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Government to Pay US$12 Million in Compensation for Smelter Pollution

In a victory for environmental health, last week, a Kenyan Court awarded $1.3 billion Ksh (USD12 million) to residents of Owino Uhuru, a suburb of Mombasa, for damages related to pollution from a nearby lead smelter that recycled lead-acid batteries.…
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Afro, Indigenous Communities Especially at Risk

  Internally displaced people in Colombia often live in overcrowded conditions with limited access to water and food. These families, who fled violence in their home regions and often struggle economically, face further risk from Covid-19.…
A photograph sent to Human Rights Watch showing the living conditions of a displaced indigenous community in Buenaventura, Colombia. Their limited access to water and health services means that Covid-19 could spread quickly through the community.
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Journalists Assaulted, Threatened, Harassed

Kenyan media didn’t have much to celebrate on World Press Freedom Day. Kenyan police and senior state officials have continued to intimidate, threaten, and physically attack journalists reporting on sensitive issues, and authorities have done…
Ferry passengers flee from police firing tear gas, after new measures aimed at halting the spread of the new coronavirus instead caused a crowd to form outside the ferry in Mombasa, Kenya Friday, March 27, 2020.
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Lockdown Measures Increase Risks for Women and Girls

For 4 days, Juliet M., a 16-year-old Kenyan, was held captive by a man and sexually assaulted. She was rescued by neighbors and is now being cared for in a safe house in Nairobi. The attacker reportedly said he kidnapped her because he needed…
Kenyans make their way home before the daily dusk-to-dawn curfew in Nairobi, Kenya, April 6, 2020.
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Authorities Should Investigate Claims of Excessive Force, Abuse

Kenyan authorities have started enforcing a dusk to dawn curfew, just days after the country recorded its first corona-related death. The curfew was announced on March 25 for an unspecified period. Kenya has 50 confirmed cases of COVID-19 but…
Kenyan police carrying batons and teargas patrol looking for people out after curfew in the Kibera slum, or informal settlement, of Nairobi, Kenya, March 29, 2020.
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UN Pollution Meeting Should Embrace Child Rights in its Resolutions

Bhopal, Chernobyl, and Minamata – these environmental disasters shocked the world. Yet, pollution results not only from catastrophic accidents but also from years of silent exposure. Children’s developing bodies are particularly…
“My name is Amina and I am twenty years old. I grew up here in the town of Bagega. I had six children. Three have died. Each time one died, I was so distraught and I was very traumatized.” Amina, Bagega, Zamfara state, Nigeria, 2011.
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Desperate Patients Trapped by Two-month Stand-off, Ensuing Life or Death Medical Crisis

“I am staring death in the face. We are dying one by one,” Rose Adhiambo told us. “My friend, a cancer patient like me, was buried today. I am stuck in this private hospital now with bills that I cannot pay.” Rose, a 46-year-old…
Kenyan doctors chant slogans to demand fulfilment of a 2013 agreement between their union and the government that would raise their pay and improve working conditions outside the employment and labour relations courts in Nairobi, Kenya, January 26, 2017.
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Plan Better to Prevent Problems in Hurricane’s Wake

It’s hard to imagine another disaster on the scale of the 2010 earthquake and the subsequent cholera epidemic in Haiti. Yet the latest reports on the devastation wrought by Hurricane Matthew, which hit Haiti on October 4, suggest its devastating effects,…
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Emily, a widow from rural western Kenya, lived and farmed on her husband’s land for more than 30 years. While her husband was alive, they lived comfortably, and her four children were happy in school. This ended abruptly when her husband died, and her in-…
Female farmers resettled to Mwaladzi received land with poor access to water and limited productivity. The compensation package also included a new house.
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The rapid spread of the Zika virus has raised concern among public health officials across the Americas. The World Health Organization warned Sunday that the virus is likely to spread further across the region. At first glance,…
A woman walks away from her apartment as health workers fumigates the Altos del Cerro neighborhood as part of preventive measures against the Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases in Soyapango, El Salvador January 21, 2016.
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“We women must respect ourselves. You cannot stay with a man drinking until 3 a.m.” This was the response from Mary Wambui, a member of parliament, to recent protests by female legislators and women’s rights activists over accusations that Gideon Mwiti,…
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What does a clean toilet have to do with human rights? A surprising amount actually. In Haiti,  latrines and water for drinking and hand washing are extremely scarce in schools. Nearly 60 percent of schools lack toilets and more than three-fourths lack…
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