Blog Archive

ISIS Tortured Young Captured Boys

Kurdish children from the Syrian city of Kobani (or Ain al-`Arab in Arabic) were tortured and abused while detained by Islamic State (ISIS). Four children gave detailed accounts to Human Rights Watch of the suffering they endured while held for four months with about 100 other children. The children, aged 14 to 16, were among 153 Kurdish boys whom ISIS abducted on May 29, 2014, as they traveled home to Kobani. According to Syrian Kurdish officials and media reports, ISIS released the last 25 of the children on October 29.

Malala Wins The Nobel Peace Prize

On a crowded bus in northwestern Pakistan two years ago, a Taliban gunman fired a bullet into the head of Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old schoolgirl and outspoken activist. She survived her severe injuries and went on to become an amazing advocate, global celebrity and, in early October, the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize alongside the Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi. Yet since that decisive gunshot in October 2012, Ms. Yousafzai has told a very compelling story.

Satyarthi The Key to Freedom For Children

Satyarthi founded the grassroots organization, the name of which translates as Save the Childhood Movement, in 1983 to help free little boys and girls from forced labor. In India, economic pressures force poor and marginalized families to hand over their children as bonded labor in lieu of loans, or children end up working alongside their families in bondage. For his work— identifying and rescuing children from slavery with the help of other organizations, and helping them— Satyarthi was awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize last month.

Afghanistan's Sexual Assualt Problem

Afghanistan’s new government should take urgent steps to combat sexual harassment of women in education, employment, and public life. There are no laws in Afghanistan that specifically prohibit sexual harassment or protect victims. Government institutions lack effective policies to prevent and punish sexual harassment.

Children Need Some Help

Many children in both India and Pakistan don’t make it to school at all. Instead, they end up as child workers. Human Rights Watch has found that employers sometimes prefer children—even when adults are available because they are cheaper and easier to control. According to the International Labour Organization, there are still 168 million child workers in the world—more than half, 85 million, are in hazardous work.

Transgenders In Danger

The Malaysian government should urgently seek the repeal of all laws and regulations that discriminate against transgender people, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Transgender people in Malaysia face criminal prosecution under laws that effectively prohibit “cross-dressing” and discrimination in accessing employment, health care, and education. Transgender people in Malaysia risk arrest every day they step out of their door simply because of the way they express themselves. The authorities shouldn’t be harassing and punishing people just for being who they are.

Kids With Disabilities Are Being Mistreated

In Russia, many children that have the misfortunate chance of having some sort of disability are being mistreated. Nearly 30 percent of all children with disabilities in Russia live in state orphanages where they may face violence and neglect.

UN Event Is A Chance To Make it Happen

Governments should make an urgent commitment to protect people from the harmful effects of mercury by signing and ratifying the new Minamata Convention on Mercury. They should make a firm commitment to protect people and environment from the poisonous and even deadly effects of mercury. Human Rights Watch has documented the harmful effects on humans from using mercury in small-scale gold mining – the biggest sector using mercury globally – in Mali, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, and Papua New Guinea.

Californian Kids Imprisoned Getting Hope

On September 27, 2014, Brown signed Assembly Bill 1276, which requires the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to conduct committee-based, specialized review of each person under age 22 entering prison to consider placing them at a lower security level facility with increased access to educational and self-help programs. California’s new law has the potential to dramatically change the lives of thousands of young offenders. With this law California will help protect the young people it sends to prison from being raped, beaten, or forced to join gangs.

Schools Supply Shelter but For How Long

In Iraq, when the Islamic State drove waves of people from the Sinjar area of Iraq in early August, most of them members of the Yazidi minority group, they fled first to the mountains and then to the relative safety of Iraqi Kurdistan. They camped out in whatever unoccupied structures they could find. Now more than 600 schools are filled with desperate families struggling to come to terms with the trauma of the mass killings, abductions, and sexual violence by the Islamic State that decimated their communities.