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As Joe Biden settles into his presidency, in addition to facing a pandemic and economic crisis, he will hear demands for accountability. If President Biden is going to help restore a robust commitment to the rule of law, he will need to reach…
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Disband All Irregular Paramilitary Forces, Cooperate With Independent Investigations

(New York) – United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-backed Afghan forces have committed summary executions and other grave abuses without accountability, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. These strike forces…
A car burned during a raid by the Khost Protection Force in Tani district, Khost province, Afghanistan, July 28, 2019.
Report
Summary Through much of 2019, the United States government and Taliban insurgents were engaged in negotiations toward an agreement that could lead to the eventual withdrawal of US forces in Afghanistan. Those negotiations officially halted, at least…
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Much concern has been raised, for good reason, about President Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency. Haspel allegedly was involved in reckless, illegal torture under the agency’s “rendition,…
Gina Haspel, a veteran CIA clandestine officer picked by U.S. President Donald Trump to head the Central Intelligence Agency, is shown in this handout photograph released on March 13, 2018. © 2018 CIA handout
News

Trump Nominee Oversaw Torture of Detainees, Destruction of Evidence

(Washington, DC) – The US Senate should oppose the nomination of Gina Haspel to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the Senate leadership and Select Committee on Intelligence. She was closely…
Gina Haspel, a veteran CIA clandestine officer picked by U.S. President Donald Trump to head the Central Intelligence Agency, is shown in this handout photograph released on March 13, 2018.
News
March 16, 2018 Dear Senator, We write to express our grave concerns regarding the nomination of Gina Haspel for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and to ask that you not advance her nomination until all of the…
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(Washington, DC) – In response to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State and Gina Haspel as CIA Director please find the following response from Sarah Margon, Washington Director at Human Rights…
Pompeo presser
News

Holds Hearings on State’s Role in CIA Secret Renditions Program

There’s been no justice for victims of the US Central Intelligence Agency’s rendition, torture, and secret detention program created after the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States. But a unique citizen-led initiative in North…
The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia, U.S. on August 14, 2008.
News

For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
News
On December 6, 2016, US President Barack Obama delivered a speech on US counterterrorism policy at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. Below is the reaction from Laura Pitter, US national security counsel at Human Rights Watch: President…
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Trump Should Continue Disclosures, Uphold Legal Obligations

(Washington) – The Obama administration’s comprehensive report on standards applicable to US counterterrorism policy will help the public understand and assess United States government actions, Human Rights Watch said today. The report will…
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Michael Flynn Unwilling to Reject Trump’s Call for Waterboarding

(Washington, November 18, 2016) – President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for National Security Advisor, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, has refused to rule out proposals by Trump that would constitute torture despite his having spoken out against the use…
Donald Trump speaks alongside retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn during a campaign town hall meeting in Virginia, US, on September 6, 2016.
Video
A Tunisian man formerly held in secret United States Central Intelligence Agency custody have described previously unreported methods of torture that shed new light on the earliest days of the CIA program. Lotfi al-Arabi El Gherissi, 52, recounted being…
News
It’s public knowledge that following the 9-11 attacks on the United States, the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) detained and tortured terrorism suspects in secret sites around the world. But new Human Rights Watch research provides…
CIA detainee torture abuse 2
News

Electric Chair Threats, Baton Beatings, Various Water Tortures

(New York) – Two Tunisians formerly held in secret United States Central Intelligence Agency custody have described previously unreported methods of torture that shed new light on the earliest days of the CIA program, Human Rights Watch…
CIA detainee torture abuse 2