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Respect for Rights Should be Prerequisite for Closer Ties, More Trade

European Union officials have a chance to send a clear message when they meet for an EU summit this week: the deplorable human rights situation in Turkey should have consequences for the country’s relationship with the EU. During a visit to Turkey’…
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a meeting with European Council President Charles Michel at the European Council building in Brussels, Monday, March 9, 2020.
News

Government, University Authorities Should Allow Peaceful Dissent

A Turkish court today ordered the release of two student protesters detained since February 4. Şilan Delipalta and Anıl Akyüz were arrested for joining an unauthorized protest against President Erdogan’s controversial appointment of an unelected…
Police forcefully detain a protester  who is crying on the ground while the police stand over her at a demonstration.
News

Council Meeting Offered Little Hope to Turkey’s Human Rights Defenders

The bolder Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gets, the quieter the European Union (EU). The conclusion of last week’s EU summit showed, as last year under the German Presidency, that when it comes to Turkey, geopolitics and migration have…
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seen walking near the Turkish and European Union flags.
News

Dire Rights Record at Home, Abroad

This week, Eritrea announced that it is running for reelection at the United Nations Human Rights Council. The African Union usually endorses candidates from the region – but this carries a responsibility to only put forward credible candidates who…
Refugees who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region, which involved Eritrean as well as Ethiopian forces, arrive on the banks of the Tekeze River on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, November 20, 2020.
News

20 Years On, UN Should Compensate Victims

Today, the United Nations human rights expert on hazardous waste called out the UN for consistently failing the victims of widespread lead poisoning in refugee camps it ran in Kosovo. The UN leadership should listen and take long-overdue action in…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug refugee camp in Mitrovica city, northern Kosovo. Cesmin Lug is one of several camps that the UN established in what was known to be a heavily contaminated area near a defunct lead mine. December 12, 2007.
News

Government Ignores its own Covid-19 Restrictions

Videos and photographs circulating on social media earlier this week showed buses in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, crowded with students, who were not wearing masks, as they were separated from their families and sent off to a military training camp in…
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News

Ensure Transparency, End Institutional Care

Serbia has taken a positive step to better protect people from Covid-19 by agreeing to release data on the total number of Covid-19 infections and deaths inside social care institutions. People inside institutions are some of the most at-risk during…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
News

New Draft Law Would Force Social Media Companies to Submit to Censorship

  Update: On April 14, Human Rights Watch learned from members of Turkey’s parliament that the government has withdrawn draft amendments to control social media companies for the present Not content with simply…
People check their phones at a market in central Istanbul, Turkey, July 18, 2019.
News

Prisoner Ciham Ali Turns 23 Behind Bars Today

Ciham Ali turns 23 today, the eighth year in a row she will be spending her birthday behind bars in an Eritrea prison. She has been held there incommunicado since the age of 15. For several years now, Eritrean diaspora groups, notably One Day…
Ciham Ali Abdu
News

Early Release Program Should Seek to Lower Threat of Coronavirus for All Prisoners

The risk the coronavirus pandemic poses to staff and inmates in Turkey’s vastly overcrowded prisons has prompted the government to accelerate a plan to substitute prison time with alternatives such as early parole and house arrest. While a welcome…
Silivri Prison, Istanbul.
News

Court Ruling Means Mining Company Faces Lawsuit for Alleged Forced Labor

Canada’s Supreme Court has just ruled that a Canadian mining company which had operations in Eritrea can be sued in Canada for alleged abuses abroad. The ruling, made last Friday, sets a groundbreaking precedent. Nevsun…
Eritrean soldiers march during the country's Independence Day in Asmara in this May 24, 2007 file photo. One of Africa's newest and smallest nations has one of the largest armies in the region. But this is due to national service that continues for many y
News

Lead Poisoning Victims Await Justice, Compensation

Yesterday was supposed to be a celebration at the United Nations. October 24 is United Nations Day, marking the day the UN Charter officially came into effect in 1945. The Charter includes the commitment to protect human rights. But on the…
Houses in Kosovo
News

Plan Increases Risks for Returned Refugees

Turkey’s plan to create a 32-kilometer “safe zone” in Syria where it could relocate one million Syrian refugees is woefully misguided and dangerous – and bound to fail. Turkey’s military operations in northeast Syria could displace civilians…
A Turkish soldier stands at the border with Syria in Akcakale, Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019.
News

Free All Political Prisoners, Including Critics Held Since 2001

Eighteen years ago today, the Eritrean government began its chilling clampdown on those it perceived as critics, decimating the country’s budding independent press in the process. Eighteen years later, as Eritrea ends its diplomatic…
Picture-collage of political prisoners in Eritrea
News

Opportunity for Government to Move Forward with Reforms

Yesterday, the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) renewed the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea. But the renewing the mandate shouldn’t have been up for discussion in the first place, given the…
The 36th Session of the Human Rights Council at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
News

Thousands Still Fleeing Indefinite Conscription

Today marks one year since the historic peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, which ended 20 years of intermittent conflict between the two countries. Eritrea’s leaders had long used the “no war, no peace” situation with…
Eritrea's President, Isaias Afwerki talks to Ethiopia's Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed during the Inauguration ceremony marking the reopening of the Eritrean Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 16, 2018.
News

UN Secretary-General has Authority to Identify Perpetrators

“It was premeditated,” concluded Agnes Callamard, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, describing the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. She added that the Washington Post reporter’s assassination on…
Candles lit by activists protesting the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi are placed outside Saudi Arabia's Consulate in Istanbul. © 2018 Lefteris Pitarakis/AP Photo
News

UN Human Rights Council Should Renew Special Rapporteur’s Mandate

At the 41st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council starting today, states will discuss whether to keep Eritrea in the spotlight. A new report from the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Eritrea highlights why they…
Delegates arrive for the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, February 27, 2017.
News

Impunity Hampers Sustainable Peace

This week marks 20 years since the end of the Kosovo war. What began as systematic Serbian state oppression led to attacks by an ethnic Albanian armed group, a vicious government response, and 78 days of NATO airstrikes. …
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News

Re-run of Istanbul’s Mayoral Election Threatens Voters’ Right to Choose

The dubious decision to cancel the March 31 Istanbul mayoral election win by opposition candidate Ekrem İmamoğlu, in the absence of compelling evidence that the vote was not free or fair, has interfered with the democratic right of millions of voters.…
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