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Eighteen years ago, in February 2003, Human Rights Watch interviewed Angela P, who was 10 years old when the brutal armed group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) kidnapped her in northern Uganda. At age 15,  she was forced to become a “wife” to an LRA…
Dominic Ongwen at his confirmation of charges hearing in ICC courtroom I on 21 January 2016 © ICC-CPI.
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A case pending before Colombia’s Constitutional Court, brought by Causa Justa, creates a landmark opportunity to end an approach to abortion that violates the rights of women and health workers by decriminalizing this critically important health care…
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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
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Earlier this year, as part of our work with the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative and Human Rights Watch, we spoke to a young woman from rural Bolivar County, Mississippi. She had been planning to attend college this fall, the first in her…
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Last July, I spoke with Sky H., a 20-year–old who identifies as non-binary and grew up in a very conservative rural town in the Black Belt region of Alabama. In school, Sky received abstinence-only…
Desks in an empty classroom
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“When I was 13… I got pregnant from my older brother… He raped me starting when I was 11,” a girl from Guatemala told one of us in 2015. She was one of the 2 million girls under 15 worldwide who give birth each year, often due to sexual…
A woman holds a packet of contraceptive pills, in Harare, Thursday, April 9, 2020.
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In the week and a half leading up to my daughter’s birth last July, I saw an obstetrician several times, then was hospitalized to monitor my high blood pressure. I was diagnosed with severe pre-eclampsia, a condition that can lead to serious, and…
U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood (D-IL), co-founder and co-chair of the Black Maternal Health Caucus,  speaking at the Black Maternal Health Caucus Stakeholder Summit at the Capitol in Washington, DC on July 11, 2019.
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When Abba M. learned that a sexual partner had exposed her to the human papillomavirus, commonly known as HPV, she did “a bunch of Googling.” The 21-year-old Alabama resident knew very little about it. Turning to her friends proved…
A billboard by the Alabama Department of Public Health in Eutaw, Greene County, raises awareness of recommended adolescent vaccines, including the HPV vaccine.
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The Florida state Senate has voted down several compassionate, common-sense amendments to Senate Bill 404, which would limit girls’ access to abortion and undermine their right to health and privacy.  It’s not too late for the senators to change their…
Florida state capitol building in Tallahassee
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What does it mean to be a human rights voter? Support candidates who want the government to adopt and enforce laws that promote and protect human rights. This means candidates who defend people from abusive systems, officials, individuals, and…
201911us_2020_election_voting
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In late 2018, Sierra Leone's First Lady, Fatima Bio, opened a national campaign "Hands Off Our Girls."   Her campaign made big promises to reduce child marriages and teenage pregnancies in the country, in part to tackle the…
“Angela,” 20, walks with her son near her home after returning from school in Migori county, western Kenya
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“There is real risk in the spread of information, which can put the lives of girls at risk,” said Brazil's Minister of Women, Family, and Human Rights, Damares Alves, in an opinion article published on October 2. The “dangerous information” she…
Damares Alves, Brazil's Human Rights Minister
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The damage done by Hurricane Maria was far worse than Alvarez, or anyone, could have imagined. With broken roads, and hospitals overwhelmed as blackouts roiled the island, she gave birth at home a few weeks later. She relied on her doula skills and a…
People wait at the Jose de Diego Elementary School to file FEMA forms for federal aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico
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​​As Republicans in states around the country pass sweeping abortion bans, I think about what life could be like for women and girls if these laws take effect. I don’t have to use my imagination. Women and girls across Latin America are…
Graffiti promoting legal abortion and women’s rights on a street in central Tegucigalpa, Honduras where public protests and demonstrations often take place. Vivas nos queremos (“We want to live”) is a slogan used in campaigns across Latin America.
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Activists around the world will mark the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion on September 28. Like several other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Brazil is in the midst of a vigorous public debate…
Activists demonstrate in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on July 19, 2018 in favor of abortion legalization.
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The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a binding rule that would stop health providers in clinics that receive federal public family planning money from providing patients with full and accurate reproductive health information and…
People rallied outside the U.S. Supreme Court while the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra case remained pending, in Washington, U.S., June 25, 2018.
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Nepal Was Far Ahead of Its Neighbors in Protecting Reproductive Rights

I am the daughter of a formidable campaigner for women’s reproductive rights in Nepal. Decades ago, when such issues were not part of the playbook for development activists, my mother, a medical doctor, started setting up family…
Women activists lie down on the road during a protest demanding women’s rights in the constitution in Kathmandu, Nepal, August 7, 2015.
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Last month, the government of President Sebastián Piñera of Chile issued rules that could seriously undermine access to legal abortion in the country. The rules issued by the Health Ministry, which modify the ones issued under former President…