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Time may be running out for Washington and its allies to hold the region’s miscreant governments to account

Central American countries are falling like dominoes into authoritarianism. Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega has intensified his crackdown on political opponents, journalists and human rights defenders in advance of general elections on…
El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele speaks to his supporters in San Salvador, El Salvador, on February 20, 2020.
News

Acquittals and Sentences Served Ignored

(Beirut, October 28, 2021) – Dozens of Sunni Arab men who served prison time or were acquitted in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region for Islamic State (ISIS) connections risk rearrest or retaliation if they try to reunite with their families in areas controlled…
Iraqi soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint in Nineveh, Iraq. Friday Dec. 4, 2020.
News

Hopes for Accessible Voting on Election Day Dashed

In the weeks leading up to the October 10 parliamentary elections, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) promised to take steps to ensure people with disabilities could vote. But on election day, videos circulated suggested IHEC’s…
A man helps his mother as she casts her ballot during the parliamentary elections in Basra, Iraq on October 10, 2021.
News

Withhold Votes for Serious Rights Violators Cameroon, Eritrea, UAE

(New York) – A noncompetitive United Nations election for Human Rights Council members virtually guarantees seats for candidate countries with abysmal rights records. UN member countries should refrain from voting for Cameroon, Eritrea, United Arab…
UN General Assembly Hall
News

Clearer Standards and Vetting Can Help Protect Survivors

Controversy swirled last week around the award-winning film Sabaya, which covers the dramatic rescue of abused Yezidi women abducted and enslaved by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and Iraq. At the heart of the issue is how to obtain informed…
A 22-year-old Iraqi Yezidi woman carries her 2-year-old son at her home in al-Hasakeh, northeastern Syria, on November 23, 2020.
News

Progress Toward Accessibility Ahead of Elections, but Gaps Remain

Next week, Iraq will hold parliamentary elections, but many people with disabilities are effectively denied their right to vote due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places. Iraq, plagued by decades of violence and war, has one…
A voter who uses a wheelchair at a polling place in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on May 12, 2018.
Report
Summary Iraq is holding parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021. Without change, hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities will face barriers to participation and some of them may not be able to vote. The exact number of people with…
News

Urgent Need to Improve Accessibility Before Upcoming Elections

(Beirut) – People with disabilities in Iraq are facing significant obstacles to participating in upcoming parliamentary elections on October 10, 2021, due to discriminatory legislation and inaccessible polling places, Human Rights Watch said in a…
A voter who uses a wheelchair at a polling place in Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, on May 12, 2018. 
News

Displaced Iraqis’ Rights Trampled Repeatedly

(Beirut) – The Iraqi army has unlawfully evicted dozens of families from a village north of Baghdad since July 2021 in an apparent family feud involving a government minister, Human Rights Watch said today. The 91 families from al-Aetha, a village in…
Government buses waiting to move families from one camp in Anbar governate to another during a previous wave of camp closures in December 2018.  © 2018 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
News

Orders Training for Officials, Legal Gender Recognition, Damages

(New York) – The Inter-American Court of Human Rights, in a landmark ruling on June 26, 2021, held that Honduras violated the rights to life and personal integrity of a transgender woman killed in 2009, Human Rights Watch said today. The decision…
Picture of Vicky Hernández. © Red Lésbica Cattrachas
News
June 10, 2021   H.E. Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón President of the Government of Spain La Moncloa Aven Madrid, 28071 Spain   Dear President Sánchez, I am writing on behalf of Human Rights Watch in advance of…
News
A federal judge in California ruled on April 21 that the Iraqi extradition case against Omar Ameen, a resettled refugee in the U.S., was based on an alleged series of events that is "simply not plausible." The evidence the government presented,…
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News

Vulnerable People Stripped of Services During Pandemic

Update 8/25/21: In a letter dated August 13, 2021, the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut responded to Human Rights Watch laying out the measures the government is taking to ensure that returns are not forced, and saying that it is providing food, shelter, and…
Government buses waiting to move families from one camp in Anbar governate to another during a previous wave of camp closures in December 2018.  © 2018 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
News
When protests erupted in Baghdad and other parts of central and southern Iraq in October 2019, tens of thousands of mostly young people took to the streets demanding improved government services and more action to curb widespread corruption. The…
Iraqi security forces fire tear gas to disperse protesters during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019.
News

Human Rights Watch Introduces Country Index Based on Laws, Policies

(Beirut) – Governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) should outlaw the violent discipline of children, Human Rights Watch said today, introducing an index categorizing countries in the region based on their laws and policies. The MENA…
2020 Dadu Shin for Human Rights Watch
News

Bill Would Have Criminalized Wide Range of Peaceful Expression

In a win for online freedom in Iraq, in February the Iraqi parliament said it will stop pushing forward a cybercrimes draft law until after it is amended so that it protects rather than infringes upon free speech. As it stood, the law would have…
Woman holding up a sign in Arabic
News

Appeals Court Should Consider Flagrant Irregularities

(Beirut) – A court in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq sentenced three journalists and two activists to six years in prison on February 16, 2021, in deeply flawed proceedings, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities continue to hold two other…
Families of the journalists and activists on trial on February 16, 2021, sitting outside the Erbil District Court of Appeal.
News

Important Step, but More Action Needed to Rein in Continued Attacks

(Beirut) – On February 15, Iraqi authorities detained at least four men, with alleged ties to a unit within the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or Hashad, formally under the control of the prime minister) who are alleged to have killed at least four…
Ali Naseer Alawy, after armed masked men beat him and used an acid mixture to try to remove a tattoo on his arm.
News

Congress Should Reject Constitutional Amendment

(Washington, DC) – Honduran lawmakers should reject a proposed constitutional amendment that would entrench current harsh restrictions on reproductive rights and the prohibition on same-sex marriage, Human Rights Watch said today. On January 21,…
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