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This week, the European Union’s top court invalidated the EU’s data retention law, calling into question whether blanket data retention can ever be consistent with human rights requirements. This decision is a major victory for digital rights groups which…
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As the children’s rights advocate for Human Rights Watch, one of the questions I’m asked most frequently is why the US has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Currently, only two other countries – South Sudan and Somalia – have yet to…
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New Bill Officially Gives Youths Sent to Prison for Life an Opportunity for Parole

In an important step forward for juvenile justice, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law a bill giving young offenders in California a second chance. Human Rights Watch and others campaigned for years against California’s extreme juvenile sentencing, and…
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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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A chance to earn parole for California’s Sara Kruzan

During his last day in office, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger commuted the prison sentence of one of the state’s most egregiously sentenced victims of child sex trafficking. Sara Kruzan, sentenced to life in prison without parole at the age of…
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The search engine stops censoring information and ideas in China

Last month, Google - one of the world's most important technology companies - stood up to the Chinese government by making it clear that it will not be complicit in censoring information and ideas. For years, corporations - including Google, Yahoo!,…
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In a groundbreaking step forward for juveniles in the criminal justice system, the governor of Colorado announced on August 29 the creation of a clemency board for youth offenders. It is the first time that a state has amended its clemency process to…
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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…
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Citing Human Rights Watch’s work, Dutch members of parliament successfully pressured Immigration Minister Rita Verdonk not to deport lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) asylum-seekers back to Iran, where they face the threat of torture, ill-…
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How do we know that governments care about the language of resolutions at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights? Because they lobby so hard against them. The U.S. attempted to weaken language prohibiting the juvenile death penalty in a…
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In June and July 2002, Human Rights Watch investigated abuses of Egyptian children arrested for being "liable to perversion" -- a category that includes children who are homeless, begging, truants, or mentally ill. We submitted our preliminary findings to…
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In 1999, the Chinese government banned Falungong, a variant of an ancient exercise and meditation system. The government labeled Falungong an "evil cult" and began an aggressive and often violent campaign against its practitioners which continues…