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Rainbow Railroad Operates in Secret to Bring People to Safety

The human rights and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan threatens everyone there, but lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, and other sexual and gender minorities, face an acute threat of violence and even death from the Taliban…
Taliban fighters at checkpoint in Kabul, Afghanistan
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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. 
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Women Athletes Undergoing Invasive Medical Procedures without Consent

After training for hours on end, year after year, some women athletes – particularly those competing on the world stage – are getting their careers and successes ripped away because of “sex testing,” practices, which are invasive and medically unnecessary…
A woman holds a photo of a group of female runners competing
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After Pledging Reforms, UK Development Bank Should Implement Them

A United Kingdom development bank, CDC Group, has taken another step toward addressing human rights abuses at oil palm plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In May, the bank committed to reforming its complaints mechanism and adopting a…
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Hospital is First Institution to Make This Change and Apologize for Harm Done

In a victory for intersex people, a hospital in Chicago pledged earlier this year to stop performing medically unnecessary surgeries on children born with intersex traits. The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital also became the first…
Intersex activist Sean Saifa Wall protests outside Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago for Intersex Awareness Day on October 26, 2017.
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Canada Is Failing Indigenous Peoples Facing Threats to Food, Health, and Land

In some of the most remote stretches of Canada – from the provincial norths to the territories – First Nations are facing serious threats to their ways of life because of the effects of climate change. A rapidly changing environment means harvesting food…
Weenusk First Nations members packing their sleds ahead of a hunt near Peawanuck, Ontario, December 14, 2019.
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Discrimination Follows them from Home to the US Border

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, sometimes called the Northern Triangle, often face violence and discrimination from their families, gangs, and even the police. When they try to seek asylum…
A group of men and women march walk while holding rainbow pride flags
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Men, Transgender Women Particularly Vulnerable, Lacking Services

During Syria’s civil war, many people have been subjected to sexual violence, resulting in ongoing trauma. Many of these victims are men and they have described how such violence gets worse if they are considered gay, or “soft” as the local term…
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Homeless Shelter Residents to Be Compensated After Arbitrary Detention

The High Court of Uganda awarded damages of UGX 5,000,000 (about US$1,340) to 20 homeless gay, bisexual, and transgender people who had been arbitrarily detained and held without access to their lawyers. Their arrests had occurred in response to…
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Security Forces Ordered Not to Discriminate in Covid-19 Quarantine

  Update: On July 16, 2020, the government of Panama published a statement that specifically acknowledged for the first time the reports of discrimination against transgender people. The statement, issued by five government…
Women practice social distancing as they wait in line to enter a supermarket, on a day that men must stay indoors in Panama City on April 3, 2020.
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Fumino Sugiyama is a father, a business owner, a trans rights activist, and the director of Tokyo Pride. But before all that, he was an international athlete and a member of Japan’s women’s fencing team.  This summer, Japan was supposed to be…
Fumino Sugiyama, a transgender man, holds his Japanese ID card, which reads “female,” at his home in Tokyo.
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Accurate Data Key to Protecting the Forest Defenders

For the first time, Brazils’ Attorney General’s office has produced a report analyzing violence against Indigenous peoples, Afro-Brazilian rural communities, and other at-risk rural communities by people engaged in illegal logging, mining, and land…
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The Global Pandemic Offers Chance to Embrace Clean Energy

It’s been three months since governments around the world implemented lockdowns in response to Covid-19. The virus has killed hundreds of thousands and forced millions more into joblessness and destitution. With the global transport of people and goods…
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Implementing Commitments Would Protect Tens of Thousands on Plantations

Four European development banks have announced they will require a major palm oil company in the Democratic Republic of Congo to take steps to redress human rights abuses recently reported by Human Rights Watch. The 95-page report, A…
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How European Development Banks Fail the Very People They Claim to Assist

Why did you focus your research on these oil palm plantations? These plantations provide jobs for many people. But their workers are being underpaid and exposed to unhealthy working conditions. The European development banks that finance these…
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Being Outside is a Health Risk for Some of Zambia’s Children

How did you first become aware of the problem in Kabwe? We learned about it from an environmental group several years ago but became interested in doing our own research after seeing a young person from Kabwe speak at a United Nations event.…
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Left Destitute and Sick, Communities Defy Police Abuse and Threats to Assert their Rights

What changes for a community once a mine starts operating? Most mining in South Africa takes place in rural areas, where people live off the land and their livestock. Mining often forces people to leave the land they use for farming and grazing…
Coal mine in Somkhele viewed from Ocilwane village in Fuleni, KwaZulu-Natal. © 2018 Rob Symons
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A Regressive Law is Forcing Some Transgender People to be Sterilized

What is life like for transgender people in Japan? In Japan, the struggles for transgender people are largely invisible. Especially how hard it is to become legally recognized. In general, most people don’t know that Japanese law requires trans…
Fumino Sugiyama, a transgender man, holds his Japanese ID card, which reads “female,” at his home in Tokyo.
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Activists in Lamu Challenge Power Despite Threats

Tell me about Lamu and the activists you spoke to. Lamu county is a beautiful, scenic tourist destination with long white beaches lined with palm trees and hotels and cafes catering to foreign and domestic tourists. The mostly-Muslim…
Residents and environmental activists  protesting against  lack of consultations and government failure to address environmental concerns in respect ofo the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project in Lamu island, Kenya, March 1, 2012.
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Tell me more about mountaintop removal. Today it’s done almost exclusively in southern West Virginia, but has been done in Eastern Kentucky, and parts of Tennessee and Virginia too. Scientific studies show that people living near this type of…
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