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Forcing Parental Involvement in Abortion Violates Rights

A law in the US state of Illinois that forces people under 18 to involve an adult family member in their abortion decision is failing some of the state’s young people and violating their human rights. In a new joint report with the American Civil…
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After recruitment by Al-Shabab, children face difficult conditions in detention

How is it that children get involved with Al-Shabab in the first place?   Al-Shabab uses many means to recruit children, including enticements, deceit and force. Poor rural communities, with little protection, are particularly vulnerable to…
Photo of Somali children blindfolded.
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It is now widely acknowledged that after the 9/11 attacks in the US, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) began a global detention and interrogation program through which it tortured and abused prisoners. Yet the US government has failed to hold…
Illustration of the scales of justice replaced by two people shackled by their wrists and dangling in the air.
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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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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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Today, child soldiers are fighting in at least 14 countries around the world. Boys and girls alike are forced into combat, exploited for their labor, and subjected to unspeakable violence.  A UN treaty prohibits the participation of children under the…
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Mohamed Jawad was a teenager living in a Pakistani refugee camp when he was recruited by Afghan militia, drugged and forced into combat in Afghanistan. Eventually, he was captured. Afghan authorities beat him and made him confess to throwing a grenade at…
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On August 24, Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a federal prosecutor to review cases of post-9/11 detainee abuse and determine whether or not a criminal investigation is warranted.  Human Rights Watch has collected information on some 330 cases…
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Top UN Officials, 46 governments participate in Red Hand Day Campaign Ceremony

Yesterday UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the forced recruitment and use of child soldiers as "one of the most appalling human rights abuses in the world today," and stated that "the entire United Nations system and I are determined to stamp…
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The International Criminal Court (ICC) decided in November to lift the suspension of the trial of the rebel leader Thomas Lubanga, who is accused of enlisting and conscripting children as soldiers and using them to participate actively in the conflict in…
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In an unprecedented step forward, a federal judge blocked the Pentagon from returning a Tunisian national being held at Guantanamo on the grounds that he could face grave harm if sent back to Tunisia. The judge pointed to the types of abuses documented in…
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On August 29, Sri Lanka appointed a committee to investigate allegations of child recruitment by the Karuna group, a Tamil armed group allegedly linked to the government. In our January 2007 report, Human Rights Watch exposed patterns of abductions and…
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Following our reporting on militia violence and the use of child soldiers in Chad, the Chadian government pledged in May to cooperate with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in identifying and demobilizing children in armed forces. Since then,…
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WHAT PROBLEM IS BEING ADDRESSED? An estimated 250,000 children are exploited each day in state-run armies, paramilitaries and guerilla groups around the world. Called “child soldiers,” they serve as combatants, porters, human mine detectors and sex…
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The US Army in January ordered the court-martial of Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Jordan, a key official allegedly implicated in detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Jordan is the first military officer to be charged under the doctrine of command…
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The United Nations Committee against Torture (CAT) issued a strong critique of the United States' record on torture, which included calling for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay detention facility. The Committee is the first international body to hold…
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A report by U.N. human rights experts confirms what Human Rights Watch and other nongovernmental organizations have long documented-that the United States is violating international human rights law and the Geneva Conventions by indefinitely detaining,…
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On January 11, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared that captured Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters shipped to the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo, Cuba were "unlawful combatants" not entitled to protection under the Geneva Conventions, the laws…