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The ostensible assault on LGBT+ rights in Hungary, Poland and Russia has a very big target—anyone who signs up to universal norms.

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, used the visit by the pope to Budapest last month to advance his populist agenda. He said he had been encouraged by his meeting with Frances to advance ‘family values’. Indeed, Orbán claimed to have…
An activist holding the EU flag during a protest in Warsaw against “LGBT ideology free zones”. ©2021 Attila Husejnow / SOPA Images/Sipa USA
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It is ironic that Jeanine Áñez, a conservative politician who served as Bolivia’s interim president for a year, was detained on March 13 on charges of “terrorism” and other crimes. Under her administration, which ended in November, prosecutors used…
Standing behind bars, Bolivia's former interim President Jeanine Añez speaks to an unidentified woman at a police station jailhouse, in La Paz, Bolivia, on March 13, 2021.
News

New evidence of torture and inhumane treatment of civilians by Azerbaijani forces emerges

During last autumn’s six-week war between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the ethnic-Armenian majority enclave Nagorno-Karabakh, as Azerbaijani forces took control of areas in and around the region, they rounded up local civilians. Most younger civilians…
A portrait of Eduard Shakhkeldyan  at the apartment in Stepanakert where his family is temporarily staying.
News
For 30 days, beginning January 17, European Union commissioners received daily Twitter notifications linking to personal stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Poles who have been harmed  by the  so-called “LGBT Ideology…
People take part in a gay pride parade in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, June 8, 2019.
News

As domestic violence rates soar in Europe under COVID-19 restrictions, women’s groups protest government inaction from Poland to Turkey.

As violence against women repeatedly grabs headlines during the COVID-19 pandemic, women across Europe are at the forefront of mass protests demanding government action to protect women from abuse. Some argue that women shouldn’t risk their lives…
Protesters with a banner reading "Women's Strike" take part in a rally against the Polish government’s plans to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention on prevention and combating of domestic violence, in Warsaw, Poland, July 24, 2020. © 2020 AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski
News
A well-functioning, independent judicial system is essential for good governance, accountability, and, ultimately, political stability. The lack of such a system in Bolivia explains many of the serious problems the country has gone through in the last…
Bolivia's new President Luis Arce leaves the Congress on his inauguration day in La Paz, Bolivia, Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
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French president Emmanuel Macron should use his February visit to Poland to champion the rule of law and democratic institutions that protect human rights. Macron came to power promising to defend the rule of law in the EU and make it a central…
201801asia_china_macron French President Emmanuel Macron delivers his New Year wishes to the members of the press corps at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, January 3, 2018.
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The European Union is finally getting serious about threats to its values from member states. Less than three months ago, the European Parliament took the bold step of initiating EU scrutiny over the Hungarian government's efforts to…
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban before a photo at the European Union Tallinn Digital Summit in Tallinn, Estonia, September 29, 2017.
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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. “
News
When President Donald Trump visited Poland a year ago, he spoke in front of the Warsaw Uprising Monument, a reminder of the suffering of thousands of Polish people under the yoke of tyranny. That day, President Trump praised the Polish…
President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda hold a joint news conference in Warsaw, Poland July 6, 2017.
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As the EU struggles to rein in some member states that are backsliding on democratic standards, a critical vote in the European Parliament next week could be a decisive moment. The threat is real. Radical populist leaders promoting policies to…
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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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Last week, the European People's Party (EPP) had a chance to stand up for its values and those of the European Union. But instead, it ducked the issue. The umbrella group of center-right and Christian democrat parties in European…
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban before a photo at the European Union Tallinn Digital Summit in Tallinn, Estonia, September 29, 2017.
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As a new government sets the agenda in Yerevan, it is high time to consider the excessive use of pre-trial detention in politically sensitive trials.  The Armenians who took to the streets in the country’s largest mass…
Protest against Armenia's ruling Republican party's nomination of former President Serzh Sarksyan as its candidate for prime minister, in Yerevan, Armenia April 13, 2018.
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As this month’s climate talks in Germany come to an end, some participants are feeling a little queasy. Environmental activists and indigenous peoples worry about their ability to actively participate in the annual UN climate talks, in Katowice,…
Women climate change activists demand respect for rights at Paris Agreement signing ceremony outside the United Nations in New York, April 2016.
News

Flowers aren't enough. Authorities need to break the culture of impunity for domestic violence

While many countries celebrated International Women’s Day on March 8, Armenia kicked off a whole month dedicate to honoring women. It continues through April 7 – the Day of Motherhood and Beauty. Throughout the month, family members, friends and…
Taguhi shows scars on her neck and shoulder.
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(Buenos Aires) — President Evo Morales of Bolivia seems obsessed with staying in power. In 2016, he called a referendum on a constitutional amendment that would have eased term limits in the country’s Constitution and allowed…
Bolivia's President Evo Morales speaks during a news conference at the Presidential Palace in La Paz, Bolivia, May 9, 2017.
News
Looking through the windows at Terespol train station on Poland’s border with Belarus, I see a familiar sight. About 60 asylum seekers are waiting to be back on a return train ride to Brest, Belarus, 20 minutes away. Most appear to be…
8:28 a.m. train carrying asylum seekers to Terespol, Poland. Brest, Belarus, December 7, 2016.
News
Last month Armenia held its watershed parliamentary election, initiating the country’s transfer to a parliamentary form of government. The process will be completed after next year’s presidential vote, when the president’s post will become largely…