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Junta Packs Jails with Opponents as Virus Thrives

Myanmar’s Covid-19 crisis is spiraling out of control, as the coronavirus spreads among the most marginalized populations, including those in the country’s prisons. The escalation of politically motivated arrests since the February 1 military coup…
People stand outside the gates of a prison
News

Many Tell of Beatings, Ill-Treatment in Detention

(Bangkok) – Myanmar’s security forces have arbitrarily detained thousands of people and, according to numerous credible sources, subjected many to torture, routine beatings, and other ill-treatment since the February 1, 2021 military coup, Human…
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UN, Donors Should Urge Protection, Freedom of Movement on Bhasan Char

(New York) – The Bangladesh government has relocated nearly 20,000 Rohingya refugees to a remote island without adequate health care, livelihoods, or protection, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The United Nations and donor…
An elderly man carries luggage over his head as he walks he off a ship
News

Submission to the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons

This submission is based on Human Rights Watch research on human rights issues impacting older women,[1] including domestic violence, abuse, and neglect in residential institutions for older people, abuses during armed conflict, and health disparities…
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Account for Missing Politicians, Activists, Others at Risk of Torture, Death

(Bangkok) – Myanmar’s military junta has forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the February 1, 2021 coup, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have taken into custody politicians, election officials, journalists, activists, and…
A man is held by police during a crackdown on anti-coup protesters holding a rally in front of the Myanmar Economic Bank in Mandalay, Myanmar on February 15, 2021.
News
Laetitia Bader, Human Rights Watch’s Horn of Africa Director, recently returned from a research mission in Sudan to interview refugees who fled the fighting that broke out in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in early November 2020. For several weeks, federal…
People who fled the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region ride a bus to the Village 8 temporary shelter near the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Hamdayet, eastern Sudan, December 1, 2020. 
News

Transfers Need Independent Assessment, Refugees’ Informed Consent

(New York) – The Bangladesh government should immediately halt imminent relocations of Rohingya refugees to remote Bhasan Char island, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have reportedly prepared a list of 4,000 Rohingya refugees to be…
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End Assistance to All Military-Controlled Entities

(Tokyo) – The Japanese government should immediately cancel plans to donate money to purchase vehicles and communications equipment for the Myanmar police force, Human Rights Watch said today. The police force, which operates under the auspices of the…
Myanmar border guard police officers walk along a path in Tin May village in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, July 14, 2017.
News

Burmese Authorities Are Using Covid-19 Response Measures as a Pretext to Harass and Extort Rohingyas

This is what life is like for the 130,000 internally displaced Rohingyas trapped in detention camps in central Rakhine state in Myanmar: in the camps, they have no future, with little access to land or livelihoods. They depend on foreign aid supplies and…
Rohingya refugees stand at the Kutupalong refugee camp, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, April 1, 2020.
News

Prison Time for Breaking Curfew, Quarantine Is Excessive and Unsafe

(Bangkok) – At least 500 people, including children, returning migrant workers, and religious minorities, have been sentenced to between one month and one year in prison in Myanmar since late March 2020 for violating curfews, quarantines, or other…
Pastor David Lah leaves court after an appearance on charges filed against him for holding religious services in April, Yangon, Myanmar, May 20, 2020.
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Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Pakistan Should Allow Free Flow of Information

(Geneva) – The World Health Organization (WHO) should press four governments that have shut down the internet to minority populations during the Covid-19 crisis to restore internet access, Human Rights Watch and 47 other organizations…
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New Emergency Law Raises Concerns of Further Arrests, Prosecutions

Update: Authorities released Elizabeth Kebede on bail the afternoon of May 6, 2020. (Nairobi) – The Ethiopian government has been using Covid-19 restrictions and a recently declared state of emergency as a pretext to restrict…
Ethiopian men read newspapers at a cafe during a declared state of emergency in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
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Workers Fear Increase in Union Busting at Factories During Covid-19 Lockdown

In previous years on May 1, workers across Myanmar would rally and march in solidarity for workers’ rights and justice. But this May Day the streets will be quiet, as no marches are allowed with Covid-19 lockdowns and curfews in place. Most…
Workers shout slogans during a May Day march in Yangon, Myanmar, May 1, 2019.
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Refugee Camp Restrictions Threaten ‘Critical Services’

(Bangkok) – The Bangladesh government’s new Covid-19 restrictions on access to aid put Rohingya refugees at greater risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The lockdown measures cut humanitarian workers in refugee camps by 80 percent and put the…
Rohingya refugees place empty jars in a line while waiting to collect water in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on April, 20, 2020.
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Covid-19 No Basis for Pushing Back Boats

  (Bangkok) – Malaysia’s government is risking lives by pushing back overloaded boats of Rohingya refugees, Human Rights Watch said today. The government can appropriately respond to the Covid-19 pandemic without blocking life-saving rescues…
A screenshot of an exhausted Rohingya refugee receiving aid from the Bangladeshi coast guard. ©2020 Bangladeshi Coast Guard/Facebook
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Repeal ‘Insulting Religion’ Law, Support Freedom of Expression

(Bangkok) – Myanmar’s government should immediately drop all criminal charges against three street artists arrested for painting a mural that raises awareness about the coronavirus pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today. The artists, Zayar Hnaung…
Screenshot of the mural painted by three artists charged with "insulting religion" in Myitkyina, Kachin State, Myanmar (undated).
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Immediately Release Political Prisoners, Pre-Trial Detainees, High Health Risks

(Bangkok) – Myanmar authorities should immediately move to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus by reducing the populations of the country’s overcrowded and unsanitary prisons, Human Rights Watch said today. Myanmar confirmed its first COVID-19…
A member of the Yangon City and Development Committee disinfects government offices to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus in Yangon, Myanmar Wednesday, March 25, 2020.
News

Pandemic Threatens Refugee Camps, Densely Populated Urban Areas

What are your main concerns about the coronavirus moving through Africa? In many countries where we work there is an extremely weak public health and healthcare infrastructure. The fact that the spread in Africa has been slower than elsewhere…
A member of the Senegalese graffiti collective "RBS CREW" paints informational murals advising how to stop the spread of the new coronavirus, on the wall of a high school in the Parcelles Assainies neighborhood of Dakar, Senegal, March 25, 2020.