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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

Recognize Status for Afghans Waiting on US Bases

United States President Joe Biden inherited a refugee resettlement program on life support after the administration of former President Donald Trump decimated it. Biden promised to resuscitate the program and raised the refugee admissions ceiling to…
A man walks with a child through Doña Ana Village in Fort Bliss, where Afghan refugees are being housed, in New Mexico on September 10, 2021.
News

Polish Authorities Should Allow Access to Territory and Asylum Process

While Poland’s government touts its role in the airlift of at-risk Afghans from Kabul, it has trapped 32 Afghans for over 3 weeks at its border with Belarus, preventing them from entering Poland to exercise their right to seek asylum and denying them…
Polish security forces surround migrants at the border with Belarus in Usnarz Gorny, Poland on September 1, 2021. 
News

Dodging Responsibility with Hostile Rhetoric and Harmful Policies

Instead of showing leadership and compassion for people fleeing Taliban rule in Afghanistan, European Union leaders seem bent on a monstrous PR campaign to tell Afghans (and European voters) that those fleeing Afghanistan should not even think about…
Polish soldiers build a fence with concertina wire at the border with Belarus in Krynki, Poland, on August 27, 2021.
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
News

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…
Main image for Afghanistan Report
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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

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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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

Roma Were Exposed to Toxic Lead in UN-Run Camps

  Yesterday, 55 Members of the European Parliament wrote to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, expressing dismay at the UN’s failure to remedy harm inflicted on ethnic minorities in northern Kosovo following the end of the war…
News

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

Roma Afflicted with Lead Poisoning in UN-Run Camps

The United Nations may be undermining its own efforts to promote human rights, at a time when rights are under threat worldwide. That’s the view of a UN panel of experts, which investigated complaints of human rights violations by…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug Camp outside Trepca mine, on the outskirts of Mitrovica, June 22, 2009.
News

Europe Still Returning Failed Asylum Seekers to Embattled Afghanistan

Another day, another bomb attack in Kabul, Afghanistan. Old news? Not for the families of the more than 90 people who just lost a loved one. Not for the more than 400 people who have been maimed or otherwise injured. And not for several…
Photo of damaged cars and buildings after a bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 31, 2017.
News

Body Ignores Own Advice to Give Clear Apology for Tragedy that was UN’s Fault

It looked like justice for Kosovo’s lead-poisoning victims was finally within reach. Former United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson convened a meeting in December 2016, just as he and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon were preparing to hand the…
News

At Risk of Imprisonment, Violence if Deported to Afghanistan

To be openly gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender in Afghanistan is to risk abuse, even death. Despite this, lawyers working with Afghan refugees in the United Kingdom have told Human Rights Watch that they find themselves pushing back against…
Protesters hold up placards during a demonstration to express solidarity with migrants and to demand the government welcome refugees into Britain, in London, September 12, 2015.
News

Putting Lives at Risk in Kabul

This week, the German government deported to Kabul another 26 rejected Afghan asylum seekers – the second such wave of deportations in as many months. They come home to a city that is both divided and insecure. There is the Kabul of the embassies:…
Protesters hold a placard reading "Afghanistan is not secure" during a demonstration against the deportation of Afghan asylum seekers from Germany back to Afghanistan, at Frankfurt Airport, Germany, December 14, 2016.Afghans, whose asylum applications hav
News

Serbia, Hungary Leave People Without Adequate Shelter as Winter Hits Hard

While many in Serbia prepare for Orthodox Christmas, others in the country and neighboring Hungary are bedding down in freezing cold weather hoping to survive. Temperatures in Hungary and Serbia have dropped to minus 20 degrees centigrade at night.…
Asylum seekers and migrants living in appalling conditions in abandoned warehouses behind Belgrade train station, Serbia. November 22, 2016.
News

As Pakistan Coerces Refugees to Return, Woman from Iconic Photo Arrested

They say one never forgets a face. One face hundreds of millions of people will never forget is that of 12-year-old Sharbat Gula. Captured by National Geographic photographer Steve McCurry in a refugee camp in 1984, her piercing green eyes captivated the…
Visitors look at the "Afghan Girl" photo during U.S. photographer Steve McCurry's exhibition at the Asian Civilisation Museum in Singapore June 26, 2009.
News

Thousands Pushed Into ‘Voluntary Returns’ Face Fresh Dangers at Home

At Kabul airport on Tuesday, I met a group of Afghans – three women and 10 men – who had just arrived from Turkey. It was not a joyous homecoming. They had joined the waves of several hundred thousand Afghans whose bid for safer lives abroad in the face…
Afghan women sit with their children after arriving at a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) registration centre in Kabul, Afghanistan September 27, 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.