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Japan’s defence ministry claims the program, which includes combat training, will inspire change from within. That’s not going to happen.

Japan was one of the first governments to issue a statement after the Myanmar military staged a coup on February 1 last year.  Within hours of events unfolding in Naypyitaw, the Japanese leadership expressed “grave concern” and…
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Security Force Raid That Killed 20 Blamed on False Information

On December 31, Iraqi security forces killed 20 people from a single family in a raid on a home in Jableh district in Babil governorate, south of Baghdad. Security forces carried out the raid after reportedly receiving false information about a…
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Extrajudicial Killings, Enforced Disappearances Go Unpunished

(Beirut) – The Iraqi government failed in 2021 to deliver on promises to hold to account those responsible for the abuse of protesters, activists, journalists, and critics of political elites and the Popular Mobilization Forces, Human Rights Watch…
A woman casts her vote in the general elections on October 10, 2021 at a polling place in Baghdad.
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Tatmadaw Cadets Receive Training at Japanese Defense Academy

(Tokyo) – The Japanese government should cut ties with the Myanmar military and immediately suspend a military study-abroad program involving Myanmar cadets, Human Rights Watch said today. On February 1, 2021, the Myanmar military, known as the…
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Despite its official condemnation of the coup, Japan continues to move towards normalizing ties with the junta

Since the February 1 military coup in Myanmar, the junta’s security forces have killed nearly 1,300 people, arrested more than 10,000, and continue to detain nearly 7,400. The junta-controlled courts have sentenced 65 people to death, including 2…
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“Armed groups,” “paramilitary forces,” “groups following the orders of another country.” Human rights advocates in Iraq use these descriptions all the time when we refer to the men with guns behind so many of the killings, abductions, and torture of…
Iraqi soldiers stand guard at a checkpoint in Nineveh, Iraq. Friday Dec. 4, 2020.
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Shortly after Denmark began telling Syrian refugees that parts of Syria are "safe" and stripped them of their temporary protected status, I talked to a 31-year-old refugee who voluntarily returned to Syria from Jordan in December 2020. He told me…
A streetview of destroyed buildings in a city
News

Still Major Emitter Despite Coal Phase Out Announcements

“Glasgow must be the COP that consigns coal to history.” Those were the words in July of Alok Sharma, president of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26). With world leaders gathered in Glasgow this week, the need to phase out coal has never…
Steam billows out of the cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant in Huai'an in east China's Jiangsu province, July 20, 2021.
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.
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Summary Syria is a death country, a kidnapping country. Anyone coming back will lose their money or their life. — Salam, 26, from al-Jeza in Daraa Syrian refugees who voluntarily returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan…
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(Beirut) – Syrian refugees who returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan faced grave human rights abuses and persecution at the hands of the Syrian government and affiliated militias, Human Rights Watch…
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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.
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Struggle to Survive Amid Devastation, Property Destruction

(Beirut) – Syrian refugees who returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan faced grave human rights abuses and persecution at the hands of the Syrian government and affiliated militias, Human Rights Watch said in a report released…
A streetview of destroyed buildings in a city
News

Revise Regressive Law Compelling Irreversible Surgery

A Japanese transgender man, Gen Suzuki, 46, has filed a court request to have his legal gender recognized as male without undergoing sterilization surgery as prescribed by national law. His case highlights the urgent need for Japan to revise its…
People take part in a rally to support the LGBT legislation in Shibuya district of Tokyo, Japan on June 6, 2021.
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Protect All Athletes as a Legacy of Tokyo Olympics, Paralympics

(Tokyo) – The Japan Sports Agency and Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games should establish an independent national body to address the abuse of athletes in Japan, six Japanese and international nongovernmental organizations…
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Hundreds of Thousands Prevented from Returning to Japan

An historic court hearing is set to begin next week in Tokyo as five North Korean escapees in Japan seek compensation for human rights abuses they suffered in North Korea after joining a resettlement program based on the false premise that North Korea…
Escapees from North Korea and their supporters march to the Tokyo District Court to file a lawsuit against the North Korean government for violating their human rights, August 20, 2018. 
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.
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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.
News

Global Magnitsky-Style Act Would Help Curb Rights Abuses Abroad

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) will hold its party presidential election on September 29. The winner will almost certainly become Japan's next prime minister. Four candidates – two women and two men – are running: the former foreign…
Myanmar residents in Japan stage a protest rally in Tokyo on August 1, 2021. 
News

Summit Meeting Key Opportunity to Address Vaccine Inequities

Leaders from the “Quad” countries – the United States, Japan, India, and Australia – will hold their first in-person summit in Washington, DC, on September 24, amid a global Covid-19 vaccine shortage crisis and deeply inequitable access to vaccines.…
Activists stand outside Pfizer Headquarters demanding US President Joe Biden support the "TRIPS Waiver" in New York, NY on April 22, 2021.