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Human Rights Watch

May 14, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
BEIRUT -- Gruesome video footage purportedly showing a Syrian rebel commander mutilating the corpse of a dead soldier while shouting sectarian insults has drawn condemnation from Human Rights Watch and focused renewed attention on battlefield atrocities in Syria. A statement by the New York-based rights group cites a video circulating widely on the Internet that appears to show the insurgent leader using a knife to cut the heart and liver from the corpse and then putting the heart in his mouth.
April 11, 2014 | By Vincent Bevins
RIO DE JANEIRO - As the 2014 World Cup tournament nears, efforts to reform Rio de Janeiro's police forces remain, like many of the Brazilian soccer stadiums themselves, a work in progress. Seeking to improve public safety, police have established a permanent presence in many of the city's slums, and attempted to replace sporadic, war-like operations against criminals with numbers-based community policing. Now, some of the city's slums, known as favelas , are considered safe for tourists.
March 20, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
Syria'sarmed rebels have committed "serious human rights abuses," including kidnappings and torture, and reportedly executions, of security personnel and civilians, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday. The group painted a dark picture that is in stark contrast to the "freedom fighter" image that the rebels and their political allies outside Syria have sought to project to the world. In an open letter to the opposition, Human Rights Watch depicts a decentralized, disparate guerrilla structure in which armed groups seem to operate with complete autonomy, sometimes acting on sectarian motives to kidnap and kill security force members and civilians considered pro-government.
April 10, 2014 | By Alexandra Zavis
The United Nations Security Council on Thursday unanimously authorized a nearly 12,000-member peacekeeping force for the Central African Republic, where fighting between Christians and Muslims has been raging for months. The U.N. force will take over Sept. 15 from nearly 6,000 African Union troops already deployed in the country, many of whom are expected to be incorporated into the new operation. A separate 2,000-member force sent by former colonial ruler France is authorized to support the U.N. mission.
January 16, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Both sides in South Sudan's new war have committed "appalling crimes," according to a Human Rights Watch report Thursday, offering a grim picture of massacres, ethnic killings and looting of humanitarian aid. The organization said a credible independent investigation was required, calling on the African Union to broaden its planned inquiry into atrocities to make it "truly independent and credible. " It also called for United Nations sanctions against individuals found to be responsible for crimes.
May 11, 2011 | By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
A human rights group urged Bangladesh on Tuesday to end torture, extrajudicial killings and related abuses by an elite anticrime force that the organization said had killed nearly 200 people since January 2009, including many allegedly executed while in the unit's custody. Human Rights Watch further called on the Asian nation to disband the Rapid Action Battalion if its record doesn't improve. Brad Adams, the group's Asia director, said he doesn't have an exact figure for the number of the reported deaths involved extrajudicial killings since the government of Prime Minister Sheik Hasina Wajed came to power 28 months ago, in part because Human Rights Watch didn't investigate every case.
December 14, 2004 | John Hendren, Times Staff Writer
Four U.S. soldiers were accused of murder in the 2002 death of a detainee in Afghanistan but the charges against all but one eventually were dropped, according to Pentagon officials who confirmed the previously undisclosed case Monday after it was uncovered by a human rights group. The Pentagon also confirmed the death of another detainee in Afghanistan this year, bringing the number of known deaths of prisoners there to eight, according to defense officials and recently released documents.
July 19, 2009 | Dennis Lim
In addition to research and advocacy work, the Human Rights Watch organization has long promoted socially conscious cinema as an instrument of awareness and change: It runs an annual film festival and collaborates on releases with the distributor First Run Features. "The Human Rights Watch DVD Collection," issued this week by First Run ($79.95), brings together seven films that span decades, continents and a host of political conflicts.
September 7, 2007 | Ken Ellingwood, Times Staff Writer
A U.S. human rights group Thursday charged that most of the civilian deaths in Lebanon during last year's war resulted from "indiscriminate" bombardment by Israel rather than from Hezbollah's battlefield tactics. Human Rights Watch, based in New York, said Israel often fired before determining whether its targets were civilian or militant, despite international law aimed at protecting noncombatants.
Russian forces routinely and illegally imprison, beat and torture civilians in the rebel republic of Chechnya, and the Russian government has made no concerted effort to investigate or prosecute the abuses, a human rights group said in a report released today.
March 14, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Explosions and fighting broke out early Friday in the troubled northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, as dozens of insurgents attacked a military barracks holding rebel detainees, according to government officials. It was unclear how many prisoners had been freed in the attack on the Giwa barracks, which left dozens dead, most of them insurgents, Nigerian authorities said. Borno state police chief Lawal Tanko told the state-owned News Agency of Nigeria that local media reports of an additional attack on the university were erroneous.
March 11, 2014
Mohammad Qasim Fahim Influential Afghan vice president Influential Afghan Vice President Mohammad Qasim Fahim, 57, a leading commander in the alliance that fought the Taliban who was later accused with other warlords of targeting civilian areas during the country's civil war, died Sunday of natural causes in Kabul. He had diabetes and other ailments. Fahim was an ethnic Tajik who was the top deputy of Ahmad Shah Massoud, the charismatic Northern Alliance commander who was killed in an Al Qaeda suicide bombing two days before the Sept.
March 9, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, has made substantial progress in the last few years, moving from military rule toward democracy, releasing political prisoners and freeing from house arrest Nobel Prize-winning democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi. However, the government has relentlessly continued its appalling treatment of the Rohingya population that lives in Rakhine state in western Myanmar. A Muslim minority in an overwhelmingly Buddhist country, the Rohingya are effectively denied citizenship unless they can meet onerous requirements, such as tracing their lineage back decades.
March 7, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The International Criminal Court on Friday handed down the second conviction in its 12-year history, finding former Congolese warlord Germain Katanga guilty on four counts of war crimes and one count of crimes against humanity. Katanga, a leader of the Patriotic Resistance Force in Ituri, one of the myriad armed militias in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, was found guilty of being an accomplice to murders and pillage during a 2003 attack on the village of Bogoro.
March 3, 2014 | By Laura King and Amro Hassan
CAIRO - Two police officers on Monday were given 10-year prison terms in the killing of a young Egyptian activist whose gruesome death in 2010 galvanized outrage over police brutality and helped fuel the massive uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The sentences, handed down by a criminal court in the port city of Alexandria, followed a retrial of the two officers, who previously had been convicted and sentenced to shorter jail terms. That verdict was later overturned. The victim, Khaled Said, was beaten to death in what witnesses described as a vicious attack by police.
February 28, 2014 | By Mery Mogollon and Chris Kraul
CARACAS, Venezuela -- The Venezuelan government was seeking to arrest a top associate of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez on Friday as the official death toll from more than two weeks of violence in the country rose to 17. Protests continued to rage in parts of Venezuela, despite a days-long holiday declared by President Nicolas Maduro beginning Thursday in hope of damping the demonstrations and violence. Many businesses sent employees home through at least Tuesday. Clashes between demonstrators and government supporters and authorities were reported Friday in eastern Tachira and central Aragua states.
March 8, 2004 | Paul Watson, Times Staff Writer
U.S. troops in Afghanistan use excessive force during arrests, mistreat prisoners and commit other human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch charged in a report released today. "In doing so, the United States is endangering the lives of Afghan civilians, undermining efforts to restore the rule of law in Afghanistan, and calling into question its commitment to upholding basic rights," the New York-based human rights group said in its report.
February 28, 2007 | Josh Meyer, Times Staff Writer
A human rights group Tuesday published the names of 38 men and one woman it believes have been locked up in secret overseas facilities, and asked President Bush to disclose the identity and fate of all detainees the CIA has held since 2001. Among those that Human Rights Watch suspects of being held by the CIA now or at one time is Khalid Zawahiri, an Egyptian allegedly picked up in the South Waziristan region of Pakistan in February 2004.
February 24, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Human rights groups and Western leaders condemned harsh anti-gay legislation signed into law Monday by Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, calling it draconian, offensive and an affront to basic rights. But Ugandan officials and parliamentarians, including David Bahati, who introduced the law in parliament, celebrated the move. Bahati posted a thank you message to Museveni on his Facebook page: "If you are involved in the gay and lesbianism lifestyle you are liable to life imprisonment.
February 12, 2014 | By Tracy Wilkinson
MEXICO CITY -- Scores of people have been killed in brutal land battles in rural Honduras but authorities have failed -- or refused -- to investigate, possibly bowing to moneyed interests, a new report says. The violence in the Bajo Aguan valley has come from many sources, including private security guards hired by huge landholders making millions of dollars from  palm oil; government forces accused of abuses including arbitrary arrests and torture; and peasant groups, who contend their land has been stolen, according to the study.
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