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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.
News
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
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…
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…
Report
A Face and a Name Civilian Victims of Insurgent Groups in Iraq I. Summary The Victims Insurgent Groups Arguments of Insurgent Groups Violations by U.S. and Iraqi Government Forces Methodology II. Recommendations III. Insurgent Groups in Iraq Attacks on…
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…
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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…
News

Independent 9/11-style Commission Needed

A report by a panel reviewing Pentagon detention operations criticizes top officials, but fails to address government policy that may have led to the mistreatment and torture of detainees, Human Rights Watch said today. The four-member panel, named by…
News
Only an independent 9/11-style commission will be able to shed full light on U.S. treatment of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay. “Two and a half months after the first pictures from Abu Ghraib, only a few low-ranking soldiers have been…
News

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.   "…
News
The United States is right to insist that Iraq honor the Geneva Conventions. But its position is weakened by failure to practice what it preaches in holding 641 prisoners without charges at the U.S. military facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.