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When Pricila, a 32-year-old trans woman, fled El Salvador in February 2019, she had good reason to fear for her life. Police had beaten and sexually assaulted her, telling her they would make her a man. Gang members attempted to forcibly recruit her.…
A group of men and women march walk while holding rainbow pride flags
News

US Barriers to Asylum Block Path to Safety

(Washington, DC) – The governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras have failed to effectively address violence and entrenched discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, leading many to seek asylum in the…
A group of men and women march walk while holding rainbow pride flags
News
The Trump administration has proposed a new federal regulation that would create insurmountable barriers to the vast majority of asylum claims, including by gutting the definition of refugee to the point where lesbian, gay, bisexual and…
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Report
  Summary An agreement between the United States and Guatemala, the US-Guatemala Asylum Cooperative Agreement (ACA), enables the United States to rapidly expel non-Guatemalan asylum seekers to Guatemala without allowing them to lodge asylum…
News

Legislation Would Effectively End Asylum at Southern Border

(Washington, DC) – The United States Senate Judiciary Committee on August 1, 2019, forwarded a bill to the full Senate that would all but shut US doors to Central American refugees, Human Rights Watch said today. The Secure and Protect…
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News

Survivors and Advocates Seek Help from UN Human Rights Committee

Norma* (*indicates a pseudonym) was 12 when her father began raping her. She became pregnant shortly thereafter. Though abortion is legal in Ecuador when a woman or girl’s life or health is in danger, no one told her this. She gave birth despite…
#NiñasNoMadres
News

Secretary-General’s ‘List of Shame’ Should Reflect Report Findings

(New York) – The United Nations secretary-general’s new report on children and armed conflict sets a damaging precedent by ignoring or downplaying some countries’ abuses in his annual “list of shame,” Human Rights Watch said today.…
School in Nikishine, eastern Ukraine, damaged during fighting between Ukrainian government and rebel forces from Aug. 2014 to Feb. 2015.
News

African Governments Should Ensure Right to Education

  (Nairobi) - Tens of thousands of pregnant girls and adolescent mothers are banned or discouraged from attending school across Africa, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today, ahead of the Day of the African Child…
Students enrolled in the final year of lower secondary school in the classroom in a village in Kolda region, southern Senegal. Adolescent mothers and married girls study in this school.
Report
Summary When the head teacher found out that I was pregnant, he called me to his office and told me, “You have to leave our school immediately because you are pregnant.” —Jamida K., Kahama, Tanzania, April 2014 We don’t allow pregnant girls to…
News

Grant Access to Asylum Procedures; Hold Abusers Accountable

(New York) –Yemeni government officials have tortured, raped, and executed migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa in a detention center in the southern port city of Aden, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have…
Buraika detention facility for migrants in Aden governorate, Yemen. © 2018 VICE News Tonight on HBO
News

After recruitment by Al-Shabab, children face difficult conditions in detention

How is it that children get involved with Al-Shabab in the first place?   Al-Shabab uses many means to recruit children, including enticements, deceit and force. Poor rural communities, with little protection, are particularly vulnerable to…
Photo of Somali children blindfolded.
News

Emphasize Rehabilitation, Develop Child-Specific Procedures

(Washington) – Somali authorities are unlawfully detaining and at times prosecuting in military courts children with alleged ties to the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. …
A prison warden at a prison in Garowe, Puntland state, in northeastern Somalia, December 2016.
Report
Summary In late 2015 the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab forcibly abducted Hamza, a 15-year-old boy from the contested town of Merka in southern Somalia, and took him to one of the group’s training camps. After two and half months of…
News

Residents Threatened to Hand Over Boys, Girls

(Nairobi) – The Islamist armed group Al-Shabab has threatened and abducted civilians in Somalia’s Bay region to force communities to hand over their children for indoctrination and military training in recent months. …
Children learning to read the Quran at the Gaabow Islamic school in Somalia's capital, Mogadishu, August 2013. Parents and teachers told Human Rights Watch that Al-Shabab militants threatened and on occasion abducted teachers and children from schools in
News

Time for AU to End Military Use of Schools and Universities

There was a marching band, a choir, dignitaries, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. On Tuesday, some 300 Burundian soldiers serving in the African Union peace support force in Somalia (AMISOM), finally abandoned their military…
Screenshot from a video showing the ceremony as Burundian soldiers from AMISOM leave their military base on the Somalia National University campus in Dharkenley district, west of Mogadishu.
News

Actually, US Exported the MS13 Gang to El Salvador

In his speech announcing new “get tough on immigrants” policies, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said it was necessary to take a “stand” against “transnational gangs like MS-13 and international cartels.” MS-13. The Mara…
Members of the MS-13 gang are detained near the crime scene where two men, Jose Wilfredo Navidad and Nestor Alexander Rivera, were killed as they rode a motorcycle on their way to work, in San Salvador, El Salvador January 26, 2016.
News

Major Obstacles for Central American Asylum Seekers

  Mexico City – Central American children fleeing serious threats face formidable obstacles in applying for asylum in Mexico, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 151-page report, “Closed Doors: Mexico’s Failure…
A 12-year-old Salvadoran boy rests as he waits to be deported, at the National Immigration Institute, in Comitan, Chiapas, Mexico on August 19, 2010. ©2010 Jose Cabezas/AFP/Getty Images
Report
Summary Gang violence has plagued Central America’s “Northern Triangle” countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras for more than a decade. Children are particularly targeted by gangs in these three countries. In Honduras, for example, over 400…
Video
Central American children fleeing serious threats face formidable obstacles in applying for asylum in Mexico. There are wide discrepancies between Mexican law and practise. By law, Mexico offers protection to those who face risks to their lives or safety…