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Universal Jurisdiction Provides Opening for Justice

  (Berlin) – The start of a landmark trial in Germany of two people alleged to be former Syrian intelligence officials on crimes against humanity charges is an important chance for victims to see justice done, Human Rights Watch said today.…
Illustration © 2017 Brian Stauffer for Human Rights Watch
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Human Rights Council Seat Demands Greater Leadership

(Sydney) – The Australian government should make the protection of human rights a central focus of its foreign policy, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the recently reappointed Foreign Minister Marise Payne that was released today. …
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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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(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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Many Countries Call for Law to Keep Human Control

(Geneva) – Countries meeting in Geneva on November 13-24, 2017, missed a chance to move ahead to prevent the development of weapons systems that would select and engage targets without meaningful human control, Human Rights…
As the debate about “killer robots” continues, the threat they pose looms large.
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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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Video, Q&A Highlight Cases Spurred by Syrian, Iraqi Refugees

(Brussels) – Human Rights Watch released a question-and-answer document and video on October 20, 2016 that highlight the groundbreaking investigations and prosecutions in European countries of people accused of kidnappings, ill-treatment, and torture in…
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Recruitment Under the Guise of ‘Education’

Non-state armed groups in Syria have used children as young as 15 to fight in battles, sometimes recruiting them under the guise of offering education, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The groups have used children as young as 14 in…
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Arbitrary Arrests, Unfair Trials; Use of Child Soldiers

(New York) – Kurdish authorities running three enclaves in northern Syria have committed arbitrary arrests, due process violations, and failed to address unsolved killings and disappearances, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. …
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Global Campaign to Finalize, Implement Protection Guidelines

Geneva - The Norwegian government’s leadership to promote international standards to protect schools and universities from military use during armed conflict could spare students and teachers the horrors of war, the Global Coalition to Protect Education…
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Boys Report Serving as Fighters, Guards, and Lookouts

(New York) – Armed opposition groups fighting in Syria are using children for combat and other military purposes, Human Rights Watch said today. Children as young as 14 have served in at least three opposition brigades, transporting weapons and supplies…
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Rights Body Stops Short of Urging Syria Referral to International Criminal Court

The United Nations Human Rights Council took bold action to address the chronically poor human rights situations in Belarus and Eritrea, Human Rights Watch said today, at the closing of the council’s 20th session. The council unanimously condemned the “…
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Secretary General’s Report Should Prompt Security Council Sanctions

(New York) – The United Nations Security Council should impose an arms embargo and other targeted sanctions, including asset freezes and travel bans, on the Syrian leadership in response to widespread killings and other grave violations against children.…
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Western Countries Turn a Blind Eye to Libyan Abuses

(Geneva) – The United Nations Human Rights Council’s adoption of a resolution condemning human rights violations in North Korea signaled both the gravity of the abuses and the need for the new president, Kim Jong-un, to make major reforms, Human Rights…
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Security Council Should Press to End Crackdown, Impose Sanctions

(New York) - Syria's withdrawal of its candidacy for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council on May 11, 2011, should be followed by an end to its violent crackdown on peaceful protests, Human Rights Watch said today. Human rights groups from…
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Country Under Investigation by Rights Body Not Fit to Join

(New York) - The UN General Assembly should strongly reject Syria's candidacy for the UN Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch said today. Syria's attempt to join the council in the midst of its brutal crackdown on largely peaceful protests is a…
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Human Rights Council Should Act on Bahrain and Yemen

(Geneva) - Syria should end its violent repression of peaceful protests following unequivocal condemnation of its actions by the United Nations Human Rights Council, Human Rights Watch said today. The council's resolution, adopted by a large majority on…
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Reject Syria’s Bid for Human Rights Council Seat

(Geneva) - The United Nations Human Rights Council should strongly condemn repression of peaceful protests in Syria and mount an investigation into recent violence, Human Rights Watch said. The council is meeting to discuss Syria on April 29, 2011,…