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Social Media Platforms Should Not Yield to Pressure

The final days of 2021 were marked by a particularly vicious escalation of Russia’s crackdown on independent reporting and activism. Amid a flurry of new “foreign agent” designations, arrests of political activists, and appalling court rulings…
An iPhone screen shows the Telegram account of OVD-Info
News

Blocking, Oppressive Laws, Pressure on Tech Companies

(Moscow) – Russian authorities redoubled their efforts in 2021 to repress internet freedoms, Human Rights Watch said today. The government blocked popular censorship circumvention tools, experimented with novel censorship technologies, expanded…
A young man wearing a face mask checks his mobile phone at the State Russian Museum, Saint Petersburg, May 26, 2020.
News
This questions and answers document addresses key questions regarding the failure by Qatar and FIFA, football’s world governing body, to protect migrant workers in the lead-up to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Why have migrant workers faced serious…
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News

Macron Should Address Rights Abuses in Gulf Region

This week, French President Emmanuel Macron will visit the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with a large delegation of French ministers and major business executives. In the UAE, he will apparently be finalizing a weapons deal, when…
News

Apple and Google Should Account for Limiting Access to Election Information

Apple and Google capitulated to Russian authorities last week when they removed access to the Navalny Smart Voting app on the eve of the weekend’s parliamentary election. The move helped undermine Russian voters’ ability to access information about…
Police officer wearing face mask stands on duty at the polling station on July 1, 2020 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
News
With the conclusion this summer of both UEFA Euro 2020 and CONMEBOL Copa America, qualifying matches for the FIFA World Cup, to be held in Qatar during November-December 2022, are set to resume next month. To a greater extent than previous tournaments…
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News

Subjected to Enforced Disappearance, Denied a Lawyer

UPDATE (May 30, 2021):  Qatar's Government Communications Office stated that the Public Prosecution charged Malcolm Bidali with offenses related to “payments received by a foreign agent for the creation and distribution of disinformation within the…
News

France Complicit as Magomed Gadaev at Risk of Torture in Chechnya

Magomed Gadaev, 37, an asylum seeker from Chechnya and key witness in a high-profile torture case against Chechnya’s leadership, was abducted by Chechen security officials on April 11, two days after his deportation from France to Russia. France…
Magomed Gadaev pictured in Paris, France.
News

Government Should Protect Refugees, Not Send People Back to Dangerous Conditions

The Kenyan government has again issued an ultimatum to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to provide a plan and timeline for closing the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. Though the government has issued these demands before, its…
Photo: An aerial picture shows a section of the Hagadera camp in Dadaab near the Kenya-Somalia border, May 8, 2015.
News

Discriminatory Restrictions Affect Independence to Marry, Study, Work, Travel

(Beirut, March 29, 2021) – Qatar’s discriminatory male guardianship system denies women the right to make many key decisions about their lives, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 94-page report, “‘Everything I Have to Do is…
Women fly a kite in a park next to a body of water
News

Workers Still Owed Wages for Months After Informing Government of Abuse

(Beirut) – Qatari authorities have failed to provide redress for hundreds of migrant workers who are suffering from months of unpaid wages at two companies, even though authorities have repeatedly been informed of these abuses, Human Rights Watch said…
Former and current employees of Imperial Trading and Construction Company (ITCC) protest months of delayed and unpaid wages outside the company's headquarters. 
News

Robust Data Security Safeguards Should Be Put in Place

Last week, Russian media reported a major personal data leak of Covid-19 patients admitted to Moscow hospitals, as well as Muscovites who had been ordered to self-quarantine, or fined over violating the self-quarantine regulations. According to the…
A woman wearing a face mask looks at her smartphone as she walks through a street in Moscow, Russia, November 23, 2020. 
News

Parliament Should Reject Bill, Ensure Access to Information Online

On November 19, a draft law was submitted to Russia’s parliament that would give authorities power to block websites that have censored Russian state media content. The bill claims these websites violate Russians’ right of access to information.…
A man checks his smartphone while waiting to board a subway in Moscow, Russia, December 23, 2019. 
News

Lack of Accountability, Oversight, Data Protection

(Moscow) – Russian authorities are planning to expand the use of CCTV cameras with facial recognition software, despite weighty concerns about the lack of regulation, oversight, and data protection, Human Rights Watch said today. On September 25,…
Police officers walk past a surveillance camera in central Moscow, Russia January 26, 2020.
News

Enforcement Needed, Other Provisions in Effect Still Carry Risk of Abuse

(Beirut) – The success of the significant labor reform measures that Qatar introduced on September 8, 2020, will depend on how well the government enforces and monitors them, Human Rights Watch said today. The reforms will allow migrant workers to…
Workers in Katara cultural heritage village in Doha, Qatar.
Report
Summary   When “Henry,” a Kenyan man, received the complete list of required documents that allowed him to work in Qatar, he thought all his prayers had been answered.[1] To secure a plumbing job in Qatar, he had to take a loan at a 30…