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Re: Protecting Human Rights in Australia’s Foreign Policy

Dear Minister Payne, Congratulations on your reappointment as foreign minister. Human Rights Watch looks forward to working with you to make protection of human rights a strong pillar of Australia’s foreign policy. We attach a…
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Human Rights Council Seat Demands Greater Leadership

(Sydney) – The Australian government should make the protection of human rights a central focus of its foreign policy, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to the recently reappointed Foreign Minister Marise Payne that was released today. …
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Human Rights Council Panel commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention

As we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention, I wish to address the crucial role of the International Criminal Court in realizing its ideals. This year also marks the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the ICC’s…
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Forces in Northeast Issue Order to Prohibit Recruitment, Verify Ages

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a coalition of forces controlling parts of Syria’s northeast, has taken an important step towards ending the use of child soldiers in their ranks. The SDF issued a military order banning the…
Ain Issa displaced persons camp, one of three camps in northeast Syria where Human Rights Watch found the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) have been recruiting children for military participation, June 2017.
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People’s Protection Units Enlist Under 18s from Vulnerable Families

(Beirut) – The People’s Protection Units (YPG), the largest member of the Syrian Democratic Forces military alliance in northeast Syria, has been recruiting children, including girls, and using some in hostilities despite pledges to…
Ain Issa displaced persons camp, one of three camps in northeast Syria where Human Rights Watch found the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) have been recruiting children for military participation, June 2017.
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Interactive Dialogue with COI on Syria

Human Rights Watch thanks the Commission of Inquiry for highlighting the devastating and unlawful acts committed by parties on both sides of the conflict during the offensive on Eastern Ghouta between February and April 2018. Over the months leading up to…
A fighter from Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands next to debris of damaged buildings in Raqqa, Syria, September 25, 2017. © 2017 REUTERS
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Urgent Debate on deteriorating situation of human rights in Eastern Ghouta at the Human Rights Council

We express the greatest concern for the situation in Eastern Ghouta, Syria, as it continues to deteriorate significantly. And we welcome this urgent debate. As UN Secretary General Guterres told the Human Rights Council at…
An elderly man walks near a damaged building in the besieged town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, Syria.
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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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As members of the UN Security Council debate this week about whether to renew their Syria chemical weapons investigation, they might want to read Wilfred Owen’s World War One poem “Dulce Et Decorum Est.” It describes an attack in which a man…
A poison hazard danger sign is seen in the town of Khan Sheikhoun, Idlib province, Syria on April 5, 2017.
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Protection Gaps Increase Children’s Vulnerability

(Beirut) – Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has recruited Afghan immigrant children living in Iran to fight in Syria, Human Rights Watch said today. Afghan children as young as 14 have fought in the Fatemiyoun division,…
Tombstones of Afghan child soldiers buried in Iran.
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Item 4 Interactive Dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Syria

Human Rights Watch supports the findings of the Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians. An investigation by Human Rights Watch has established that the Syrian government forces have used nerve agents on…
Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters on their way to Raqqa, Syria June 6, 2017© 2017 Reuters
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Item 2 – Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner on his Annual Report

We share the High Commissioner’s concerns about current threats to human rights values, and to the international framework itself. Whether the Council can rise to these challenges will depend on a number of factors. First, leadership: many…