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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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At Human Rights Watch, one thing we’ve learned is that justice can sometimes take a long time. Nearly five years ago, I was contacted by a Dutch prosecutor. He was bringing a case against five people who had been raising…
2015_September_Sri Lanka_CRD-IJ
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Deputy Minister Among Senior Leaders Linked to Wartime Atrocities

(New York) – The Sri Lankan government should act on the call by a government deputy minister to investigate war crimes by examining his own role in serious abuses. In early March 2013, Deputy Minister Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, known as Col. Karuna,…
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10 years after UN treaty against child soldiers, much work needed to end practice.

When Aruna was a young teenager in Sri Lanka, members of the rebel Tamil Tigers repeatedly came to her home, telling her parents that it was their duty to give a child “for the cause.” During the war, the Tamil Tigers routinely recruited children as young…
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(Hagadera Refugee Camp, Kenya) - For months, 18-year-old Ahmed Abdullahi had dodged the mortar shells that whizz daily through Mogadishu, the war-ravaged capital of Somalia. The one that finally drove him from Somalia tore though his family's house and…
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Deception Used to Enlist Refugees to Fight in Somalia

(Nairobi) - The Kenyan government should immediately stop the recruitment of Somalis in refugee camps to fight for an armed force in Somalia, Human Rights Watch said today. Kenyan authorities have directly supported the drive, which has recruited…
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Stand up for Persecuted Human Rights Activists; Shut Guantanamo

(New York) - The award of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to US President Barack Obama should encourage him to apply his stated principles to both foreign and domestic human rights policy, Human Rights Watch said today. The Nobel committee awarded the prize…
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Known Child Recruiters Promoted to Key Government, Military Posts

(New York) - The United Nations Security Council should impose sanctions on governments and armed groups for using child soldiers, sexual violence against children, and attacks on schools, and should promote effective prosecution of the commanders…
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Strengthening the Security Council’s Response to Sexual Violence and Attacks on Education in Armed Conflict

For a full decade, the UN Security Council has addressed the severe abuses that children experience in armed conflict. Its response has included a series of six resolutions (1261, 1314, 1379, 1460, 1539, and 1612), the creation of a specialized working…
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Afghanistan, Chad, DRC, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Uganda May be Affected

(New York) – Under legislation adopted by the US Congress on December 10, 2008, governments involved in the use of children as soldiers may no longer be eligible for US military assistance, Human Rights Watch said today. The legislation, passed…
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Secret Detainees Interrogated by US Officials Are Still in Custody

Two days after this report was issued, eight of the ten rendition victims known to be in Ethiopian jails were released to Kenya. The whereabouts of 22 others remains unknown. (Washington, DC) - At least 10 victims of the 2007 Horn of Africa rendition…
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"Why Am I Still Here?" The 2007 Horn of Africa Renditions and the Fate of Those Still Missing Map of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia Summary Recommendations To the Ethiopian Government To the Kenyan Government To the US Government To the Somali Government…
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On August 29, Sri Lanka appointed a committee to investigate allegations of child recruitment by the Karuna group, a Tamil armed group allegedly linked to the government. In our January 2007 report, Human Rights Watch exposed patterns of abductions and…
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Three Groups File Lawsuit Seeking Information about ‘Ghost’ Detention

(New York) – In the most comprehensive accounting to date, six leading human rights organizations today published the names and details of 39 people who are believed to have been held in secret US custody and whose current whereabouts remain unknown. The…
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Kenya, US and Ethiopia Cooperate in Secret Detentions and Renditions

Kenya, Ethiopia, the United States and the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia cooperated in a secret detention program for people who had fled the recent conflict in Somalia, Human Rights Watch said today. In a March 22 letter to the Kenyan…
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Thomas Amolo Director of Political Affairs  Ministry of Foreign Affairs  Nairobi, Kenya  Dear Mr. Amolo, Human Rights Watch's research has found that the governments of Kenya, Ethiopia, the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia, and the United…
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Complicit in Crime State Collusion in Abductions and Child Recruitment by the Karuna Group Map of Sri Lanka Map of Karuna Group Abductions and Camps I. Summary Methodology II. Recommendations To the Karuna Group (TMVP and its military wing) To the…
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"I'm scared," says Krishna as we sit in his modest home in a London suburb. I did not expect to hear that from a man who fought for the rebel Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka for more than 10 years, and participated in some of the fiercest battles of that…
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Funding the "Final War" LTTE Intimidation and Extortion in the Tamil Diaspora I. Summary and Recommendations Methodology Recommendations II. Background War in Sri Lanka The Tamil Diaspora and Support for the LTTE.. III. A Culture of Fear…