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Increasing Concern Under Covid-19 Measures

(Beirut) –The death on April 18 of a 20-year-old woman in Najaf, possibly at the hands of her husband, should act as a wake-up call for Iraqi legislators to pass a law against domestic violence, Human Rights Watch said today. Iraqi…
Demonstrators in Baghdad call International Women's Day a "day of mourning" in protest of Iraq's new draft Jaafari Personal Status Law.
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Women Tell Their Stories

Abortion in all instances, including rape, is illegal in Honduras. Any woman who has an abortion, and anyone found to have helped her, can be charged with a crime and imprisoned. For that reason, La Línea (“The Line”) was a rare resource in…
Lorena (a pseudonym) was unaware she was pregnant when she went to a hospital in intense pain two years ago. Doctors suspected she had attempted an abortion and called the police. She was taken from the hospital in handcuffs and is now facing charges.
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Cristina Alvarado is a social worker and part of the national coordination team of Movimiento de Mujeres por la Paz “Visitación Padilla” (Movement of Women for Peace “Visitacion Padilla”).
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Rape-marriage exoneration laws are relics of the colonial past. It's time to leave them there.

In recent weeks, the Tunisian, Jordanian, and Lebanese parliaments have repealed provisions in their penal codes that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims. Provisions like these, largely colonial-era relics, remain on the books…
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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Lawmakers Set to Discuss Loosening Notoriously Strict Anti-Abortion Law

This week, lawmakers in Honduras will have the chance to allow some women access to abortion, reversing restrictions first imposed more than 30 years ago. Under the current law, terminating a pregnancy is illegal and carries a heavy prison sentence,…
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Describe Forced Marriage, Rape

(Baghdad) – Fighters from the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) are arbitrarily detaining, ill-treating, torturing, and forcibly marrying Sunni Arab women and girls in areas under their control in Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today. …
A woman fleeing the fighting between the Islamic State and Iraqi Security Forces in Intisar neighbourhood in eastern Mosul on November 7, 2016.
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Human Rights Watch is a nonprofit, nongovernmental human rights organization made up of roughly 400 staff members around the globe. Its staff consists of human rights professionals including country experts, lawyers, journalists, and academics of diverse…
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At Least 300 Women From the Yezidi Sect are Estimated to Remain Inside the City

When fighters from the Islamic State (IS) attacked the Yezidi communities in northern Iraq in August 2014, they took many of their victims captive. They raped, forcibly married and converted to Islam thousands of Yezidi women, using them as sex slaves. IS…
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“Unimaginable Horrors”

The “unimaginable horrors” that the Islamic State (ISIS) is committing against the minority Yezidis, documented in a report released on June 16 by the UN-mandated Independent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on the Syrian Arab Republic, shows the…
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“I would kill myself, if it weren’t for my kids.” Sari, 30, told me. She sat close to the gas heater, feet curled under her on the mattress on the floor, in a camp for displaced people near Dohuk in the Kurdish region of Iraq. As snow fell, she told me…
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Twenty months ago the Islamic State (ISIS) abducted thousands of Yezidi women and girls as the extremist group swept through their villages in northern Iraq in the middle of a terrible summer. Many were forced to become sex slaves for the group’s fighters…
A Sunni Muslim woman who fled the Islamic State's strongholds.
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For Sunnis, Lives Curtailed; for Yezidis, New Accounts of Brutal Rapes

(Beirut) – The extremist armed group Islamic State should urgently release Yezidi women and girls they abducted in 2014, Human Rights Watch said today, following new research with recent escapees who were raped and traded between members before they fled…
A Sunni Muslim woman who fled the Islamic State's strongholds.
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Modern slavery takes many forms, but most slaves are forced to work in the shadows. Those who control modern slaves—whether men compelled to work on Thai fishing boats, domestic workers trapped in the homes of their Saudi employers, children ordered to…
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I recently met “Noor,” a 16-year-old Yezidi girl who had escaped from ISIS six months earlier. The extremist group abducted her from her hometown in Iraq in August and locked her in a house with young women and girls who were being…
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Interview: These Yezidi Girls Escaped ISIS. Now What? Last August, the world watched in horror as the extremist armed group Islamic State, also known as ISIS, attacked Iraq’s Yezidi community. Thousands fled without food or water into the…
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Yezidi Survivors in Need of Urgent Care

(New York) – The extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has carried out systematic rape and other sexual violence against Yezidi women and girls in northern Iraq. Human Rights Watch conducted research in the town of Dohuk in January and…
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The nightmare of 12-year-old “Jalila” began when Islamic State fighters abducted her, along with her family, in northern Iraq. They separated her from her family and imprisoned her in a house in north-eastern Syria with other abducted…