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Bill Would Have Criminalized Wide Range of Peaceful Expression

In a win for online freedom in Iraq, in February the Iraqi parliament said it will stop pushing forward a cybercrimes draft law until after it is amended so that it protects rather than infringes upon free speech. As it stood, the law would have…
Woman holding up a sign in Arabic
News
Laetitia Bader, Human Rights Watch’s Horn of Africa Director, recently returned from a research mission in Sudan to interview refugees who fled the fighting that broke out in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in early November 2020. For several weeks, federal…
People who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region ride a bus to the Village 8 temporary shelter near the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, December 1, 2020. 
News
Published in: Open Democracy Many human rights defenders around the world are in jail for standing up for the rights of others. Azimjon Askarov is a well-known human rights defender from southern Kyrgyzstan. He is also a writer and an artist. In…
Ethnic Uzbek journalist Azimzhan Askarov, who was arbitrarily arrested, tortured, convicted after an unfair trial and jailed for life looks through metal bars during hearings at the Bishkek regional court, Kyrgyzstan.
News
How did Bellingcat start? It was almost accidental. In 2011, I’d been working for a company that housed refugees. That company lost its government contract and had to close, so I ended up in an office by myself waiting for everything to wind…
poster bellingcat
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Understanding the Role of Encryption in Your Everyday Life

Why did you decide to create a game? We really wanted to build something that felt accessible, interesting, and reached out to new audiences who might not have realized how encryption was built into the gadgets, apps and websites they use.…
Locked phone
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Over the past two years, Poland’s government has tightened its control over the courts, the media, and domestic rights groups. Thousands of outraged citizens have staged protests nationwide against these moves, even successfully…
Protesters gather in front of the Parliament building during an opposition protest in Warsaw, Poland, July 16, 2017
News

Detained and Questioned Trying to Interview Construction Workers in Volgograd

While investigating the exploitation of workers in Russia building stadiums for the 2018 World Cup, Human Rights Watch consultant Semyon Simonov was detained by Russian police and unidentified security forces. They held him for three…
Construction workers on the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia that will host 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup matches. October 3, 2016.
News
Journalists in Somalia are increasingly coming under attack. For many years, the main threat to the media has come from Al-Shabaab, the Islamist armed group that controls large parts of the country. But, as a new report by Human Rights Watch has found,…
A picture of a hand writing on notepad.
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“It cannot be over-emphasized that when it comes to democracy, liberty of thought and expression is a cardinal value that is of paramount significance.” With these words, India’s Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment on March 24, struck down Section 66A…
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This week I had expected to be writing about a defamation case brought by Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Committee against an independent journalist in Osh, in southern Kyrgyzstan. To my surprise, the committee withdrew its complaint, and the court…
News
This week, the European Union’s top court invalidated the EU’s data retention law, calling into question whether blanket data retention can ever be consistent with human rights requirements. This decision is a major victory for digital rights groups which…
News
Finally, a voice of reason in Russia’s legal system on the Pussy Riot case. Today Russia’s Supreme Court ordered the Pussy Riot verdict to be re-examined by the Moscow City Court. The legal representatives for one of the two still-imprisoned Pussy Riot…
News

Preventing needless suffering of the terminally ill in India

In January, years of joint advocacy by Human Rights Watch and Indian palliative care groups culminated in the Medical Council of India recognizing palliative care as a specialization of medicine and approving an MD Palliative Care program. Over time, this…
News

The search engine stops censoring information and ideas in China

Last month, Google - one of the world's most important technology companies - stood up to the Chinese government by making it clear that it will not be complicit in censoring information and ideas. For years, corporations - including Google, Yahoo!,…
News

Damascus Declaration Trial a Transparent Bid to Silence Critics

(Damascus) – Syria’s sentencing of a dozen leading democracy advocates to more than two years in prison is the latest evidence of Syria’s repression of opposition groups. The democracy activists, including doctors, lawyers, writers, and an artist, were…
News
On May 30, Egypt’s General Public Prosecutor ordered the release of Abd al-Monim Mahmud, a prominent TV journalist and blogger who was arrested April 14 for criticizing torture. Immediately following his arrest, Human Rights Watch publicly called for his…
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Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has granted special asylum rights to lesbian and gay Iranians. According to the ministry’s October 18 statement, the decision was motivated by Human Rights Watch’s forthcoming report on serious and systematic abuse…
News
Citing Human Rights Watch’s work, Dutch members of parliament successfully pressured Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk not to deport lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) asylum-seekers back to Iran, where they face the threat of torture, ill-…
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On March 2, the Libyan government, following a direct request by Human Rights Watch, released 132 political prisoners, many of whom had been unfairly tried and detained for more than seven years. The prisoners were pardoned five weeks after Human Rights…
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In a landmark decision on October 3, the European Union agreed to sanction Uzbekistan over its refusal to allow an independent inquiry into the recent massacre in the city of Andijan. Human Rights Watch has steadfastly called on the international…