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14 Governments Face Possible Military Sanctions

Last week the United States State Department named more countries than ever before – 14 – in its latest annual list of governments responsible for the recruitment and use of children as soldiers. Cameroon, Libya, and Nigeria were added this year,…
Rebel child soldiers gather in Gumuruk, South Sudan.
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State Department Restores Burma and Iraq to its Annual List of Violators

I held my breath yesterday, waiting for the US State Department to issue its latest annual list of governments implicated in the use of child soldiers. Last year’s list was a disaster: then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson overruled his…
Child soldiers put down their guns in a disarmament and release ceremony in Jonglei state, South Sudan, February 10, 2015.
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Poor Record of Coalition and Houthi Indiscriminate Attacks and Aid Restrictions

(Beirut) – All parties to the conflict in Yemen should minimize civilian harm during military operations against the western port city of Hodeida, Human Rights Watch said today. The Saudi-led coalition, backed by the United States, and…
Imports sit destroyed in a damaged warehouse at the port in Hodeida city, Yemen. © November 2016 Kristine Beckerle / Human Rights Watch
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Base Immigration Policies on Facts Not Fear

(Washington, DC) – Ongoing debates around US immigration policy should be squarely focused on the people whose rights and families are at stake, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch released an automated Twitter bot, @ImmigrantsAreUS, which…
Illustration of immigrations by Molly Crabapple.
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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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Rare ‘Dissent Memo’ Says Secretary of State Contravened US Law

When US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson excluded Iraq, Burma, and Afghanistan from the State Department’s list of countries using child soldiers earlier this year, my colleagues and I at Human Rights Watch were angry. It turns out we…
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson holds a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, U.S., August 22, 2017.
News

Providing a Safe Haven Inside Syria Would Be Complicated, Costly and Probably Dangerous

  Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said this week the United States "will work to establish interim zones of stability [in Syria], through ceasefires, to allow refugees to return home." Although the Pentagon said…
Khirmash displaced persons camp in Syria on Turkey’s border, sheltering about 2,000 people as of mid-April 2016.
News
Just as the Berlin Wall was the iconic symbol of the Cold War era, so the emblematic symbol of President Donald Trump’s administration, if he has his way, could well be the Mexican wall. It represents a simplistic, concrete solution to…
An internally displaced Syrian girl who fled from Aleppo carries a red jacket in the village of Batabo, Syria on February 14, 2016.
News
President Trump’s 2018 budget request not only proposes drastic reductions to the State Department and USAID, including funding to the United Nations and its affiliated agencies. It also proposes to entirely eliminate the State…
President-elect Donald Trump speaks at his election night rally in Manhattan, New York.
News

Calls for Safe Zones Raise Concerns

(Beirut) – Human Rights Watch today released a question-and-answer document on “safe zones” and the armed conflict in Syria. A number of leaders and governments have suggested that creating safe zones in Syria near the Turkish or other borders could…
An internally displaced Syrian woman walks in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, northern Aleppo province, Syria, December 26, 2016.
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Recent statements by leaders and governments in the United States, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan indicate an interest in creating so-called safe zones in Syria. While no detailed plans for creating and managing such…
An internally displaced Syrian woman walks in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, northern Aleppo province, Syria, December 26, 2016.
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Pressure is building on Afghan and Somali refugees to go home, even if they no longer have homes to return to. It is not surprising that this pressure is coming from governments that have been hosting huge numbers of refugees and want…
Member of Greek Red Cross helps an Afghan refugee who has just arrived from Turkey with an inflatable boat in the area of airport of Mytilene, Lesvos Island, Greece.
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US Again Allows Military Aid to Countries Using Children as Fighters

US President Barack Obama announced yesterday that he will allow several governments that recruit and use child soldiers to continue receiving US military assistance – aid that is supposedly subject to child soldier-related restrictions. The decision wasn…
Child soldiers put down their guns in a disarmament and release ceremony in Jonglei state, South Sudan, February 10, 2015.
News

Camp Closure Threat Triggers Thousands Returning to Danger

(Nairobi) – Kenya’s repatriation program for Somali refugees, fueled by fear and misinformation, does not meet international standards for voluntary refugee return. Many refugees living in Kenya’s sprawling Dadaab camp, home to at least 263,000 Somalis,…
Photo of Somali refugees getting on buses to leave Dadaab refugee camp.
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NGOs urge prohibitions on military aid to governments using child soldiers

September 14, 2016 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500 Re: Presidential determinations regarding the Child Soldiers Prevention Act …
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Earlier this year, the Taliban gunned down a former fighter named Wasil Ahmad outside his home in Afghanistan’s Uruzgan province. The killers apparently targeted Wasil because he fought with a government-supported militia, the Afghan Local Police. Wasil’s…
News

State Department List Adds Iraq, Excludes Afghanistan

(New York) – The Obama administration should require foreign governments receiving United States military aid to immediately end their use of child soldiers, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 30, 2016, the US State Department issued a new list of…
Child soldiers put down their guns in a disarmament and release ceremony in Jonglei state, South Sudan, February 10, 2015.
News
Yesterday the United States State Department released a new snapshot of how governments around the world are doing in ending their use of child soldiers. Its 2015 list names eight governments – Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Somalia,…
Child soldiers with Houthi fighters hold weapons during a demonstration in Sanaa on March 13, 2015.