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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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Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
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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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Drop Charges Against Him, Release Other Peaceful Activists

Fourteen international organisations have joined the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) in welcoming the release of its president Mazen Darwish and in calling for all charges against him and his colleagues to be dropped, as well as…
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Armed Groups Should Unconditionally Release Journalists

(New York) – The apparent execution of the freelance journalist James Foley on August 19, 2014 in Syria by the Islamic State would be a war crime if confirmed. Groups detaining journalists should immediately and unconditionally release them. The Islamic…
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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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New Detentions Despite Security Council Demands

(New York) – The Syrian government, pro-government militias, and non-state armed groups should immediately release everyone they have arbitrarily arrested, abducted, and detained in the last three years for their peaceful, journalistic, and humanitarian…
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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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Give Independent Monitors Access to Detention Facilities

(New York) – President Bashar al-Assad should release all peaceful activists, media professionals, and humanitarian assistance providers as part of an amnesty announced on October 23, 2012, Human Rights Watch, Alkarama, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights…
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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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Arbitrary Detention, Torture, Discrimination Highlight Government’s Record in 2010

(New York) - Syria's authorities detained political and human rights activists, restricted freedom of expression, repressed its Kurdish minority, and held people incommunicado for lengthy periods, often torturing them, during 2010, Human Rights Watch said…
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19-Year-Old Woman Detained in 2009, Still No Charge

(New York) - The Syrian government should immediately release Tal al-Mallohi, a 19-year-old high school student and blogger held incommunicado without charge for nine months, Human Rights Watch said today. She has been held by Syria's security services…
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Envoy Should Use Visit to Condemn Harassment, Detention of Activists, Journalists

(New York) – Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign relations chief, should raise human rights concerns with Syrian officials during her visit next week and seek specific commitments to improve their record, Human Rights Watch said today. So far, the increased…