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For Survivors of Abuse, Shelters Offered Lifeline

“My parents warned me they will kill me if I ever leave this shelter,” Najla, a woman of about 30, told me. “The worst thing is that I don’t have anyone to support me.” She has been in a shelter in Afghanistan’s western city of Herat for several years…
Afghan women sew in their bedroom at a women's shelter in Kabul, March 20, 2017. A non-descript building tucked away in a residential neighborhood is one of the few hidden sanctuaries where battered women can seek support. 
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(Nairobi, September 21, 2021) – The Kenyan government’s response to gender-based violence during the Covid-19 pandemic has been too little, too late, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 61-page report, “‘I Had Nowhere to Go’:…
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Marginalization and Exclusion Imperils Rights, New UN Expert Report Finds

Ageism – the stereotyping, prejudice, and/or discrimination of individuals or groups based on their age – is all around us. One just has to look at a rack of birthday cards for images ridiculing older people or the rows of “anti-ageing” creams on the…
Rohingya people refugees carry an older woman on the way to camp at Shahpori Island, in Teknaf, Bangladesh on September 13, 2017. 
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Make Safe Visits to Aged Care Homes a Reality

For the first time in 12 weeks, residents of Sydney, Australia are now allowed to gather outdoors with up to four friends who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Since a fresh Covid-19 outbreak in late June, millions of people in Sydney have…
Summitcare aged care facility in Baulkham Hills in Sydney, Australia, July 4, 2021.
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Lack of Protections Puts Women, Children at Risk

(Athens) – A law scheduled to take effect on September 16, 2021, that amends child custody provisions in Greece’s civil code places women and children survivors of domestic violence at risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The Greek government should…
Protesters in Athens, Greece on March 27, 2021 stand outside the Greek Parliament displaying a banner that reads “your sexism is harming both mother and child” against a new law that introduces presumptive co-custody of children, even in cases of domestic violence.
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Open Consultation on Domestic Abuse Act statutory guidance

Comments on Chapter 2 (‘Understanding Domestic Abuse’)  We write to note concerns regarding Chapter 2 of the draft Statutory Guidance, particularly regarding response to Black, Asian, migrant and other women in marginalized groups who experience…
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Gaps in Services Create Risks for Institutionalization, Violate Rights

(Moscow) – The Russian government is not providing adequate resources for home-based services for older people, denying some of them the ability to live independent and dignified lives, Human Rights Watch said today. Despite legislative reform to…
A pensioner carries logs in the courtyard of her wooden house where she opened a private museum of the old quarter.
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Inclusive Climate Action and Planning Needed after 12 Perish

On July 15, twelve people with disabilities living in a group home drowned in floods in Sinzig, Germany, because they did not manage to evacuate in time. This is not the first time people with disabilities in group homes died during a climate…
The “Lebenshilfe-Haus” or ‘assisted-living facility”, where twelve people with disabilities drowned in floods on July 15, 2021.
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Climate Crisis Requires Inclusive Heat Action, Planning, and Response

Recent climate change-exacerbated heat waves in the western Canadian province of British Columbia have left hundreds dead. According to British Columbia’s chief coroner, of the 719 sudden deaths between June 25 and July 1, many were “older individuals…
A person enters the Hillcrest Community Centre, where they can cool off during the extreme hot weather in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, June 30, 2021.
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Unique Opportunity for Congress to Help People Continue to Live at Home

US lawmakers should prioritize support for home and community-based services for older people as part of the negotiations on infrastructure bills under way in Congress, Human Rights Watch said today. The vast majority of older people in the United…
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Reject Proposed Legal Changes; Improve Protections for Abuse Victims

(Athens) – A bill to amend child custody provisions in Greece’s civil code disregards risks for domestic violence victims that would put women and children in jeopardy, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, "Reforms regarding parent-child…
Protest outside the Greek Parliament in Athens on March 27, 2021 against a bill that would introduce compulsory equal joint custody of children in cases of separation or divorce. 
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Ensure Adequate Staffing, Person-Centered Support in Aged Care Facilities

The Australian government has the chance to make a lasting impact on the lives of older Australians next week when it announces its proposed budget in response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report. The…
A resident looks out from the window of the Florence Aged Care Facility amid the second wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Melbourne, Australia August 17, 2020.
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Submission to the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons

This submission is based on Human Rights Watch research on human rights issues impacting older women,[1] including domestic violence, abuse, and neglect in residential institutions for older people, abuses during armed conflict, and health disparities…
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Investigate, Protect Rights Defenders, End Hateful Rhetoric

Update: Poland’s Ministry of the Interior responded to Human Rights Watch’s request for information and comment on our findings in a four-page letter dated April 8, 2021. The letter states that the government adheres to international law guaranteeing…
Protesters hold a banner of Strajk Kobiet (Women's Strike) during a protest in Warsaw on March 8,  International Women's Day, organized by the Women's Strike (Strajk Kobiet) against the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party and the decision of the Constitutional Court.
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Residents Need Access to Courts Amid Emerging Reports of Neglect During Pandemic

This week, Arizona legislators will vote on bill 1377, which would shield nursing homes from civil liability for negligence while providing services during the Covid-19 pandemic. At least 32 states have already passed laws or issued executive…
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Discriminatory Restrictions Affect Independence to Marry, Study, Work, Travel

(Beirut, March 29, 2021) – Qatar’s discriminatory male guardianship system denies women the right to make many key decisions about their lives, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 94-page report, “‘Everything I Have to Do is…
Women fly a kite in a park next to a body of water
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Pandemic Exposes Need for Improvements in Staffing, Oversight, Accountability

(New York) – Potential neglect and prolonged isolation may have caused serious harm to many people in nursing homes in the United States during the Covid-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today.  Human Rights Watch interviews with more…
A nursing home resident holds his wife’s hand.
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Governments, International Actors Should Step up Protections for Older People

A groundbreaking report released on March 18 and led by the World Health Organization (WHO) calls out ageism for what it is: a socially-acceptable form of discrimination that impacts older people’s livelihoods, health, and even survival. The report…
Older people crossing the broken bridge at the Stanytsia Luhanska checkpoint.
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Briefing on the Need for Urgent Amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill November 2, 2020

Human Rights Watch Submission to the House of the Lords Briefing on the Need for Urgent Amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill November 2, 2020 Introduction: Human Rights Watch is pleased that the government of the United Kingdom has…