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“It cannot be over-emphasized that when it comes to democracy, liberty of thought and expression is a cardinal value that is of paramount significance.” With these words, India’s Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment on March 24, struck down Section 66A…
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2014 Recipient of the Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism

Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people…
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The "finger" test found to violate rights

After a man she was in a relationship with raped her, Sandhya went to a hospital for an examination and treatment. "The clerk told me a male doctor will conduct the test [forensic examination] and asked me whether that was ok," Sandhya, who is in her 20s…
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Winners Named for the 2012 Alison Des Forges Award

Update: Because Salah Marghani was appointed Libya's justice minister on October 31 he is unable to accept the Alison Des Forges Award. (New York) - Two courageous and tireless advocates for human rights have been selected as recipients of the prestigious…
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Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people…
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Fighting between the Burmese army and Kachin rebels reignited last June, displacing some 75,000 ethnic Kachin and leaving them in desperate need of food, medicine, and shelter. However, the Burmese government has blocked aid to conflict areas. Five days…
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The Burmese government yesterday freed at least 200 of its estimated 2,000 political prisoners. Officially, Burma denies having any such prisoners – but Human Rights Watch has worked hard to make sure these imprisoned activists weren’t forgotten. We held…
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Maikel Nabil, a 25-year imprisoned for blogging, has been on hunger strike at Marg prison since August 23 to protest his unjust imprisonment. The strike is of extra concern because he has low blood pressure and is taking medication for a heart condition.…
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Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with these courageous activists to create a world in which people…
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Border Guards Ordered to Stop Killing Bangladeshi Civilians

Just weeks after Human Rights Watch released a report on India’s Border Security Force’s (BSF) use of excessive and frequently lethal force, the Indian government ordered that BSF guards be issued non-lethal weapons. More than 900 Bangladeshi and Indian…
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Securing the Release of Detained Human Rights Activists in Egypt

At the height of Egypt’s 18-day revolution, Human Rights Watch Senior Researcher Daniel Williams was detained during a military-led raid on Cairo’s Hisham Mubarak Law Center, a pioneering Egyptian human rights organization. Human Rights Watch immediately…
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Preventing needless suffering of the terminally ill in India

In January, years of joint advocacy by Human Rights Watch and Indian palliative care groups culminated in the Medical Council of India recognizing palliative care as a specialization of medicine and approving an MD Palliative Care program. Over time, this…
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2009 Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism Human Rights Watch's Alison Des Forges Award celebrates the valor of individuals who put their lives on the line to protect the dignity and rights of others. Human Rights Watch collaborates with…
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On November 5, a Cairo court sentenced police Capt. Islam Nabih and Reda Fathi, a noncommissioned officer, to three years in prison for sexually assaulting `Imad al-Kabir, a microbus driver from the Giza neighborhood of Bulaq al-Dakrur, while he was in…
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In an unprecedented step forward, a federal judge blocked the Pentagon from returning a Tunisian national being held at Guantanamo on the grounds that he could face grave harm if sent back to Tunisia. The judge pointed to the types of abuses documented in…
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Three months after Human Rights Watch reported that Bangladeshi authorities had destroyed a camp sheltering 6,000 Rohingya refugees from Burma, Bangladesh announced on June 20, World Refugee Day, that it will build a new camp to house 9,500 people. In…
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On May 30, Egypt’s General Public Prosecutor ordered the release of Abd al-Monim Mahmud, a prominent TV journalist and blogger who was arrested April 14 for criticizing torture. Immediately following his arrest, Human Rights Watch publicly called for his…
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Responding to pressure by Human Rights Watch and a broad coalition of other groups, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on October 19 exempted refugees from Burma’s Chin state from a provision in the Immigration and Nationality Act that denies entry…
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Human Rights Watch played a key role in helping to stop the deportation of hundreds of Sudanese demonstrators who were violently removed from their Cairo encampment by Egyptian police. Approximately 3,000 Sudanese refugees and migrants lived in a…
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The U.S. Embassy in India denied Gujarat State Chief Minister Narendra Modi a diplomatic visa and, citing violations of religious freedom, also revoked his existing ten-year business/tourist visa. We had extensively documented the chief minister's role in…