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Their Countries of Origin Must Bring Them Home

“They won’t shoot us, my darling. Mummy is right here with you, don’t worry.” The German mother’s words, spoken in almost a whisper, did not stop her young son’s whimpers. Desperate text and voice messages have…
A girl stands in the annex of al-Hol camp in northeast Syria, where more than 11,000 women and children from nearly 50 nationalities are confined as family members of Islamic State (also known as ISIS) suspects. The Kurdish-led coalition controlling north
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On December 10, the world marks 70 years since the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Regrettably, instead of the anniversary signalling the enduring impact of human rights, some are fearing the “end of human rights.” Here we…
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Despite setbacks for women’s rights around the globe in 2017, some of the most exciting reforms and positive momentum emerged from the Middle East and North Africa. Tunisian women have new protections against violence. Migrant domestic workers in…
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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I met “Salma” in May at the only maternity clinic in Jordan’s Zaatari Refugee Camp. Having already miscarried twice by age 20, she was then five months pregnant and anxious to finally give birth to her first child. Salma was among dozens…
Bara’a, 10, teaching younger children in her informal refugee camp in Mount Lebanon what she remembered from her first grade class in Syria.
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In recent weeks, the Tunisian, Jordanian, and Lebanese parliaments have repealed provisions in their penal codes that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims.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.
News

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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“Unimaginable Horrors”

The “unimaginable horrors” that the Islamic State (ISIS) is committing against the minority Yezidis, documented in a report released on June 16 by the UN-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Syrian Arab Republic, shows the…
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You may have heard about Rawan, whose name appeared in news after the 8-year-old Yemeni girl reportedly died in September from reproductive tract injuries sustained on her wedding night. Rawan's father had married her off to a 40-year-old man who raped…
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Safia, 35, taught school in Syria. She fled the conflict for northern Lebanon, where she picks eggplants, strawberries, and “bad, rotten things” as an agricultural day laborer. She earns about $11 for eight hours of back-breaking work. “The…
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When I met them in early June, Abu Nizar, his wife and their three daughters — aged 22, 18 and 14 — were perched on threadbare mattresses in a rundown house in Ramtha, Jordan, where they survive on charity from the local community. Blankets covered the…
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The family of a Gitmo detainee twice cleared for transfer remains pessimistic, despite Obama's speech vowing reform

Muhammad al-Baidhani, an 11-year-old Yemeni boy with a mop of brown curls, only knows his father from photos and a one-hour video conference every two months. Before Muhammad was born, his father was captured and sent to the U.S. military prison at…
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The last time Amina al-Rabeii video conferenced from Yemen with her brother Salman, a detainee at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, she barely recognized the skeletal man on the screen. “His eyes were sunken into dark recesses,” al-…
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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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The first UN International Day of the Girl, designed to promote education for young women everywhere, is the perfect opportunity to finally stamp out child marriage, writes Gauri van Gulik from Human Rights Watch. When she was 16 years old, Habibe’s…
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As the world was gripped this week by the storming of U.S. diplomatic compounds in the Middle East, another troubling event that coincided with the September 11 anniversary unfolded largely unnoticed at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay. …
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(South Africa) - Akello, a young Kenyan woman, was 17 when she went into labor. After two days, when she had still not delivered her baby, her grandmother borrowed enough money to take her to the nearest clinic. The nurse refused to examine her, told her…
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Yemen's version of the Arab Spring has eclipsed urgent social concerns both in debates within Yemen and with donor countries. One of these issues is the widespread forced marriage of girls; very young girls in some cases.Now that President Ali Abdullah…
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In Norway on Saturday, three women stepped up to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2011. The awarding of the Nobel to Leymah Gbowee, Tawakkul Karman and Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf is a long-awaited and, some may think, overdue testament to women's courage.…
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New York - Even as US President Barack Obama declared that "the world is safer" without Osama bin Laden, his Homeland Security office was bracing for a possible revenge attack. The United States and other potential targets are right to be…