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On the campaign trail and during his first three months in office, President Biden promised a US return to a multilateral foreign policy that supports human rights. That is an important vision for the Middle East, a region often destabilized…
President Joe Biden speaks about foreign policy, at the State Department in Washington, February 4, 2021. 
News

Allegations Against NY Governor Cuomo Highlight Need for Real Protections

The sexual harassment accusations against New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo are mounting as women turn to the media — on Twitter, in a personal essay, and in high-profile interviews with national news outlets — to detail their allegations against…
Lindsey Boylan, a former state economic development adviser for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, speaks in front of microphones and a crowd of people holding signs at a rally in New York City, March 20, 2021. 
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Abortion Restrictions Defeated; Paid Family Leave, Mandatory Sex Education Adopted

With all eyes seemingly on the US presidential election, it’s easy to miss some of the exciting progress made on gender equality at the state level. Colorado voters had two big initiatives on their ballot, one to expand paid family and medical…
Boxes of vote-by-mail ballot envelopes are shown at the King County election headquarters in Renton, Washington, October 23, 2020. 
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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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Entrenched Discrimination, Violence Mar Gains 25 Years after Beijing

(New York) – Governments should mark International Women’s Day on March 8, 2020 with moves to expedite progress on gender equality, Human Rights Watch said today. They should plan for concerted action and dedicate resources to prevent…
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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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  “Evelina” (not her real name), 17, looks immaculate in her pressed white-and-blue school uniform and her neatly divided cornrows, as she futilely tries to escape the sweltering heat of western Kenya beneath a shady tree. Her black leather shoes…
“Evelina,” 17, with her 3-year-old daughter “Hope,” in Migori county, western Kenya. Evelina is in Form 2, the second year of lower secondary school.
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On May 14, the Kenyan justice system failed women miserably. The Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), Kenya, petitioned the High Court, challenging the provisions of section 7 of the Matrimonial Property Act, 2013. The section makes ownership of…
Two widows in eastern Zimbabwe, facing harassment from in-laws who are trying to force them to vacate their homes and fields. Rural Eastern Zimbabwe, October 2016.
News

Supporting Land Rights an Important Step

Earlier this week, the House Foreign Affairs committee approved a new bipartisan bill addressing women’s entrepreneurship and economic empowerment. It’s not comprehensive legislation on women’s economic empowerment – it doesn’t address…
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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.
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Robot Visits US, Afghan Girls Stuck at Home

We want to make a difference and most breakthroughs in science, technology, and other industries normally start with the dream of a child to do something great.  – Team Afghanistan’s statement on the competition website They…
Members of Afghan robotics girls team which was denied entry into the United States for a competition, work on their robots in Herat province, Afghanistan July 4, 2017.
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Recent US policy changes hurt the fight for safe motherhood not just around the world, but in the US as well

Dozens of countries celebrate Mother’s Day on the same day as the United States, including countries as diverse as Cambodia, Kenya, Bangladesh, and Brazil. But this holiday to celebrate and thank mothers is also one to mark devastating…
People gather for the Women's March in Washington U.S., January 21, 2017.
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The Paycheck Fairness Act Would Help Protect Working Women’s Rights

Today is “Equal Pay Day,” symbolizing how far past 2016 and into 2017 women in the United States, on average, have to work to earn as much as men did in 2016. In other words, to bring home what men earn in 12 months, women have to work for more than 15…
A mother and her daughter participate in the International Women's Day "A Day Without a Woman" protest in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 8, 2017.
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Proposals Threaten Women’s Health, Safety, and Rights

“Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.” So said Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. But Trump's other words and actions during and before the campaign made a mockery of that statement. We all know his record: the public…
Women take part in a protest against then Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump outside the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. October 18, 2016
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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.
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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 …