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Independent Review Recommends Funding to Address Harms

An external review of the World Bank Group’s private funding institutions found that social and environmental abuses caused by their development projects went largely unaddressed, leaving victims without remedies. The review focused on the…
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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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Lift Unlawful Restrictions Blocking Thousands

(Beirut) – The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is preventing about 4,200 Sunni Arabs from returning home to 12 villages east of Mosul, Human Rights Watch said today. More than three years after the Hamdaniya district was retaken…
A destroyed home near Ashqala al-Sagheer village in Hamdaniya, July 2019. Hasansham camp is in the background.  © 2019 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
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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In recent weeks, the Tunisian, Jordanian, and Lebanese parliaments have repealed provisions in their penal codes that allowed rapists to escape punishment by marrying their victims.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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In an interview with ABC News anchor David Muir on January 25, 2017, President Donald Trump repeated his position that the United States “should have taken the oil” from Iraq during the occupation of the country following the 2003 US-led invasion. Trump…
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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…