indian Supreme Court building in New Delhi, India.
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In a moment when some countries have stepped back on LGBT rights, a January 9th decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has opened a window of opportunity for Latin America to lead the way.   In a landmark…
People celebrate after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage, in San Jose, Costa Rica, January 9, 2018. The sign reads: "The court said yes".
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On a June day in 2016, Ruth Montenegro said goodbye to her daughter, 11-year-old Valentina, as she headed to school. Valentina was planning to go to her orchestra practice that afternoon—she played the flute at the Symphonic Orchestra of Ecuador’s…
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When Ecuadoreans go to the polls to elect a new president on February 19, they will choose between President Rafael Correa’s former Vice President, Lenin Moreno, and seven other candidates from across the political spectrum. Voters would do well to ask…
Supporters wearing masks depicting Guillermo Lasso and Andres Paez, presidential and vice-presidential candidates from the CREO party, attend an election rally in Quito, Ecuador on February 13, 2017.
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Human rights protect everyone—no matter who—from government abuse and neglect. Yet today a new generation of authoritarian populists is challenging that bedrock principle. They claim to speak for “the people” and treat rights as an impediment to their…
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump argues with CNN's Jim Acosta during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., January 11, 2017.
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Ecuador has the largest number of refugees in the region. The expulsion without due process of dozens of Cubans during the last few days shows the enormous risk that asylum seekers face when government authorities have impunity to ignore their obligations…
Detained Cubans in a cell at Quito's court offices building, waiting to be deported or released after deportation hearings, July 9, 2016. © 2016 Juan Pablo Alban
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There’s no doubt that President Rafael Correa considers independent media outlets to be his enemies. To get a sense of how far his government has gone, here are some tragicomic examples showing remarkable levels of authoritarianism.…
Ecuadorean President, Rafael Correa, during a press conference in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
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Correa Cracks Down on Environmental Activism

During his visit to Ecuador last month, Pope Francis delivered a speech on environmental stewardship and urged the administration of President Rafael Correa to “open spaces for dialogue” on how to manage the country’s resources. The 4,000-square-mile…
© 2013 Getty Images
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What do U.S. copyright law, a Spanish firm, and free speech in Ecuador have to do with one another? More than you might think. Over the past year, several Ecuadorians have seen content mysteriously disappearing from their personal Facebook pages, YouTube…
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How to keep foreign dictators from living large in the U.S.

In sunny Malibu a real estate agent named Neal Baddin helps the playboy son of one of the world's most corrupt leaders buy a $30 million mansion. Teodoro Nguema Obiang lives off money taken from the coffers of Equatorial Guinea, a tiny but oil-rich…