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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…
An illustration of scales imposed over a woman's torso
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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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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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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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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…