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The region’s police and security forces need urgent reform. Otherwise, we are likely to continue seeing serious abuses against protesters

Years of frustrated expectations and dissatisfaction with governments’ social policies boiled over in many Latin American countries in 2019, leading to massive protests. This year, the measures taken in response to the pandemic have forced people to…
Police surround a protester in Lima, Peru, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020.
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Rights Perspectives on Laws Assigning Gender

People whose identities do not fit into a rigid female/male gender binary have, in many countries, been on a years-long quest to obtain official documents that reflect their identities by using a non-binary “X” marker in lieu of the typical “F” or “M…
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New Zealand has banned semi-automatic firearms, magazines, and parts that can be used to assemble prohibited firearms after 50 people were killed and dozens wounded in a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15. …
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This article was published in five newspapers in Latin America. Leaders in the Americas have often been confronted in recent years with hard questions about accountability and prisoners’ rights. Should people imprisoned for…
Peru's former President Alberto Fujimori listens to the judge's verdict about his sentence in prison, in Lima October 29, 2013.
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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 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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Last month, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile introduced a bill in Congress that appears to be a reaction to the recent release, in Peru, of the former autocratic President Alberto Fujimori. The proposal limits the early release of people convicted of…
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It is a rare law enforcement officer or intelligence agent who doesn’t want access to more information. Yet total information awareness, to use a term from the George W. Bush administration era, has never been possible. Some people whisper to avoid prying…
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I know my autocrats. After all, I once voted for one. As an 18-year-old college sophomore, I voted for Alberto Fujimori for president of Peru in 1995. By then, Fujimori, a relatively unknown agronomy professor elected in 1990 in a…
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Children across New Zealand are back in school for the new academic year, and many will be looking forward to studying, playing sport, and maybe singing in the school choir. This isn't the case for many children around the world who are denied…
Children sent to Nauru by Australia for “offshore processing,” August 2016. Parents and children reported that students from families of refugees and asylum seekers are frequently bullied by Nauruan students.
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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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New Zealand was in “listening mode” at the second multilateral meeting on “killer robots” at the United Nations in Geneva this month. No other country with similar disarmament credentials was as quiet, except perhaps Belgium. It was an…