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Close Legal Loopholes to Prevent Further Civilian Suffering

(Geneva) – The horrific burns and life-long suffering caused by incendiary weapons demand that governments urgently revise existing treaty standards, Human Rights Watch and Harvard Law School's International Human Rights Clinic said in a report…
اوربلونکې وسله چې د ۲۰۱۶ کال د جون پر ۲۲مه د سوريې د حلب ښار پر کفر همراه کلي لګېدلې ده.
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White Phosphorus Should Be Included on the List

(Geneva) – Russia should support, not block, diplomatic talks about possible action to address the civilian harm caused by the use of incendiary weapons, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.  Issued…
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Memorandum to Delegates of the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons

  Ten years ago, images of white phosphorus munitions raining fire on populated areas of Gaza generated international outrage and sparked discussions of incendiary weapons at the United Nations. The Israel Defense Forces’ use of white…
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International Norms Ignored as Civilians Suffer

(Beirut) – The Russian-Syrian joint military operation has used internationally banned and other indiscriminate weapons in unlawful attacks on civilians in northwest Syria in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch said today. According to the…
A man inspects the destruction left by overnight air strikes targeting residential areas at Kafr Nabl in the rebel-held Idlib Province, Syria, May 20 2019.
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Idlib Attacks Reaffirm Need for Civilian Protection

(Beirut) – A November 24, 2018 attack by Syrian government forces near an elementary school that killed six children, a teacher, and a student’s mother, appears to have been unlawful and indiscriminate. All parties to the conflict,…
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Delivered by Bonnie Docherty, Senior Researcher

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson. The exceptional cruelty and ongoing use of incendiary weapons demand a global response. Over the past year, Human Rights Watch has documented thirty new attacks with incendiary weapons across six…
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Memorandum to Delegates of the 2018 Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons

Incendiary weapons are among the cruelest weapons used in contemporary armed conflict. These weapons, which produce heat and fire through the chemical reaction of a flammable substance, cause excruciating burns and destroy…
Des habitants tentent d'éteindre des incendies provoqués par une attaque à l'arme incendiaire dans l'ouest d'Idlib, Syrie, 30 juillet 2018.
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Spotlighting Inadequate International Law

(Geneva) – Countries at an upcoming United Nations disarmament conference, faced with evidence of 30 new incendiary weapons attacks in Syria, should agree to strengthen the international law that governs their use, Human Rights Watch said in a…
Incendiary weapons were used in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, in March 2018, causing more than 260 civilian casualties.
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The endgame of the war in Syria is likely to come down to the northwestern province of Idlib, on the Turkish border, where some 2.3 million people are now trapped. As Russian-Syrian forces now finish retaking the smaller southwestern…
A mother shows a picture of her son, who was detained by authorities in the northern Syrian province of Idlib, Syria, March 20, 2016. She has not heard any news about her son since then.
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Amid Ongoing Bombings, More Protection Needed for Education

In areas of Eastern Ghouta, a suburb of Syria’s capital Damascus held by anti-government armed groups, schools have closed for fear that Syrian and Russian warplanes will bomb them. Instead, local residents have opened informal schools…
Children walk through the rubble of the Tamayuz (“Excellence”) kindergarten in the town of Hamouriyeh after it was hit by a Syrian-Russian airstrike on November 8, 2017. © 2017 Private
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UN Should Immediately Deploy Monitors to Prevent Reprisal Executions

(Beirut) – With Russia’s continued support, the Syrian government is using unlawful tactics in its assault on Eastern Ghouta, including what appears to be the use of internationally banned weapons, Human Rights Watch said today. There…
People walk with their belongings as they flee the rebel-held town of Hammouriyeh, in the village of Beit Sawa, eastern Ghouta, Syria March 15, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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(Beirut) – Lawless armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) morphed into disastrous trends for the region in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its 2018 World Report. “Failed leadership, failed…
Smoke billows behind a building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 3, 2017, during clashes between Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. © 2017 Getty Images
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UN Security Council Should Act on Eastern Ghouta Situation

(New York) – Attacks by Syrian-Russian forces in an area near the Damascus in late October and early November 2017 killed eight children and destroyed or damaged four schools, Human Rights Watch said today. The attacks on Eastern Ghouta…
Children walk through the rubble of the Tamayuz (“Excellence”) kindergarten in the town of Hamouriyeh after it was hit by a Syrian-Russian airstrike on November 8, 2017. © 2017 Private
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Syrian government and Russian forces have escalated their airstrikes on Eastern Ghouta, a suburb approximately 15 kilometers from the center of Syria’s capital, Damascus, killing dozens of civilians in apparently unlawful attacks. Syrian forces have…
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Many Countries Call for Law to Keep Human Control

(Geneva) – Countries meeting in Geneva on November 13-24, 2017, missed a chance to move ahead to prevent the development of weapons systems that would select and engage targets without meaningful human control, Human Rights…
As the debate about “killer robots” continues, the threat they pose looms large.
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Memorandum to Delegates at the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Conventional Weapons

    Introduction In November 2017, for the first time in 37 years, a UN disarmament body will have a dedicated opportunity to address the humanitarian problems caused by incendiary weapons, one of modern warfare’s cruelest class of…
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Address Loopholes to Prevent Civilian Harm

  (Geneva) – Countries should respond to reports of new use of incendiary weapons in Syria by working to strengthen the international law governing these exceptionally cruel weapons, Human Rights Watch said in a report…
The aftermath of an airstrike using incendiary weapons on Khan Sheykhoun in Idlib Province, April 16 2017.
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Investigate Killings, Abductions of Foreign Men

  (Beirut) – Iraqi authorities are holding more than 1,400 foreign women and their children who surrendered with ISIS fighters in late August 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The detentions appear to have no legal…
Iraqi Ministry of Transportation buses taking internally displaced families to Hammam al-Alil in May 2017. In late August, Iraqi authorities bused 1,400 foreign women and children to the site. © 2017 Belkis Wille/Human Rights Watch
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10 Dead, Including Displaced Family

(Beirut) – Syrian-Russian airstrikes and artillery attacks on June 14, 2017, in a town in the southern Daraa governorate killed 10 civilians in and near a school, Human Rights Watch said today. Residents said they were not aware of any military targets in…
The impact crater in the Martyr Kiwan school courtyard from a Syrian-Russian airstrike on June 14, 2017. Seven of the eight casualties, including a child, were from a displaced family and had been sheltering in the school.
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Take All Needed Measures to Minimize Civilian Harm

(Washington, DC) – The use of artillery-delivered white phosphorus by the United States-led coalition fighting Islamic State (also known as ISIS) forces in Syria and Iraq raises serious questions about the protection of civilians, Human Rights…
Photo of smoking and burning white phosphorus streaking to the ground in west Mosul on June 2, 2017.