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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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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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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.
News
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.
News

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.
News
Aren’t these laws just designed to protect religious freedom in the US? Religious freedom is an important value, but these laws don’t respond to any real-world threat to religious freedom and are more about legitimizing discrimination. The…
Demonstrators protest during oral arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop vs. Colorodo Civil Rights Commission case at the Supreme Court in Washington, U.S., December 5, 2017.
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What are some of the misconceptions around being born intersex? Unfortunately, in our society we’re still at a point where most people don’t know the basic facts about being intersex. People think it is very rare, but really, up to two percent of the…
A poster by intersex activist Pidgeon Pagonis
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Indonesia is in the midst of a government-incited meltdown about LGBT rights. In January, the country’s high education minister said he wanted to ban LGBT student groups from university campuses. Not long after, the defense minister said the LGBT movement…
A picture of an anti-LGBT demonstration.
News
This spring, South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed a bill that would have prevented transgender students from using restrooms, locker rooms, and showers that match their gender identity. With the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of South…
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“Leave the island!” “Go home Dittrich!” “No homo!” Boris Dittrich, at the time a member of Dutch parliament, was looking out an open window of Aruba’s parliament building when a jeering mob chanting anti…
Boris Dittrich
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School bullying is notorious in Japan and has been for decades. For LGBT kids in particular, the harassment, threats, and even violence in schools can be unbearable. School policies don’t adequately protect these students. At best, teachers are confused…
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Cops Stop Harrassing Sex Workers for Carrying Condoms

Sex workers in San Francisco, Washington DC, and part of New York State can now carry condoms – protecting themselves and their clients from HIV/AIDS – without fearing that police will use the condoms as evidence of prostitution. In July, Human Rights…
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LGBT victory in UN resolution vote

In response to a global advocacy campaign led by Human Rights Watch, the UN General Assembly held a rare revote on a resolution protecting people from extrajudicial killings. Human Rights Watch played an important role in the global advocacy that led to…
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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…
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Human Rights Watch urges the Defense Department to implement rapidly the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010." As documented in our 2003 report, "Uniform Discrimination: the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Policy of the US Military," men and women who have…
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Making a difference in Malawi, Albania, Lithuania and Uganda

Human Rights Watch protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people who are subject to discrimination and violence—and sometimes even torture or execution—because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. We advocate for the principles…