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In the last few weeks, hundreds of Syrian families learned that their loved ones who had disappeared in government detention facilities had died. Many said that they found out as they requested routine records from the Syrian…
cover syria report
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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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A Postmortem Report, a Special Public Prosecutor, and an Eyewitness Testimony Turned the Tide in the Case of 20-Year-Old Aniket Khicchi

Aniket Khicchi and Ratan Vani were arrested on October 26, 2013, for alleged theft and taken to the Vanrai police station in Mumbai’s Goregaon neighbourhood. Khicchi died that night. The police did not inform Khicchi’s family either of the arrest or of…
Police officers in New Delhi, India in January 2016. Police in India are often accused of protecting colleagues from accountability for abuses.
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Police Are Rarely Held Accountable for Custodial Deaths, As the Case of 22-Year-Old Altaf Shaikh Shows

“From his affidavit it appears that he has already made up his mind and has given a clean chit to the police officers,” the Bombay High Court found in October 2009 in response to an affidavit from the assistant commissioner of police of Maharashtra’s…
Copy of post-mortem report of Altaf Shaikh, September 11, 2009.
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How the Police Disregard the Laws Designed to Prevent Torture and Mistreatment in Custody

“He was crying bitterly, he was saying, ‘Daddy save me, save me. They have been beating me the whole night. They will kill me, Daddy. These policemen will kill me.’” Leonard Valdaris, father of 25-year-old Agnelo, is haunted by the last words…
Agnelo's grave.
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The candidates may disagree on some human rights issues, but the next president will face challenges that transcend partisan lines. How might tomorrow's presidential election affect U.S. policy on human rights? The common wisdom is that unlike their sharp…
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Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov correctly pointed out in a recent article that human rights problems are one of the “main causes of the ‘Arab revolutions.’” As an investigator for Human Rights Watch who has interviewed hundreds of people in Syria…
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The new Human Rights Watch report "Torture Archipelago" documents in excruciating detail the use of torture in government detention facilities in Syria, including how, where, when and under whose command this torture was carried out. Documenting human…
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To combat global terrorism, India needs better policies at home

NEW DELHI, India - As India takes the helm of the United Nations Security Council's counterterrorism committee this year, its leaders would do well to think of Shahid, a young man who told me in harrowing detail of being tortured as a terrorism suspect by…