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For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
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The US Defense Department reportedly meted out only administrative punishments to 11 military personnel involved in the October 3, 2015 airstrikes on a Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders, MSF) hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, that killed 42…
MSF Hospital Ruins
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The candidates may disagree on some human rights issues, but the next president will face challenges that transcend partisan lines. How might tomorrow's presidential election affect U.S. policy on human rights? The common wisdom is that unlike their sharp…
News

Was one of the youngest prisoners at Guantánamo rushed to court by the Bush administration for political reasons?

GUANTÁNAMO BAY, Cuba -- One of the youngest detainees at Guantánamo Bay, a 23-year-old Afghan named Mohammed Jawad , spent two days in a courtroom here last week as his defense lawyer argued that his case should never go to trial. The attorney, Maj. David…
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The US Army in January ordered the court-martial of Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Jordan, a key official allegedly implicated in detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Jordan is the first military officer to be charged under the doctrine of command…
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Congress Should Restore Detainees’ Access to Courts

(Washington, DC) - As the fifth anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay detention center approaches, Human Rights Watch denounced the ongoing detentions there as a shameful blight on US respect for human rights. Human Rights Watch called on the Bush…
News

The Bush administration's get out of jail card for torturers

If the Bush administration is still good at anything, it's this: distracting its opponents and seizing little victories from what might have been big defeats. Take the administration's recent efforts to respond to the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan v…
News

Those in CIA Custody Must Also Be Covered

The Bush administration’s belated decision to recognize the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to terrorism suspects in military custody is a step forward, Human Rights Watch said today. But because the Pentagon memorandum that codifies the change…
News

Investigations Lag Two Years After Abu Ghraib Photos

(Washington, D.C.) – Two years after the Abu Ghraib scandal, new research shows that abuse of detainees in U.S. custody in Iraq, Afghanistan, and at Guantánamo Bay has been widespread, and that the United States has taken only limited steps to investigate…
Report
By the Numbers Findings of the Detainee Abuse and Accountability Project Summary By the Numbers Analysis Criminal Punishments: Verdicts and Sentencing Officers' Liability Under the Command Responsibility Doctrine Reliance on Non-judicial Hearings and…
News
How did a short item in Newsweek reporting that U.S. interrogators had desecrated a Koran at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, spark massive riots in several Muslim countries last week, leading to the deaths of least 16 people? And who, exactly, should bear the blame…
News
(New York) - The crimes at Abu Ghraib are part of a larger pattern of abuses against Muslim detainees around the world, Human Rights Watch said on the eve of the April 28 anniversary of the first pictures of U.S. soldiers brutalizing prisoners at the…
News
The military commissions now taking place at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, fall somewhere between a trial and a farce. The military officials involved in the process all seem committed to doing the best they can, but it is clear that they are struggling to make…
News
The two recent reports on U.S. military abuses of prisoners show the limits of Pentagon-appointed investigations for such a controversial issue. Both the Schlesinger commission and the internal Army review contain important and disturbing information on…
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(Washington D.C.) — The Pentagon’s new tribunals to review combatant status will not give detainees at Guantanamo a fair opportunity to challenge their detention, Human Rights Watch said today. The tribunals are expected to begin this week. The tribunals…
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U.S. Cannot Deny Rights Protection to Detainees at Guantanamo

(New York) -- The U.N. body that provides authoritative interpretations of a key international human rights treaty issued an opinion yesterday that would indicate the United States cannot use offshore facilities like Guantanamo to evade responsibility for…
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German Chancellor Should Call for New Rights Strategy in Afghanistan, Iraq

(New York) - German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder should not sacrifice human rights concerns when mending fences with the United States, Human Rights Watch said ahead of Schröder’s meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush at the White House today.   "…
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(New York) The United States has no legal basis for continuing to hold captured Taliban soldiers at Guantanamo Bay, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Human Rights Watch said there are three categories of…
News

Fails to Grant POW Status to Detainees

(New York) -- U.S. President George W. Bush correctly acknowledged that the Geneva Conventions apply to the conflict in Afghanistan, Human Rights Watch said today. But he erred in deciding that the Conventions do not cover al-Qaeda detainees and by…