Tag Archives: Human Rights Watch

New: HRW World Report 2014

World Report 2014: Events of 2013
Published by Human Rights Watch.

World Report 2014 is Human Rights Watch’s 24th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from the end of 2012 through November 2013.

Further Information:

From the Press Release, entitled, “Rights Struggles of 2013: Stopping Mass Atrocities, Majority Bullying, and Abusive Counterterrorism”:

Looking back at human rights developments in 2013, several themes stand out. The unchecked slaughter of civilians in Syria elicited global horror and outrage, but not enough to convince world leaders to exert the pressure needed to stop it. That has led some to lament the demise of the much-vaunted “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine, which world governments adopted less than a decade ago to protect people facing mass atrocities. Yet it turned out to be too soon to draft the epitaph for R2P, as it is known, because toward the end of the year it showed renewed vitality in several African countries facing the threat of large-scale atrocities: Central African Republic, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Democracy took a battering in several countries, but not because those in power openly abandoned it.  Many leaders still feel great pressure to pay lip service to democratic rule. But a number of relatively new governments, including in Egypt and Burma, settled for the most superficial forms—only elections, or their own divining of majoritarian preferences—without regard to the limits on majorities that are essential to any real democracy. This abusive majoritarianism lay behind governmental efforts to suppress peaceful dissent, restrict minorities, and enforce narrow visions of cultural propriety. Yet in none of these cases did the public take this abuse of democracy sitting down.

Since September 11, 2001, efforts to combat terrorism have also spawned human rights abuses. The past year saw intensified public discussion about two particular counterterrorism programs used by the United States: global mass electronic surveillance and targeted killings by aerial drones. For years, Washington had avoided giving clear legal justifications for these programs by hiding behind the asserted needs of secrecy. That strategy was undermined by whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about the surveillance program, as well as by on-the-ground reporting of civilian casualties in the targeted-killing program. Both now face intense public scrutiny.

In the midst of all this upheaval, there were also important advances in the international machinery that helps to defend human rights. After a slow and disappointing start, the United Nations Human Rights Council seemed to come onto its own, most recently with significant pressure applied to North Korea and Sri Lanka. And two new multinational treaties give hope for some of the world’s most marginalized people: domestic workers and artisanal miners poisoned by the unregulated use of mercury.

Full Article:-  Rights Struggles of 2013: Stopping Mass Atrocities, Majority Bullying, and Abusive Counterterrorism.

 

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Re-blog: World Report 2013: Challenges for Rights After Arab Spring

(London) – The euphoria of the Arab Spring has given way to the sobering challenge of creating rights-respecting democracies, Human Rights Watch said today in issuing its World Report 2013. The willingness of new governments to respect rights will determine whether those uprisings give birth to genuine democracy or simply spawn authoritarianism in new forms.

In the 665-page report, its23rd annual review of human rights practices around the globe, Human Rights Watch summarizes major issues in more than 90 countries. With regard to events in the Middle East and North Africa known as the Arab Spring, Human Rights Watch said the creation of a rights-respecting state can be painstaking work that requires building effective institutions of governance, establishing independent courts, creating professional police, and resisting the temptation of majorities to disregard human rights and the rule of law. But the difficulty of building democracy does not justify seeking a return to the old order, Human Rights Watch said.

“The uncertainties of freedom are no reason to revert to the enforced predictability of authoritarian rule,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The path ahead may be treacherous, but the alternative is to consign entire countries to a grim future of oppression.”
The tension between majority rule and respect for rights poses perhaps the greatest challenge for the new governments, Human Rights Watch said. Leaders in the Middle East are naturally eager to exercise their new electoral clout, but they have a duty to govern without sacrificing fundamental freedoms or the rights of minorities, women, and other groups at risk.

Full article available here:  World Report 2013: Challenges for Rights After Arab Spring

 

New Human Rights Watch Report Published for 2013

The Human Rights Watch organisation have published the 2013 edition of their flagship World Report 2013: Events of 2012.

Further information is provided in the Human Rights Watch press release detailed below and a copy of this report has been ordered for the Refugee Council Archive here at UEL.  The report is also available online:

Human Rights Watch press release:

World Report 2013: Challenges for Rights After Arab Spring:  How to Build Rights-Respecting Democracies After the Dictator Falls

(London) – The euphoria of the Arab Spring has given way to the sobering challenge of creating rights-respecting democracies, Human Rights Watch said today in issuing its World Report 2013. The willingness of new governments to respect rights will determine whether those uprisings give birth to genuine democracy or simply spawn authoritarianism in new forms.

In the 665-page report, its23rd annual review of human rights practices around the globe, Human Rights Watch summarizes major issues in more than 90 countries. With regard to events in the Middle East and North Africa known as the Arab Spring, Human Rights Watch said the creation of a rights-respecting state can be painstaking work that requires building effective institutions of governance, establishing independent courts, creating professional police, and resisting the temptation of majorities to disregard human rights and the rule of law. But the difficulty of building democracy does not justify seeking a return to the old order, Human Rights Watch said.

“The uncertainties of freedom are no reason to revert to the enforced predictability of authoritarian rule,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The path ahead may be treacherous, but the alternative is to consign entire countries to a grim future of oppression.”
The tension between majority rule and respect for rights poses perhaps the greatest challenge for the new governments, Human Rights Watch said. Leaders in the Middle East are naturally eager to exercise their new electoral clout, but they have a duty to govern without sacrificing fundamental freedoms or the rights of minorities, women, and other groups at risk.

Other countries can be supportive both by setting positive examples in their own practices, respecting human rights themselves, and by consistently promoting rights in their relations with the new government and others. Turning a blind eye to repression may be politically convenient but it does enormous damage to the quests for rights-respecting democracies, Human Rights Watch said.

The full press release is available online – [here].

New Publications from Human Rights Watch

Waiting for Justice: Accountability before Guinea’s Courts for the September 28, 2009 Stadium Massacre, Rapes, and Other Abuses.
By Human Rights Watch.

This 58-page report analyzes Guinea’s efforts to hold those responsible for the crimes to account. On that day, several hundred members of Guinea’s security forces burst into a stadium in Guinea’s capital, Conakry, and opened fire on tens of thousands of opposition supporters peacefully gathered there. By late afternoon, at least 150 Guineans lay dead or dying, and dozens of women had suffered brutal sexual violence, including individual and gang rape. More than three years later, those implicated have yet to be held accountable.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Human Rights Watch press release: Guinea: Step Up Efforts to Ensure Justice for Stadium Massacre

Under Siege: Indiscriminate Bombing and Abuses in Sudan’s Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States
By Human Rights Watch.

This 39-page report is based on five research missions to the hard-to-access rebel-held areas in the two states and to refugee camps in South Sudan. It documents the government’s indiscriminate bombing and other attacks on civilians since conflict between the government of Sudan and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) broke out in June 2011 in Southern Kordofan following disputed state elections. The report also describes the effect of Sudan’s refusal to allow humanitarian assistance into rebel-held areas. Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced inside the two states, surviving on very little, while more than 200,000 have fled to refugee camps in South Sudan and Ethiopia.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Human Rights Watch press release: Sudan: Civilians Describe Toll of Attacks

Why They Left: Stories of Iranian Activists in Exile
By Human Rights Watch.

The 60-page report documents the experiences of dozens of rights defenders, journalists and bloggers, and lawyers whom security and intelligence forces targeted because they spoke out against the government. Some who took part in anti-government protests after the 2009 election had never been politically active before, but suddenly found themselves in the crosshairs of security and intelligence forces. Many Iranian refugees and asylum seekers interviewed by Human Rights Watch described difficult conditions and long processing times for their asylum applications during their stay in Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Human Rights Watch press release:  Iran: Activists Fleeing Assault on Civil Society

Race Against Time: The Need for Legal and Institutional Reforms Ahead of Zimbabwe’s Elections
By Human Rights Watch.

This report assesses the legislative and electoral reforms undertaken by the unity government, which was established in 2009 after the 2008 elections resulted in violence. The unity government consists of the former ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the two factions of the former opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Human Rights Watch stated the deeply fractured unity government has failed to reform key laws or the justice system, which remains extremely partisan toward ZANU-PF. It has also failed to hold accountable those responsible for past human rights abuses, including during the 2008 electoral violence.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Human Rights Watch press release:  Zimbabwe: Rights Reforms Needed Before Elections

Hear No Evil: Forced Labor and Corporate Responsibility in Eritrea’s Mining Sector
By Human Rights Watch.

The 29-page report describes how mining companies working in Eritrea risk involvement with the government’s widespread exploitation of forced labor. It also documents how Nevsun – the first company to develop an operational mine in Eritrea – initially failed to take those risks seriously, and then struggled to address allegations of abuse connected to its operations.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Human Rights Watch press release:  Eritrea: Mining Investors Risk Use of Forced Labor

Turned Away: Summary Returns of Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Adult Asylum Seekers from Italy to Greece
By Human Rights Watch.

This report documents the failure of Italian border police at the Adriatic ports of Ancona, Bari, Brindisi, and Venice to screen adequately for people in need of protection, in violation of Italy’s legal obligations. Human Rights Watch interviewed 29 children and adults who were summarily returned to Greece from Italian ports, 20 of them in 2012.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Human Rights Watch press release:  Italy: Summary Returns to Greece Violate Rights

 

New Publications from Human Rights Watch

Rights Out of Reach

Rights Out of Reach

Rights Out of Reach: Obstacles to Health, Justice, and Protection for Displaced Victims of Gender-Based Violence in Colombia
By Human Rights Watch.

This 101-page report documents how recent improvements in Colombia’s laws, policies, and programs on rape and domestic violence have not translated into more effective justice, healthcare, and protection for displaced women and girls. More than half of the country’s roughly four million displaced are female.

[Download Full Report]
Read the Press Release – Colombia: Obstacles to Care for Abused, Displaced Women

Lonely Servitude

Lonely Servitude

Lonely Servitude: Child Domestic Labor in Morocco.
By Human Rights Watch.

This 73-page report found that some child domestic workers – who are overwhelmingly girls – toil for 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, for as little as US$11 a month. Some girls told Human Rights Watch that their employers frequently beat and verbally abused them, denied them education, and sometimes refused them adequate food.‬

[Download Full Report]
Read the Press Release – Morocco: Abuse of Child Domestic Workers

"A Long Way from Reconciliation"

“A Long Way from Reconciliation”

“A Long Way from Reconciliation”: Abusive Military Crackdown in Response to Security Threats in Côte d’Ivoire.
By Human Rights Watch.

This 73-page report details the brutal crackdown that followed a series of violent attacks on military installations around the country in August. The attacks were allegedly committed by militants loyal to former President Laurent Gbagbo. The resulting crackdown recalled the grave crimes committed during the 2010-2011 post-election crisis, in some cases under the same commanders previously identified as responsible for brutal abuses, Human Rights Watch found. The government of President Alassane Ouattara needs to ensure the prompt investigation and prosecution of forces who committed serious human rights abuses, including torture and inhuman treatment, in response to these security threats, Human Rights Watch said.

[Download Full Report]
Read the Press Release – Côte d’Ivoire: New Spate of Abuses by Military

Losing Humanity

Losing Humanity

Losing Humanity: The Case against Killer Robots.
By Human Rights Watch.

This 50-page report outlines concerns about these fully autonomous weapons, which would inherently lack human qualities that provide legal and non-legal checks on the killing of civilians. In addition, the obstacles to holding anyone accountable for harm caused by the weapons would weaken the law’s power to deter future violations.

[Download Full Report]
Read the Press Release – Ban ‘Killer Robots’ Before It’s Too Late

 

New Publications from Human Rights Watch and Selected Advance Access Articles

Human Rights Watch Reports:

“Tell Them That I Want to Kill Them”

“Tell Them That I Want to Kill Them”

“Tell Them That I Want to Kill Them”:Two Decades of Impunity in Hun Sen’s Cambodia.
By Human Rights Watch.

This 68-page report documents key cases of unsolved killings of political activists, journalists, opposition politicians, and others by Cambodian security forces since the 1991 Paris Agreements, which were signed by 18 countries, including the five permanent United Nations Security Council members. The Paris Agreements and the subsequent United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission were supposed to usher in a new era of democracy, human rights, and accountability in Cambodia. More than 300 people have been killed in politically motivated attacks since then, yet not one case has resulted in a credible investigation and conviction.

[Download the full report]

“The Law Was Against Me”

“The Law Was Against Me”

“The Law Was Against Me”:Migrant Women’s Access to Protection for Family Violence in Belgium.
By Human Rights Watch.

This 59-page report found three major protection gaps for migrant women who experience domestic violence in that country. Women who migrate to Belgium to join a husband or partner may face deportation if they report the violence during the period when their status is being confirmed, as do undocumented migrant women. And domestic violence victims, especially undocumented women, lack adequate access to shelters.

[Download the report]
Read the Press Release – Belgium: Abused Migrant Women Fear Deportation

Death of a Dictator

Death of a Dictator

Death of a Dictator: Bloody Vengeance in Sirte
by Human Rights Watch

This 58-page report details the final hours of Muammar Gaddafi’s life and the circumstances under which he was killed. It presents evidence that Misrata-based militias captured and disarmed members of the Gaddafi convoy and, after bringing them under their total control, subjected them to brutal beatings. They then executed at least 66 captured members of the convoy at the nearby Mahari Hotel. The evidence indicates that opposition militias took Gaddafi’s wounded son Mutassim from Sirte to Misrata and killed him there.

Under the laws of war, the killing of captured combatants is a war crime, and Libyan civilian and military authorities have an obligation to investigate war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law.

[Download the full report]
Read the Press Release – Libya: New Proof of Mass Killings at Gaddafi Death Site

Selected Advance Access Articles

Creating a Frame: A Spatial Approach to Random Sampling of Immigrant Households in Inner City Johannesburg
By Gayatri Singh and Benjamin D. Clark
Journal of Refugee Studies.
Link:-  http://jrs.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/10/27/jrs.fes031.1.short?rss=1

Sampling in an Urban Environment: Overcoming Complexities and Capturing Differences.
By Joanna Vearey
Journal of Refugee Studies
Link:-  http://jrs.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/10/27/jrs.fes032.1.short?rss=1

Gutters, Gates, and Gangs: Collaborative Sampling in ‘Post-Violence’ Johannesburg.
By Jean-Pierre Misago and Loren B. Landau.
Journal of Refugee Studies.
Link:-  http://jrs.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/10/27/jrs.fes033.1.short?rss=1

Quantitative Methodological Dilemmas in Urban Refugee Research: A Case Study of Johannesburg.
By Darshan Vigneswaran and Joel Quirk.
Journal of Refugee Studies
Link:-  http://jrs.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/10/27/jrs.fes035.1.short?rss=1

Readmission Agreements of EU Member States: A Case for EU Subsidiarity or Dualism?
By Marion Panizzon.
Refugee Survey Quarterly.
Link:- http://rsq.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2012/11/02/rsq.hds014.short?rss=1

 

New Publications from Human Rights Watch

The following reports have recently been published by the Human Rights Watch organization:

Spiraling Violence

Spiraling Violence

Spiraling Violence: Boko Haram Attacks and Security Force Abuses in Nigeria
By Human Rights Watch.

This 98-page report catalogues atrocities for which Boko Haram has claimed responsibility. It also explores the role of Nigeria’s security forces, whose own alleged abuses contravene international human rights law and might also constitute crimes against humanity. The violence, which first erupted in 2009, has claimed more than 2,800 lives.

The report, which includes a photo essay, is based on field research in Nigeria between July 2010 and July 2012, and the continuous monitoring of media reports of Boko Haram attacks and statements since 2009. Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed 135 people, including 91 witnesses and victims of Boko Haram violence or security forces abuses, as well as lawyers, civil society leaders, government officials, and senior military and police personnel.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Further Details and Press Release.

Toxic Tanneries

Toxic Tanneries

Toxic Tanneries: The Health Repercussions of Bangladesh’s Hazaribagh Leather
By Human Rights Watch.

This report documents an occupational health and safety crisis among tannery workers, both men and women, including skin diseases and respiratory illnesses caused by exposure to tanning chemicals, and limb amputations caused by accidents in dangerous tannery machinery. Residents of Hazaribagh slums complain of illnesses such as fevers, skin diseases, respiratory problems, and diarrhea, caused by the extreme tannery pollution of air, water, and soil. The government has not protected the right to health of the workers and residents, has consistently failed to enforce labor or environmental laws in Hazaribagh, and has ignored High Court orders to clean up these tanneries.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Further Details and Press Release.

 

Abusive System

Abusive System

Abusive System: Failures of Criminal Justice in Gaza
By Human Rights Watch

This 43-page report documents extensive violations by Hamas security services, including warrantless arrests, failure to inform families promptly of detainees’ whereabouts, and subjecting detainees to torture. It also documents violations of detainees’ rights by prosecutors and courts. Military courts frequently try civilians, in violation of international law. Prosecutors often deny detainees access to a lawyer, and courts have failed to uphold detainees’ due process rights in cases of warrantless arrest and abusive interrogations, Human Rights Watch found.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Further Details and Press Release.

 

“Like a Death Sentence”

“Like a Death Sentence”

“Like a Death Sentence”: Abuses against Persons with Mental Disabilities in Ghana.
By Human Rights Watch

This report describes how thousands of people with mental disabilities are forced to live in psychiatric institutions and spiritual healing centers, often against their will and with little possibility of challenging their confinement. In psychiatric hospitals, people with mental disabilities face overcrowding and unsanitary conditions. In some of the spiritual healing centers, popularly known as prayer camps, they are often chained to trees, frequently in the baking sun, and forced to fast for weeks as part of a “healing process,” while being denied access to medications.

The report also highlights the challenges of people with mental disabilities who live in the community, who face stigma and discrimination and often lack adequate shelter, food, and healthcare.

 

For a Better Life

For a Better Life

For a Better Life: Migrant Worker Abuse in Bahrain and the Government Reform Agenda
By Human Rights Watch

This 123-page report documents the many forms of abuse and exploitation suffered by migrant workers in Bahrain and details the government’s efforts to provide redress and strengthen worker protections. Bahraini authorities need to implement labor safeguards and redress mechanisms already in place and prosecute abusive employers, Human Rights Watch said. The government should extend the 2012 private sector labor law to domestic workers, who are excluded from key protections.

[Download Full Report and also Download the Appendices and also Download the summary and recommendations: Photo feature]
See Also – Further Details and Press Release.

 

“Will I Get My Dues … Before I Die?”

“Will I Get My Dues … Before I Die?”

“Will I Get My Dues … Before I Die?”: Harm to Women from Bangladesh’s Discriminatory Laws on Marriage, Separation, and Divorce
By Human Rights Watch

This 109-page report documents how the country’s discriminatory and archaic personal laws impoverish many women at separation or divorce, and trap some women in violent marriages because they fear destitution. Current laws deprive women of an equal right to marital property. The limited entitlements these laws offer women are poorly enforced by family courts and local government arbitration councils. Female-headed households and women facing domestic violence struggle to access critical state support and social assistance. Together, these problems mean there is scant economic protection or security for women when marriages break down.

[Download Full Report and also Download the Report in Bengali]
See Also – Further Details and Press Release.

 

Ad Hoc and Inadequate

Ad Hoc and Inadequate

Ad Hoc and Inadequate: Thailand’s Treatment of Refugees and Asylum Seekers
By Human Rights Watch

This 143-page report finds that Thai refugee policies are not grounded in law and cause refugees of all nationalities to be exploited and unnecessarily detained and deported. The report focuses on the plight of Burmese refugees, the largest current refugee group in Thailand. It examines treatment and conditions of both Burmese refugees inside the camps on the Thai-Burma border and Burmese outside the camps, who are not officially recognized as refugees. The report also looks at the impact of political changes in Burma on the prospects for repatriation and the obstacles to resolving this protracted refugee situation.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Further Details and Press Release.

 

Classrooms in the Crosshairs

Classrooms in the Crosshairs

Classrooms in the Crosshairs: Military Use of Schools in Yemen’s Capital
By Human Rights Watch

This 46-page report details the occupation of schools by government security forces, militias, and opposition armed groups, risking the lives and education of tens of thousands of students. Forces on both sides used schools as barracks, bases, surveillance posts, and firing positions. Combatants also stored weapons and ammunition, detained prisoners, and in some cases tortured or otherwise abused detainees on school grounds or in school buildings.

[Download Full Report]
See Also – Further Details and Press Release.

 

“Between Two Sets of Guns”

“Between Two Sets of Guns”

“Between Two Sets of Guns”: Attacks on Civil Society Activists in India’s Maoist Conflict
By Human Rights Watch

The 60-page report documents human rights abuses against activists in India’s Orissa, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh states. Human Rights Watch found that grassroots activists who deliver development assistance and publicize abuses in Maoist conflict areas are at particular risk of being targeted by government security forces and Maoist insurgents, known as Naxalites. Maoists frequently accuse activists of being informers and warn them against implementing government programs. The police demand that they serve as informers, and those that refuse risk being accused of being Maoist supporters and subject to arbitrary arrest and torture. The authorities use sedition laws to curtail free speech and also concoct criminal cases to lock up critics of the government.

[Download Full Report and Download the full report in Oriya]
See Also – Further Details and Press Release.

 

"Even a 'Big Man' Must Face Justice"

“Even a ‘Big Man’ Must Face Justice”

“Even a ‘Big Man’ Must Face Justice”: Lessons from the Trial of Charles Taylor
By Human Rights Watch

This 55-page report analyzes the practice and impact of Taylor’s trial by the United Nations-backed Special Court for Sierra Leone. The report examines the conduct of the trial, including issues related to efficiency, fairness, and witnesses and sources. It also examines the court’s efforts to make its proceedings accessible to communities most affected by the crimes, and perceptions and initial impact of the trial in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

[Download Full Report and Télécharger le résumé et les recommandations en français]
See Also – Further Details and Press Release.

 

Torture in the Name of Treatment

Torture in the Name of Treatment

Torture in the Name of Treatment: Human Rights Abuses in Vietnam, China, Cambodia, and Lao PDR
By Human Rights Watch

More than 350,000 people identified as drug users are held in compulsory drug “treatment” centers in China and Southeast Asia. Detainees are held without due process for periods of months or years and may be subjected to physical and sexual abuse, torture, and forced labor. International donors and UN agencies have supported and funded drug detention centers, while centers have systematically denied detainees access to evidence-based drug dependency treatment and HIV prevention services. “Torture in the Name of Treatment,” summarizes Human Rights Watch’s findings over five years of research in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Lao PDR.

[Download the Brochure]
See Also – Further Details and Press Release.