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Beijing Blocks Clubhouse App to Stop ‘Political’ Conversations

On Monday night, Clubhouse, the red-hot app where people can create chatrooms that disappear after use, became inaccessible in China, presumably blocked by the authorities. Many had expected this to happen, but some were still surprised by how fast…
Logos of social media platforms including Clubhouse, center, are seen on an iPhone 12.
News

Education Minister Wrong to Limit Students’ Free Expression

Hong Kong’s secretary for education, Kevin Yeung, must have skipped the class on children’s rights. This week, Yeung banned school students from singing or playing certain political songs at school, saying children’s right to expression “is not…
Children wait for a school bus in Hong Kong, November 20, 2019.
News

Education Not Prioritized at Annual Donor Conference

June 30 was possibly the most important day of 2020 for Syrian refugee children. At the annual pledging conference for the “Future of Syria and the Region,” dozens of governments and multilateral donors pledged US$7.7 billion in humanitarian aid for…
Hanan, a Syrian refugee in Jordan, created learning ‘blocks’ for her children from discarded cigarette cases.
News

State Perpetrators in Syria, Yemen Go Unnamed

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded in an April 8 report that Syria’s air force had carried out three chemical weapons attacks against its own people, including children, on the orders of senior military…
Children attending class on the first day of school, which was damaged by an airstrike during fighting between Saudi-led coalition-backed government forces and Houthi forces, Taizz, Yemen, September 3, 2019.
News

But Little Action Holding Beijing Accountable

“His wife wore veils.” “He has one more child than allowed by the family planning policy.” “He prayed after each meal.” These are some of the reasons people in Karakax County in Xinjiang, northwestern China, are being detained in “political…
Government social media post in April 2017 shows detainees in a political education camp in Lop County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang.
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Congress Should Press Sundar Pichai Over Project Dragonfly

Google CEO Sundar Pichai will be in the hot seat tomorrow when he testifies before the United States House Judiciary Committee following an outcry over its plans to re-enter the Chinese search market. A coalition of more than…
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Authorities Digitally Erase Even Past Critical Speech

Since early November, the Chinese government has been targeting Twitter users in China as part of a nationwide crackdown on social media – even though Twitter is blocked in the country. Authorities have detained or summoned dozens or…
201811freespeech_internet_twitter
News

Forces in Northeast Issue Order to Prohibit Recruitment, Verify Ages

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of forces controlling parts of Syria’s northeast, has taken an important step towards ending the use of child soldiers in their ranks. The SDF issued a military order banning the…
Ain Issa displaced persons camp, one of three camps in northeast Syria where Human Rights Watch found the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) have been recruiting children for military participation, June 2017.
News

Latest Public Health Scandal Ignites Debate Over Government Accountability

China’s social media users are in an uproar over a major drug company’s sale of substandard vaccines – most for babies as young as 3-months-old – and the authorities’ persistent failure to regulate the vaccine market properly. On Sunday…
A nurse prepares a vaccine to be given to a child in a hospital in Beijing, China, April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
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Amid Ongoing Bombings, More Protection Needed for Education

In areas of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Syria’s capital Damascus held by anti-government armed groups, schools have closed for fear that Syrian and Russian warplanes will bomb them. Instead, local residents have opened informal schools…
Children walk through the rubble of the Tamayuz (“Excellence”) kindergarten in the town of Hamouriyeh after it was hit by a Syrian-Russian airstrike on November 8, 2017. © 2017 Private
News

New Policy Will Help Open School Doors

The big picture is bleak for Syrian refugee children, but the Jordanian government recently took a step to ensure these children’s right to an education. Jordanian regulations require Syrian children to have a “service card,” issued by the…
Syrian children attend class in a school in the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan, October 20, 2015. The school taught Syrian girls in the morning and boys in the afternoon, but lacked electricity, heating, and running water.
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Death of Detained Activist Puts Spotlight on Syria’s Ghastly Prison System

Yesterday Noura Safadi said that she had received confirmation that the Syrian authorities executed her husband, Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil, two years ago. Noura had been looking for Bassel since he disappeared from a Syrian prison in…
Bassel Khartabil
News

Recent Attacks on Saraqeb Caught on Video

Videos and photographs taken last weekend in the city of Saraqeb, in northwestern Syria, show the unmistakably bright trails produced by incendiary weapons. The ZAB incendiary submunitions used in the attacks are delivered by RBK-500 bombs and contain…
Screenshot of a video taken in April 2017 in Saraqeb, northwestern Syria, showing the bright trails produced by incendiary weapons.
News

Chongqing’s Ban on Circumvention Tools Could Set Dangerous Precedent

Chinese “netizens” are known for nimbly “scaling the Great Firewall” to get around government barriers that prevent them from accessing certain information abroad. Their interests are surprisingly diverse: Some look for news critical of the Chinese…
President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the 2nd annual World Internet Conference in Jiaxing, China on December 16, 2015.
News

How China’s Censorship Undermines its Own Goal

Within hours of the February 14 knife attack in Pishan county, Xinjiang, China’s state media released identical reports: Three assailants attacked people in a residential district, killing five while injuring another five, and the assailants were killed…
Han Chinese residents hold a Chinese national flag as paramilitary policemen in riot gear block a road at the centre of Urumqi in China's Xinjiang Autonomous Region September 3, 2009.
News

Biggest Barrier to Children’s Education is Parents Out of Work

More than 40 percent of Syrian refugee children are still not going to school. That’s according to a new UNICEF report, which says that while Turkey has seen a 50 percent increase in school attendance for Syrian refugee children since last June, far too…
Maya, 9, reads a school textbook in her family home. She enjoys attending her local public school in izmir, on turkey’s west coast, where she is one of four Syrian students in her class.
News

Video Footage Shows Incendiary Weapons Mounted on Russian Attack Aircraft

Several major media outlets are reporting that Russia’s state-run television has broadcasted footage appearing to show Russian aircraft at its airbase in Syria equipped with “cluster bombs.” The clip was deleted from YouTube after analysts published the…
Footage showing what Human Rights Watch arms experts have identified as RBK-500 ZAB-2.5SM incendiary bombs mounted on a Russian attack aircraft at a Russian air base in Syria, June 18, 2016.
News
Two high-level figures have mischaracterized the European refugee crisis at a critical moment when the rights of asylum seekers are in great danger of being short-circuited. On March 1, NATO Supreme Commander Gen. Philip…
Refugees and migrants line up to receive aid in a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni March 4, 2016.
News
The World Economic Forum in Davos is discussing human dignity in supply chains today. The question is how companies that use raw materials or other goods from anywhere in the world – and what company doesn’t these days? – can make sure that the rights of…
News
We know China’s President Xi Jinping loves pork buns and loves his wife, Peng Liyuan – state media has widely distributed images of him queuing to buy buns at a Beijing diner, and allowed the song “Xi Dada Loves Peng Mama” to go viral. So when a Shanghai…