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For Survivors of Abuse, Shelters Offered Lifeline

“My parents warned me they will kill me if I ever leave this shelter,” Najla, a woman of about 30, told me. “The worst thing is that I don’t have anyone to support me.” She has been in a shelter in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat for several years…
Afghan women sew in their bedroom at a women's shelter in Kabul, March 20, 2017. A non-descript building tucked away in a residential neighborhood is one of the few hidden sanctuaries where battered women can seek support. 
News

Afghanistan is Emblematic of Crises the ICC Was Created to Address

The Taliban’s rapid takeover of Afghanistan has magnified concerns about an accelerating human rights crisis in the country. Already the world’s deadliest conflict since 2017, Afghanistan had seen a steady rise in attacks on civilians…
Report
Summary The international reconstruction effort in Afghanistan after 2001 created an opportunity to advance human rights, and women’s and girls’ rights in particular. Although its achievements have fallen short of what was envisioned, significant…
News

Police, Civil Servants Detained Incommunicado in Ghazni, Malistan, Kandahar

(New York) – Taliban forces advancing in Ghazni, Kandahar, and other Afghan provinces have summarily executed detained soldiers, police, and civilians with alleged ties to the Afghan government, Human Rights Watch said today. Residents from various…
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News

Re: Support for the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission Call for a Fact-Finding Mission in Afghanistan

The undersigned organisations welcome the call you made to the Human Rights Council on June 21, 2021, to consider “mechanisms for an effective prevention response” to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan. We are writing to urge you to take…
News

Twenty Rights Groups Call for Justice and Accountability

Human Rights Watch today joined Afghan and international human rights organizations calling for a United Nations-mandated fact-finding mission to investigate escalating attacks on civilians in Afghanistan to promote justice and accountability.…
The mother of a schoolgirl who was among those killed in the brutal May 8, 2021 bombing of the Sayed ul-Shuhada girls' school stands inside a classroom with bouquets of flowers on empty desks as a tribute to the dead, in Kabul, Afghanistan, May 16, 2021. 
News

International Women’s Day Should Prompt Real Reforms

As 2020 drew to a close, protesters across South Asia took to the streets, calling on their governments to take widespread sexual violence against women and children seriously, and to implement real reforms. But rather than listening to experts and…
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News

Death Penalty Push Ignores Real Solutions to Regional Failings

(New York) – South Asian governments should disregard populist death penalty rhetoric and listen to their own experts to prevent and end sexual violence against women, Human Rights Watch said in a video released today. Experts on sexual violence from…
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News

Amid Persistent Abuses by All Sides, Talks Shouldn’t Endanger Freedoms

(New York) – Afghan government and Taliban officials meeting in Doha, Qatar for the start of intra-Afghan negotiations should publicly commit to uphold international human rights, including women’s rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The United…
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, center left, wears a protective face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, on the last day of an Afghan Loya Jirga or traditional council, in Kabul, Afghanistan on Sunday, August 9, 2020. © 2020 AP Photos
News

Trump Executive Order Seeks to Thwart Justice for Victims

(Washington, DC) – The Trump administration’s announced action against the International Criminal Court (ICC) escalates its efforts to thwart justice for victims of serious crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 11, 2020, President Donald…
Illustration of the scales of justice replaced by two people shackled by their wrists and dangling in the air.
News
  The impending start of the intra-Afghan peace negotiations has raised hopes for an end to Afghanistan’s long war. Among the many grave anxieties remaining, however, is whether a future agreement will address past human rights abuses or if…
The International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, February 6, 2020. 
News

Ensure Due Process, Victim Role in War Crimes Trial

(New York) – The Afghan government should bring appropriate war crimes charges against Aslam Farooqi, leader of the Islamic State of Khorasan Province (ISKP), an affiliate of the Islamic State (ISIS), for his alleged role in directing attacks…
The Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) released this image of Abdullah Orakzai, also known as Aslam Farooqi, the leader of an ISIS affiliate. © 2020 National Directorate of Security
News

ABC Investigation Exposes Alleged 2012 War Crimes in Afghanistan

(Sydney) – Australia’s Defence Department should reexamine previously dismissed cases of alleged summary executions and other war crimes in Afghanistan in light of new evidence, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Defence…
Australian SAS search operation in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan, in May 2012. Screenshot from ABC News, Four Corners, March 16, 2020.
News

Court Allows Prosecutor to Investigate Alleged War Crimes, Crimes Against Humanity

Afghans who are skeptical about whether the US-Taliban agreement and planned intra-Afghan peace talks can deliver a better future, now have reason to believe that justice might not be squandered in the process. Today, judges on the International Criminal…
Afghan family leaves site of attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, December 22, 2016. © 2016 Reuters
News

Member Countries Should Strongly Support Court’s Independence

The International Criminal Court (ICC) decision to approve an investigation in Afghanistan gives atrocity victims hope for future justice, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 5, 2020, ICC appeals chamber judges unanimously approved…
A member of the Afghan security forces stands at the site of a truck bomb attack in Kabul, May 31, 2017.
News

End Detention in Shelters, Provide More Support

(Abuja) – Many survivors of sex and labor trafficking struggle with unaddressed health challenges, poverty, and abhorrent conditions upon their return to Nigeria. Nigerian authorities have failed to provide the assistance that survivors need to…
A woman from Cameroon sits with her baby in a private shelter in Lagos, Nigeria.
News

Women Tell Their Stories

Abortion in all instances, including rape, is illegal in Honduras. Any woman who has an abortion, and anyone found to have helped her, can be charged with a crime and imprisoned. For that reason, La Línea (“The Line”) was a rare resource in…
Lorena (a pseudonym) was unaware she was pregnant when she went to a hospital in intense pain two years ago. Doctors suspected she had attempted an abortion and called the police. She was taken from the hospital in handcuffs and is now facing charges.