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Syrians Returned to Streets Over Economic Meltdown

(Beirut) – Syrian security forces responded to a protest in the city of Sweida on June 15 by beating and arresting protesters demonstrating against the government’s failure to address the country’s economic meltdown, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
People hold up banners at a protest in Sweida on June 9, 2020
News

Blocking Access Could Cost Lives

UPDATE: Ethiopia announced that it would restore phone and internet service to western Oromia after a three-month shutdown. (New York) – Intentionally shutting down or restricting access to the internet violates multiple…
202003bhr_coronavirus_kashmir_internet shutdowns
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Criminalizing Speech Won’t Solve Problem

Hate and dangerous speech is a serious and growing problem in Ethiopia, both online and offline. It has contributed to the growing ethnic tensions and conflicts across the country that have created more than 1.4 million new internally…
Internet café in Lalibela, Amhara Region, Ethiopia.
News

Enshrine Laws that Protect Free Expression, Association

For a decade, Ethiopia’s government has relied on repressive laws to silence dissenting voices and throw journalists and activists behind bars. The laws helped make Ethiopia into one of the most inhospitable places in the world for people speaking out…
News

Address Jailed Russian Activists, Attacks on Syrian Civilians

(Berlin) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel should raise critical human rights issues when she meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Meseberg, Germany, on August 18, 2018, Human Rights Watch said today. The chancellor’s spokesperson has…
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the start of the first working session of the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017
News

Respond to Youth Demands, Gain Respect in the World

(Beirut) – Middle East and North Africa (MENA) governments can respond to the popular demands of the region’s youth for reform by implementing five changes in 2018 to arbitrary, outdated legal systems that infringe upon citizens’ rights and liberties,…
Demonstration outside Parliament on December 6, 2016, with women in white dresses and wrapped in bandages, calling for the repeal of article 522 of the penal code.
News

Important Steps, But More Rights Reforms Needed

Today, Ethiopia’s ruling coalition announced it would release political prisoners and close the infamous Maekelawi detention center in the capital, Addis Ababa. While the government did not say how and when this would occur, doing so…
News

Spyware Industry Needs Regulation

Ethiopian authorities have carried out a renewed campaign of malware attacks, abusing commercial spyware to monitor government critics abroad, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should immediately cease digital attacks on activists and…
Surveillance computer hacker business
Report
Summary On October 2, 2016 scores of people, possibly hundreds, died at the annual Irreecha cultural festival of Ethiopia’s ethnic Oromo people, following a stampede triggered by security forces’ use of teargas and discharge of firearms in response…
News

Death of Detained Activist Puts Spotlight on Syria’s Ghastly Prison System

Yesterday Noura Safadi said that she had received confirmation that the Syrian authorities executed her husband, Bassel (Safadi) Khartabil, two years ago. Noura had been looking for Bassel since he disappeared from a Syrian prison in…
Bassel Khartabil
News
News of Russia has dominated the Washington press for weeks. Whether, when, and to what extent President Trump and his advisors had contacts with Russian officials prior to his electoral win has provided endless fodder for pundits and politicians alike,…
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington D.C., January 28, 2017. © 2017 Reuters
News

Annual Day Promotes Accountability for Attacks on the Media

For reporters at risk around the world – because they’re exposing corruption, covering conflict, or afflicting the comfortable – today matters: it’s the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists. You’d think a group of professional…
Somali photojournalist runs for cover while reporting on fighting between the Somali government and African Union forces against the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab in the Lower Shabelle region of Somalia, April 2012.
Report
Summary State security forces in Ethiopia have used excessive and lethal force against largely peaceful protests that have swept through Oromia, the country’s largest region, since November 2015. Over 400 people are estimated to have…
News
A year ago today, Ethiopian security forces arrested Pastor Omot Agwa and six colleagues at Addis Ababa’s Bole Airport and took them to the notorious Maekelawi police station, where torture is routine. The arrest came several…
Pastor Omot Agwa was charged by Ethiopian authorities under the anti-terrorism law after being detained for nearly six months.
News

Abducted with Three Colleagues in 2013

(New York) – Human Rights Watch today joined eight other organizations in seeking the Canadian government’s support for the release of the Syrian human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, her husband, and two more of their colleagues. Her family in Canada has…
News

Release Bassel Khartabil, Held Unfairly Since 2012

(Beirut) – Syria’s authorities should immediately reveal the whereabouts of Bassel Khartabil, a software developer and defender of freedom of expression, 31 organizations said today. Syrian authorities transferred Khartabil, who has been detained since…
2013_Syria_profile_Bassel-Khartabil
News

Drop Charges Against Him, Release Other Peaceful Activists

Fourteen international organisations have joined the Syrian Centre for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM) in welcoming the release of its president Mazen Darwish and in calling for all charges against him and his colleagues to be dropped, as well as…
News

Leaked Documents Show Need to Regulate Surveillance Sales

Update: Hacking Team provided further comment to this release, which can be found here. (New York, August 13, 2015) – The Italian spyware firm Hacking Team took no effective action to investigate or stop reported abuses of its…
Internet café in Lalibela, Amhara Region, Ethiopia.