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After eight years, civil society worldwide demands the government establish and reveal Sombath’s fate and whereabouts

15 December 2020: On the eighth anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, we, the undersigned organizations, reiterate our calls on the government of Laos to reveal his fate and whereabouts, and to investigate…
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Trip Covers Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar

(Tokyo) – Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi should forcefully raise human rights concerns on an upcoming regional trip, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the foreign minister. Motegi will visit Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Laos,…
Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi meets the media in Tokyo on May 28, 2020. 
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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
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Free All Wrongfully Detained; Permit Peaceful Rally

(New York) – The Lao government should immediately release political activists arrested for planning a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Vientiane, Human Rights Watch said today. On November 12, 2019, Lao authorities arrested at least…
Lao people walk past their country flag, in the capital Vientiane, Laos.
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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
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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.
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Repeal of Decree on Associations No. 238 of 2017

H.E. Mr. Thongloun Sisoulith Prime Minister Prime Minister's Office, Vientiane Lao People’s Democratic Republic H.E. Mr. Bounnhang Vorachith President President’s Office, Vientiane Lao People’s Democratic…
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Disclose Sombath Somphone’s Fate or Whereabouts

(Bangkok) – The government of Laos should immediately disclose the fate or whereabouts of the prominent civil society leader Sombath Somphone, who was forcibly disappeared in the capital, Vientiane, in December 2012, Human Rights Watch said today…
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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
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Armed Men Kidnap Wuthipong Kachathamakul in Vientiane

(New York) – The Lao authorities should urgently investigate the abduction of an exiled Thai activist Wuthipong Kachathamakul, also known as Ko Tee, Human Rights Watch said today. Eyewitnesses stated that a group of unknown armed assailants…
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Australia Should Use Dialogue to Raise Free Speech, ‘Disappearances’

Australian officials should press the government of Laos to respect human rights at the Australian-Laos human rights dialogue, scheduled for July 18-19, 2017, in Vientiane, Human Rights Watch said today in a submission to the Australian government. Key…
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Human Rights Watch Submission

We write on the occasion of the forthcoming 5th Australian-Laos human rights dialogue, scheduled to be held in Vientiane, Laos in July 2017. Australia should raise pressing human rights issues in an unambiguous manner, set clear benchmarks for…
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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
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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.
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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…
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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…
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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…
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We, the undersigned organisations, call upon the 41 Governments that compose the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies, to take action and address the alarming proliferation of surveillance…
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Armed Groups Should Unconditionally Release Journalists

(New York) – The apparent execution of the freelance journalist James Foley on August 19, 2014 in Syria by the Islamic State would be a war crime if confirmed. Groups detaining journalists should immediately and unconditionally release them. The Islamic…
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New Detentions Despite Security Council Demands

(New York) – The Syrian government, pro-government militias, and non-state armed groups should immediately release everyone they have arbitrarily arrested, abducted, and detained in the last three years for their peaceful, journalistic, and humanitarian…