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The Chinese Government’s Human Rights Record is Abysmal

As the Summer Olympics in Tokyo wrap up, eyes are turning to the February 2022 winter Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing, China – a country in the midst of its worst human rights crackdown since the Tiananmen Massacre in 1989. The Chinese government is…
People with masks walk in front of the Olympic tower in Beijing.
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Fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region is entering its ninth month, and it may intensify after leaders in several of Ethiopia’s regions as well as its capital, Addis Ababa, called on residents, including youth, to mobilize against the Tigray…
Tigrayans who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region stand on a hilltop overlooking Umm Rakouba refugee camp in Qadarif, eastern Sudan, November 26, 2020
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Ben Kamuntu’s Latest Slam and Video Clip Is a Moving Call for Justice

Ben Kamuntu is a slameur (slam poet) with Goma Slam Session, a blossoming collective of spoken word artists in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. He’s also an activist with the pro-democracy movement Lucha. Kamuntu has just released a powerful video…
Picture captured during the making of the video clip for Bosembo.
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Laetitia Bader, Human Rights Watch’s Horn of Africa Director, recently returned from a research mission in Sudan to interview refugees who fled the fighting that broke out in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in early November 2020. For several weeks, federal…
People who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region ride a bus to the Village 8 temporary shelter near the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, December 1, 2020. 
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  What are your main concerns about the coronavirus in Asia? Because testing is so poor in most of Asia, we have no visibility about how widespread infections are. Overcrowded cities where social distancing is challenging or impossible also…
Factory workers wearing protective masks return to Dhaka from northern and southern districts in Bangladesh amid the government’s shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic, April 4, 2020.
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Pandemic Threatens Refugee Camps, Densely Populated Urban Areas

What are your main concerns about the coronavirus moving through Africa? In many countries where we work there is an extremely weak public health and healthcare infrastructure. The fact that the spread in Africa has been slower than elsewhere…
A member of the Senegalese graffiti collective "RBS CREW" paints informational murals advising how to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, on the wall of a high school in the Parcelles Assainies neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal, March 25, 2020.
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How a Small African Nation Took on Myanmar’s Crisis – and Won

It was a year ago that you started pursuing the unique approach to holding Myanmar accountable in the ICJ. How did that come about? The idea of a country without any connection to the crimes bringing a case to the International Court of Justice had…
Abdul Kareem, a Rohingya Muslim, carries his mother, Alima Khatoon, to a refugee camp after crossing from Burma into Bangladesh on Sept. 16, 2017.
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How European Development Banks Fail the Very People They Claim to Assist

Why did you focus your research on these oil palm plantations? These plantations provide jobs for many people. But their workers are being underpaid and exposed to unhealthy working conditions. The European development banks that finance these…
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Persistence Over Many Years Helps Bring Bosco Ntaganda to Justice

How long had you been investigating Ntaganda’s abuses? I started documenting his abuses when I first moved to Goma in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in 2008. Bosco Ntaganda was a member of the Rwandan-backed CNDP (Congrès national pour la…
Bosco Ntaganda sits in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court
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Several months later, in August 2018, the Somali Region’s president at the time, Abdi Illey – was arrested. As president of the Somali region, he was ultimately responsible for regional security forces in the region. He was replaced by Mustafa Omar, a…
Decorations on a ceiling in Jail Ogaden
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Unprecedented View into Mass Surveillance of Xinjiang’s Muslims

Tell me about the IJOP and when we first learned about it? The IJOP is a system of systems. It gathers information from, but not limited to, gas stations, checkpoints on the street, and access-controlled areas such as communities and schools. It pulls…
Images of the IJOP surveillance phone app used in Xinjiang, China.
News

Kachin Women, Girls Displaced by Conflict Face Sexual Slavery

What’s happening in northern Myanmar? There’s a long-running conflict between Myanmar’s government and the Kachin Independence Army and other ethnic armed groups in Kachin State and northern Shan State, which border China. In 2011, the…
“Because of war, we are afraid to stay in our village. So, we moved to an IDP [internally displaced person] camp…The Myanmar army came to attack our village using massive arms…I am the eldest one in my family, and my family has financial problems.
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Genuine Progress on Rights, Yet Ethnic Tensions Loom in Rural Regions

How has Ethiopia changed since you were last there? Addis Ababa, the capital, has changed so much. Unlike before, modern asphalt roads are everywhere, there are freeways, tall, modern shiny buildings, lots of new restaurants…
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Outside the camps, throughout Xinjiang, Turkic Muslims face arbitrary arrest and surveillance by the authorities. Their passports are confiscated, and they are required to attend flag-raising ceremonies and meetings where they denounce their families and…
Village officials swear allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party in Kashgar, Xinjiang.
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Ethiopia’s Regional Special Police Tortured, Beat Detainees

Why did you focus on Jail Ogaden? We have researched human rights issues in Ethiopia’s Somali Region for a long time. We released a report in 2008 showing how the military in the Somali region of Ethiopia displaced thousands of people and…
Satellite image of Jail Ogaden May 2016.
News
What was your plan when you arrived on the ground in Burma? We’ve been documenting this crisis since the very beginning. We knew there had been sexual violence in some of the massacres we’d looked into, but we didn’t know how widespread it was…
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Since November 2015, Ethiopia’s Oromia region has been rocked by widespread protests. State security forces have responded to the largely peaceful protests with lethal force, resulting in the loss of more than 400 lives. Thousands have been wounded. Tens…
Ethnic Oromo march on a road in Ethiopia after security forces fatally shot protesters in Wolenkomi, some 60 kilometers west of Addis Ababa, December 15, 2015.