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Full Investigation Needed into Ignored Riot Warnings, Sexual Violence

(Kinshasa) – Democratic Republic of Congo authorities have made no apparent progress investigating the September 2020 prison riot at Kasapa Central Prison in Lubumbashi, Human Rights Watch said. For three days, inmates repeatedly raped several…
Kasapa Prison
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Democratic Republic of Congo authorities have made no apparent progress investigating the September 2020 prison riot at Kasapa Central Prison in Lubumbashi, Human Rights Watch said. For three days, inmates repeatedly raped several dozen female detainees,…
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Armed Criminals Abducted at Least 170 People, Many Women, Since 2017

Criminal gangs have kidnapped for ransom at least 170 people near the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo between April 2017 and March 2020. Small groups armed with guns and machetes have beaten, tortured, and murdered hostages,…
Criminal gangs have kidnapped for ransom at least 170 people near the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo between April 2017 and March 2020.
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The International Criminal Court’s (ICC) conviction of the Congolese rebel leader Bosco Ntaganda sends a strong message that justice may await those responsible for grave crimes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Human Rights Watch said today. 
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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.
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Cristina Alvarado is a social worker and part of the national coordination team of Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz “Visitación Padilla” (Movement of Women for Peace “Visitacion Padilla”).
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Montreal Summit Provides Important Platform to Support Global Justice

In a first-of-its-kind summit, the world’s female foreign ministers will meet in Montreal today and tomorrow to discuss a range of global challenges, from advancing peace and security to eliminating violence against women and girls in…
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Abuse, Neglect Raise Safety Concerns; Fuel Mistrust of Law Enforcement

(Saskatoon) – Indigenous women’s accounts of police abuse in Saskatchewan raise serious concerns about their safety in the province, Human Rights Watch said today in a submission to the Government of Canada. The National Inquiry into Missing and…
Two Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers talk at a blockade on a country road in the province of Alberta. © 2012 Reuters
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Lawmakers Set to Discuss Loosening Notoriously Strict Anti-Abortion Law

This week, lawmakers in Honduras will have the chance to allow some women access to abortion, reversing restrictions first imposed more than 30 years ago. Under the current law, terminating a pregnancy is illegal and carries a heavy prison sentence,…
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Today’s International Criminal Court (ICC) conviction of a former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president was both a victory for sexual violence victims and a stark warning to senior commanders who turn a blind eye while their troops rape and commit…
Former Congo vice-president Jean-Pierre Bemba looks up when sitting in the courtroom of the International Criminal Court to stand trial in The Hague, Netherlands, September 29, 2015.
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The Democratic Republic of Congo lost a hero this week. Rebecca Masika Katsuva, a women’s rights activist who dedicated her life to helping rape victims in eastern Congo, passed away unexpectedly on February 2. Masika had a huge…
Rebecca Masika Katsuva
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In July, 2012, Lydia N. (not her real name) sat in a hotel room not far from Highway 16 – the “Highway of Tears” in northern British Columbia where so many indigenous women and girls have been murdered or disappeared – and told me about her efforts to…
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In a move that will surely draw a collective cheer from thousands of women whose lives have been destroyed by brutal sexual violence, the European Parliament announced that Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege won the 2014 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought…
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New Judicial Mechanism Needed to Bring Perpetrators to Justice

Introduction Horrific levels of rape and other forms of sexual violence have plagued eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for almost two decades. Tens of thousands of women, girls, men, and boys have been raped and otherwise…
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Nations Should Pledge to Prosecute Attackers, Aid Survivors

(London) – The London Summit on Ending Sexual Violence in Conflict is a landmark opportunity to strengthen global efforts to end rape in war, Human Rights Watch said today. Governments should use the summit, from June 10 to June 13, 2014, to make strong…
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Ignores Need for National Inquiry into Violence

(Toronto) – A landmark Canadian parliamentary report released on March 7, 2014, failed to recommend needed steps to stem violence against indigenous women, Human Rights Watch said today. The committee did not recommend either an independent national…
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“They tore my sweater and jeans off in the holding cell. There were three or four of them – men – a female guard was watching,” Joy I. told me. “I tried to sit up and they pepper sprayed me twice. They kept pushing me down and tearing my clothes off.” Joy…