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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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How Ten Years of Advocacy and Incremental Changes Add Up

In Greece, a recent high-profile court ruling and policy change mark momentous human rights victories for migrants and children. On October 7, an Athens court ruled that the country’s far-right xenophobic political party, Golden Dawn, whose members…
A woman sits with her children in Victoria Square in Athens, Greece, awaiting transfer after being evicted from their place of residence, July 20, 2020.
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COVID-19 in Europe, the Central Eurasian Region, and Turkey

What are some of your biggest concerns about the coronavirus moving through Europe and Central Asia? Europe is one of the world’s epicenters of COVID-19 cases. There’s an awful death toll in Italy and Spain with the numbers of dead going up…
Military police officers patrol at a market in Budapest, Hungary, March 31, 2020.
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How has the situation on Lesbos changed since your last visit? When I was here in 2016, I couldn’t imagine things being worse. We saw a lawless situation in Moria refugee camp. There were around 6,000 people in the camp,…
Migrants who arrived yesterday to Greece from Turkey eat bread as they try to warm themselves at the village of Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday, March 6, 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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Swedish and German Authorities Pursuing Cases for War Crimes in Syria

What kind of cases have been brought to trial so far? To date, seven cases for war crimes in Syria were brought to trial, three in Sweden and four in Germany. These few cases have mostly been against members of the Islamic State [ISIS], Jabhat…
Illustration © 2017 Brian Stauffer for Human Rights Watch
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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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Kenya is home to the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, which provides shelter to 360,000 mostly Somali refugees. In May 2016, Kenya’s government disbanded its department responsible for refugees and announced plans to repatriate Somalis and close…
An aerial view shows makeshift shelters at the Dagahaley camp in Dadaab, near the Kenya-Somalia border in Garissa County, Kenya. Photo taken April 2011.
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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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Human Rights Watch Research on Returned Tamils Facing Torture in Sri Lanka Cited

The seven ethnic Tamil men waited on the tarmac of a London airport last May, literally minutes from take-off and from being deported to Sri Lanka. British authorities had rejected their applications for asylum, despite increasing information that Tamils…
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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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Protecting the health of vulnerable, displaced people

This fall, the European Commission (EC) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) began closing down lead-contaminated camps in Kosovo, where displaced Roma were living in abysmal health conditions for a decade. Human Rights Watch…
News
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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On October 6, the British government announced that it will allow Iraqi interpreters and other key support staff to settle in the United Kingdom. Iraqis who worked for British forces are particularly vulnerable to being targeted by insurgents and militia…
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Following high-profile media reports about Iraqi interpreters whose lives are threatened because they worked for British forces, the British government announced on August 7 that it will review its policy of non-preferential treatment for Iraqi employees…
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Dutch Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk has granted special asylum rights to lesbian and gay Iranians. According to the ministry’s October 18 statement, the decision was motivated by Human Rights Watch’s forthcoming report on serious and systematic abuse…