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Closing Secondary Schools to Girls Causing Lasting Harm

“I want to go to school and become an independent woman who chooses and decides for her life,” 16-year-old Nasiba told me. “If I am educated, men wouldn’t dare to interfere but if I am not, they will decide my whole life for me.” She lives in Kabul…
Women demonstrate for their rights during a gathering for National Teachers Day in Kabul, Afghanistan, October 5, 2021.
News

Allowing Private Employers to Ban Religious Dress Hurts Muslim Women Most

Protection of religious freedom – for Muslim women in particular – was dented last week by the European Union’s highest court’s ruling that permits employers to discriminate against people who wear religious dress. Ruling on two cases brought by…
Young women with headscarves sit in the Bundestag in Berlin, Germany on January 31, 2020. 
News

Donors Should Sustain Vital Services While Decrying Violations

Donor countries to Afghanistan say they want to keep protecting the human rights of women and girls, even as international troops prepare to depart the country. But a bill introduced in the United States Senate last week raises tricky issues about how…
Women walking Nadir Khan Overlooking Kabul womens rights us withdrawl
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Government Proposal for Mosque-Based Primary Schools Raises Concerns

An Afghan government proposal that children study in mosques for the first three years of primary school raises concerns about its commitment to the right to education. “We are working to transfer the first, second, and third grades of the school…
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Raid on Kabul Journalists’ Home an Act of Intimidation

An Afghan police raid on the home of two female journalists in Kabul raises concerns about rising threats to women in public life – in this case from the Kabul police, who seem to have taken a page out of the Taliban’s playbook. At about midnight…
Afghan National Police seen near the Defense Ministry compound in Kabul, Afghanistan, February 27, 2016. 
News

EU Should Act on Latest Blow to Press Freedom

In the most recent attack on media freedom in Hungary, the country’s Media Council last week unexpectedly announced it would revoke Klubradio’s frequency as of February 2021. It justified its decision by referring to the independent, commercial station’s…
Klubradio’s president, Andras Arato, is seen on air in Klubradio's studio in Budapest, Hungary, March 2020. 
News

Pandemic Creates New Barriers for Women and Girls Already Facing Deep Inequality

On May 28, 2020, Human Rights Watch launched a survey to learn more about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on students, parents and caregivers. As of June 6, people in 54 countries had completed the survey; it’s still open here—please fill it…
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Press Freedom at Risk in Deadliest Country for Journalists

The role Afghanistan’s vibrant media plays in public life represents one of the most significant changes that have taken place in the country since 2001. But that achievement is under threat, as journalists face growing intimidation and…
Policemen help Afghan journalists, victims of a second blast, in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018.
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Suicide Bombing Latest Attack Targeting Shia Community

Madina, 17, headed off to class last Wednesday as she had always done, pursuing her hope to go to university and earn a business degree so she could start her own company. But for Madina and 39 other students – all under 20 years old –…
Men carry the coffin of a relative who died in the suicide bombing at Mawoud Academy in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 16, 2018.
News

Suicide Attack Targets First Responders, Journalists

Two years ago, Shah Marai, a photographer for Agence France Presse, described the pain of living in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, with little hope for a better future. “I don’t dare to take my children for a walk,” he wrote.  “All I…
Policemen help Afghan journalists, victims of a second blast, in Kabul, Afghanistan April 30, 2018.
News

Slight Fall in Ground Fighting Civilian Casualties by Government Forces

When I was in Kabul a few days ago, I caught up with an old Afghan friend, who remarked that the relentless violence in Afghanistan is hard for outsiders to comprehend. The mounting toll of dead and wounded has become abstract, he said, hard…
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News

Alleged Threats, Intimidation Demand Thorough Probe

A purported recording of an encounter between members of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s security detail and a journalist is a troubling reminder of the fragility of the country’s hard-won media freedom. Alyas Tahiri, a…
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani attends Afghan Independence Day celebrations in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 18, 2016.
News

Insurgent Attack Destroyed Braille Printing Press, Classrooms

A horrific attack on August 25 in Kabul targeted the American University of Afghanistan, leaving 13 civilians dead and dozens injured after a harrowing 10-hour siege. It also claimed another vital educational institution – the country’s sole high school…
Damage from shrapnel is seen on the walls and locked garage doors at the Vocational High School for the Blind in Kabul, following an attack on August 25, 2016 that left the school closed.
News

Government Should Implement Law Providing for Inclusive Education

Today, September 1st, will be an exciting first day of school for most Serbian children. But for many children with disabilities, it will be just one more day without a chance to learn, make friends, and interact with peers and teachers. Take for…
A living room in Veternik Institution where children and adults with disabilities spend most of their days. There are no toys, education materials, or carpets on the floor. The only available source of stimulation is a TV attached to the wall.
News
Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani rang in the new school year on March 22 – proclaiming “a clarion call for prosperity, stability, and mobility.” President Ghani is right about the power of education to transform the lives of a new generation of…
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Journalism is an increasingly deadly profession in Afghanistan. That is the chilling message from the Afghanistan Journalists Center (AFJC), based on statistics it released this week documenting attacks against the media over the past year. …
A cameraman films a news anchor at Tolo TV studio in Kabul, Afghanistan on October 18, 2015.
News
“I only read about LGBT people because I knew Human Rights Watch was coming to interview me,” a teacher in Tokyo told me last November while I was researching bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students in Japan’s schools. …
A 20 year old Japanese woman who was bullied by her classmates in junior high school holds a notebook displaying the message...
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The European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini visits Azerbaijan today to discuss deepening cooperation between the two entities. The visit comes two months after the transfer of the leading human rights defender Leyla Yunus and her husband,…
Leyla Yunus returning to her house, December 9, 2015
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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani issued a presidential decree this week reaffirming the government’s commitment to freedom of expression and protection of media workers. The decree commits the government to expedite investigations of journalists killed since…
Afghan policemen and fire-fighters inspect the wreckage of a minibus in Kabul targeted in a suicide attack that killed seven journalists affiliated with Tolo TV, January 20, 2016.
News
The latest addition to the Taliban hit list are two of Afghanistan’s largest TV channels: 1TV and TOLO News. On October 12, the Taliban issued a statement on its website disputing a recent report by the two channels and said that the outlets’ employees…
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