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Human Rights Watch Introduces Country Index Based on Laws, Policies

(Beirut) – Governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) should outlaw the violent discipline of children, Human Rights Watch said today, introducing an index categorizing countries in the region based on their laws and policies. The MENA…
2020 Dadu Shin for Human Rights Watch
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Set Principled Framework for Aid, Protection, Justice

(Brussels) – The European Union-United Nations sponsored aid conference for Syria on March 29-30, 2021, should prioritize a rights-respecting aid framework that advances urgent protection, humanitarian, and accountability needs, Human Rights Watch…
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Most Syrian Refugee Students Denied Access to Learning

(Brussels) – Governments should address the unprecedented education crisis facing Syrian refugee children in Lebanon at the March 30, 2021, ministerial conference in Brussels on Supporting Syria and the Region, Human Rights Watch said today. Donors…
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Bring Home Other French Children Trapped There

(Toulouse) – Human Rights Watch and nine other organizations issued the following statement on April 21, 2020: We, the undersigned civil society organizations have learned of the alarming situation of young Taymia, a 7-year-old child of…
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Enforcement, Transparency, Training Needed to End Corporal Punishment

  (Beirut) – Lebanon’s ban on school staff hitting, verbally abusing, or otherwise inflicting pain on schoolchildren in the name of discipline is often disregarded. The 64-page report…
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27 People Kidnapped During Attack on Village Still Held

(Beirut) – Islamic State (also known as ISIS) fighters are holding at least 27 people hostage, including at least 16 children, in southern Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. Local residents say that ISIS is holding the hostages in…
Syrians inspect the site of a suicide attack in Sweida, Syria on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. © 2018 SANA via AP
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People’s Protection Units Enlist Under 18s from Vulnerable Families

(Beirut) – The People’s Protection Units (YPG), the largest member of the Syrian Democratic Forces military alliance in northeast Syria, has been recruiting children, including girls, and using some in hostilities despite pledges to…
Ain Issa displaced persons camp, one of three camps in northeast Syria where Human Rights Watch found the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) have been recruiting children for military participation, June 2017.
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New Arrivals Deported, Coerced Back to Syria

(Istanbul) – Turkish authorities in Istanbul and nine provinces on or near the Syrian border have stopped registering all but a handful of recently arrived Syrian asylum seekers. The suspension is leading to unlawful deportations, coerced returns…
Two Syrians walk along a fence near the Turkish-Syrian border in Gaziantep province, Turkey on November 30, 2016.
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Dire Conditions for Thousands Fleeing Fighting

(Beirut) – Jordanian and Israeli authorities should allow Syrians fleeing fighting in Daraa governorate to claim asylum and protect them, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 16, 2018, the Syrian-Russian military alliance opened an…
An Internally displaced girl from Daraa province carries a stuffed toy and holds the hand of child near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Quneitra, Syria June 29, 2018. © 2018 Reuters/Alaa Al-Faqir
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Expulsions by Municipalities Appear Discriminatory, Lack Due Process

  (Beirut) – At least 13 municipalities in Lebanon have forcibly evicted at least 3,664 Syrian refugees from their homes and expelled them from the municipalities, apparently because of their nationality or religion, while another 42,000…
A clothesline in an informal tent settlement in Bar Elias, Bekaa Governorate, Lebanon. Refugees evicted from the Rayak air base area settled here in January 2018. The refugees say there was no procedure, no written notice, no opportunity to discuss or cha
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(Beirut) – Lawless armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) morphed into disastrous trends for the region in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its 2018 World Report. “Failed leadership, failed…
Smoke billows behind a building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 3, 2017, during clashes between Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. © 2017 Getty Images
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Protection Gaps Increase Children’s Vulnerability

(Beirut) – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has recruited Afghan immigrant children living in Iran to fight in Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. Afghan children as young as 14 have fought in the Fatemiyoun division,…
Tombstones of Afghan child soldiers buried in Iran.
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Murky Money Trail, Missed Targets, Missing Data

(Beirut) – Millions of dollars in aid money pledged to get Syrian refugee children in school last year did not reach them, arrived late, or could not be traced due to poor reporting practices, Human Rights Watch said today. The 55…
Syrian children in an informal refugee camp in the Bekaa Valley.
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536,000 Children Out of School in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey

(Brussels) – Participants at a conference on Syria in Brussels on April 5, 2017, should address the reasons why more than half a million refugee children are still not in school, Human Rights Watch said today. Donors and host countries had pledged that…
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Open the Door to Legal Status for All Syrian Refugees

(Beirut) – A decision to lift a hefty fee that has prevented many Syrians from maintaining legal status in Lebanon is a positive step, Human Rights Watch said today. Yet the decision appears to exclude a number of the most vulnerable refugees. …
A General Security officer stands by as a Syrian bus driver carries the passports and departure cards of Syrians arriving in Lebanon.
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Lessons for Impending Battles in Iraq and Syria

(Beirut) – Homemade landmines have killed and injured hundreds of civilians, including dozens of children, in Manbij, a city in northern Syria. The antipersonnel mines, often called improvised explosive devices, were planted by the…
A family member stands next to the graves of three children who were killed when an explosive device planted by ISIS in a school in Manbij detonated on September 27.
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(New York) – Human Rights Watch has created a dedicated webpage on access to education for Syrian refugee children, whose school year begins this month, in advance of the New York summits on the global refugee and migration crisis. In…
Maya, 9, reads a school textbook in her family home. She enjoys attending her local public school in izmir, on turkey’s west coast, where she is one of four Syrian students in her class.
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Thousands More Eligible to Enroll, but Challenges Remain

(Amman) – Jordan’s education minister has instructed public schools to allow Syrian children to register in the fall semester even if they lack government-issued documents that were previously required, Human Rights Watch said today. Carrying out this and…
Syrian children attend class in a school in the Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan, October 20, 2015. The school taught Syrian girls in the morning and boys in the afternoon, but lacked electricity, heating, and running water.
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Thousands Held Without Charge, Tortured

(New York) – Thousands of children in conflict-affected countries have been detained without charge for months or even years as national security threats, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Untold numbers have been tortured or have died…
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Residency Rules, Child Labor Among Barriers for Refugees

(Beirut) – More than half of the nearly 500,000 school-age Syrian children registered in Lebanon are not enrolled in formal education, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Although Lebanon, which is hosting 1.1 million registered Syrian…
Bara’a, 10, originally from Ghouta, Syria, leaves for school from her informal refugee camp in Mount Lebanon.