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How an Undervalued Workforce and Allies Secured Sweeping Labor Protections

Ten years ago, on June 16, 2011, a landmark international treaty was adopted to help protect domestic workers around the world. The International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 189, Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers radically changed how…
Domestic worker leaders chant “Up up domestic workers, down down with slavery” after the ILO vote to adopt the Domestic Workers Convention, June 16, 2011
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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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New Treaty Defends People From Workplace Violence and Harassment

Can you explain what the ILO is? The International Labour Organization is the UN-based organization that deals with all issues related to employment and work. It’s where they set the minimum standards for everything to do with worker’s rights.…
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Plight of Migrant Domestic Workers Revealed

More than 130,000 women have left their home countries to work in Oman as migrant domestic workers, cooking, cleaning and caring for children while living in their employers’ homes. But behind closed doors, many of these women are beaten, starved, and…
Excessive working hours
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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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Yesterday, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia inked an agreement that says Indonesian women working in Saudi homes will be able to keep their passports, communicate with their families, get paid monthly, and have time off. The new pact comes in the wake of years…
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2012 brought significant progress for the rights of domestic workers, with dozens of countries adopting policy or legislative measures to strengthen protections for domestic workers, including 8 that moved to ratify the ILO Convention Concerning Decent…
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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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As told by Nadim Houry, director of Human Rights Watch's Beirut office It was 2008, and along Hamra Street, one of Beirut's main thoroughfares, women's rights demonstrators had placed a series of identical cutouts shaped like women's bodies. Painted red…
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From Lebanon’s advocacy campaign to June’s international convention

As told by Nisha Varia, senior researcher in the Women's Rights Division Each poster in the ad campaign featured a woman in the uniform typically worn by housekeepers and nannies, complete with ruffled apron. Below the image were facts about abuse of…
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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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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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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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Human Rights Watch's March 4 report, "Double Standards: Women's Property Rights Violations in Kenya," documented the denial of property rights to thousands of Kenyan women, especially widows. Now two critically important United Nations bodies have taken…
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Millions of women in sub-Saharan Africa are robbed, beaten, raped, and evicted-often by their own in-laws-because women are deemed unworthy of equal property rights. A recent Human Rights Watch report, "Double Standards: Women's Property Rights…