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“If you want to go back [home], you have to pay back the money we spent to bring you here.”
 
 “Atiya Z.” (not her real name) and I were sitting under a veranda, shaded from the hot sun in Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of Tanzania, when…
Employment visa from Oman in the passport of a former Tanzanian domestic worker. Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
News

Rape-marriage exoneration laws are relics of the colonial past. It's time to leave them there.

In recent weeks, the Tunisian, Jordanian, and Lebanese parliaments have repealed provisions in their penal codes that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Provisions like these, largely colonial-era relics, remain on the books…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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King Juan Carlos is visiting Kuwait and Bahrain this week, after Abu Dhabi and Qatar two weeks ago in a series of visits to the gulf region that will also take him to Oman and Saudi Arabia over the next two months. He is traveling with a high-level…
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The Stoic philosopher Epictetus warned of the dangers of casually bad-mouthing the ruler in ancient Rome: “A soldier, dressed like a civilian, sits down by your side, and begins to speak ill of Caesar, and then you too, just as though you had received…
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On a warm evening in late April 2013, I was sitting at a Starbucks in Kuwait City across the table from a thirty-one year old woman. Even though “Reem” had undergone male-to-female surgery almost a decade earlier, legal barriers prevented her complete…
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Whistleblower Protections, Darfur, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Kuwait, Zimbabwe

[View the story "Human Rights Watch Daily Brief, 18 June 2013" on Storify]
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On November 5, Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah, confirmed that he would go ahead with the changes he made in the Kuwait’s electoral law this past October 19, explaining that the measures will “protect national unity.” This amendment to the…
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Armed security officers wearing balaclavas led Nasser Abul, blindfolded and shackled, into a courtroom in downtown Kuwait City on July 19.  Accused of crimes against the state, he answered the judge’s questions from a wood-and-metal cage in the courtroom…
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Moral panic over transgender men and women is symptomatic of the Gulf's problem with shifting gender roles

As women in the Gulf become more visible, both socially and politically, and as migrants bring with them different ways of living, the region's governments are stepping up their gender policing. To allay fears among conservative elements, they are…
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Stateless and lacking an official nationality, Biduns are denied citizenship in Kuwait.

(Kuwait City, Kuwait) - As people across the Middle East took to the streets demanding their rights this spring, they were joined by one group in Kuwait who have no rights at all. The stateless Bidun came together after Friday prayers in February and…
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This wealthy Gulf monarchy used to be a bright spot for freedom of speech in the Middle East. No Longer.

In a region where reprisals against journalists who fail to toe the government line may include imprisonment and torture, Kuwait has been a welcome exception. The country consistently ranks as having the freest media in the Arab world, in both Reporters…
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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…