World Report 2018 Book

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1 A M U H N S T H G I R C W A T H D R E P O O R T| 2 0 1 8 W R L S 7 0 2 O 1 T N E V E F

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4 Copyright © 2017 Human Rights Watch All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America ISBN-13: 978-1-60980-814-3 Cover photo: Abdul Kareem, a Rohingya Muslim, carries his mother, Alima Khatoon, to a refugee camp after crossing from Burma into Bangladesh on Sept. 16, 2017. © 2017 Dar Yasin/AP Cover and book design by Rafael Jiménez g w w . h r w . o r w

5 Human Rights Watch defends the rights of people worldwide. We scrupulously investigate abuses, expose facts widely, and pressure those with power to respect rights and secure justice. Human Rights Watch is an independent, international organization that works as part of a vibrant movement to uphold human dignity and advance the cause of human rights for all. Human Rights Watch began in 1978 with the founding of its Europe and Central Asia division (then known as Helsinki Watch). Today it also includes divisions covering Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe and Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and the United States. There are thematic divisions or programs on arms; business and human rights; children’s rights; disability rights; the environment and human rights; health and human rights; international justice; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights; refugees; terrorism and counter - terrorism; women’s rights; and emergencies. The organization maintains offices in Amman, Amsterdam, Beirut, Berlin, Bishkek, Brussels, Chicago, Geneva, Goma, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Kiev, Kigali, Kinshasa, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Moscow, Nairobi, New York, Paris, San Francisco, São Paulo, Seoul, Silicon Valley, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Tunis, Washington DC, and Zurich, and field presences in more than 40 other locations globally. Human Rights Watch is an independent, nongovernmental organization, supported by contributions from private individuals and foundations worldwide. It accepts no government funds, directly or indirectly. The leadership includes Kenneth Roth, Executive Director; Michele Alexander, Deputy Executive Director, Development and Global Initiatives; Iain Levine, Deputy Executive Director, Program; Nic Dawes, Deputy Executive Director, Media; Bruno Stagno Ugarte, Deputy Executive Director, Advocacy; and Chuck Lustig, Deputy Executive Director, Operations.

6 HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH The staff includes Kenneth Roth, Executive Director; Michele Alexander, Deputy Executive Director, Development and Global Initiatives; Nic Dawes, Deputy Executive Director, Media; Iain Levine, Deputy Executive Director, Program; Chuck Lustig, Deputy Executive Director, Operations; Bruno Stagno Ugarte, Deputy Executive Director, Advocacy; Chris Albin-Lackey, Senior Legal Advisor; Walid Ayoub, Information Technology Director; Pierre Bairin, Media Director; Clive Baldwin, Senior Legal Advisor; Liba Beyer, Director, Global Campaigns; Laura Boardman, Managing Director, Development and Global Initiatives; Philippe Bolopion, Deputy Director for Global Advocacy; Grace Choi, Director, Publications and Information Design; Matthew Collins-Gibson, Managing Director, Leadership Gifts; Emma Daly, Communications Director; Alan Feldstein, Associate General Counsel; Barbara Pirto, Director of Finance; Jasmine Herlt, Managing Director, Development and Global Initiatives; Kristine Jensen, Senior Director, Foundations and Program Liaison; Miriam Mahlow, Managing Director, Development and Global Initiatives; Veronica Matushaj, Director, Documentary Video and Photography; Stephen Northfield, Digital Director; Babatunde Olugboji, Deputy Program Director; Dinah PoKempner, General Counsel; Tom Porteous, Deputy Program Director; Aisling Reidy, Senior Legal Advisor; James Ross, Legal and Policy Director; Joseph Saunders, Deputy Program Director; Frances Sinha, Global Human Resources Director; and Minky Worden, Director of Global Initiatives. Division directors of Human Rights Watch are Brad Adams, Asia; John Biaggi, International Film Festival; Peter Bouckaert, Emergencies; Richard Dicker, International Justice; Bill Frelick, Refugees; Arvind Ganesan, Business and Human Rights; Liesl Gerntholtz, Women’s Rights; Steve Goose, Arms; Nadim Houry, Terrorism and Counterterrorism; Diederik Lohman, Health and Human Rights; Zama Neff, Children’s Rights; Marcos Orellana, Environment and Human Rights; Alison Parker, United States; Shantha Rau Barriga, Disability Rights; Graeme Reid, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights; Mausi Segun, Africa; José Miguel Vivanco, Americas; Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa; and Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia.

7 Advocacy directors of Human Rights Watch are Maria Laura Canineu, Brazil; Louis Charbonneau, United Nations–New York; Farida Deif, Canada; Kanae Doi, Japan; John Fisher, United Nations–Geneva; Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia; Bénédicte Jeannerod, Paris; Lotte Leicht, European Union; Sarah Margon, Washington DC; David Mepham, UK; Wenzel Michalski, Berlin; Måns Molander, Stockholm; and Elaine Pearson, Australia. Board of Directors members are Hassan Elmasry, Co-Chair; Robert Kissane, Co-Chair; Michael G. Fisch, Vice Chair and Treasurer; Oki Matsumoto, Vice Chair; Amy Rao, Vice Chair; Amy Towers, Vice Chair; Catherine Zennström, Vice Chair; Bruce Rabb, Secretary; Karen Herskovitz Ackman; Akwasi Aidoo; Jorge Castañeda; George Coelho; Natasha Dolby; Lawton Fitt; Leslie Gilbert-Lurie; Paul Gray; Caitlin Heising; Betsy Karel; David Lakhdhir; Kimberly Marteau Emerson; Alicia Miñana; Joan R. Platt, Neil Rimer; Shelley Rubin; Ambassador Robin Sanders; Jean-Louis Servan-Schreiber; Sidney Sheinberg; Bruce Simpson; Joseph Skrzynski AO; Donna Slaight; Siri Stolt-Nielsen; Darian W. Swig; Makoto Takano; and Marie Warburg. Emeritus Board Members are Joel Motley, Chair, 2013-2016; James F. Hoge, Jr., Chair, 2010-2013; Jane Olson, Chair 2004-2010; Jonathan F. Fanton, Chair, 1998-2003; Robert L. Bernstein, Founding Chair, 1979-1997; Lisa Anderson; David M. Brown; William D. Carmichael; Michael E. Gellert; Vartan Gregorian; Alice H. Henkin; Stephen L. Kass; Wendy Keys; Bruce Klatsky; Joanne Leedom-Ackerman; Josh Mailman; Susan Manilow; Samuel K. Murumba; Peter Osnos; Kathleen Peratis; Marina Pinto Kaufman; Sigrid Rausing; Victoria Riskin; Orville Schell; Gary Sick; Malcolm B. Smith; and John J. Studzinski.

8 P 8 0 2 T R O 1 E R D L R O W Table of Contents I I I V Foreword 1 The Pushback Against the Populist Challenge h K y b t o t h e n R n e COUNTRIES 15 Afghanistan... 17 Algeria... 23 Angola... 29 Argentina... 34 41 Armenia ... 48 Australia... Azerbaijan... 54 Bahrain... 60 65 Bangladesh... Belarus ... 72 Bolivia ... 77 Bosnia and Herzegovina... 83 88 Brazil... Burma ... 98 107 Burundi... 113 Cambodia ... Canada... 118 125 Central African Republic... Chile ... 132 137 China... Colombia... 152

9 S N E T N O C T F O E L B A T Côte d’Ivoire... 160 Cuba... 166 Democratic Republic of Congo... 173 Ecuador... 178 185 Egypt... Equatorial Guinea... 195 Eritrea... 201 Ethiopia... 207 European Union... 213 235 Gambia ... 241 Georgia ... Guatemala ... 247 Haiti... 252 Honduras ... 257 261 India ... Indonesia... 270 Iran... 277 Iraq... 285 Israel/Palestine... 291 301 Japan ... Jordan... 305 Kazakhstan... 311 Kenya ... 317 Kuwait... 324 329 Kyrgyzstan ... Lebanon... 335 Libya... 343 Malaysia ... 352 Mali ... 359 Mexico... 365

10 P 8 0 2 T R O 1 E R D L R O W Morocco and Western Sahara... 375 Mozambique... 382 Nepal... 387 Nigeria ... 391 398 North Korea... Oman... 403 Pakistan ... 409 Papua New Guinea... 417 Peru... 423 429 Philippines ... 436 Qatar ... Russia... 440 Rwanda... 453 Saudi Arabia... 460 469 Serbia... Kosovo... 474 Singapore ... 479 Somalia ... 483 South Africa... 489 495 South Korea ... South Sudan ... 501 Sri Lanka... 507 Sudan... 513 Swaziland... 520 525 Syria ... Tajikistan... 535 Tanzania and Zanzibar ... 541 Thailand... 546 Tunisia ... 554 Turkey... 560

11 S N E T N O C T F O E L B A T Turkmenistan... 568 Uganda ... 574 Ukraine... 580 United Arab Emirates... 586 591 United States... Uzbekistan ... 609 Venezuela... 617 Vietnam ... 625 Yemen... 631 638 Zimbabwe...

12 O O E R D L R P W R T 2 0 1 8 Foreword World Report 2018 is Human Rights Watch’s 28th 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 late 2016 through November 2017. In his keynote essay, “The Pushback Against the Populist Challenge,” Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth says that the surge of authoritar- ian populists appears less inevitable than it did a year ago. Then, there seemed no stopping a series of politicians around the globe who claimed to speak for “the people” but built followings by demonizing unpopular minorities, attacking human rights principles, and fueling distrust of democratic institutions. Today, a popular reaction in a broad range of countries, bolstered by some political lead- ers with the courage to stand up for human rights, has left the fate of many of these populist agendas more uncertain. “Where the pushback is strong, populist advances have been limited,” Roth explains, “but where capitulation meets their message of hate and exclusion, the populists flourish.” Preoccupied with the internal domestic struggle over the populist agenda, many of the world’s democracies, including the United States and the United King- dom, have been less willing than before to promote human rights abroad. China and Russia have sought to fill that leadership void by advancing an anti-rights agenda. But several small and medium-sized governments, often backed by gal- vanized publics, have also stepped into the breach. They include France, the Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, and even tiny Liechtenstein. Though lacking the clout of the major powers, they have succeeded in building coali- tions that exert serious pressure on the anti-rights agenda and in trumpeting the advantages of governments that are accountable to their people rather than to their officials’ empowerment and enrichment. However, where other priorities stand in the way of a strong defense of human rights, the populists and autocrats have flourished. Roth cites Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Burma as examples of countries where a lack of international pressure has enabled governments to crush domestic dissent and, at times, to commit large-scale atrocities. “A fair assessment of global prospects for human rights,” Roth concludes, “should induce concern rather than surrender—a call to action rather than a cry of despair.” The populist surge is hardly inevitable and can be reversed if governments and the public are willing to make the effort. V I I I

13 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H The rest of the volume consists of individual country entries, each of which iden- tifies significant human rights abuses, examines the freedom of local human rights defenders to conduct their work, and surveys the response of key interna- tional actors, such as the United Nations, European Union, African Union, United States, China, and various regional and international organizations and institu- tions. The book reflects extensive investigative work that Human Rights Watch staff un- dertook in 2017, usually in close partnership with human rights activists and groups in the country in question. It also reflects the work of our advocacy team, which monitors policy developments and strives to persuade governments and international institutions to curb abuses and promote human rights. Human Rights Watch publications, issued throughout the year, contain more detailed accounts of many of the issues addressed in the brief summaries in this volume. They can be found on the Human Rights Watch website, www.hrw.org. As in past years, this report does not include a chapter on every country where Human Rights Watch works, nor does it discuss every issue of importance. The absence of a particular country or issue often simply reflects staffing or resource limitations and should not be taken as commentary on the significance of the problem. There are many serious human rights violations that Human Rights Watch simply lacks the capacity to address. The factors we considered in determining the focus of our work in 2017 (and hence the content of this volume) include the number of people affected and the severity of abuse, access to the country and the availability of information about it, the susceptibility of abusive forces to influence, and the importance of ad- dressing certain thematic concerns and of reinforcing the work of local rights or- ganizations. The World Report does not have separate chapters addressing our thematic work but instead incorporates such material directly into the country entries. Please consult the Human Rights Watch website for more detailed treatment of our work on children’s rights; women’s rights; arms and military issues; business and human rights; health and human rights; disability rights; the environment and human rights; international justice; terrorism and counterterrorism; refugees and displaced people; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people’s rights; and for information about our international film festivals. I X

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15 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H The Pushback Against the Populist Challenge Executive Director , h t o R h t e n n e B y K The surge of authoritarian populists appears less inevitable than it did a year ago. Then, there seemed no stopping a series of politicians around the globe who claimed to speak for “the people” but built followings by demonizing un- popular minorities, attacking human rights principles, and fueling distrust of democratic institutions. Today, a popular reaction in a broad range of countries, bolstered in some cases by political leaders with the courage to stand up for human rights, has left the fate of many of these populist agendas more uncer- tain. Where the pushback is strong, populist advances have been limited. But where capitulation meets their message of hate and exclusion, the populists flourish. The playing out of this struggle has made many Western powers in particular more inwardly oriented, leaving an increasingly fragmented world. With the United States led by a president who displays a disturbing fondness for rights- trampling strongmen, and the United Kingdom preoccupied by Brexit, two tradi- tional if flawed defenders of human rights globally are often missing in action. Buffeted by racist and anti-refugee political forces at home, Germany, France, and their European Union partners have not always been willing to pick up the slack. Democracies such as Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, and South Africa have been heard actively defending human rights rarely, at best. China and Russia have sought to take advantage of this vacuum. While focused on quelling any possibility of domestic mass protest against slowing economies and widespread official corruption, Presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin have aggressively asserted an anti-rights agenda in multinational forums and forged stronger alliances with repressive governments. Their avoidance of public over- sight has attracted the admiration of Western populists and autocrats around the world. The retreat of many governments that might have championed human rights has left an open field for murderous leaders and their enablers. Mass atrocities have proliferated with near impunity in countries such as Yemen, Syria, Burma, and South Sudan. International standards designed to prevent the most horrendous abuses, and emerging institutions of judicial response such as the International Criminal Court (ICC), are being challenged. 

16 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 In this hostile environment, a number of small and medium-sized countries have begun to assume greater leadership roles. By building broad coalitions, they have shown themselves capable of exerting serious pressure in defense of human rights. In some cases, they have been backed by an increasingly mobi- lized public. They cannot wholly substitute for the powers that have withdrawn, but their emergence shows that the drive to defend human rights is alive and well. Responding to Populism Real issues lie behind the surge of populism in many parts of the world: eco- nomic dislocation and inequality caused by globalization, automation, and tech- nological change; feared cultural shifts as the ease of transportation and communication fuels migration from war, repression, poverty, and climate change; societal divisions between cosmopolitan elites who welcome and bene- fit from many of these changes and those who feel their lives have become more precarious; and the traumatic drumbeat of terrorist attacks that demagogues use to fuel xenophobia and Islamophobia. Addressing these issues is not simple, but populists tend to respond less by pro- posing genuine solutions than by scapegoating vulnerable minorities and disfa- vored segments of society. The result has been a frontal assault on the values of inclusivity, tolerance, and respect that lie at the heart of human rights. Indeed, certain populists seem to relish breaking the taboos that embody these values. Invoking their self-serving interpretation of the majority’s desires, these pop- ulists seek to replace democratic rule—elected government limited by rights and the rule of law—with unfettered majoritarianism. Responding to this populist challenge requires not only addressing the legiti- mate grievances that underlie it but also reaffirming the human rights principles that populists reject. It requires trumpeting the advantages of governments that are accountable to their people rather than to their officials’ empowerment and enrichment. It requires demonstrating that all of our rights are at risk if we allow governments to select which people deserve respect for their rights. It requires reminding ordinary people that they need human rights as much as dissidents and vulnerable groups. 

17 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H The willingness of democratic leaders to take on this challenge and champion human rights has fluctuated. A year ago, as the populists seemed to have the wind at their backs, few dared. But in the past year, that has begun to change, to visible effect. Defending Rights France France provided the most prominent turning point. In other European countries— Austria and the Netherlands, foremost—centrist and center-right politicians com- peted with populists by adopting many of their nativist positions. They hoped to pre-empt the populists’ appeal but ended up reinforcing the populists’ message. Emmanuel Macron took a different approach during his presidential campaign. He openly embraced democratic principles, firmly rejecting the National Front’s efforts to foment hatred against Muslims and immigrants. His resulting victory and his party’s success in parliamentary elections showed that French voters overwhelmingly reject the National Front’s divisive policies. It remains to be seen how Macron governs. His move to make permanent many troubling aspects of France’s emergency law was a disturbing early step. In for- eign policy, he has shown leadership standing up to autocratic rule in Russia, Turkey, and Venezuela, and a willingness to support stronger collective European Union action against Poland’s and Hungary’s assault on rights. But he has been reluctant to confront widespread abuses in China, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. De- spite this mixed record, he showed during his campaign that a vigorous defense of democratic principles can attract broad public support. United States In reaction to the election of Donald Trump, the United States saw a broad reaf- firmation of human rights from many quarters. Trump won the presidency with a campaign of hatred against Mexican immigrants, Muslim refugees, and other racial and ethnic minorities, and an evident disdain for women. A powerful re- sponse came from civic groups, journalists, lawyers, judges, many members of the public, and sometimes even elected members of Trump’s own party. Trump was still able to take regressive steps by executive action—deporting many people without regard to their deep ties to the United States, reviving a 

18 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 cruel and discredited policy of mass incarceration of criminal offenders, easing oversight against police abuse, and restricting global funding for women’s repro- ductive health. But the resistance limited the harm that might have been done, most notably his efforts to discriminate against Muslims seeking to visit or obtain asylum in the United States, to undermine the right to health care in the US, to expel transgen- der people from the military, and even, in some cases, to deport long-term resi- dent immigrants. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson largely rejected the promotion of human rights as an element of US foreign policy while more broadly reducing the role of the US abroad by presiding over an unprecedented dismantling of the State Depart- ment. He refused to fill many senior posts, dismissed several veteran diplomats, slashed the budget, and let the department drift. Many career diplomats and mid-level officials resigned in despair. But as Trump embraced one autocrat after another, some of the remaining State Department officials, at times with Congressional support, did what they could to prevent a complete abandonment of the human rights principles that have played at least some role in guiding US foreign policy for four decades. They made it possible for Washington to still occasionally play a useful role, such as threatening targeted sanctions against the Burmese military officials behind the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority. Germany Germany over the past year made headlines when the Alternative for Germany (AfD) became the first far-right party to enter its parliament in decades. That as- cent cut into support for the ruling coalition including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party and complicated her task of forming a new governing coalition. Merkel’s preoccupation with domestic poli- tics, and her ongoing defense of her courageous 2015 decision to admit large numbers of asylum seekers to Germany, have ironically deprived Europe of a strong voice for the rights of refugees and immigrants—the most contentious issue on the continent today. That also left Macron without his most obvious Eu- ropean partner for resisting authoritarian populism. 

19 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Yet the German election also presented a lesson in how to address the far right. Beyond the economically depressed eastern parts of the country where wide- spread racism and xenophobia has not been tackled since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the AfD gained the most votes in wealthy Bavaria, where Merkel’s govern- ing partner, the Christian Social Union, adopted far more of the AfD’s nativist po- sitions than did Merkel’s CDU. Principled confrontation rather than calculated emulation turned out to be the more effective response. Poland and Hungary Central Europe has become especially fertile ground for populists, as certain leaders use fear of migration elsewhere in Europe to undermine checks and bal- ances on their power at home. But there, too, the populists encountered resist- ance. In Poland, amid large public protests and strong international criticism including from EU institutions, President Andrzej Duda vetoed the Polish government’s ini- tial attempt to undermine judicial independence and the rule of law, although the alternative he then advanced still fell short. In Hungary, the threat of EU legal action—as well as international condemnation, including from the United States—impeded the government’s plans to close Cen- tral European University, a bastion of independent thought that stood in opposi- tion to the “illiberal democracy” championed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban. In the case of Poland at least, there is growing recognition in EU institutions and some member states that its assaults on democratic rule pose a threat to the EU itself. And given Poland’s and Hungary’s position as major beneficiaries of EU funding, a debate is beginning on whether that aid should be linked to uphold- ing the EU’s basic values. Venezuela In Latin America, President Nicolás Maduro continued to eviscerate Venezuela’s democracy and economy under the guise of standing up for the little people and against those whom he calls the imperialists. But as his rule became more brutal and autocratic, his corrupt and incompetent management of the economy be- came painfully apparent. This potentially wealthy nation was left destitute de- 

20 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 spite its vast oil reserves, with many people desperately searching for food and medicine amid raging hyperinflation. People took to the streets in large numbers to protest. Some officials defected from his government. An unprecedented number of Latin American countries shed their traditional reluctance to criticize a neighbor’s repression. Others fol- lowed, including the EU. Maduro managed to stay in office, due largely to the violent repression he was willing to deploy. Taking advantage of a subservient Supreme Court and the Con- stituent Assembly that he created to take over legislative powers from the oppo- sition-controlled National Assembly, he carried out a brutal crackdown on dissent. But as the Venezuelan people continue their descent into poverty and misery, it is unclear how long they will let Maduro cling to power. A Struggle Deserving Support None of these examples of resistance to populist leaders is guaranteed success. Once in office, populists have the considerable advantage of being able to har- ness the power of the state. But the resistance shows that there is a struggle un- derway, that many people will not sit quietly as autocrats attack their basic rights and freedoms. Populists and Autocrats Fill a Vacuum By contrast, where domestic resistance was suppressed and international con- cern lacking, the populists and other anti-rights forces prospered. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for example, decimated Turkey’s democratic system with impunity, as the EU shifted its focus to enlisting his help to halt the flight of refugees to Europe. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi crushed public dissent in Egypt with little interference from the US or the EU. They bought into his narra- tive of combatting terrorism and ensuring stability, even though his ruthless sup- pression of any Islamic option in the country’s political process was exactly what militant Islamists wanted. With a seeming green light from Western allies, Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince, Mohamed bin Salman, led a coalition of Arab states in a war against Houthi rebels and their allies in Yemen that involved bombing and blockading 

21 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H civilians, greatly aggravating the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. Concern with stopping boat migration via Libya led the EU—particularly Italy—to train, fund, and guide Libyan coast guards to do what no European ships could legally do: forcibly return desperate migrants and refugees to hellish conditions of forced labor, rape, and brutal mistreatment. Putin’s efforts to repress opposition to his lengthening rule met little resistance from foreign governments more focused on his conduct in Ukraine and Syria than within Russia. Xi Jinping got away with little resistance to his imposition of the most intense crackdown since the brutal smothering of the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy movement because other nations were afraid to jeopardize lucrative Chinese contracts by standing up for the rights of the Chinese people. Indeed, when there was little international pushback to their behavior at home, repressive governments felt emboldened to manipulate and obstruct the interna- tional institutions that can defend rights. China detained its citizens who hoped to engage with United Nations bodies on its rights abuse. Russia cast no less than 11 vetoes to block any attempt by the UN Security Council to address Syrian government war crimes. Russia also threatened to withdraw from a key European oversight body on human rights if it maintained sanctions for the occupation of Crimea, while Azerbaijan bribed some members of that body, and Turkey threatened to withhold its budgetary contribution. Burundi threatened UN rights investigators themselves with retalia- tion. Burma and the Rohingya The cost of not standing up to populist attacks on human rights was perhaps starkest in Burma. Vitriolic nationalist rhetoric increasingly propagated by Bud- dhist extremists, senior members of the Burmese military, and some members of the civilian-led government helped to precipitate an ethnic cleansing campaign against Rohingya Muslims, following a militant group’s attacks on security out- posts. An army-led campaign of massacres, widespread rape, and mass arson in at least 340 villages sent more than 640,000 Rohingya refugees fleeing for their lives to neighboring Bangladesh. These are the very crimes that the international community had pledged never again to tolerate. 

22 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Yet the Western nations that had long taken an active interest in Burma were re- luctant to act, even by imposing targeted financial and travel sanctions on the army generals behind these crimes against humanity. In part, that reticence was because of geopolitical competition with China for the Burmese government’s favor. Also playing a part was the undue deference given to Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s de facto civilian leader, even though she has no real control over the military and showed no willingness to pay the political price of defending an unpopular mi- nority. The result was the fastest forced mass flight of people since the Rwandan genocide, with little immediate hope of the Rohingyas’ safe and voluntary return, or of bringing to justice the people behind the atrocities that sent them fleeing. Ultimately, nations of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called for a special session of the UN Human Rights Council where they supported a resolu- tion condemning Burma’s crimes against humanity. The effort was notable be- cause it represented a rare instance in which OIC members backed a resolution criticizing a particular country. Pushing Back Can Work Africa and the ICC One of the most encouraging responses to anti-rights autocrats could be found in Africa. The year was already notable for the toppling of two long-time tyrants. Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh lost a free and fair election to Adama Barrow, and when he refused to accept the results, was eased out of office by the threat of West African troops. Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe was ousted in a coup, though replaced by his former deputy, Emmerson Mnangagwa, a military leader with his own long record of abuse. Both countries saw large public protests against the long-serv- ing tyrants. Yet the African defense of rights was most impressive in response to populist at- tacks on international justice. As recently as a year ago, many African leaders, some with blood on their hands and fearing prosecution, were plotting a mass exodus of their countries from membership in the International Criminal Court. 

23 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Using populist rhetoric against what they claimed was neo-colonialism, they sought to portray the ICC as anti-African because, having taken seriously crimes against African people, it had concentrated its attention on the responsible African leaders. (Its reach was also limited by the refusal of some governments to ratify the ICC’s treaty and by the UN Security Council’s reluctance to refer other situations for investigation). But the mass exodus became a mass fizzle when only Burundi withdrew, in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to halt ICC investigation of alleged crimes against humanity committed under Pierre Nkurunziza as he violently extended his term as president. Gambia reversed its announced withdrawal after President Barrow took office. And the South African courts at least temporarily blocked President Jacob Zuma’s attempt to withdraw after he was embarrassed for flouting a court order to prevent Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, facing ICC warrants, from fleeing South Africa during a visit to avoid arrest. An outpouring of popular support for the ICC by civic groups across Africa helped to persuade most African governments to continue to stand behind the court. The ICC prosecutor also sought to extend the court’s reach by asking its judges for permission to investigate crimes by all sides in Afghanistan, including torture committed there by US soldiers and intelligence agents with impunity. The Big Role of Small States The past year saw an impressive willingness by small and medium-sized states to step into leadership roles when the major powers fell silent in the face of mass atrocities or even obstructed efforts to address them. This is hardly the first time that smaller states have taken the lead on rights is- sues. The ICC, the Mine Ban Treaty, the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the Op- tional Protocol on Child Soldiers, and the International Convention against Enforced Disappearance were all secured largely by global coalitions of small and medium-sized states operating without or despite the major powers. Yet the willingness of these alternative voices to take center stage was particularly im- portant in the past year as major powers largely walked off the stage or even tried to upend it. 

24 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Yemen The effort at the UN Human Rights Council to open an independent international investigation of abuses in Yemen was illustrative. A coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia pummeled Yemeni civilians; conducted airstrikes on homes, markets and hospitals; and blockaded urgently needed humanitarian aid and other goods. As a result, 7 million people faced starvation, and the country had nearly 1 million suspected cases of cholera. Opposing Houthi forces and their allies also used landmines, recruited child sol- diers, and blocked aid. Despite this grave situation, the idea of an investigation received at best lukewarm support from the United States, the United Kingdom, and France, all major sellers of arms to Saudi Arabia. None was eager to take a public stand. In that void, the Netherlands stepped in and took the lead, ulti- mately joined by Canada, Belgium, Ireland, and Luxembourg. The task was not easy. Saudi Arabia threatened to cut diplomatic and economic ties with any nation that supported the investigation. Yet in part because of that threat, and its implicit message that the wealthy should stand above scrutiny for their atrocities, Saudi Arabia was forced to capitulate to a UN investigation once it became clear it would most likely lose a contested vote. The hope now is that a group of investigators looking over the shoulders of the combatants in Yemen will compel better behavior. Syria In the case of Syria, Russia’s repeated vetoes and veto threats at the UN Security Council, sometimes joined by China, barred the only immediately available route to the International Criminal Court. Despite a growing international effort to dis- courage use of the veto in situations of mass atrocities, Russia and China, as well as the United States, have not signed on to these initiatives. To break that stalemate, the idea was floated to circumvent the Security Coun- cil’s veto system by seeking action in the UN General Assembly, where no state has veto power. Leadership in this effort came from the tiny nation of Liechten- stein, which built a broad coalition of governments. With their support, the Gen- eral Assembly ended up voting 105 to 15 to establish a mechanism to collect evidence and build cases for prosecution when venues ultimately become avail- able—an important commitment to see justice done. It also opens the door to  

25 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H the General Assembly possibly creating a special tribunal for Syria should Russia continue to block a path to justice at the ICC. The importance of this accountability was illustrated by the Syrian government’s ongoing use of banned nerve agents such as sarin despite having supposedly relinquished all chemical weapons after its notorious August 2013 use of sarin in Eastern Ghouta. Russia offered a cover story for an April 2017 episode in the northwestern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun—that a Syrian conventional bomb supposedly hit a rebel cache of sarin—but that theory was conclusively dis- proved, so Russia responded by vetoing continuation of a UN investigation. When a permanent member of the Security Council is willing to use its power to cover the atrocities of an ally—in this case, while also providing military sup- port—it is particularly important to explore alternative avenues for upholding the most basic rights. The Philippines The Philippines presented an especially brazen and deadly example of a pop- ulist challenge to human rights. As he had done previously as mayor of Davao City, President Rodrigo Duterte took office encouraging the police to kill drug suspects. The resulting epidemic of police shootings—often portrayed as “shootouts” but repeatedly shown to be summary executions—had left more than 12,000 people killed in the roughly year and a half since Duterte took office. The vast majority of victims were young men from the slums of major cities—peo- ple who elicited little sympathy among many Filipinos. The ongoing territorial dispute among China, the United States, and the Philip- pines over the South China Sea left little room for concern about executions. Donald Trump, as he has elsewhere, seemed mainly to admire Duterte’s “strong- man” qualities. Instead, a major source of pressure to stop the slaughter came from a collection of states led by Iceland that issued statements at the UN Human Rights Council. Duterte tried to disparage these “bleeding hearts” but ended up, under pres- sure, transferring authority to combat drugs, at least for a while, from the mur- derous police to a far more law-respecting drug agency. When the police were withdrawn from anti-drug operations, executions dropped precipitously.  

26 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Women’s Rights Several of today’s populists display a misogynist slant. In the past year, Russia decriminalized certain acts of domestic violence. Poland, already possessing one of the most restrictive abortion laws in Europe, is now limiting access to emergency contraception. Under Trump, the US government reintroduced an expanded “Global Gag Rule” that vastly reduces funding for essential health care for women and girls abroad. Yet there were rising voices in response. The Women’s March, convened initially as an American response to the election of Trump, morphed into a global phe- nomenon, with millions gathering in support of women’s human rights. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and French President Macron both iden- tified themselves as feminists, with Canada making the pursuit of gender equal- ity a central part of its aid programs and France announcing new measures to combat gender-based violence and sexual harassment. The Dutch, Belgian, and Scandinavian governments led efforts to establish an international reproductive rights fund to replace US funding lost through the Global Gag Rule, and Sweden pursued a “feminist foreign policy” that prioritizes the rights of women and girls in places such as Saudi Arabia. Responding in large part to the campaigning of women’s rights activists, three Middle Eastern and North African states—Tunisia, Jordan, and Lebanon—re- pealed provisions in their penal codes that allowed rapists to escape punish- ment by marrying their victims. LGBT Rights Sexual and gender minorities were a common target of governments seeking to rally conservative backers, often as a diversion from governance failures. Whether Putin in Russia, al-Sisi in Egypt, or Mugabe in Zimbabwe, leaders tried to stoke moral panic for their own political gain against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. Police in Indonesia, Tanzania, and Azerbaijan targeted LGBT people in public and raided private spaces with impunity. Regardless of its form, heightened persecution of LGBT people is a good indica- tion that the government is failing to deliver on public expectations. Yet the as- sumption that persecution of LGBT people would inevitably meet with approval is becoming less certain.  

27 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Most Latin American countries have moved squarely into the pro-LGBT rights camp in international forums, joining Japan along with many North American and European countries. Mozambique, Belize, Nauru and the Seychelles have in re- cent years all decriminalized same-sex conduct. This pushback manifested itself even in Russia. The detention, torture, enforced disappearance and murder of gay men by forces under Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov met such widespread outrage that Putin was compelled to rein in his brutal ally, ending the purge in this southern Russian republic. Yet else- where other priorities still sometimes got in the way, as in the response to anti- LGBT crackdowns in Egypt, where donors seemed reluctant to raise the issue for fear of offending a counterterrorism ally. Time to Act, Not Despair The central lesson of the past year is that despite the considerable headwinds, the defense of human rights can succeed if the proper efforts are made. Pop- ulists offer superficial answers to complex problems, but broad swathes of the public, when reminded of the human rights principles at stake, can be convinced to reject the populists’ scapegoating of unpopular minorities and their efforts to undermine checks and balances against government abuse. The inward orientation of Western powers wrought by the struggle over populism has led to an increasingly fragmented world where mass atrocities are too often left unchecked. Still, principled small and medium-sized countries can make a difference when they join forces and act strategically. A fair assessment of global prospects for human rights should induce concern rather than surrender—a call to action rather than a cry of despair. As we enter the 70th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the chal- lenge is to seize the considerable opportunities that remain to push back against those who would reverse hard-fought progress. Human rights standards provide guidance but become operational only with champions among governments and ordinary people. Each of us has a part to play. The past year shows that rights can be protected from populist assaults. The challenge now is to strengthen that defense and reverse the populist surge.  

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29 H U M A N R I G H T S W A T C H WORLD REPORT 2018 COUNTRIES

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31 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Afghanistan Fighting between Afghan government and Taliban forces intensified through 2017, causing high numbers of civilian casualties. Principally in Nangarhar province, government forces also battled the Islamic State of Khorason Province (ISKP), the Afghan branch of the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS). A number of particularly deadly suicide attacks in urban areas, some claimed by ISKP, killed and wounded more than 2,000 people across the coun- try. A growing number of these attacks targeted Afghanistan’s Shia Hazara mi- nority. Civilian casualties caused by government forces during ground fighting declined; however, US forces expanded their use of airstrikes, including drones, in military operations, causing increased civilian casualties. Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) continued to rely on irregular militia forces, some of which killed and assaulted civilians. War crimes suspect Gulbud- din Hekmatyar, one of several political figures accused of shelling Kabul during the 1990s, returned to Kabul as part of a 2016 peace deal with the government; clashes between his militia forces and rivals killed at least 20 civilians. Both the Taliban and ANSF used schools for military purposes, which, together with coun- trywide insecurity, deprived many children, especially girls, of access to educa- tion. The government made some progress in adopting legislation to curb torture, but failed to prosecute serious offenders. Promised reforms to end the use of unsci- entific and abusive “virginity examinations” for women taken into custody, and the imprisonment of women for so-called morality crimes, did not materialize. Only a fraction of the reported cases of violence against women resulted in pros- ecutions. The government announced that district council and parliamentary elections would be held in July 2018, three years behind schedule. However, po- litical infighting and security concerns threatened to delay the vote. Armed Conflict The United Nations Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) documented 2,640 war-related civilian deaths and 5,379 injuries in the first nine months of 2017, a slight decrease over the same period in 2016. The Taliban and groups claiming allegiance to ISKP were responsible for two-thirds of these. Civilian  

32 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 deaths and injuries by pro-government forces and their allies during ground en- gagements declined; however, those from aerial operations by government and international forces increased by 52 percent to 205 deaths and 261 injured. Insurgent attacks in major cities caused hundreds of civilian deaths and injuries. ISKP claimed responsibility for the March 8 attack on Kabul’s Daud Khan hospi- tal, the main treatment center for wounded Afghan soldiers, that killed at least 30 and wounded dozens. In that attack, insurgents reportedly dressed as doc- tors shot dead patients in their beds. The May 31 truck bomb that killed at least 92 and wounded more than 500 was the deadliest such attack ever in Kabul. Sui- cide attackers targeted Shia mosques in Kabul and Herat, killing more than 100. On August 3-5, local Taliban forces in Sar-i Pul province launched an assault on the village of Mirza Olang, following weeks of fighting between insurgents and Afghan Local Police (ALP) forces. According to UNAMA, the Taliban separated women and children from men, and shot dead at least nine ALP and other pro- government militia members, along with 27 male civilians; among them were four boys ages 13 to 17, and 13 men over 60. They also killed one woman as she was trying to flee. The commander responsible, a relative of the Taliban “shadow governor,” had self-identified as being affiliated with ISKP. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who fled from their homes due to the conflict surged as fighting intensified. More than 250,000 were dis- placed in the first 10 months of 2017, bringing the nationwide total to at least 1.7 million people. Among the displaced were hundreds of thousands of refugees coerced out of Pakistan with the support of the United Nations High Commis- sioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2016. Attacks on civilians contributed to depres- sion and other mental disabilities; Afghanistan has few community-based mental health services to provide treatment. Women’s and Girls’ Rights On March 12, the Attorney General’s Office issued a report on prosecutions under the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) law revealing that me- diation remains the preferred route for most prosecutors, which women are often compelled to accept due to pressure from family and justice officials. Reg- istered cases represent only a fraction of the actual crimes of violence against women. In late 2016, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission  

33 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H (AIHRC) investigated 5,575 cases, noting that most cases of violence against women go unreported. A long-standing effort to reform family law, including di- vorce provisions, remained stalled. On March 4, the revised penal code was adopted by presidential decree. It incor- porated all the provisions of the EVAW law, while strengthening the definition of rape. However, because a number of conservative members of parliament have opposed the EVAW law, some activists campaigned to preserve the law in its stand-alone form decreed in 2009. In response to their efforts, in August Presi- dent Ghani ordered the Ministry of Justice to remove the EVAW chapter from the new penal code. The controversial reversal has left the status of the law in limbo. A long-promised plan by the Afghan government to implement UN Security Coun- cil Resolution 1325, which calls for women’s equal participation in issues sur- rounding peace and security, was further delayed during the year. The Kabul Process peace talks in June included only two women among 47 government and international representatives. Deaths and injuries among women in the conflict increased sharply in 2017, with 298 deaths and 709 injured in the first nine months of the year. Most occurred as a result of suicide bombings and aerial attacks. Arbitrary Detention, Torture, and Discriminatory Practices An April report by UNAMA documented the highest levels of torture of conflict-re- lated detainees in police custody since 2010. The report singled out the Kanda- har police for torturing 91 percent of detainees by forcibly pumping water into their stomachs, crushing their testicles with clamps, suffocating them to the point of losing consciousness, and applying electric current to their genitals. In a significant sign of progress in curbing torture, the government in March en- acted anti-torture legislation, as part of the new penal code. The law left out a compensation system for victims of torture by state security forces, but in August the cabinet approved an annex to provide for victim redress. Although the Afghan Constitution prohibits torture, the new provisions expand the definition in conformity with the UN Convention Against Torture, and create a new monitoring body, the Commission Against Torture; however, as of December  

34 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 it was not clear whether this would include staff from the AIHRC. The government did not prosecute any senior officials accused of torture. In May, a report by the UN Committee Against Torture described “numerous and credible allegations” of severe human rights abuses, including torture and extra- judicial killings, and urged that all alleged perpetrators “be duly prosecuted and, if found guilty, convicted with penalties that are commensurate with the grave nature of their crimes.” In January 2017, the Afghan attorney general ordered nine of First Vice President Abdul Rashid Dostum’s guards to answer questions in connection with the ab- duction, illegal imprisonment, and sexual assault of rival Uzbek politician Ahmad Ischi. Dostum refused to allow his guards to report to the attorney gen- eral, who then settled for interviewing seven of them on the premises of Dos- tum’s compound. On November 1, seven of the bodyguards were convicted in absentia of sexual assault and illegal imprisonment, and sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. As of December 2017, none was in custody. In Afghanistan, same-sex relations are punishable by 5 to 15 years in prison under a law that bans all sex between individuals not married to each other. Freedom of Expression The year looked likely to surpass 2016 as the bloodiest since 2001 for Afghan journalists, with 10 killed in the first six months of the year, most of them victims of insurgent bombing attacks. Since January, the Afghan Journalists Safety Com- mittee (AJSC) recorded 73 cases of violence and threats against journalists, in- cluding deaths, detentions, beatings, and intimidation. Government officials and security personnel were responsible for slightly more than half of the cases; insurgent groups were responsible for the deaths of 10 journalists in suicide at- tacks in Kabul and Khost. Protests, Excessive Use of Force, and Freedom of Assembly On June 2, civil society groups, political activists, and relatives of victims of the May 31 truck bomb attack converged in central Kabul to protest deteriorating se- curity conditions. Some participants threw stones at police, and the group in- cluded some armed men among the crowd.  

35 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Security forces, principally the presidential palace guard, used water cannons to disperse the crowd, but then used live ammunition despite no real threat to pub- lic safety—first firing guns over the heads of demonstrators, injuring some pro- testers, then shooting into the crowd, killing seven. The government promised to conduct an investigation. As of December, the results of this investigation had not been made public. The government subsequently accelerated its consideration of new legislation to restrict demonstrations. The Law on Gatherings, Demonstrations and Strikes nar- rows the definition of allowed venues for protests; prohibits “influential people” from “politically intervening” in any kind of protest, without clearly defining those terms; and limits protests only to those that have “reform objectives” rather than criticism of government policies alone. Civil society groups con- demned the law, which as of December, was pending before parliament. Children’s Rights Despite the fact that the government in 2016 criminalized military recruitment of Afghans under 18 years old, the practice continued, most notably among the ALP and pro-government militias. The AIHRC reported on increased recruitment by groups affiliated with ISKP in Nangarhar. Both the ANSF and the Taliban contin- ued to occupy or use schools for military purposes in contested areas, affecting the access to education of thousands of children, especially girls. Afghanistan’s new penal code criminalizes the sexual abuse of boys, known in Afghanistan as bacha bazi . Conflict-related deaths and injuries of children continued at high rates, with 689 deaths and 1,791 injuries in the first nine months of 2017. Almost half of the chil- dren detained in relation to the conflict reported being tortured or mistreated. Key International Actors On August 22, US President Donald Trump outlined a new US strategy for the war in Afghanistan, vowing to expand military operations to target criminal and ter- rorist networks, pressure Pakistan to end support for Afghan insurgents, and set no timetable for withdrawal.  

36 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 In September, the Trump administration reportedly was considering a CIA re- quest to carry out covert drone strikes in Afghanistan; the US military has had ex- clusive authority to carry out such strikes. Trump authorized the deployment of an additional 3,900 troops, but the Pen- tagon acknowledged that actual troop levels were already close to 11,000, signif- icantly higher than the 8,000 previously reported. US airstrikes increased through 2017, and the US provided Black Hawk helicopters and other equipment to support expanded Afghan government air operations. In September, diplomatic sources indicated that the US was supporting an Afghan government initiative to create an additional village defense force, the Afghan National Army Territorial Force. The force would reportedly absorb some existing militias under army command, though it remained unclear how it would avoid replicating the record of the abusive Afghan Local Police. The US military command in Afghanistan also began classifying key data related to the develop- ment of Afghan security forces, most of which has been public since 2008. In February, the European Union (EU) signed a new agreement with Afghanistan requiring it to accept rejected asylum seekers from Europe and undertake other measures to reduce migration. The agreement also included EU support for de- velopment, women’s rights, ending corruption, and electoral reform. In July, the European Commission proposed a new EU strategy for Afghanistan, based on these objectives. In May, NATO members agreed to provide Afghan security forces with US$1 billion annually through 2020, and in November agreed to in- crease their troop commitments by an additional 3,000. On November 20, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) asked the court’s judges for permission to open an investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan committed by the Taliban and affiliated forces, Afghan National Security Forces, and US armed forces and the Central Intelligence Agency since May 1, 2003, when Afghanistan became a member of the court. The ICC’s preliminary examination of allegations of serious international crimes in Afghanistan began in 2007.  

37 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Algeria Despite constitutional amendments passed in 2016, Algerian authorities contin- ued to resort in 2017 to criminal prosecutions for peaceful speech, using articles in the penal code criminalizing “offending the president,” “insulting state offi- cials,” and “denigrating Islam” as well as other articles on sharing “intelligence with foreign powers.” They have also continued to ban demonstrations in Al- giers. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was re-elected to a fourth five-year term in 2014, despite being in visibly frail health. In legislative elections held on May 4, 2017, the governing coalition, led by the National Liberation Front and the National Rally for Democracy, maintained its majority. Freedom of Assembly Algerian authorities routinely violate the right to freedom of assembly, despite constitutional guarantees of that right. The penal code punishes organizing or participating in an unauthorized demonstration in a public place with up to one year in prison (article 98). Authorities in Algiers, the capital, banned public demonstrations indefinitely in 2001, when the country was under a state of emergency. Authorities did not rescind the ban when they lifted the state of emergency in 2011. The ban on demonstrations in Algiers is strictly enforced by authorities, who mo- bilize large numbers of police to thwart demonstrations and detain participants, usually holding them for a few hours before releasing them. For example, on September 6, 2017, dozens of protesters took to a square in cen- tral Algiers wearing t-shirts with the words “Article 102,” referring to the constitu- tional article that stipu lates a president can be removed from office if he cannot carry out his duties. At least six of them were detained for six hours before being released without charge, according to local media. Freedom of Association In 2012, the government enacted Law 12-06, which requires all associations—in- cluding those that had already successfully registered—to re-file registration ap-  

38 O O E R D L R P W R T 2 0 1 8 plications and obtain a registration receipt from the Interior Ministry before they can operate legally, in a cumbersome procedure akin to a new registration. To date, major human rights organization such as the Algerian League for Human Rights (Ligue Algérienne des Droits de l’Homme, LADDH) and Youth Action Rally (Rassemblement Action Jeunesse, RAJ), and the Algerian division of Amnesty In- ternational, which all submitted compliance applications in January 2014 as pro- vided for by Law 12-06, have still not obtained a receipt certifying their legal existence. Lack of a receipt means they are unable to open a bank account or rent an office in their own name or hire a public hall for a meeting. Moreover, members of an association that is “non-accredited, suspended, or dissolved” risk prison sentences of up to six months for conducting activities in its name. Authorities used the association law to deny registration to a charitable organi- zation formed by members of Algeria’s tiny Ahmadiyya religious minority, basing its refusal on language in the law that gives authorities broad leeway to deny au- thorization if they deem that the content and objectives of a group’s activities vi- olate Algeria’s “fundamental principles ( ) and values, constantes nationales public order, public morals, and the applicable laws and regulations.” Freedom of Speech Since the 1990s, Algeria has seen a proliferation of privately owned newspapers that enjoy a certain margin of freedom to criticize public figures and state poli- cies. The 2014 Law on Audio-Visual Activities ended the formal state monopoly on audiovisual media. However, repressive press laws, dependence on revenues from public-sector advertising, and other factors limit press freedom. The Infor- mation Code, adopted in 2012, states that news journalism is to be “a freely practiced activity” as long as it respects “national identity, the cultural values of society, national sovereignty and national unity, as well as the requirements of national security, national defense, public order, and the country’s economic in- terests, among others.” In 2017, authorities prosecuted a number of Algerians for critical speech. On August 9, 2016, an Algiers appeals court upheld a two-year prison sentence for Mohamed Tamalt, a freelance journalist with dual Algerian and British nation- ality, for a video he posted on Facebook featuring a poem deemed offensive to  

39 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Algeria’s president. Tamalt died in prison on December 11, 2016, after staging a hunger strike to protest his conviction. Authorities denied mistreatment but his family insisted that negligence or mistreatment contributed to his death. Algerian authorities also prosecuted Marzoug Touati, a blogger and editor of the website Al-Hogra . Algerian security forces arrested Touati at his home in the coastal city of Béjaïa on January 18. According to his lawyer, security forces inter- rogated Touati about a video that he published online on January 9 containing a teleconferenced interview with an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, who stated that Israel has maintained a liaison office in Algiers since before 2000. A court in Béjaïa on January 22, 2017, ordered his pretrial detention on the charge of “talking to the agents of a foreign power with the intention of causing harm to Algeria’s army, diplomatic relations, and financial interests,” and “incit- ing citizens to carry weapons and gather illegally.” He was still detained as of December 2017 in Oued Ghir prison, awaiting trial. Women’s Rights Algeria’s constitution enshrines the principle of nondiscrimination based on gender and requires the state to take positive action to ensure equality of rights and duties of all citizens, men and women. In February 2016, parliament intro- duced an article proclaiming that the “state works to attain parity between women and men in the job market,” and “encourages the promotion of women to positions of responsibility in public institutions and in businesses.” In 2015, parliament adopted amendments to the penal code specifically crimi- nalizing some forms of domestic violence. Assault against one’s spouse or for- mer spouse can be punished by up to 20 years in prison, and the perpetrator can face a life sentence for attacks resulting in death. The amendments also crimi- nalize sexual harassment in public places. Despite adoption of the law, Algeria has yet to adopt the more comprehensive legal measures, such as protection orders to protect women from violence and specific obligations on law enforcement to respond to domestic violence. The law, moreover, makes women vulnerable to threats from the offender or rela- tives, by including a provision that a pardon by the victim puts an end to prose- cution.  

40 O W R L D R E P O R T 2 0 1 8  

41 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Algeria’s Family Code continues to discriminate against women despite some amendments in 2005 that improved women’s access to divorce and child cus- tody. Algeria also continues to retain article 326 in its penal code, which allows anyone who abducts a minor to escape prosecution if they married their victim. Freedom of Religion More than 266 members of Algeria’s tiny Ahmadi minority have been prosecuted since June 2016, and some imprisoned for up to six months. Senior government officials have at times claimed that Ahmadis represent a threat to the majority Sunni Muslim faith, and accused them of collusion with foreign powers. Authorities charged them under one or more of the following charges: denigrat- ing the dogma or precepts of Islam; participating in an unauthorized associa- tion; collecting donations without a license; and possessing and distributing documents from foreign sources that endanger national security. At least 20 have faced a charge of practicing religion in an unauthorized place of worship under Algeria’s 2006 law governing non-Muslim religions, even though Ahmadis consider themselves to be Muslim. On September 13, 2017, the court of First Instance in Ain Tedles, Mostaganem, sentenced Mohamed Fali, the president of the community, to a term of six months in prison, suspended, and a fine. Refugees and Migrants From August to October 2017, authorities rounded up more than 3,000 sub-Saha- ran migrants of different nationalities living in and around Algiers and bused them 1,900 kilometers south to a camp in Tamanrasset, from which some were bused into Niger. Those forcibly transported to Tamanrasset included migrants who have lived and worked for years in Algeria. Authorities then expelled several hundred to Niger. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Algeria’s penal code criminalizes same sex relations with a prison sentence of two months to two years. In 2015, several people were arrested for same-sex re- lations but none were prosecuted.  

42 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Activists state that during and after the 2014 presidential election, anti-LGBT rhetoric from politicians and media led to increased harassment and violence, leading many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community leaders to flee the country. Activists have documented recent cases of violence on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity within families, at universities, in the streets, and in prisons. Key International Actors Algeria underwent its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), on May 8, 2017. Algeria received 229 recommen- dations from states. Algeria failed to accept many of the most important recom- mendations, related to the abolition of the death penalty, ratifying the Rome Statute, decriminalizing same sex relations, and ending discrimination against women, among others. Algeria continued during 2017 its noncompliance with longstanding requests for country visits by special procedures of the UNHRC including the special rappor- teurs on torture, on human rights while countering terrorism, and on extrajudi- cial, summary and arbitrary executions, and the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances. On April 2017, the special rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, released his re- port on his 2016 visit to Algeria. While commending the government for improv- ing basic health-related indicators, he also noted the prevalence of inequalities and discrimination against certain population groups, such as people living with HIV/AIDS, drugs users, men who have sex with men, migrants, and refugees and called for the decriminalization of homosexuality and sex work. The European Union and Algeria adopted their shared Partnership Priorities for the period 2017-2020 at the Association Council of 13 March 2017. Strong em- phasis was placed on the implementation of Algeria’s new constitution. Notably, the EU pledged to assist Algeria in the areas of governance, democracy, promo- tion and protection of fundamental rights—including labor rights—strengthening the role of women in society, decentralization, judiciary, and civil society.  

43 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Angola Angola elected a new president, João Lourenço, in September, ending almost four decades of José Eduardo Dos Santos’ repressive rule. Voting was peaceful, but marred by severe restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, and limited access to information due to government repression and censorship in state media and in private media outlets controlled by ruling party officials. The new president pledged to govern for all Angolans, and combat two of the country’s major problems: corruption and mismanagement of public funds. Se- curity forces continued to use excessive force, intimidation and arbitrary deten- tion against peaceful protesters. Freedom of the press was threatened after a new media law was enacted, despite opposition from the journalist’s union and other groups. Freedom of Media Angolan media remained largely controlled by the government and people linked to the ruling party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). The government continued to restrict freedom of expression by censoring state- run media and some private media controlled by ruling party officials, which re- mained the only outlets with nationwide coverage. During the election campaign, election observers from the African Union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and Angola’s journalists’ union criticized the pro-ruling party coverage by state media. With minimal debate, parliament on November 18, 2016, passed five laws that limit freedom of expression, despite opposition from the journalist’s union and other groups. The government referred to the laws as the Social Communication Legislative Package ( Pacote legislativo da comunicação social). These laws, signed by then-President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos on January 23, are the press law, television law, broadcast law, code of conduct law for journalists, and Enti- statutes of the Angolan Regulatory Body for Social Communication (ERCA, dade Reguladora da Comunicação Social Angolana ). The press law gives the Ministry of Social Communication the authority to over- see how media organizations carry out editorial decisions, and to fine or sus-  

44 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 pend the activities of violators. It also criminalizes publication of a text or image that is “offensive to individuals.” Under the Angolan penal code, defamation and slander are punishable with fines and imprisonment for up to six months. The journalists union challenged the law before the Constitutional Court. At time of writing, the court had not ruled on the case. Freedom of Assembly Authorities continued to violate international human rights law by denying citi- zens the right to peaceful protest. Security forces blocked peaceful anti-govern- ment protests with intimidation, excessive force and arbitrary detention. For example, on February 24, police blocked a protest in Luanda of about 15 peo- ple who were calling for the resignation of the territorial administration minister, Bornito de Sousa. On the same day, police broke up a peaceful protest and de- tained two activists in Benguela Province who were also calling for the resigna- tion of the minister. On April 19, a court in Luanda sentenced seven activists to 45 days in jail for resisting arrest during a protest against the voters registration process ahead of the August elections. On June 24, authorities detained at least 18 members of the Lunda Tchokwe Protectorate Movement, who were protesting for regional autonomy and an end to police brutality against movement activists. Ahead of the August 23 election, the Ministry of the Interior banned all protests by groups not contesting in the election, claiming that street protests planned by activists posed a security risk. I n a rare show of tolerance, authorities on March 18 allowed a group of women to protest against the criminalization of abortion. Authorities also allowed an op- position party, National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA), protest march against what the party called irregularities in the election process. Freedom of Association On July 5, the Constitutional Court ruled that a presidential decree that imposed severe restrictions on civil society groups violated the Angolan constitution. The case was brought to the court by the Angolan Bar Association. The court ruled that parliament, not the president, has constitutional authority to regulate non- governmental organizations (NGOs).  

45 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H The decree 74/15 required NGOs to go through onerous registration processes, including registering with multiple authorities, such as the Foreign Ministry, and obtaining a “declaration of suitability.” It also allowed authorities to determine the programs and projects that the organizations implemented. Enforcement of the law in March 2015 led to several human rights groups facing difficulties ac- cessing their bank accounts, as some banks demanded to see the required ap- provals, even though the government was not issuing such documents. Abortion Law Women’s reproductive rights were threatened after parliament approved an amendment to the abortion law on February 24, making all abortions illegal. As part of the process of replacing Angola’s 1886 penal code, the government had proposed a bill that would criminalize abortion, except in cases of rape, or when the mother’s health is in danger. However, parliament rejected that proposal and made abortion, without excep- tions, illegal and punishable by 4-10 years’ imprisonment. Parliament passed the first reading of the bill without any public consultations, and activists ac- cused parliamentarians of ignoring their views. The final vote on the draft penal code, which had been scheduled for March 23, was cancelled and the bill was withdrawn pending further debate after women marched on the streets support- ing the right to abortion. At time of writing, a new version of the abortion bill had not been submitted to parliament. Abuses by Security Forces Security forces continued to use excessive force with impunity. Authorities re- peatedly failed to investigate and prosecute officers who committed abuses. In March, police beat activists with batons and set dogs on a peaceful protest, in- juring at least four protesters. Responding to calls for the incident to be investi- gated, a police spokesman said the use of police dogs was necessary because the group was causing chaos. In another incident in April, video footage showed a uniformed police officer in Luanda beating a protester with a disability until he fell off his wheelchair. The police then walked away from the scene, as a passersby struggled to lift the  

46 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 man. The video also showed officers pulling banners and leaflets from other pro- testers with physical disabilities who gathered to protest inaccessible infrastruc- ture and inequality. The police promised to investigate the incident, but at time of writing had not published the results of the investigations. In June, at least one person was reported killed, while 10 others were seriously injured when po- lice fired into crowds of people protesting for the autonomy of the Lunda Chokwe region, in Lunda Norte province. Election Violence Reports emerged of violent incidents ahead of the August 23 general election in- volving members of the ruling MPLA and the main opposition party, UNITA. In May, the governor of Benguela set up a commission of inquiry to investigate the reports of political violence in the province. On July 31, a senior UNITA official died and six people were injured when uniden- tified men attacked them in Benguela. UNITA blamed MPLA supporters for the in- cident. On September 15, during an election celebration, MPLA and UNITA supporters clashed in the Bocoio region of Benguela Province. According to the human rights group OMUNGA, several people were injured, houses and shops were destroyed, and local residents hid in the bush for fear of fighting. Key International Actors Angola has formally presented its candidature to the United Nations Human Rights Council for the 2018-2020 term. As part of the process, on April 19 it pledged to maintain interaction with civil society to better advocate for the rights of migrants; adopt a national human rights action plan; and reinforce efforts to achieve its goals of advancing the democratic process and diversifying the econ- omy. Following the August elections, the European Union pledged to support future electoral processes, including efforts to ensure equal access and equitable cov- erage of all political parties in the media, and the reform of the electoral legisla- tion in line with international principles of inclusiveness and transparency. Both SADC and the AU expressed approval with the generally peaceful elections. The two bodies advised the authorities to improve equitable coverage and ac-  

47 H C T A W H U M A N S R I G H T cess to public media by all political parties. SADC also urged the government to improve the electoral framework in line with the Revised SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, for example by assigning voter reg- istration to the National Electoral Commission. Currently, the voter registration process is organized by the Ministry of Territorial Administration.  

48 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Argentina Long-standing human rights problems in Argentina include police abuse, poor prison conditions, endemic violence against women, restrictions on abortion, difficulty accessing reproductive services, and obstacles keeping indigenous people from enjoying the rights that Argentine and international law afford them. Impunity for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires, vaguely defined criminal provisions that undermine free speech, and delays in appointing permanent judges are serious concerns. In 2017, Argentina created a federal agency to ensure access to official informa- tion. Argentina continues to make significant progress protecting lesbian, gay, bi- sexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights and prosecuting officials for abuses committed during the country’s last military dictatorship (1976-1983), although tri- als have been delayed. Confronting Past Abuses As of November 2017, the Attorney General’s Office reported 2,971 people charged, 818 convicted, and 99 acquitted of crimes allegedly committed by Ar- gentina’s last military junta. Of 613 cases alleging crimes against humanity, judges had issued rulings in 193. Prosecutions were made possible by a series of actions taken in the early 2000s by Congress, the Supreme Court, and federal judges annulling amnesty laws and striking down pardons of former officials implicated in the crimes. As of Septem- ber 2017, 125 people who were illegally taken from their parents as children dur- ing the 1976-1983 dictatorship had been located. Many were reunited with their families. In May, the Supreme Court issued a controversial ruling on sentencing for crimes against humanity committed during the last dictatorship. It ruled that Luis Muiña, convicted of torture and kidnappings committed in 1977, could benefit from a 1994 law—known as the “2x1” Law, which aims to reduce the overuse of pretrial detention and incentivize speedy trials for people in detention. The court used provisions of the law to reduce his sentence from 13 to 9 years.  

49 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In July, a criminal court in Mendoza province sentenced four people who served as judges during the dictatorship to life in prison without possibility of parole for committing crimes against humanity, including arbitrary arrests, torture, killings, and enforced disappearances. Twenty-four military, police, and penitentiary agents were also convicted. The large number of victims, suspects, and cases make it difficult for prosecu- tors and judges to bring those responsible to justice while respecting their due process rights. The Attorney General’s Office reported in October that 533 pretrial detainees and convicted prisoners were under house arrest, a right that Argen- tine law provides to people older than 70. In 2016, the government said it would not appeal judicial rulings granting house arrest to these detainees and con- victed prisoners. The fate of Jorge Julio López, a torture victim who disappeared in 2006—a day before he was due to attend the trial of one of his torturers—remained unknown. Freedom of Expression In January 2016, police detained Milagro Sala, a prominent social leader in Jujuy province, in connection with her participation in street protests. Sala and others had gathered in the provincial capital to protest a decree the governor had issued purporting to regulate organizations like Sala’s, which implement government-funded housing and other welfare programs. Sala was charged with instigating protesters to commit crimes and with sedition. Sala was also under investigation for alleged corruption. In July, she was trans- ferred to house arrest, as mandated by precautionary measures that the Inter- American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) had issued in her favor, but was returned to prison in October for allegedly failing to comply with the conditions of her home arrest. In April 2017, the Argentine government committed to reforming the criminal code to modify and narrow the definition of sedition. However, it had yet to pres- ent a formal proposal to Congress at time of writing. Upon taking office, President Mauricio Macri adopted a temporary set of decrees to regulate media, and created a new agency that reports to the Communications Ministry to implement the new rules. In July 2016, the government said it was  

50 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 drafting a communications law that it claimed would respect free speech. At time of writing, the law had not been presented to Congress. However, the new, sup- posedly temporary agency that lacks structural independence from the executive had already issued rulings regulating media. In 2016, the Macri administration issued a resolution establishing transparent criteria to prevent favoritism in government purchases of media advertising. In August 2017, the president appointed the head of a national agency to ensure public access to information held by government bodies, implementing a 2016 law approved by Congress. However, some provinces and municipalities still lack such laws, undermining transparency. Prison Conditions and Abuse Overcrowding, ill-treatment by guards, inadequate facilities, and inmate violence continue in Argentina’s prisons. The National Penitentiary Office, which Con- gress created in 2003 to supervise federal prisons and protect detainees’ rights, reported the violent deaths of eight federal prisoners between January and June 2017, although the statistics did not make clear the perpetrators. The office also documented 300 alleged cases of torture or ill-treatment in federal prisons be- tween January and May 2017, after 608 cases in 2016. Police abuse remains a serious problem. Security forces occasionally employ ex- cessive force against protesters, despite a 2011 commitment by authorities in at least 19 of Argentina’s 23 provinces to ensure that force is used proportionately. The Provincial Commission for Memory, an autonomous public body created by the provincial legislature, reported that in 2016, one person a day either died in detention—mostly due to preventable causes, in facilities that are often plagued by poor medical treatment—or after being shot during clashes with police forces in Buenos Aires province. On August 1, Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old artisan, went missing while vis- iting a Mapuche indigenous community in Cushamen, in the southern province of Chubut. On August 14, according to media reports, two members of the Ma- puche community declared before the judge investigating the case that they saw the Gendarmerie—a federal security force—take Maldonado away from a demon- stration. In October, his body was found near a river in the area. The judge inves-  

51 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H tigating the case said that initial results of Maldonado’s autopsy revealed he ap- parently did not have injuries caused by third parties, and some forensic experts reportedly claimed that his body had spent up to 60 days under the water. At time of writing, the judge was still investigating the circumstances of his death. Judicial and Prosecutorial Independence The delayed appointment of permanent judges by the Council of the Judiciary has led to temporary appointments of judges who lack security of tenure, which the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 undermines judicial independence. As of No- vember 2016, 254 of 979 lower-court judgeships remained vacant. In 2017, President Macri asked Congress to initiate the process to remove Attor- ney General Alejandra Gils Carbó, arguing she did not have the “moral authority” required for the job. Other government officials, however, suggested it would be possible to oust Gils Carbó through an executive decree, so circumventing the legal requirement of a political trial. Impunity for the AMIA Bombing Twenty-two years after the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Asso- ciation (AMIA) in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and injured more than 300, no one has been convicted of the crime. The investigation stalled when Iran, which Argentina’s judiciary suspects of or- dering the attack, refused to allow Argentine investigators to interview Iranian suspects in Argentina. In 2013, Argentina and Iran signed a memorandum of un- derstanding (MOU) that allowed an international commission of jurists to review evidence and question Iranian suspects—but only in Tehran—likely rendering the interviews inadmissible in an Argentine court. A federal court declared the MOU unconstitutional: the Macri administration said it would not appeal. In August 2017, the government said it had asked Interpol to re-issue red no- tices—a form of international arrest warrant—to detain several Iranians impli- cated in the attack. In September, Vice-President Gabriela Michetti called on Iran to collaborate with the investigations during her speech at the United Nations General Assembly.  

52 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 In January 2015, Alberto Nisman, the prosecutor in charge of investigating the bombing, was found dead in his home with a single gunshot wound to the head and a pistol beside him matching the wound. His death came just days after he had filed a criminal complaint accusing then-President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and her foreign affairs minister of conspiring with Iran to undermine the investigation. Later in 2015, a federal court dismissed Nisman’s complaint. However, following an appeal by a federal prosecutor, in December 2016, the judiciary ordered the case reopened. In October 2017, a judge requested that Fernández de Kirchner provide a statement on the case. As of September 2017, courts had not deter- mined whether Nisman’s death was suicide or murder. A new Gendarmerie re- port published that month stated Nisman had been murdered. In 2015, a court began the trial of several officials—including former President Carlos Menem, his head of intelligence, and a judge—for their alleged interfer- ence with the initial investigation into the bombing. The trial continued at time of writing. Indigenous Rights Indigenous people in Argentina face obstacles in accessing justice, land, educa- tion, health care, and basic services. Argentina has failed to implement existing laws to protect indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior, and informed consent when the government adopts decisions that may affect their rights—a right pro- vided for in international law. A survey of indigenous lands, required by law, is being conducted, but slowly. In November 2017, Congress approved a law extending the deadline for completing the survey to 2021. Women’s and Girls’ Rights Abortion is illegal in Argentina, except in cases of rape or when the life of the woman is at risk. But even in such cases, women and girls are sometimes sub- ject to criminal prosecution for seeking abortions, and have trouble accessing reproductive services, such as contraception and voluntary sterilization.  

53 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In 2017, “Belen,” a 27-year-old woman from Tucumán province who had been sentenced to eight years in prison in 2016 for aggravated homicide after suffer- ing a miscarriage, was acquitted and released. Despite a 2009 law setting forth comprehensive measures to prevent and punish violence against women, the unpunished killing of women remains a serious concern. The National Registry of Femicides, administered by the Supreme Court, reported 254 femicides—the violent killing of women based on their gender—but only 22 convictions, in 2016. In September 2017, Manuel Mansilla was found guilty of murdering his pregnant girlfriend, 14-year-old Chiara Páez, and sentenced to 21 years in prison. Páez’s killing sparked a massive movement to protest violence against women in the country. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage. The Civil Marriage Law allows same-sex couples to enter civil mar- riages and affords them the same legal marital protections as opposite-sex cou- ples, including adoption rights and pension benefits. Since 2010, local groups report, more than 16,200 same-sex couples have married nationwide. Key International Actors and Foreign Policy In May, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWAD), which had called for Milagro Sala’s release arguing she had been arbitrarily detained, visited her in jail. The IACHR did so in June, and later issued precautionary measures re- questing that Argentine government ensure her safety. In November, the IACHR sent the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, arguing Argentina had not complied with the precautionary measures it had issued in her favor. In August, the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances requested that Ar- gentina adopt “an integral and exhaustive strategy” to find Santiago Maldonado. Days later, the IACHR ordered Argentina to adopt all necessary measures to de- termine his whereabouts. In February 2017, the Argentine Supreme Court ruled that an Inter-American Court’s decision on a specific case, while binding on Argentina, could not re-  

54 O R 1 0 2 T R 8 P E R D W O L verse or overrule decisions by Argentine courts. The decision was related to a 2011 ruling by the Inter-American Court that established the state had violated the right to free speech of two journalists who were fined after publishing infor- mation of public interest. President Macri has repeatedly and publicly criticized Venezuela’s poor human rights record and called for the release of its political prisoners. His administration has allowed Venezuelans to apply for the same permits to stay in Argentina that are granted to residents of Mercosur member countries, despite Venezuela’s ex- pulsion from the regional trade bloc. The number of Venezuelans moving legally to Argentina has more than doubled every year since 2014, reaching 35,600 in May 2017. In March, Argentina hosted delegations from 80 countries for the second inter- national Safe Schools conference, taking stock of the implementation of commit- ments contained in the Safe Schools Declaration to better protect schools from attacks and military use during armed conflict.  

55 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Armenia Parliamentary elections, the first since the 2015 constitutional amendments moving the country from a presidential to a parliamentary system, failed to im- prove public confidence in the electoral system. The ruling Republican Party dominated the polls amid reports of irregularities. Authorities failed to bring to justice officials responsible for excessive use of force against protesters and journalists, including during largely peaceful protests in Yerevan in July 2016. The trials of 32 men accused of crimes committed during the violent takeover of a police station in Yerevan, which prompted the protests, were ongoing at time of writing. Four defendants have reported ill-treatment in detention. Human rights defenders faced threats and harassment. Domestic violence per- sists as a serious problem. The government introduced in parliament a draft law on violence in the family, but women’s rights groups opposed it, fearing it em- phasized keeping families together rather than protecting victims. Many children with disabilities lack quality education and live in institutions separated from their families. The government overhauled the onerous system for prescribing and accessing opioid pain medications. Discrimination against women and people with disabil- ities, and based on sexual orientation and gender identity, persisted. Parliamentary and Municipal Elections International observers, led by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), concluded that the April parliamentary elections “were well ad- ministered,” but the polls were “tainted by credible information about vote-buy- ing, and pressure on civil servants and employees of private companies.” The ruling party won the May Yerevan municipal elections amid low voter turnout and reports of vote-buying and voter intimidation. Harassment of Human Rights Defenders In April, 30 public school and preschool principals filed lawsuits against the nongovernmental organization (NGO) Union of Informed Citizens and its director Daniel Ioannisyan, for allegedly damaging their honor and dignity. The NGO had  

56 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 published audio recordings they claimed showed several principals recruiting supporters for the ruling party ahead of the parliamentary elections. The princi- pals dropped the suit in July. In June, Artur Sakunts, director of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor Office, reported death threats from a Facebook user, apparently in response to Sakunts’ Facebook post the same day criticizing the government. The General Prosecu- tor’s Office opened an investigation 10 days later, but no charges had been brought at time of writing. Local rights groups continue to raise concerns about the harassment of, and spurious criminal embezzlement charges against, Marina Poghosyan, whose or- ganization, Veles, provides legal support to victims of predatory lenders, includ- ing some with alleged links to local authorities. Lack of Accountability for Abuses by Law Enforcement Officials The government has failed to ensure full accountability for police violence against largely peaceful protesters and journalists during protests in Yerevan in July 2016. While some police officers faced disciplinary actions, no officials have faced criminal charges. At the same time, authorities aggressively prosecuted protest participants and leaders. Courts convicted 22 people, sentencing 11 to prison terms of one to three-and-a-half years. Seven others received conditional sentences, three were fined, and one received both a conditional sentence and a fine. Most pleaded guilty, for which they received a speedy trial or a lesser sentence. Charges in- cluded using violence during mass disorder and interfering with the work of a journalist. Trials of other protesters and protest organizers were ongoing. Four men on trial for alleged crimes committed during the July 2016 armed takeover of a Yerevan police station alleged that police beat them in the court building in June. Officers removed the men from the courtroom after an argument broke out between them and police. The men said police beat them in basement holding cells. Authorities opened an investigation but no criminal charges have been brought. Some officers alleged to have participated in the beatings re- mained on duty in the courtroom.  

57 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Attacks on and Harassment of Journalists The Committee to Protect Freedom of Expression, a media freedom NGO, docu- mented physical attacks and interference against journalists including during the parliamentary and municipal elections. On May 11, four officers entered the home of Arpi Makhsydyan, a journalist with Civilnet.am, without a warrant, claiming they were searching for a criminal sus- pect. Makhsudyan refused the search. Police later claimed they wanted only to question her. Makhsudyan believes police sought to intimidate her for her criti- cal journalism. She filed a complaint about police conduct, but authorities failed to effectively investigate. Palliative Care In February, the government approved a National Strategy on Palliative Care and an Action Plan, specifying much needed reforms for delivery of adequate pallia- tive care to patients with life-threatening illnesses. Authorities registered oral morphine in March, and in November overhauled onerous and time-consuming prescription and procurement procedures for accessing it. Children’s Rights Thousands of children are placed in residential institutions due to disability or poverty. Children can face neglect due to overcrowding. The government is trans- forming some institutions to community centers and supporting family-based care, but has not included children with disabilities equally. Children with dis- abilities frequently remain in institutions as adults indefinitely, stripped of their legal capacity. Under law, education should be inclusive by 2025, with children with and with- out disabilities studying together in community schools. Physical barriers and lack of reasonable accommodations means children with disabilities may not al- ways receive a quality education in many community schools. Many children with disabilities remain segregated in special schools or isolated at home with little or no education.  

58 O W R L D R E P O R T 2 0 1 8  

59 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Women’s Rights The Coalition to Stop Violence against Women reported at least four women killed by their partners or family members in the first half of 2017, and at least 50 killed between 2010 and 2017. The coalition received 5,299 calls about domestic violence incidents through September 2017. In the same period, police received 602 complaints of various types of violence within the family and investigated 142 instances. Authorities brought criminal charges in 31 cases. Several coalition activists and lawyers reported pressure and threats for their work. Despite years of pressure from local women’s rights organizations, Arme- nia has no law criminalizing domestic violence and has not joined the Council of Europe’s Istanbul Convention on Prevention and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. In November, the government presented to parliament a draft law on prevention of violence in the family and protections for victims. Women’s rights organiza- tions opposed the law after the government introduced last minute changes, without public discussion, on “restoring harmony in the family,” which they be- lieve is designed to promote reconciliation and could undermine full protections for victims. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people face harassment, discrim- ination, and violence. The LGBT rights organization PINK Armenia documented nine physical attacks based on sexual orientation or gender identity through Au- gust. Officials opened investigations in several cases, but the law does not in- clude anti-LGBT bias as an aggravating circumstance. Fear of discrimination and public disclosure of their sexual orientation prevents many LGBT people from re- porting crimes. PINK Armenia Director Mamikon Hovsepyan reported a campaign of homophobic Facebook posts in May, including calls to attack the office and staff, following the Yerevan municipality’s controversial removal of LGBT-themed social adver- tisements. Days before the annual Golden Apricot International Film Festival in July, the Union of Cinematographers of Armenia (UCA) denied the festival’s use of the  

60 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 main venue. The festival was unable to screen 40 films including two LGBT- themed films. Although officially the UCA justified the refusal citing the death of the UCA president more than a month earlier, local activists believe that inclu- sion of films on LGBT prompted the denial. Key International Actors In November, Armenia and the European Union (EU) signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, aiming to strengthen political dialogue, increase economic cooperation, and promote reforms, including on human rights and the rule of law. Following the EU-Armenia Human Rights Dialogue in May, the EU called for adoption of laws against domestic violence and discrimi- nation, and for effective investigation and prosecution of crimes committed by law enforcement. Also in March, Armenia endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, committing to do more to protect students, teachers, and schools during times of armed conflict, including through implementation and use of the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. In a statement following his September visit, the United Nations special rappor- teur on the right to health, Dainius Pūras, said that Armenia’s approach to drug control “remains punitive and restrictive undermining the right to health of peo- ple who use drugs and of those in need of palliative care.” Following its March review, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Dis- abilities commended the government’s commitment to inclusive education by 2025 and other steps, but raised concerns about lack of accessibility; discrimi- nation; institutionalization of children with disabilities; neglect, inhuman treat- ment, and deprivation of liberty of persons with disabilities in institutions; deprivation of legal capacity; inadequate support for living independently in communities; and barriers to accessing inclusive education. The UN Committee against Torture’s January concluding observations noted some improvements, but criticized excessive use of pretrial detention; lack of ef- fective investigations into ill-treatment allegations; excessive use of force by po- lice; violations of detainees’ rights; attacks on journalists; domestic violence; and abuse of children in institutions.  

61 N H C T A W S T H U M A H R I G In its November 2016 concluding observations, the UN Committee on the Elimi- nation of All Forms of Discrimination against Women acknowledged some leg- islative and policy improvements, but noted the lack of comprehensive legislation on anti-discrimination and on preventing and prohibiting gender- based violence; persistence of gender-based violence and underreporting of crimes; and inadequate access to contraception and healthcare, among other concerns.  

62 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Australia Despite a strong tradition of protecting civil and political rights, Australia has se- rious unresolved human rights problems. Undeterred by repeated calls by the United Nations to end offshore processing, Australia continued in 2017 to hold asylum seekers who arrived by boat on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and on the island nation of Nauru, where conditions are abysmal. Indigenous Australians are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Half the prison population has a disability, and inmates face violence, neglect, and extended periods of isolation. Abuses in juvenile detention centers and over- broad counterterrorism laws persist. In October, United Nations member countries elected Australia to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for a three-year period for the first time. Asylum Seekers and Refugees At time of writing, there were around 840 refugee and asylum seeker men in Papua New Guinea and 1,100 men, women, and children on Nauru, transferred by Australia. They are from countries including Afghanistan, Burma, Iran, Pak- istan, Somalia, and Sudan, and most have been there for more than four years. Many suffer from mental health conditions, exacerbated by years of detention and uncertainty about their futures. At least nine refugees and asylum seekers have died on Manus and Nauru—three due to suspected suicide—since Australia introduced the offshore processing policy in 2013. In September, the US accepted 54 refugees from Manus and Nauru, through a re- settlement arrangement with Australia. Nauru and Papua New Guinea do not offer refugees meaningful opportunities for local integration or adequate and safe long-term settlement options. These refugees and asylum seekers regularly endure violence, threats, and ha- rassment from residents, with little protection from local authorities. Since June, refugees and asylum seekers on Manus have faced increased violent attacks and robberies by local men, with no police action. They endure unnecessary delays in, and at times denial of, medical care, even for life threatening conditions. Aus-  

63 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H tralian and Nauru authorities have ignored doctors’ recommendations by block- ing transfers to Australia for nearly 50 refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru. Self-harm and suicide attempts are frequent. Two refugees with histories of men- tal health conditions reportedly committed suicide on Manus in separate inci- dents in 2017. On October 31, the Australian and PNG governments closed the Manus Island re- gional processing center, ostensibly to implement a 2016 PNG Supreme Court ruling that detaining men at the main center was unconstitutional. Food, water, and power were stopped and refugees and asylum seekers urged to move to other less secure facilities in the main town. For three weeks, hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers refused for to leave the closed facility, terrified by escalating violence against them in the main town and frustrated by the lack of a long-term solution to their predicament. Australia will pay PNG A$250 million (US$192 million) for the next 12 months of opera- tions to provide services to about 840 refugees and asylum seekers. In September, the Australian government settled a class action lawsuit agreeing to pay A$70 million (US$56 million) to men detained on Manus Island. Reacting to a High Court challenge, in August the government introduced amend- ments to the Border Force Act to reduce the threat of criminal charges against service providers who speak out about abuse or neglect in offshore processing centers. Indigenous Rights In May, over 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from 13 regions met and issued the “Uluru Statement from the Heart,” which urged constitutional re- forms, including the establishment of a First Nations voice in the constitution and a truth and justice commission. In October, Australia’s government formally rejected the key recommendation of the Referendum Council to establish an In- digenous advisory body to parliament. Indigenous Australians are significantly overrepresented in the criminal justice system, often for minor offenses like unpaid fines. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Is- landers are 13 times more likely to be imprisoned than the rest of the Australian  

64 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 population. Aboriginal women are the fastest growing prisoner demographic in Australia. In December 2016, the Western Australian state coroner found that the 2014 death in custody of a 22-year-old Aboriginal woman, Ms. Dhu, was preventable, and made a number of recommendations, including that Western Australia end imprisonment for unpaid fines. At time of writing, Western Australia had yet to implement the recommendation. Children’s Rights State inquiries have documented significant abuses against children in the crim- inal justice system. Incarceration disproportionately affects indigenous children, with a juvenile detention rate about 25 times the rate of non-indigenous youth. In May, the Victorian Supreme Court ruled for the third time that detaining chil- dren at Barwon adult prison was unlawful. The government moved children to the maximum security prison following riot damage to a youth justice center in 2016, and decided to reclassify a section of the prison as a “youth justice facil- ity” just days after the Supreme Court ruled against this move. Some of the de- tained children were as young as 15, and authorities isolated and handcuffed them for extensive periods. In July, the Western Australia inspector of custodial services found a substantial increase in “critical incidents and self-harm” in a juvenile detention center. In November, the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory concluded that the territory’s youth detention centers are “not fit for accommodating, let alone rehabilitating” the children they lock up, and called for their closure. The report recommended that the Northern Terri- tory raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12 years, and that children below the age of 14 should only be detained for the most serious offenses. Terrorism and Counterterrorism Since 2014, the Australian government has introduced several draconian coun- terterrorism laws in response to the threat of “home-grown terrorism.” Support for tough measures increased following a June siege in Brighton, in which a gun-  

65 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H man who pledged allegiance to the extremist group Islamic State (ISIS) and Al- Qaeda killed a man and injured three police officers. In July, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull proposed new legislation that would force tech companies to provide “appropriate assistance” to intelligence and law enforcement agencies to access encrypted communications, which risks un- dermining cybersecurity for all users. In December 2016, the government passed legislation that allows a judge to authorize detention for offenders who have served terrorism-related sentences but who pose an “unacceptable risk” of com- mitting a serious offense if released. In October, Australian authorities unveiled a proposal that would allow terrorism suspects as young as 10 to be held for up to two weeks without charge. Disability Rights Over half the prison population has a physical, sensory, psychosocial (mental health), or intellectual disability. Human Rights Watch research in 14 prisons across Western Australia and Queensland found that prisoners with disabilities experience bullying, harass- ment, physical, and sexual violence from fellow prisoners and staff. Due to a lack of staff sensitivity and training, prisoners with disabilities are frequently pun- ished for behavior resulting from their disability and end up disproportionately represented in punishment units. In 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities reviewed a communication against Australia concerning Marlon Noble who was incarcerated for more than 10 years in a Western Australian Prison and declared unfit to stand trial. The committee found that Noble could not exercise his right to due process and was deprived of liberty without trial. It recommended an effective remedy and to revoke the conditions attached to his release. The Western Australian government acknowledged significant failures in the way Noble’s case was han- dled, and released its review of the Mentally Impaired Defendants Act in April 2016. At time of writing, no reforms had been enacted.  

66 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In 2017, the Turnbull government held a non-binding postal survey on same-sex marriage. In November, Australians voted overwhelmingly in favor of marriage equality, and parliament passed a marriage equality law in December. Violence against Women In February, UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Dubravka Ši- monović visited Australia. She expressed concern over inadequate policies to protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and the plight of asylum seekers and refugee women transferred from Nauru to Australia for medical treatment, including women who were raped. The Australian Human Rights Commission released a report on sexual assault at Australian universities in August, finding 21 percent of students were sexually harassed in a university setting in 2016. Forced Labor In August, Australia’s justice minister proposed legal reforms to require the biggest companies in the country to report on practices to prevent forced labor in their supply chains. At time of writing, the government was consulting stake- holders on the proposal, which lacks meaningful due diligence requirements or penalties for noncompliance. Foreign Policy Australia acted inconsistently and rarely showed leadership at the UN on human rights issues relating to particular countries. During the year Australia rarely raised human rights issues publicly in countries it works closely with on border security or trade, such as China, Cambodia, and Vietnam, preferring to engage in “quiet diplomacy.” In October, Australia deepened diplomatic ties with Cambodia while ignoring its sharp crackdown on civil and political rights. In November, it upgraded diplo- matic relations with Vietnam despite its escalating crackdown on freedom of ex- pression.  

67 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In October, Australia was elected to the UNHRC. The government said it would prioritize gender equality, freedom of expression, indigenous rights, good gover- nance, and national human rights institutions, and that it would advocate for global abolition of the death penalty. Australia has shown little transparency as a member of the US-led coalition con- ducting airstrikes against ISIS. In May, the Defense Department began releasing reports on strikes by the Australian air force, but more detailed reporting on civil- ian casualties in Iraq and Syria is needed. Australia has approved military ex- ports to Saudi Arabia, despite concerns about alleged war crimes by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen. Australia has not released information on the types or quantities of equipment sold. Key International Actors In 2017, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; the Commit- tee on Economic, Cultural and Social Rights; and the High Commissioner for Refugees urged the Australian government to end offshore processing of asylum seekers. Following his visit to Australia in December 2016, UN Special Rapporteur on Racism Mutuma Ruteere raised concerns that “xenophobic hate speech, includ- ing by elected politicians” was on the rise in Australia. The UN Special Rappor- teur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz said the “routine detention of young Indigenous children” was the “most distressing aspect” of her visit to Australia. In February, the government announced it will ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT) by the end of 2017. Under OPCAT, independent inspecting bodies would monitor Australia’s prisons, and juvenile and immigration deten- tion facilities. In November, the UN Human Rights Committee expressed strong concern for Australia’s human rights record in key areas, including refugees, indigenous rights, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, and certain coun- terterrorism measures. The committee urged Australia to end its offshore deten- tion arrangements, and condemned the same-sex marriage postal survey as “not an acceptable decision-making method.”  

68 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Azerbaijan The government intensified its crackdown against critics in 2017. Courts sen- tenced at least 25 journalists and political and youth activists to long prison terms in politically motivated, unfair trials. Dozens more were detained or are under criminal investigation, face harassment and travel bans, or have fled. Dra- conian laws and regulations impede independent groups’ work and ability to se- cure funding. Torture and ill-treatment in custody persist. In a violent campaign, police arrested and ill-treated dozens of gay men and transgender women. Following years of scrutiny and several warnings, the Extractive Industries Trans- parency Initiative (EITI), an international coalition promoting better governance in resource-rich countries, suspended Azerbaijan for failing to ease restrictions on civil society groups. Prosecuting Government Critics Authorities continued to use various criminal and administrative charges to stifle critics. In January, courts sentenced 18 people, including prominent religious scholar Taleh Bagirzade, to long prison sentences following a trial marred by allegations of torture and ill-treatment. Authorities arrested the men in November 2015, dur- ing a raid in Nardaran, a Baku suburb known for its Shia religious conservatism and criticism of government policies. Charges included murder, terrorism, incit- ing religious hatred, organizing mass unrest, and illegal possession of weapons. Also in January, a Baku court convicted youth activist Elgiz Gahraman, 31, to five- and-a-half years in prison on bogus drug-related charges. After his August 2016 arrest, police did not inform Gahraman’s relatives of his whereabouts and de- nied him access to his lawyer for days. During the trial, Gahraman alleged police beat and threatened him with sexual assault to force him to confess to drug pos- session. Authorities failed to effectively investigate the allegations. Three members of the opposition Azerbaijan Popular Front Party (APFP) were convicted during the year and at least nine were in prison on politically moti- vated charges. In July, a court convicted Faig Amirli, an APFP member and finan- newspaper, on bogus Azadlig cial director of the now-closed pro-opposition  

69 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H charges of inciting religious hatred and tax-evasion. He received a suspended sentence. Fuad Ahmadli, a senior APFP member and social media activist, was sentenced in June to four years in prison on spurious charges of misusing per- sonal data. In January 2017, a Baku court convicted senior APFP member Fuad Gahramanli to 10 years’ imprisonment for inciting religious and ethnic hatred; he posted criticisms of the government on Facebook. In May, authorities arrested APFP Deputy Chair Gozel Bayramli at the border with Georgia and charged her with smuggling. She remained in pretrial custody at time of writing. Dozens of journalists and activists convicted in politically motivated trials re- mained in prison. Among them was Ilgar Mammadov, leader of the pro-democ- racy opposition movement Republican Alternative (REAL), imprisoned since February 2013. He remained in prison despite a 2014 European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgment finding his imprisonment to be illegal, and repeated de- mands by the Council of Europe to release him. In November, in a separate case, the ECtHR found that Mammadov’s right to a fair trial had been violated. Others behind bars include journalists Seymur Hazi and Nijat Aliyev; youth activists Ilkin Rustemzadeh, Bayram Mammadov, and Murad Adilov; and opposition politicians Mammad Ibrahim and Asif Yusifli. None of the convictions of activists and journalists released in the last two years were quashed and some face travel restrictions, including award-winning inves- tigative journalist Khadija Ismayilova and human rights lawyer Intigam Aliyev. Authorities harassed relatives of activists living in exile. In February, police de- tained 12 relatives, including the two-year-old niece of Ordukhan Teymurkhan, a video blogger and social media activist living in the Netherlands. Teymurkhan recorded and published a call from a Baku police officer who blamed him for his relatives’ detention. The next day the authorities released all of them except for Teymurkhan’s older brother and adult nephew, who were sentenced to 30 days’ detention for allegedly disobeying police orders. In June, Vidadi Isganderli, a government critic living in Georgia, reported that five of his relatives were pressured to quit their jobs, apparently in retaliation for his activism.  

70 O O E R D L R P W R T 2 0 1 8 In October, parliament adopted amendments banning lawyers without Bar mem- bership from representing clients, likely to further limit the number of lawyers willing to take on politically sensitive cases. Observers have criticized the Azer- baijani Bar for lack of independence and its arbitrary powers to deny admissions of new members. Freedom of Media Authorities continued to use bogus tax-related and other criminal charges to jail critical journalists and bloggers. At least 10 remained in prison. In March, a court sentenced Mehman Huseynov, a prominent journalist and blogger, to two years in prison for allegedly defaming the staff of a police station. Huseynov had publi- cized how several police officers arbitrarily detained and beat him in January. A court sentenced Afgan Sadigov, the founder and editor-in-chief of AzelTV news website operating in a southern Azerbaijani region, to two-and-a-half years in prison in January on spurious hooliganism charges. Sadigov often reported on allegations of embezzlement of social benefits by local authorities. In May, unidentified people abducted journalist and political activist Afgan Mukhtarli, in Georgia’s capital, Tbilisi, and illegally brought him to Azerbaijan. Azerbaijani authorities then charged Mukhtarli with unlawful border crossing, smuggling, and resisting a representative of authority. Mukhtarli had lived in exile since 2015 out of fears for his security. He remained in custody in Baku at time of writing. Also in May, police arrested Aziz Orujov, director of the Kanal13 online television channel, and sentenced him to 30 days’ detention for allegedly resisting police. During his detention, authorities brought criminal tax-related charges against him. At time of writing Orujov remained in pretrial custody. Authorities arrested Mehman Aliyev, director of Turan News Agency, the coun- try’s one independent news agency, in August on spurious criminal charges, but dropped the case in November. In May, the government permanently blocked prominent independent and oppo- sition media outlets’ websites, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Azer- , and Berlin-based Meydan TV, Azadlig baijani Service, the opposition newspaper claiming national security threats. Parliament passed laws tightening control  

71 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H over online media in March, and in June increased the maximum punishment for “insulting the honor and dignity of the president” to five years’ imprisonment. Freedom of Association Azerbaijan maintains highly restrictive and punitive regulations on nongovern- mental organizations (NGOs), making it almost impossible for independent groups to fund and carry out their work. In January, under pressure from EITI, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted changes to certain regulations on international donor funding and grant agreement registration. The revisions did not eliminate the authorities’ discretion to arbitrarily deny grant registration or the entrenched legal barriers to NGOs’ operations. Authorities continued to freeze the bank accounts of at least a dozen NGOs working on human rights and government accountability; the groups suspended their work or operated in exile. Some local groups involved in EITI gained access to their previously blocked accounts. Several NGO leaders continued to face travel bans, harassment, and interrogations. Ill-Treatment in Detention Torture and other ill-treatment continued with impunity. At the January trial of those arrested in November 2015 in Nardaran, 17 men made credible allegations of ill-treatment in detention to coerce confessions and testimony against others. The men alleged that officers at the Interior Ministry Organized Crime Unit head- quarters placed sacks on their heads, handcuffed them, and beat them with truncheons, including on their genitals and the soles of their feet. Some also said that officials used electric shocks on them and threatened to rape their wives or sisters. The men also alleged that police beat and kicked them in a po- lice van upon detention. Authorities failed to effectively investigate the allega- tions. In early January, several plainclothes officers attacked journalist Mehman Huseynov in downtown Baku. They bound his eyes and mouth, forced a bag over his head, used an electroshock weapon on his groin, and punched him before detaining him. The next day, a court found Huseynov guilty of disobeying police  

72 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 orders and fined him. After Huseynov publicized the abuse, a court convicted him to two years’ imprisonment for defamation. In an open letter posted on social media by his lawyer, activist Giyas Ibrahimov, serving a 10-year prison sentence since May 2016 for political graffiti, alleged guards chained his hands behind his back, beat and swore at him, and arbitrar- ily placed him in solitary confinement for 15 days in June. Authorities failed to conduct an effective investigation. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In September, authorities detained dozens of people presumed to be gay or bi- sexual, as well as transgender women, on dubious disobedience charges. Police ill-treated many to coerce bribes and information about other gay men. Following unfair trials, they were either sentenced for up to 30 days’ detention or released after they paid a fine. Authorities failed to investigate the allegations of torture and ill-treatment made by many of them during the appeal hearings. Key International Actors The United States, European Union, and Azerbaijan’s other bilateral and interna- tional partners continued to criticize the government’s targeting of critics, but failed to effectively leverage their relationships with the government to secure meaningful rights improvements. President Ilham Aliyev visited Brussels in February to inaugurate talks on a new EU-Azerbaijan partnership agreement to enhance political and economic ties. The EU failed to condition negotiations on the release of unjustly imprisoned journalists and activists, and an end to restrictions on NGOs. A June European Parliament resolution condemned the abduction of Afgan Mukhtarli and urged Azerbaijan’s authorities to release him and others detained on politically motivated charges. In March, the EITI suspended Azerbaijan’s membership for failing to comply with the group’s civil society requirements. The government responded by withdraw- ing. While international financial institutions, like the World Bank, pledged sup- port for EITI, they continued to fund extractives projects despite the government’s failure to implement reforms required by EITI.  

73 U H C T A W S T H G I R N A H M In June, the US expressed concern about the abduction and arrest of Afgan Mukhtarli as well as the arrest of APFP Deputy Chair Gozal Bayramli, and called on the government to release “all those incarcerated for exercising their funda- mental freedoms.” In October, the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers took the unprece- dented decision to trigger infringement proceedings against Azerbaijan for fail- ure to implement the European Court judgement on Ilgar Mammadov. Also in October, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted two strongly worded resolutions, urging Azerbaijan to cease its unrelenting crackdown against critics. In June, the Open Government Partnership, a voluntary initiative promoting gov- ernment transparency and accountability, extended Azerbaijan’s inactive status due to “unresolved constraints on the operating environment for NGOs.”  

74 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Bahrain Bahrain’s human rights situation continued to worsen in 2017. Authorities shut down the country’s only independent newspaper and the leading secular-left op- position political society. The country’s preeminent human rights defender re- mained in prison on speech charges. The government, ending a de facto moratorium on use of the death penalty, executed three people in January fol- lowing unfair trials, despite their alleging that they had been tortured and their confessions coerced. The government reversed two of the few substantive recommendations of the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI) that it had previously imple- mented. In January, authorities restored arrest and investigation powers to the National Security Agency, despite its record of torture and abuse, and in April, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa signed legislation authorizing trial of civilians be- fore military courts. Bahrain continued to deny access to special procedures of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, including the special rapporteur for tor- ture. Authorities prevented dozens of rights advocates from traveling to Geneva ahead of Bahrain’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in May and the regular UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session in September. Freedom of Expression, Association, and Peaceful Assembly On July 10, a court sentenced Nabeel Rajab, head of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, to two years for “disseminating false news, statements and ru- mors ... that would undermine [Bahrain’s] prestige and status,” in relation to media interviews he gave in 2015. He faced 15 years in prison in a separate case for “insulting public authorities [the Interior Ministry],” “insulting a foreign coun- try [Saudi Arabia],” and “spreading false rumors in time of war,” in connection with tweets criticizing alleged torture and Bahrain’s participation in the Saudi Arabi-led military operations in Yemen. , Al Wasat On June 4, the Information Affairs Ministry ordered the suspension of Bahrain’s only independent newspaper, ostensibly for a column about unrest in  

75 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H the Hoceima region of Morocco. On June 24, the newspaper’s board told employ- ees that the suspension forced the termination of their contracts. On May 31, the High Civil Court, acting on the request of the government, dis- solved the secular-left National Democratic Action Society (Wa’ad). The govern- ment charged Wa’ad with “incitement of acts of terrorism and promoting violent and forceful overthrow of the political regime,” because the group condemned the January execution of three men on terrorism charges, calling them “martyrs,” and for expressing solidarity with “a banned organization,” referring to Al- Wefaq, the country’s largest opposition society, which authorities had similarly dissolved in July 2016. On June 6, Bahraini authorities declared that it would be a crime punishable by up to five years in prison to express “sympathy” with Qatar or criticize Bahrain’s decision to break relations with that country and, together with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt, impose economic and movement restrictions. In late April and again in late September, authorities summoned more than 20 rights activists, lawyers, and political opposition figures for questioning on charges of taking part in illegal gatherings. This restriction effectively placed these individuals under a travel ban, ensured that they could not go to Geneva for meetings in connection with Bahrain’s third UPR at the UNHRC, which started on May 1, and the regular session of the Human Rights Council in September. According to the London-based Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD), as of late October authorities had stripped 105 persons of Bahraini citi- zenship, bringing the total since 2012 to 455. Security Forces The government on January 5 restored arrest and detention authority to the Na- tional Security Agency (NSA), an intelligence agency. The decision reversed one of the few significant security sector reforms authorities had taken in line with a recommendation of the BICI, which had concluded that the NSA “followed a sys- tematic practice of physical and psychological mistreatment, which in many cases amounted to torture.” King Hamad in April ratified a constitutional amendment giving military courts jurisdiction over civilians. The last time Bahraini military courts prosecuted civil-  

76 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 ians was in the aftermath of large anti-government protests in 2011, when they convicted some 300 people of political crimes. The explanatory note accompany- ing the February vote in the Council of Representatives approving the amend- ment said that it was needed to “make the military justice system flexible and speedy in investigating and sentencing.” On May 23, security forces appeared to have used excessive deadly force in a raid on a sit-in protest in the village of Diraz that left five demonstrators killed and dozens wounded. The sit-in had been in place since June 2016 outside the home of Sheikh Isa Qassim, widely regarded as the spiritual leader of the Al- Wefaq opposition group, after authorities had revoked his citizenship. The gov- ernment said the objective was to “apprehend terrorists operating in the area and clear illegal roadblocks and obstructions.” Sayed Alawi, an employee of the state telecommunications company Batelco, was subjected to enforced disappearance when authorities arrested him on Oc- tober 24, 2016. For several weeks, family members went from one security office to another, following instructions from officials, but was never able to make con- tact with him except for three brief phone calls about six weeks apart between late November 2016 and late February 2017, and a fourth call of about one minute on July 27. The family submitted numerous complaints to the Interior Ministry’s Ombuds- man Office and Special Investigations Unit, and the Office of the Pubic Prosecu- tor. On September 11, the Ombudsman Office responded to an inquiry about the state of its investigation, saying that Allawi “had been transferred to be under the responsibility of another authority which is out of the Ombudsman’s remit.” On October 22, the official news agency announced that Allawi along with three others was in military custody and would face trial before a military court on ter- rorism-related charges. Death Penalty On January 15, Bahrain ended a de facto moratorium since 2010 on executions when authorities carried out death sentences against Sami Mushaima, 42, Ali al- Singace, 21, and Abbas al-Sameea, 27. The men alleged they had been tortured and that their lawyers did not have access to all their hearings and could not cross-examine prosecution witnesses.  

77 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Mohamed Ramadan and Husain Ali Moosa remained on death row following a decision of the First Supreme Criminal High Appellate court in May 2015 uphold- ing their death sentences for killing a policeman, despite their claims that their confessions had been coerced. On June 6, the Fourth Higher Criminal Court sen- tenced to death Sayed Ahmed al-Abbar, 21, and Husain Ali Mohamed, 20, in con- nection with an attack on a military patrol vehicle and the reported death of a security officer. Human Rights Defenders Conditions of Nabeel Rajab’s ongoing detention appeared at times to amount to arbitrary punishment. Authorities repeatedly denied him bail or release follow- ing his re-arrest in June 2016 on speech charges, although he posed no risk to himself or others, or risk of flight. He was kept in solitary confinement for signifi- cant periods of time. This denial of liberty also came despite medical conditions that required his prolonged hospitalization and repeated postponements of hearings. Rajab’s family said that on one occasion authorities returned him to his jail cell two days after an operation, contrary to medical advice. On Novem- ber 22, the High Criminal Court in Manama upheld a two-year prison sentence against Rajab, in relation to TV interviews from 2015 and 2016, accusing him of “disseminating false news, statements and rumors about the internal situation in the kingdom that would undermine its prestige and status.” Authorities at Bahrain International Airport interrogated human rights activist Ebtisam al-Sayegh in March, after she returned from meetings in conjunction with the UNHRC in Geneva. In May, following another interrogation, she alleged that NSA officers had subjected her to physical, verbal, and sexual abuse. Shortly before midnight on July 3 armed and masked men in civilian cars raided her home and arrested her again. Authorities charged al-Sayegh on July 18 with supporting terrorist activities, under the country’s anti-terrorism law. According to Dublin-based Front Line Defenders, inmates at the Isa Town Women’s Prison reported seeing her there with evident injuries, including a neck brace. Al- Sayegh was provisionally released from detention on October 22 but authorities made no announcement about the status of the charges against her. On October 30, a criminal court in Manama sentenced three relatives of human rights defender Sayed al-Wadaei to three years in prison on dubious terrorism-  

78 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 related charges, despite due process violations and allegations of ill-treatment and coerced confessions. Targeting family members to silence activists amounts to collective punishment. Women’s Rights, Gender Identity, and Sexual Orientation Law 19/2009 regulates personal status matters only in Sunni religious courts, so that Shia women are not covered by a codified personal status law. Both Sunni and Shia women face discrimination in the right to divorce and other matters. Adultery and sexual relations outside marriage are criminalized. No law pro- hibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, gender identity, or sexual orien- tation. Key International Actors Bahrain continued to participate in the Saudi Arabia-led coalition military opera- tions in Yemen. US President Donald Trump, in a May meeting, told King Hamad that “there won’t be any strain [in relations] with this administration.” On September 8, the State Department announced it had approved a $2.78 billion sale of F-16V aircraft and other military equipment, a sale previously held up for unspecified human rights concerns. On August 15, in remarks on the release of the 2016 International Reli- gious Freedom Report, Secretary of State Tillerson said, “Bahrain must stop dis- criminating against the Shia communities.” On July 10, the State Department criticized the sentencing of Nabeel Rajab and called for his release. The European Union, Germany, and Norway also criticized Rajab’s sentencing; the United Kingdom failed to do so. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, in his Septem- ber 11 address to the 36th session of the Human Rights Council, decried the “ar- rests, intimidation, travel bans and closure order, with increasing reports of torture” in Bahrain, saying that “democratic space in the country has essentially been shut down” and “no public relations campaign can paper over the viola- tions being inflicted on the people of Bahrain.” The UN Committee against Tor- ture, in its observations on Bahrain’s second and third periodic reports, expressed concern over “numerous and consistent allegations of widespread torture” and “the climate of impunity which seems to prevail.”  

79 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Bangladesh Beginning in late August, Bangladesh received a massive influx of over 630,000 Rohingya refugees escaping a campaign of ethnic cleansing by the Burmese mili- tary after a militant attack in Rakhine State, Burma. Bangladesh sought urgent international humanitarian assistance to provide for the refugees. Authorities failed to hold security forces responsible for serious human rights vi- olations including secret detentions, enforced disappearances, torture, and ex- trajudicial killings. Bangladesh took a massive step backward on women’s and girls’ rights in 2017, passing legislation in February permitting girls under 18 years old to marry under “special circumstances,” eliminating the minimum age for marriages in this ex- ception. In response to protests in December 2016 by garment workers seeking higher wages, factory owners dismissed over 1,500 workers and authorities arrested 38 union leaders and workers on unsubstantiated criminal charges. Refugees After an August 25 attack by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on police posts in northern Rakhine State, the Burmese military began a catastrophic and sys- tematic campaign of ethnic cleansing, carrying out armed attacks on Rohingya Muslim villagers, raping and sexually assaulting women and girls, and torching entire villages. The over 630,000 Rohingya refugees created an unprecedented strain on Bangladesh’s already meager resources. Humanitarian workers have struggled to meet needs in sprawling informal and formal refugee camps. Bangladesh called for international pressure to ensure the swift return of refugees to their homes in Burma. In November, Burma and Bangladesh an- nounced an agreement to repatriate the Rohingya refugees. However, at time of writing, serious concerns remained about the proposed repatriation process, in- cluding when and where the refugees would be resettled, if returns would be vol- untary, the documentation required, freedom of movement, and the state of “temporary camps” called for as part of the resettlement process.  

80 O W R L D R E P O R T 2 0 1 8  

81 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Security Force Abuse and Impunity Bangladesh security forces—particularly the Detective Branch of the police, Bangladesh Border Guards (BGB), the Directorate General Forces Inspectorate (DGFI), and the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB)—have a long history of enjoying im- punity for serious violations including arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disap- pearances, and extrajudicial killings, a pattern that did not abate in 2017. Law enforcement authorities continued to arrest opposition activists and mili- tant suspects, holding them in secret detention for long periods before produc- ing some in court. Several others, according to security forces, were killed in “gunfights,” leading to concerns over extrajudicial killings. At time of writing, scores remained victims of enforced disappearances. Freedom of Expression and Attacks on Civil Society Civil society groups faced pressure from both state and non-state actors, includ- ing death threats and attacks from extremist groups, and escalating harassment and surveillance by security forces. In June 2017, Islamist leaders threatened to “break every bone” of Sultana Kamal, a prominent Bangladeshi lawyer and rights activist, after she publicly opposed their campaign to dismantle a statue of Lady Justice outside the Supreme Court on the grounds that it constituted “idolatry,” violating Islamic tenets. Freedom of expression was severely limited as authorities used overly broad laws to stifle dissent or perceived criticism. The government continued to use Section 57 of the Information and Communications Technology Act (ICT Act) to punish critics. The draft Digital Securities Act, designed to replace section 57, proposed even harsher penalties for vaguely defined crimes under national se- curity, defamation, and “hurting religious feelings.” In 2017, there were at least 30 assaults on journalists, including the February murder of Abdul Hakim Shimul, a reporter for the daily Samakal newspaper, while he covered political unrest in Shahjadpur. In August, the journalist Abdul Latif Morol was arrested for satirical reporting of the death of a goat on Face- book. In early September, police detained two Burmese journalists reporting on the Rohingya crisis and held them for a week before releasing them on bail. After  

82 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 significant international pressure, authorities dropped the charges on October 17 and allowed the two to return home. The Foreign Donation (Voluntary Activities) Regulation Act to control nongovern- mental organizations (NGOs) further hindered freedoms of expression and asso- ciation. The Distortion of the History of Bangladesh Liberation War Crimes Act provides for imprisonment and fines if details of the 1971 war of independence are debated or disputed. Minorities Sporadic attacks and threats against religious minorities continued in 2017. In mid-November, a mob of nearly 20,000 looted and burned down over 30 homes in the majority-Hindu Thakurpara village in Rangpur Sadar, in response to rumors that a villager had published a Facebook post defaming the Prophet Muhammad. Indigenous groups in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) have for decades faced dis- crimination, forced displacement, assaults, evictions, and destruction of prop- erty by both Bangladeshi security forces and Bengali settlers from the mainland. In June, Bengali rioters burned 100 indigenous homes in Longadu, reportedly while army and police looked on. Environment Bangladesh again failed to address its decades-long problem of arsenic in drink- ing water, with the World Health Organization estimating that 40 million people in the country are affected by arsenic poisoning. In February, three United Na- tions special rapporteurs published a joint letter raising their concerns which they had sent to the government the previous year, and to which the government had not responded. In 2017, the government finally began to relocate about a third of the approxi- mately 300 tanneries out of Hazaribagh, a residential area of Dhaka, to a dedi- cated industrial zone in Savar just outside the capital. The tanneries produce environmentally hazardous waste containing chemicals such as sulfur, ammo- nium, and chromium. However, many continue to operate in Hazaribagh, in con- travention of multiple High Court orders, most recently in March. In November,  

83 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H the government announced that the move to Savar had been delayed again and would not be completed until 2019. The Hill Tracts region suffered massive landslides in mid-June after several days of heavy rainfall, killing more than 160 people and displacing thousands. Envi- ronmental activists blamed decades of unregulated settlement and deforesta- tion due to poor enforcement of existing laws. The government pushed forward with plans for the controversial India-backed Rampal coal power plant in 2017, despite significant concerns about air and water pollution, and risk to the Sundarbans mangrove forest, a UNESCO world heritage site. Labor Rights Bangladeshi authorities failed to implement their commitments under the Sus- tainability Compact in 2017, including amendments to the labor laws governing Export Processing Zones to bring them in line with international standards. In general, factory officials were not held accountable for attacks, threats, and re- taliation against workers, particularly those involved with unions. From December 2016 to February 2017, the government and garment manufactur- ers cracked down on workers for demanding higher wages, dismissing workers and arresting union leaders based on vague or repealed offenses from the dra- conian Special Powers Act of 1974. Although the global garment union IndustriALL, the government, and the gar- ment manufacturers’ association reached an agreement in February after signifi- cant international and corporate pressure to release the 34 workers and union leaders, they continued to face criminal cases. The Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a platform of North American retail- ers that sets timeframes and accountability for safety inspections and training programs, announced in 2017 that it would not extend its tenure after mid-2018. The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a European counterpart, decided to extend its tenure until 2021. Both were set up in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza building collapse in 2013 that killed more than 1,000 workers.  

84 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Women’s and Girls’ Rights With among the highest rates of early marriage in the world, the government had pledged to end marriage of children younger than 15 by 2021, and marriage younger than 18 by 2041. However, in February 2017, the government greatly un- dermined progress toward these goals by approving a law that permits girls under age 18 to marry under “special circumstances,” such as “accidental” or “illegal pregnancy,” with permission from their parents and a court. There is no age limit to how early girls can marry under this exception. Stalking, sexual harassment, and violence against women and girls continued in 2017. In Bogra, a city in north Bangladesh, a university student accused Tufan Sarkar, a trade union leader linked to the ruling Awami League, of abducting and raping her in July. In an attempt to silence the victim, Sarkar picked up her and her mother, tortured them for hours, and then tonsured their heads, sparking widespread public outrage and protests in the city. Police arrested Sarkar, his wife, and several associates two weeks later, and filed charges in October. Also in July, a student leader, and apparent repeat offender at Sirajganj Govern- ment College publicly harassed and assaulted a student because she protested against his repeated threats to sexually assault her. He was later arrested on as- sault charges. Indigenous women and girls faced multiple forms of discrimination due to their gender, indigenous identity, and socio-economic status and were especially vul- nerable to sexual and gender-based violence. Overseas Workers Millions of Bangladeshis work abroad, sending home remittances worth billions of dollars. In 2017, 100,000 women migrated overseas, mostly to Gulf countries, for domestic work. Many Bangladeshi migrant workers have reported being de- prived of food and forced to endure psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. In some cases, such abuses amounted to forced labor or trafficking. Bangladesh has set a minimum salary for domestic workers in the Gulf equiva- lent to roughly US$200 per month, the lowest minimum salary of all sending countries. Its regional embassies do not provide adequate protection and assis- tance to many Bangladeshi nationals there.  

85 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Although the government took some steps in recent years, such as declaring legal recognition of a third gender category for hijras, policy implementation re- mains weak and sexual and gender minorities remained under constant pressure and threat. The government twice rejected recommendations during its Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to repeal the colonial-era law forbidding same-sex conduct. In May, the Rapid Action Battalion raided a gather- ing in Dhaka, arresting 28 men and publicly accusing them of homosexuality and drug possession, flouting privacy rights. Key International Actors The UN secretary-general and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees de- nounced the “ethnic cleansing” campaign in Burma against the Rohingya. Sev- eral governments pledged aid to assist the refugees, but humanitarian agencies asked for more. In December, Bangladesh sponsored a special session of the UNHRC to bring attention to the plight of Rohingya in Burma. India and the United States remained largely silent on the country’s human rights record in their public statements in 2017, save in relation to the Burmese Rohingya refugee crisis, when they expressed support for Bangladesh’s efforts in dealing with the massive influx of refugees. However, the US did allocate $32 million in humanitarian aid for Rohingya in Bangladesh. The UK government raised some concerns about the rights situation in Bangladesh, but without sufficient vigour or consistency, and preferred private statements to strong statements of public concern. In November, UK Prime Min- ister Theresa May publicly condemned the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and pledged to work with Bangladesh and other regional partners to deal with the crisis. In February and March respectively, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Invol- untary Disappearances and the Human Rights Committee raised concerns about the increasing number of enforced disappearances and the lack of investigations and accountability. The Bangladeshi government ignored the statements, as well as repeated requests for visits by UN special rapporteurs and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  

86 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Belarus The government continued its crackdown on civil society in 2017. Authorities car- ried out the broadest wave of arrests of peaceful protesters since 2010. For the first time in 10 years, authorities registered a political opposition movement, but restrictive legislation continues to prevent rights groups from registering and op- erating freely. No new political party has been able to register since 2000. Belarus remains the only European country to use the death penalty and in 2017 authorities made no efforts towards its abolition. European governments and institutions continued to strengthen relations with Belarus despite a lack of tangible rights improvements. In July, a vaguely worded law on “protecting children from information harmful for their health and development” entered into force. These provisions may be used to restrict dissemination of neutral or positive information about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people as “discrediting the institution of the family.” Death Penalty In November 2016 and April 2017 respectively, authorities executed Henadz Yakavitski and Siarhei Vostrykau, both sentenced to death in 2016. Kiryl Kaza- chok and Aliaksei Mikhalenya were sentenced to death on murder charges in De- cember 2016 and in March 2017, respectively. Kazachok did not appeal. Mikhalenya’s sentence was upheld on appeal in June. Ihar Hershankou and Siamion Berazhnou were sentenced to death in July 2017 on fraud and murder charges. Both were appealing at time of writing. Freedom Day Crackdown, Freedom of Assembly February and March were marked by mass demonstrations in 13 Belarusian cities, protesting a new tax on the unemployed. Peaceful protests also took place on March 25, Freedom Day, the anniversary of the creation of the Belaru- sian People’s Republic in 1918, and continued the following day. Police arbitrarily detained at least 700 people in connection with the protests, including about 100 journalists and 60 human rights activists. Police punched,  

87 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H kicked, and clubbed many of the detainees. At least 177 people were charged with fabricated offenses, such as hooliganism or participating in unsanctioned protests, and sentenced to fines or up to 25 days’ detention, following pro forma administrative court hearings. Many did not have access to lawyers and could not call defense witnesses. Also in March, authorities arrested 35 people on criminal charges of “organizing mass riots” for the Freedom Day protests. Authorities obstructed their access to legal counsel. In April, authorities also charged 20 of those detained with “orga- nizing an unlawful armed group.” In June, authorities closed the rioting case due to lack of evidence, and released those who had been charged only with rioting. Also in June, authorities released all suspects in the case of “organizing an ille- gal armed group” on their own recognizance, but they continued to face charges. Some of the suspects are former members of White Legion, a disbanded nation- alist organization. In April, a Minsk court canceled the suspension of an earlier prison sentence against activist Dzmitry Paliyenka and ordered him to serve 18 months. The court said he had violated the terms of his suspended sentence by committing several administrative violations. In 2016, police detained Paliyenka for taking part in the apolitical Critical Mass cycling protest. After a flawed trial, a court handed him a suspended two-year prison sentence on trumped-up charges of spreading pornography and violence against a police officer. Human Rights Defenders Hours before the March 25 protest, police in Minsk raided the Human Rights Cen- ter “Viasna,” detaining 58 people. A Viasna lawyer had to be hospitalized for a concussion he sustained due to police mistreatment. Authorities refused to open an investigation. Also in March, authorities arrested five activists from Viasna and the Belarusian Helsinki Committee while they monitored peaceful protests, and charged them with participating in an unauthorized gathering. All were sentenced to up to 15 days of detention. In April, a Minsk court fined Viasna member Tatsiana Reviaka for disorderly con- duct and disobeying police during the March 26 rally.  

88 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Also in April, a court in Vitebsk sentenced Pavel Levinau to 15 days’ detention for participation in an unauthorized rally that he was monitoring. Levinau had noti- fied local authorities in advance of his intention to monitor the gathering as a member of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee. Freedom of Association Laws and regulations governing public association remain restrictive, preventing human rights groups or political opposition movements from registering and op- erating freely. Involvement in a non-registered organization is a criminal offense. Most registration rejections are based on arbitrary bureaucratic pretenses. In January, the founders of the Solidarity Committee for the Support of Entrepre- neurship, which seeks to protect entrepreneurship and promote dialogue be- tween authorities and entrepreneurs, appealed to the Supreme Court against the Justice Ministry’s refusal to register the group. In February, the court upheld the ministry’s refusal. Authorities had refused to register the group twice in 2016. In August, authorities for the second time denied registration to Gender Partner- ship, a group that promotes gender equality, citing minor errors in registration documents. In a positive development, in May, authorities registered Tell the Truth, an oppo- sition movement that had repeatedly tried to register since 2010, making it the first political opposition group able to register in 10 years. In August, the authorities charged staff of two independent trade unions, the Radio and Electronic Industry Workers’ Union (REPAM) and the Belarusian Inde- pendent Trade Union of Miners (BITU), on suspicion of large-scale tax evasion. Henadz Fiadynich, leader of REPAM, was released on his own recognizance. Ihar Komlik, the union’s accountant, remained in custody at time of writing. Local and international human rights groups said the charges were part of authorities’ harassment against the unions and their leaders in retaliation for their criticism of the presidential decree imposing a tax on the unemployed, and taking part in the March demonstrations.  

89 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Freedom of Expression and Attacks on Journalists Between March and August, authorities detained at least 100 journalists, mostly while they were reporting on street protests, and sentenced at least 10 to up to 15 days’ detention on trumped-up charges. Police beat six of them. Authorities also prosecuted 20 journalists, for a total of 35 cases, for cooperat- ing with unregistered foreign media, an increase since last year. All resulted in significant, sometimes repeated, fines. On March 31, police searched the Minsk offices of Poland-based Belsat televi- sion, and seized the channel’s equipment. The channel was able to continue op- erating, but the equipment was not returned. By October 2017, the total amount of fines imposed on Belsat journalists had exceeded US$11,000, according to the Belarusian Association of Journalists. In December 2016, authorities arrested three bloggers with the Russian-lan- guage websites Regnum, Lenta.ru and EADaily, on charges of inciting extremism and sowing social discord between Russia and Belarus. All are in custody, pend- ing investigation. In July, authorities charged Ihar Pastnou, a psychiatrist in Vitebsk known for criti- cizing local officials, with making a knowingly false accusation of a crime, after he wrote on his social media page about beatings in one of the Vitebsk pretrial detention centers. Pastnou was at liberty pending investigation at time of writ- ing. Asylum Policy Belarus failed to provide meaningful protection to hundreds of asylum seekers, mostly from the Russian republic of Chechnya, who arrived in Belarus with the aim of crossing the border into Poland and requesting asylum. Belarus lacks a functioning asylum system. During 2017 it returned at least two asylum seekers from Chechnya back to Russia, which authorities view as a safe country of origin, putting them at grave risk of ill-treatment.  

90 2 T R O P E R D L R O W 0 1 8 Key International Actors In July, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Parlia- mentary Assembly held its 26th Annual Session in Minsk. The government continued to refuse to cooperate with United Nations Special Rapporteur on Belarus Miklos Haraszti, appointed in 2012. Haraszti visited Minsk in July at the invitation of the OSCE. In June, Haraszti issued a report on the human rights situation in Belarus, pointing out the “cyclical” nature of the repression of human rights and underscoring the vital importance of interna- tional scrutiny on Belarus. In June, the UN Human Rights Council extended Ha- raszti’s mandate for another year. In October 2016, the European Olympic Committees selected Minsk to host the second European Games, to be held in June 2019. The decision sparked concern about Belarus’ long record of rights abuses, especially on media freedoms, in connection with major sporting events. A rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) vis- ited Belarus in March. In its April resolution, the PACE condemned the March es- calation of violence, and urged Belarus to respect freedoms of assembly, association, and expression. In June, Belarus submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Committee for the first time since 1996. In November 2016, in its concluding observations to Belarus’ eighth periodic re- port to the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the committee noted the need to adopt anti-discrimination legislation, and to review registration requirements for nongovernmental organizations working on human rights issues. In November 2016, Belarus ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  

91 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Bolivia Impunity for violent crime and human rights violations remains a serious prob- lem in Bolivia. The administration of President Evo Morales has created a hostile environment for human rights defenders that undermines their ability to work in- dependently. Despite recent legal reforms, extensive use of pretrial detention—combined with trial delays—undermine defendants’ rights and contribute to prison overcrowd- ing. Threats to judicial independence, violence against women, and child labor are other major concerns. In September 2017, supporters of President Morales in the Plurinational Assem- bly —the national legislature—brought a lawsuit to the Constitutional Court seek- ing to abrogate the constitution’s one-time re-election limit, which would allow him to run for a fourth term. Partly due to a 2013 Constitutional Court ruling, President Morales has been able to run in three consecutive presidential elec- tions, all of which he won. In February 2016, voters had rejected a national refer- endum that would have changed the constitution to allow him to run a fourth time. Impunity for Abuses and Violent Crime Bolivia has prosecuted only a few of the officials responsible for human rights vi- olations committed under authoritarian governments from 1964-1982, partly be- cause the armed forces have at times refused to give information to judicial authorities about the fate of people killed or forcibly disappeared. In August, the government established a truth commission to carry out non-judi- cial investigations of grave human rights abuses committed between 1964-1982, and the commander-in-chief of Bolivian armed forces, Gen. Luis Orlando Ariñez, said that the military would fully cooperate. The commission can provide infor- mation for judges to convict those responsible. Impunity has led to mob attacks, or lynchings, of alleged criminals. In May, a mob in the eastern city of San Julián entered a courtroom where a judge was questioning an alleged killer of a local woman, dragged the suspect outside, killed him, and hanged him in a tree. Many such lynchings go unpunished.  

92 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Judicial Independence The government has sought to reform the Bolivian justice system, which has been plagued by corruption, delays, and political interference for years. While re- forms are certainly called for, current efforts pose a serious risk to judicial inde- pendence in the country. In June 2016, members of the three branches of government, as well as civil soci- ety groups and other stakeholders, discussed proposals during a “National Jus- tice Summit.” The summit’s recommendations included reforming the selection process for high court judges, creating a new body to supervise judges, and as- sessing the work of current judges and prosecutors. In January 2017, Congress created a commission to oversee implementing the recommendations. The commission has broad powers, including “controlling” the appointment of new judges and carrying out “all other actions necessary” to implement the recommendations. Five of the commission’s nine members are either supporters of Morales in the Plurinational Assembly or government offi- cials directly appointed by him. In December 2016, government supporters in the Plurinational Assembly sus- pended four of the five members of the Magistrate’s Council—the body in charge of appointing and removing judges—arguing that they had illegally named a judge to replace another judge who had been appointed but not sworn in. Faced with possible removal from office, three of them resigned in April. In May, the Magistrate’s Council new members ruled that all the judges who were appointed before the 2009 constitution was enacted were to be considered tran- sitory and could be summarily removed by the council. That same month, the council summarily removed 88 judges. At time of writing, voters were scheduled to elect high court judges in December 2017. Voters will choose judges from lists created by the Plurinational Assembly, where the Morales administration has a two-thirds majority. In September, President Morales said in an interview that judicial independence was a “US doctrine” in the “service of the empire.”  

93 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Due Process and Prison Conditions Around 68 percent of inmates in Bolivian prisons have not been convicted of a crime. Extended pretrial detention and trial delays overcrowd prisons and lead to poor conditions. As of December 2016, more than 15,000 inmates were packed into prisons built to hold a maximum of around 5,000. Presidential decrees adopted between 2012 and 2017 allow the president to re- duce the sentences of those convicted of minor crimes and pardon those held in pretrial detention for minor crimes. As of December 2016, more than 5,800 peo- ple had benefited from such pardons, according to official figures. At time of writing, the Plurinational Assembly was discussing a government- sponsored criminal reform which would shorten the maximum periods of pretrial detention and limit the cases in which judges can apply it. The Attorney General’s Office has repeatedly used a 2010 anti-corruption law to prosecute alleged crimes committed before the law was enacted. International human rights law, however, prohibits such retroactive application of changes to criminal law, unless doing so is beneficial to the defendant. In October 2016, the Attorney General’s Office used the law to charge business- man and opposition leader Samuel Doria Medina with “anti-economic conduct” for allegedly transferring US$21 million from the government to a private founda- tion, when he was minister of planning in 1992. In January 2017, the Supreme Court rejected a request by the Attorney General’s Office that Doria be held in pretrial detention, but ordered that he appear before prosecutors every month and forbade him from leaving the country. At time of writing, Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga, former president of Bolivia and current opposition leader, was also being prosecuted for “anti-economic conduct.” Prosecutors argued that officials in his administration negatively impacted the “interests of the state” by signing four oil agreements with foreign companies. Human Rights Defenders Human rights defenders continue to face harassment, including from govern- ment officials, which undermines their ability to work independently.  

94 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 A law and decree that President Morales signed in 2013 grant the government broad powers to dissolve civil society organizations. Under the decree, any gov- ernment office may request that the Ministry of Autonomy revoke the permit of a nongovernmental organization (NGO) if it performs activities other than those listed in its bylaws, or if the organization’s legal representative is criminally pun- ished for carrying out activities that “undermine security or public order.” The decree also allows the Plurinational Assembly to request the revocation of an NGO’s permit in cases of “necessity or public interest.” These measures give the government inappropriately wide latitude to interfere with the operation of independent civil society groups. Bolivian officials have repeatedly accused rights groups of engaging in an inter- national conspiracy against the government, but have failed to present evidence to support such claims. In August 2017, for example, President Morales accused “some NGOs and foundations” of being “instruments of the empire to loot and intervene [in] countries”—a reference to the United States. Freedom of Expression While public debate is robust, the Morales administration periodically lashes out against journalists, accusing them, without presenting evidence, of publishing what it calls lies and politically motivated distortions. The government has re- peatedly accused media of participating in an international conspiracy against Bolivia and the president. Bolivia lacks transparent criteria for using government funds to purchase media advertisements—an important source of media revenue—and some media out- lets have accused the government of discriminating against those who criticize government officials by withholding advertising from them. In May 2017, Presi- dent Morales said that media outlets that did not receive government advertise- ments were those that “lie, insult, slander, and discredit authorities.” Indigenous Rights The 2009 constitution includes comprehensive guarantees for indigenous groups’ rights to collective land titling, intercultural education, prior consultation on development projects, and protection of indigenous justice systems.  

95 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) regarding legislative or administrative measures that may affect them is not fully embodied in Bolivian legislation. A current mining law limits FPIC to the exploitation phase of land concessions, but international standards call for FPIC through all stages of projects that impact on indigenous peoples’ rights over land and natural re- sources. In May 2017, President Morales signed a bill that authorizes the building of a highway in the Isiboro Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory (known as “TIPNIS”). The law is based on a 2012 consultation with local indigenous groups, which some rights groups say was not fully free nor fair. Gender-Based Violence and Reproductive Rights Women and girls in Bolivia remain at high risk of gender-based violence, despite a 2013 law that sets forth comprehensive measures to prevent and prosecute vi- olence against women. The law created the crime of “femicide” (the killing of a woman in certain circumstances, including of domestic violence) and called for the establishment of shelters for women, as well as special prosecutors and courts for gender-based crimes. The Attorney General’s Office reported 74 “femicides” in Bolivia from January- September 2016. Women and girls face numerous obstacles to accessing reproductive health products, contraceptives, and services. Under Bolivian law, abortion is not a crime when the pregnancy is due to rape or if the procedure is necessary to protect the life or health of a pregnant women. At time of writing, the Plurinational Assembly was discussing a government-spon- sored criminal reform that would significantly ease abortion restrictions. Under the bill, abortion would be fully decriminalized for girls. Women would be al- lowed to end pregnancies in a range of circumstances, including if their lives or health are at risk, if the pregnancy is due to rape, and if the fetus suffers severe conditions not compatible with life outside the womb.  

96 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Child Labor In 2014, the Plurinational Assembly adopted legislation allowing children as young as 10 to work in activities that are not deemed “dangerous” or “un- healthy.” The law contravenes international standards and makes Bolivia the first country in the world to legalize employment at such a young age. Under the law, the government had to carry out a census by July 2016 to identify the num- ber of Bolivian children under 14 who are working. At time of writing, the census had yet to take place. The latest national census on child labor, from 2008, indi- cated that some 850,000 children under 17 were working in Bolivia. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In May 2016, the Plurinational Assembly passed a bill that allows people to re- vise the gender noted on their identification documents without prior judicial approval. In December 2016 a transgender woman, Luna, obtained her new birth certifi- cate reflecting her identity as a woman. She married her husband on December 30, 2016, becoming the first transgender woman in Bolivia to legally marry a per- son of the same biological sex. However, in November, the Constitutional Court ruled that revision of gender did not grant the right to marry a person of the same biological sex. Same-sex couples are not allowed to marry or engage in civil unions. Bolivia’s 2009 constitution defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Key International Actors In May, the Office of the US Trade Representative announced that it would initi- ate a review of whether Bolivia’s child labor legislation disqualifies the country from a trade preference program that eliminates duties on certain products im- ported to the US. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Bolivia was expected to close at the end of 2017, following the government’s decision not to renew the 2007 agreement with it to establish an office in the country. As a member of the UN Human Rights Council, Bolivia has regularly voted to pre- vent scrutiny of human rights violations, opposing resolutions spotlighting abuses in Syria, Burundi, and Iran.  

97 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Bosnia and Herzegovina There was little visible progress on human rights during 2017. Authorities failed yet again to end structural and political discrimination against Jews, Roma, and other minorities. There was limited progress towards accountability for war crimes in domestic courts. Journalists remain vulnerable to intimidation and threats. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people face hate speech and threats. More than 98,000 people remain displaced from their original homes, despite the fact that conflict ended more than 20 years ago. Ethnic and Religious Discrimination 2017 marked another year in which the government and assembly failed to make progress amending the constitution to eliminate ethnic and religious discrimina- tion in candidacy for the national tripartite presidency and the House of Peoples, despite a further pledge to do so by January 2017. Currently, the constitution permits candidates for these institutions only from one of the three main ethnic groups—Bosniaks, Serbs, and Croats, thereby ex- cluding Jews, Roma, and other minorities from political office. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled in 2009 and 2016 that the arrangements vi- olate the European Convention on Human Rights. Asylum Seekers and Internally Displaced Persons According to the Ministry for Human Rights and Refugees, the official number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the end of October was 98,574. By mid-No- vember, 39 internally displaced families (107 individuals) and 16 refugee fami- lies (56 individuals) had returned to their pre-war homes since January, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). By mid-November, Bosnia and Herzegovina had registered 211 asylum applica- tions and granted four people subsidiary protection. No one had been granted refugee status at time of writing. Most asylum seekers came from Syria, Pak- istan, and Afghanistan.  

98 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Accountability for War Crimes There was slow progress in prosecuting war crimes in domestic courts. The goal to finish the most complex cases in the War Crimes Chamber of the State Court by the end of 2015 has not been reached. Between January and November 2017, the State Court War Crimes Chamber deliv- ered 37 verdicts, 20 of them appeals. Out of 37 verdicts, the court reached seven acquittals, 22 convictions, and eight partial acquittals. The total number of final judgments since the court became fully operational in 2005 stands at 188. A report in June by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Mission to Bosnia and Herzegovina identified progress made by national courts in addressing conflict-related sexual violence stemming from the 1992- 1995 armed conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Between 2004 and 2016, 116 such cases were completed across all jurisdictions in the country. As of the end of 2016, 58 cases involving conflict-related sexual violence were ongoing in courts, and 128 cases remained under investigation. Many survivors have not accessed needed medical or psychosocial care, or fi- nancial compensation and support, in part due to lack of a comprehensive repa- rations scheme for wartime sexual violence. Between September 2016 and September 2017, the cantonal courts issued 28 verdicts (11 acquittals, 17 convictions) in relation to 67 defendants. The district courts reached four verdicts (one acquittal and one conviction) in relation to nine people in the same period. In January 2017, the State Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina confirmed the indict- ment against Boro Milojica and Zelislav Rivic. They are accused of participating in crimes against humanity in 1992 as members of Bosnian Serb forces, includ- ing widespread and systematic attacks on civilians in Prijedor and the murder and persecution of Bosniak, Croat, and Romani civilians. In September 2017, the Prosecutor’s Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina issued an indictment against Serbian national Nenad Bubalo for crimes against humanity over the killing and persecution of civilians in the Bihac municipality area in 1992, while serving as an officer in Bosnian Serb forces. The indictment was for-  

99 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H warded to the Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had yet to confirm it at time of writing. Cross appeals against the conviction and sentence filed in April 2016 by lawyers for Bosnian Serb wartime President Radovan Karadzic and prosecutors at the In- ternational Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), in relation to his March 2016 conviction for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, were pending at time of writing. On November 22, 2017, the ICTY convicted former Commander of the Republika Srpska Army, Ratko Mladic, of genocide in Srebrenica, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Bosnia, and sentenced him to life in prison. Human Rights Defenders and Civil Society Between January and September 2017, Civil Rights Defenders, an interna- tional nongovernmental organization (NGO), documented an increased amount of freedom of assembly violations in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The most serious breach was the violent dispersal of a demonstration in Krus- cica, where locals were protesting the building of a river dam. Freedom of Media Journalists continue to work in an environment where threats and intimidation are common. The national journalists’ association BH Novinari registered, in the first nine months of 2017, 45 cases involving assault on media freedom and ex- pression, including nine physical attacks, seven death threats and six other threats, and two cases of defamation. The state response remains inadequate. Police investigations into attacks take too long and only rarely lead to criminal proceedings. Although the total number of cases of assaults declined, the num- ber of physical attacks and death threats rose slightly compared to 2016. The dif- ficult climate for journalists was also underlined in an August 2017 report by the Institution of Human Rights Ombudsman of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which rec- ommended stronger criminal sanctions and training for police, prosecutors, and judges to tackle attacks on journalists.  

100 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Between January and September 2017, Sarajevo Open Centre, an LGBT rights or- ganization, documented 39 cases of hate speech, mostly on social networks and online portals, seven cases of discrimination, and 23 cases of hate crimes to- wards LGBT people. These cases included eight cases of illegal imprisonment and forced conversion therapies by family members, five cases of homophobic and transphobic violence in schools (of which three were committed against children), and 10 threats of violence, physical, verbal and psychological vio- lence, or blackmail. The reaction of police and public authorities to these inci- dents was generally inadequate. Key International Actors In its annual Human Rights Report published in March, the US Department of State highlighted the issue of child marriage in certain Romani communities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, affecting girls between the ages of 12 and 14, and the lack of government programs to tackle these issues. It noted that violence against women remains widespread and police response is inadequate. The re- port identified conditions in the country’s prisons as harsh and sometimes life- threatening. In July, the European Union (EU) delegation to Bosnia and Herzegovina ex- pressed concerns over threats against journalists in Banja Luka and Sarajevo, and called for full investigations in such cases. In its concluding observations adopted in May, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities expressed concerns over the lack of a human rights-based concept of disability in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s entities and cantons. The committee expressed concern at the lack of efforts to bring existing legislation in line with the Disability Rights Convention, and the exclu- sion of persons with disabilities from public life, especially women with dis- abilities. In its concluding observations in April, the Human Rights Committee renewed its concern over the slow pace of accountability for war crimes in domestic courts, noting the failure to meet the goals in the National War Crimes Strategy to conclude most complex cases by the end of 2015.  

101 H C T A W S H U M A N T R I G H In a November report, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižniek expressed dismay that generations of children have been educated in segregated schools with little or no interaction with children from other eth- nic groups. He also expressed concern over the low number of domestically prosecuted war-related crimes of sexual violence, and called on authorities to step up efforts in prosecuting war crimes.  

102 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Brazil Chronic problems plague Brazil’s criminal justice system, including unlawful po- lice killings and mistreatment of detainees. In Rio de Janeiro, killings by police are approaching record levels. In January 2017, more than 120 inmates were killed in gang-related violence. Domestic violence remained widespread; thousands of cases each year are not properly investigated. Thousands of Venezuelans poured into Brazil, fleeing repression and seeking food and medication. In response, Brazil facilitated residency permits for them, while it called for the re-establishment of democracy in Venezuela. Public Security and Police Conduct Widespread violence, often perpetrated by criminal gangs, plagues many Brazil- ian cities. Abuses by police, including extrajudicial executions, contribute to a cycle of violence, undermining public security and endangering the lives of po- lice officers. In 2016, 437 police officers were killed in Brazil, the vast majority of them while off-duty, according to official data compiled by the nonprofit Brazil- ian Forum on Public Security. Police officers, including off-duty officers, killed 4,224 people in 2016, about 26 percent more than in 2015, according to the Brazilian Forum on Public Security. After a two-year decline in killings by on-duty police officers in the state of São Paulo, the 494 killings from January to September represented a 19 percent rise from the same period in 2016. On-duty police officers in Rio de Janeiro killed 712 people from January to August, a 30 percent rise from the same period in 2016. While some police killings result from legitimate use of force, others do not. Human Rights Watch has documented scores of cases in the past decade where there was credible evidence of an extrajudicial execution or a cover-up that were not properly investigated or prosecuted. In Pará, police killed 10 farmers in May. Officers said they were responding to an attack, but witnesses and forensic data provide credible evidence that they exe- cuted the victims.  

103 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In July, the government deployed thousands of armed forces personnel in Rio de Janeiro to assist with policing. In October, Congress approved a bill, promoted by the army, that will shield soldiers accused of unlawful killings of civilians from prosecution in civilian courts, moving such trials to military courts. Under inter- national norms, extrajudicial executions and other grave human rights violations should be tried in civilian courts. Prison Conditions, Torture, and Ill-Treatment of Detainees In January, more than 650,000 adults were behind bars in Brazil, according to the National Council of Justice. The latest official data about overcrowding, from 2014, showed facilities housing 67 percent more inmates than they were de- signed to hold. Overcrowding and understaffing make it impossible for prison authorities to maintain control within many prisons, leaving detainees vulnerable to violence. In January, more than 120 inmates died in three states, allegedly as a result of gang violence. Another 22 inmates had already been killed in October 2016. Health and legal services are deficient in many prisons, and only a small per- centage of inmates have access to educational and work opportunities. Pretrial detainees are routinely held with convicted prisoners, in violation of interna- tional standards and Brazilian law Judges in only about 40 percent of jurisdictions see detainees promptly after ar- rest, as required by international law, according to the nonprofit Institute for the Defense of the Right to Defense. Such “custody hearings” help judges determine who should be in preventive detention and who should be set free pending trial. In the absence of custody hearings, detainees often wait many months to see a judge for the first time; 34 percent of people in Brazilian prisons were awaiting trial in January.At time of writing, Congress was examining a bill to make custody hearings mandatory countrywide. Such hearings have the potential to be a powerful weapon against police abuse of detainees because they allow judges to detect mistreatment soon after arrest. In São Paulo, however, a 2017 report by the nonprofit Conectas found that judges, prosecutors, and public defenders failed to ensure the proper investiga- tion of allegations of mistreatment in hundreds of custody hearings.  

104 O W R L D R E P O R T 2 0 1 8  

105 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Children’s Rights Brazil’s juvenile detention facilities were built to house about 19,400 children and young adults but held at least 24,000 in October 2016. These figures do not include the capacity of facilities and the number of detainees in six states, about which the federal government had no data. In June, nine children were killed by other children in severely overcrowded de- tention facilities in Paraíba and Pernambuco. The National Council of Human Rights reported 40 children killed in confinement in Pernambuco from 2012 to 2016. The report did not make clear the assailants. Investigations by the National Mechanism for the Prevention and Combatting of Torture and Human Rights Watch found scores of cases of mistreatment of chil- dren by staff and police in various states. Abuses are often not properly investi- gated or punished. An exception was the conviction in August of 12 staff members for torturing 85 children in São Paulo. Despite substantial forensic and video evidence, the case did not come to trial until 12 years after the abuse. Instead of promoting rehabilitation and education, the physical infrastructure of juvenile detention facilities fosters isolation and punishment. Some children and young adults in the state of Ceará have no access to educational activities and are locked in their rooms most, if not all, day, as documented by Human Rights Watch. At time of writing, Brazil’s Congress was examining a bill to raise the maximum time of internment for children from 3 to 10 years—which would aggravate over- crowding—and a constitutional amendment to allow 16 and 17 year olds accused of serious crimes to be tried and punished as adults, in violation of international norms. Freedom of Expression In December 2016, a panel of the Superior Justice Court ruled that a legal provi- (desacato ) with up to sion that punishes the “disrespecting” of public officials two years in prison violated freedom of expression and should be voided.But in May, the full criminal section of the court reversed that decision.  

106 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 In Rio de Janeiro, where the armed forces have been deployed repeatedly to pa- trol the streets, scores of civilians have been tried in military courts for allegedly provision in the Military Criminal Code. disrespecting soldiers under a desacato Military Police forces have abused the provision to quell criticism, including in cases in which they detained artists during performances or people who had posted critical comments online. Military police officers face broad restrictions on their own freedom of speech. State disciplinary codes and the military criminal code subject officers to expul- sion from the force and prison sentences for offenses such as criticizing a supe- rior officer or a government decision. Some commanders use those norms to impose disproportionate punishments on officers who advocate for police re- form or voice complaints. Women’s and Girls’ Rights Abortion is legal in Brazil only in cases of rape, when necessary to save a woman’s life, or when the fetus suffers from anencephaly, a fatal congenital brain disorder. Women and girls who abort pregnancies illegally not only risk injury and death but face sentences of up to three years in prison, while people convicted of per- forming unlawful abortions face up to four years. An estimated 416,000 Brazilian women had abortions in 2015, according to a survey. The Ministry of Health told Human Rights Watch that doctors administered only 1,667 legal abortions that year. The Supreme Court is examining two petitions to decriminalize abortion. In April, Human Rights Watch submitted expert briefs in support of both cases. In Novem- ber, a congressional committee approved a bill that would prohibit abortion under any circumstances. An outbreak of the Zika virus in 2015 had particularly harmful impacts on women and girls. When a pregnant woman is infected, Zika can cause problems with fetal development, including microcephaly—underdevelopment of the brain. In- adequate investment in water and sanitation infrastructure, as well as limited re- productive health information and services, worsened the Zika outbreak, and  

107 G H H U M A N R I C H T S W A T  

108 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 leave Brazilians vulnerable to future outbreaks. Children with Zika syndrome need additional state support. Implementation of Brazil’s anti-domestic violence legislation, the 2006 “Maria da Penha” law, is lagging. Specialized women’s police stations have insufficient staff, are mostly closed during evenings and on weekends, and remain concen- trated in major cities. Thousands of cases each year are never properly investi- gated, according to available data. Unchecked domestic abuse typically escalates and may lead to death. In 2016, 4,657 women were killed in Brazil, according to official data compiled by the Brazilian Forum on Public Security. A 2013 study estimated that the attacker was a partner, former partner, or relative in half of all cases of killings of women. Disability Rights In January 2016, a disability rights law came into effect, requiring public agen- cies to prioritize people with disabilities when providing services related to health, education, work, housing, culture, and sport. In March 2016, a new civil procedure code revoked recently enacted provisions that guaranteed legal capacity for all persons with disabilities and mandated a move to systems of supported decision-making. Another bill under discussion would reinstate full legal guardianship in the country, a major setback for dis- ability rights as it would impede certain people with disabilities from making their own decisions about their lives, such as where to live, with whom, whether to marry or have children, and whether to vote. Migrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers In May, Brazil approved a new migration law that grants non-citizen immigrants equal access to public services, including education and health, and the right to join unions. The law allows the government to provide humanitarian visas to people from countries suffering “serious or imminent institutional instability, armed conflict, great calamity, an environmental disaster, or serious violation of human rights or international humanitarian law.” A humanitarian crisis in Venezuela has launched thousands of people across the border to Brazil. From January to June, 7,600 Venezuelans requested asylum in  

109 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Brazil, compared with 55 in all of 2013, according to government data. Brazil granted asylum to 14 Venezuelans in 2016, and denied it to 28, with the rest of cases still pending. From January to September 2017, Brazil did not make any de- cision on asylum applications from Venezuelans. In March, Brazil approved a resolution allowing Venezuelans to apply for a two- year residency permit. In August, a federal judge exempted poor Venezuelans from paying the US$100 application fee, which had prevented many from re- questing a permit. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity The national Human Rights Ombudsman’s Office received 725 complaints of vio- lence, discrimination, and other abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in the first half of 2017. In February, men shouting homophobic insults beat, shot, and stoned to death Dandara dos Santos, a 42-year-old transgender person in the state of Ceará. A witness said he called the police twice during the attack. Police have not ex- plained their delayed response. Police detained several suspects only after a video of the beating—apparently recorded by one of the aggressors—appeared on social media. In September, a federal judge overruled a 1999 decision by the Federal Council of Psychology that banned conversion therapy—the attempt to change an indi- vidual’s sexual orientation. The council appealed. Labor Rights In 2016, the Ministry of Labor identified 885 cases of workers subjected to abu- sive conditions that under Brazilian law rise to the level of “slave-like,” such as forced labor or degrading working conditions. While the number is lower than in previous years, the ministry conducted 25 percent fewer inspections. From De- cember 2014 to December 2016, it imposed penalties on 250 companies for em- ploying people in “slave-like” conditions. In October 2017, the ministry issued a resolution that redefined “slave-like” con- ditions to apply only in circumstances when workers’ freedom of movement is re- stricted. It also required that police participate in inspections and that the  

110 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 minister approve the publication of the names of companies penalized. A week later, a Supreme Court justice ruled the resolution was unconstitutional and sus- pended it until the full court decides on the issue. Environment and Land-Related Conflicts Violence against rural activists and indigenous leaders involved in conflicts over land continued to climb. In 2016, 61 people involved in land conflicts died vio- lently, the highest yearly number since 2003, and from January to October 2017, 64 were killed, according to the Pastoral Land Commission of the Catholic Church. Among those were nine rural workers killed in April in the state of Mato Grosso. Prosecutors assert a logger ordered the crimes to expel them from the land. In 2016, 12 indigenous people were killed as a result of land conflicts, according to the Pastoral Land Commission. Prosecutors were investigating reports that il- legal miners killed at least 10 members of a remote Amazon tribe in August. The government almost halved the budget for Funai, the agency charged with protecting indigenous people, and maintained that indigenous people who were not occupying their lands in 1988, when the constitution was promulgated, should lose their right to those lands, a position opposed by the Federal Prose- cutor’s Office. A federal law approved in July would grant titles to people occupying land ille- gally in the Amazon forest. Environmental and landless peasant organizations opposed it, arguing it would benefit large landowners and illegal loggers. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office concurred, warning that the law could also increase the number of killings as a result of land conflicts, and petitioned the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional. In May, a parliamentary inquiry commission dominated by the agribusiness cau- cus urged federal authorities to prosecute 67 indigenous leaders, anthropolo- gists, public servants, and members of NGOs defending indigenous rights for alleged fraud, land invasion, and belonging to a criminal organization. At time of writing, federal authorities had not taken up that proposal. In June, four rapporteurs from the United Nations and the Inter-American Com- mission on Human Rights (IACHR) stated that “indigenous and environmental  

111 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H rights are under attack” in Brazil. The government called the rapporteurs’ allega- tions “groundless.” Confronting Military-Era Abuses The perpetrators of human rights abuses during military rule from 1964 to 1985 continue to be shielded from justice by a 1979 amnesty law that the Supreme Court upheld in 2010, a decision that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights quickly ruled violated Brazil’s obligations under international law. Since 2012, federal prosecutors have charged more than 40 former military offi- cers and other agents of the dictatorship with killings, kidnappings, and other serious human rights abuses. Lower courts dismissed most of the cases, while the Supreme Court halted two, pending its re-examination of the validity of the amnesty law. In May, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights held a hearing in the case of journalist Vladimir Herzog, who was tortured and killed by state agents in 1975. The court will have to address the amnesty law again when it decides the Herzog case. Key International Actors In May, as part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), UN member states made 246 recommendations to improve Brazil’s human rights record. They highlighted prison and police abuses, and the violation of rights of indigenous people and women, among other issues. Foreign Policy The Brazilian government condemned violations of human rights in Venezuela and called for the reestablishment of democracy. In August, Brazil and the other founding members of the South American trading bloc Mercosur suspended Venezuela from the group for “breaking democratic order.” A Saudi-led coalition used Brazilian-made cluster munitions in Yemen on at least four occasions, the latest in February 2017, killing two civilians and wounding at least 12. Cluster munitions are prohibited by a 2008 treaty joined by 102 coun- tries, but not by Brazil.  

112 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Burma Burma’s stalled democratic transition gave way to a massive human rights and humanitarian crisis starting in August 2017, when the military launched a large- scale ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya Muslim population in Rakhine State. By November, over 625,000 Rohingya had fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape mass killings, sexual violence, arson, and other abuses amounting to crimes against humanity by the security forces. 2017 marked the country’s first full year under the democratically elected civilian government led by the National League for Democracy (NLD) and de facto civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The NLD-led government took some positive steps, in- cluding ratifying the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, engaging in some efforts to resolve past land confiscation cases, and en- acting minor reforms to laws regulating speech and assembly. However, the gov- ernment increasingly used repressive laws to prosecute journalists, activists, and critics for peaceful expression deemed critical of the government or military. Despite the appearance of civilian rule, the military remained the primary power- holder in the country. It continued to block efforts to amend the 2008 constitu- tion, which allows the armed forces to retain authority over national security and public administration through control of the defense, home affairs, and border affairs ministries. The constitutional provision allowing the military to appoint 25 percent of parliamentary seats affords it an effective veto over constitutional amendments. The peace process with ethnic armed groups made no meaningful progress. Fighting intensified in Kachin and northern Shan States, resulting in an increase in forced displacement and other abuses against civilians, primarily by govern- ment forces. Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya On August 25, in response to coordinated attacks on security force outposts northern Rakhine State by militants from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), security forces launched a large-scale military operation against the Ro- hingya Muslim population.  

113 G H H U M A N R I C H T S W A T  

114 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Military units, assisted by ethnic Rakhine militias, attacked Rohingya villages and committed massacres, widespread rape, arbitrary detention, and mass arson. Some Rohingya who fled were killed or maimed by landmines laid by sol- diers on paths near the Bangladesh-Burma border. Satellite imagery showed that more than 340 primarily Rohingya villages were either substantially or com- pletely destroyed. Prior to August 25, the total Rohingya population in Burma was estimated to be more than 1 million, though precise figures do not exist as the Rohingya were ex- cluded from the 2014 census. An estimated 120,000 Rohingya remain internally displaced in central Rakhine State from waves of violence in 2012. The military and government have denied that the Rohingya are a distinct ethnic group, ef- fectively denying them citizenship, and calling them “Bengali” instead of “Ro- hingya” to label them as foreigners. The military and government appointed multiple investigative commissions on the 2016-2017 violence, but each engaged in whitewashing, denying any unlaw- ful killings. The Burmese government repeatedly stated it would not grant access to members of a United Nations Fact-Finding Mission, created by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March 2017 following attacks on the Rohingya in late 2016. In December 2017, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution urging Burma to give the mission full, unrestricted, and unmonitored access. The government denied access to affected areas in Rakhine State to independent journalists and human rights monitors. It also continued to heavily restrict access to humanitar- ian agencies, compounding the already-dire humanitarian conditions that inter- nally displaced persons (IDPs) and other residents face. Ethnic Conflicts and Forced Displacement As the peace process stalled, fighting between the military and ethnic armed groups continued over the year in Kachin and northern Shan States, with civil- ians endangered by indiscriminate attacks, forced displacement, and blockage of aid by the government. Approximately 100,000 civilians remain displaced in camps in the region, many near areas of active conflict, heightening their vulner- ability.   

115 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In March, fighting broke out in the Kokang region of Shan State when the Myan- mar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) attacked military posts and casinos in Laukkai. Over 20,000 temporarily fled across the border into China, and about 10,000 were displaced to central Burma. In June, fighting escalated in Tanai township in Kachin State, displacing thousands. Sporadic fighting in Chin State with the Arakan Army, comprised of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, endangered civilians, forcing hundreds from their homes. Reports rose of injuries and deaths caused by landmines, used by both govern- ment and ethnic armed forces. Landmine casualties in Burma over the past decade are the third highest in the world. Both government and ethnic armed groups unlawfully recruited children for their forces. The government did not ad- equately or effectively investigate alleged abuses by military personnel in con- flict areas. Attacks on Free Expression and Media The government increased its use of overly broad and vaguely worded laws to detain, arrest, and imprison individuals for peaceful expression. Activists and journalists reported an increase in surveillance, threats, and intimidation by se- curity personnel or their agents. The rise in prosecutions of journalists has had a chilling effect on the country’s media. Prosecutions for critiques of government or military officials have surged since the NLD took office. Over 90 cases have been filed under section 66(d) of the 2013 Telecommunications Act, a vaguely worded law that criminalizes broad cat- egories of online speech, with over 20 journalists among those charged. In September, after parliament rejected a proposal to remove the law’s criminal penalty, President Htin Kyaw signed into law amendments to the act that re- duced the maximum prison sentence from three to two years and allowed for bail, but the majority of problematic provisions were retained. In January 2017, the army filed defamation charges under section 500 of the penal code against nine students who performed a satirical play about armed conflict at a peace assembly in Irrawaddy Region. A local human rights defender was charged under section 66(d) in June for streaming a video of the play on Facebook. The chief editor of Myanmar Now , Swe Win, was arrested in July under   

116 W P R D L R O E O R T 2 0 1 8 section 66(d) for a Facebook post criticizing extremist Buddhist monk Wirathu. He was released on bail but has faced extensive pretrial delays. Khaing Myo Htun, an environmental rights activist, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in October for violating sections 505(b) and (c) of the penal code, which criminalizes speech that is likely to cause fear or harm and incites classes or groups to commit offenses against each other. He had been detained since July 2016 for helping prepare a statement released by the Arakan Liberation Party, of which he was the deputy spokesperson, accusing the military of rights violations. The Voice newspaper’s chief editor Kyaw Min Swe and columnist Kyaw Zwa Naing were arrested in June under section 25(b) of the 2014 Media Law and section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Act for an article satirizing a military propa- ganda film, despite having printed an apology in May. Later that month, three journalists—Aye Nai and Pyae Phone Naing from the Democratic Voice of Burma The Irrawaddy— , and Lawi Weng from (DVB) were detained under section 17(1) of the 1908 Unlawful Associations Act while reporting on an event organized by the Ta’ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), an ethnic armed group, in northern Shan State. After a domestic and international outcry, the charges were dropped. The government has long used the Unlawful Associations Act to restrict freedom of association and detain peaceful activists. In October, authorities sentenced two Kachin Baptist community leaders, Dumdaw Nawng Lat and Langjaw Gam Seng, to four years and two years in prison, respectively, under section 17(1). The two men were charged with allegedly supporting the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) after they assisted journalists documenting military damage to civilian areas in northern Shan State. Despite changes to the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Procession Act, the right to protest is still limited. In October, the law was amended to remove the re- quirement of government consent to hold an assembly or processions, yet it re- tains several provisions that fail to meet international standards. The police announced in November a total ban on all public assemblies in 11 major town- ships in Rangoon. A new privacy law enacted in March includes vague provisions on surveillance and data protection.   

117 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Freedom of Religion Religious minorities, including Hindus, Christians, and Muslims, continue to face threats and persecution in a country that is approximately 88 percent Bud- dhist. Religious activities are often tightly regulated and authorities threaten to fine or imprison those who conduct organized prayers in their homes. In May, authorities sent a letter to a Christian man in Rangoon, warning him not to continue to pray in his home with others without first receiving approval from authorities. In Sagaing Region, a Buddhist mob attacked Christian worshippers, destroying homes and personal property. The government took increasing action against Buddhist monks and organiza- tions that used extremist and ultranationalist rhetoric. In May, the government banned the use of the name and logos of the Buddhist-monk-led Ma Ba Tha, or Association for the Protection of Race and Religion. Some but not all branches of the organization complied. A well-known extremist monk, Wirathu, was banned from public speaking for one year, but has on occasion violated the order with- out consequences. In April, a mob of about 50 to 100 Buddhist ultranationalists put pressure on local officials and police in Rangoon’s Thaketa township to close two Islamic schools. The authorities carried out the mob’s demand and have not reopened the schools, denying several hundred students access to education. Following the closures, local officials charged seven Muslims who participated in a public prayer session on May 31. They faced up to six months in jail for holding public prayers under the Ward or Village Tract Administration Law. Human Rights Defenders Accountability for attacks on human rights defenders remains impeded by the country’s weak rule of law, corrupt judiciary, and unwillingness to prosecute members of the security forces. On January 29, Ko Ni, a prominent Muslim lawyer and senior NLD advisor, was shot and killed outside the Rangoon airport. Ko Ni, a longtime advocate for inter- faith dialogue and democratic reform, had been a proponent of controversial leg- islation including a hate speech bill and constitutional amendments. Authorities arrested four suspects, but have not apprehended the individual alleged to have   

118 2 T R O P E R D L R O W 0 1 8 engineered the attack. Aung San Suu Kyi was widely criticized for her silence after the killing. Three recent murders of environmental defenders—rights activist Naw Chit Pandaing and investigative journalist Soe Moe Tun in late 2016, and community leader Lung Jarm Phe in February 2017—remain unsolved. On November 1, a land rights defender in northern Shan State, Htay Aung, was killed by a mob while on his way to discuss a dispute over confiscated land. Land Rights and Government Land Seizures The government took several steps toward reforming land laws that provide weak land tenure security for farmers and toward resolving decades-old claims of land confiscation that occurred under military rule. However, progress was limited as attempts to reform laws and land governance structures failed to provide additional protections for landholders and did not in- corporate provisions of the 2016 National Land Use Policy. Farmers faced threats and arrests for protesting about unresolved land confiscation claims. Poor re- dress mechanisms left many without a livelihood or compensation and facing in- creased barriers to health care and education. Human Trafficking Human trafficking remained a serious problem in several areas, particularly in the north where armed conflict and widespread displacement exacerbated finan- cial instability. Women and girls in Kachin and Shan States who went to China in search of work faced abuses. Many women and girls were sold to Chinese fami- lies as “brides” and often faced horrific abuses including being locked up, sub- jected to sexual slavery, forced to bear children of their “husbands” by rape, and forcibly separated from their children. The Burmese government put few mea- sures in place to protect women and girls from these abuses or assist women and girls who escaped or sought to do so.   

119 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Key International Actors China continued to strengthen its ties with Burma, shielding the Burmese gov- ernment from concerted international action and scrutiny over the Rohingya cri- sis. Large-scale infrastructure projects ramped up under China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, including an eastern seaport development that offers strategic access to the Indian Ocean. China attempted to play a larger role in Burma’s peace process through ties to ethnic armed groups on the border. In November, China served as a mediator for talks between Burma and Bangladesh on the return of Rohingya refugees, but the resulting agreement failed to meet international standards for the protection and respect of rights of refugees. Burma’s civilian government continued to receive strong backing from Western donors, who remained hopeful about the reform process yet concerned about weak governance and the increased role and stature of the military. In response to the Rohingya crisis, in September the UN Security Council held its first open discussion of the situation in Burma in eight years. A draft Security Council resolution was blocked by a veto threat from China. Instead, in Novem- ber it adopted a Presidential Statement expressing grave concern over reports of human rights violations in Rakhine State by Burma’s security forces and calling on Burma to cooperate with UN investigative bodies. In December, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution drafted by the Or- ganisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and co-sponsored by a broad cross-re- gional coalition that called for an end to military operations, unhindered access for humanitarian assistance and actors, the voluntary and sustainable return of refugees to their original places, accountability for violations and abuses, and full respect for the “human rights and fundamental freedoms” of the Rohingya population, including full citizenship. The resolution also requested the appoint- ment of a special envoy to Burma. In December, the UNHRC held a special session condemning the violations, urg- ing the government to grant access to the council-created Fact-Finding Mission, and calling on the government to address root causes, such as statelessness and the denial of citizenship to Rohingya. The council said that returns should   

120 O W 1 0 2 T R 8 P E R D L R O be safe, voluntary, dignified, and in accordance with international law, and re- quested additional reporting by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. While Burma faced widespread international condemnation for the military’s ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, concrete action was less forthcoming. In Sep- tember, the United Kingdom announced it was halting all engagement programs with the Burmese military. In October, the European Union suspended invita- tions to senior military officers and undertook a review of defense cooperation. The United States ceased consideration of travel waivers for current and former senior military officials and rescinded invitations for senior military officials to attend US-sponsored events. In October, citing the crisis in Rakhine State, the World Bank announced it would delay a loan for US$200 million, its first direct fi- nancial assistance to the government’s budget since the institution suspended its lending to the country in the late 1980s. The US government removed Burma from its annual list of governments using child soldiers, despite documentation of ongoing recruitment. Burma remains on the UN’s annual “list of shame” for the military’s use and recruitment of child soldiers. The US also upgraded Burma’s designation in its global Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report, despite continued violations and weak efforts by the gov- ernment to end trafficking and punish those responsible.   

121 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Burundi The political and human rights crisis that began in Burundi in April 2015, when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would run for a disputed third term, continued through 2017, as government forces targeted real and perceived opponents with near total impunity. Security forces and intelligence services— often collaborating with members of the ruling party’s youth league, known as the Imbonerakure—were responsible for numerous killings, disappearances, ab- ductions, acts of torture, rapes, and arbitrary arrests. Unknown assailants car- ried out grenade and other attacks, killing or injuring many people. In September, a United Nations Commission of Inquiry, established by the Human Rights Council a year earlier, said it had “reasonable grounds to believe that crimes against humanity have been committed in Burundi since April 2015.” During its session later that month, the council extended the commission’s man- date for one year, but Burundi continues to refuse any form of cooperation with the commission. In October, judges of the International Criminal Court (ICC) au- thorized an investigation into crimes committed in Burundi since April 2015. Also in October, Burundi’s government adopted a plan to revise the constitution to allow President Nkurunziza to stand for two new seven-year terms. If passed by a vote in parliament or national referendum, Nkurunziza could possibly stay in power until 2034. Killings, Rapes, and Other Abuses by Security Forces and Ruling Party Youth The violence in 2017 claimed scores of lives, according to Burundian and interna- tional human rights organizations. Dead bodies of people killed in unknown cir- cumstances were regularly found across the country. The Commission of Inquiry confirmed “the persistence of extrajudicial execu- tions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, enforced disappearances, torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and sexual violence in Burundi since April 2015,” blaming most violations on members of the intelligence services, the police, the army, and the youth league of the ruling party. The commission   

122 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 indicated that “some violations have been committed in a more clandestine, but equally brutal, manner since 2016.” The Commission of Inquiry collected several testimonies suggesting that “intelli- gence agents or members of the police” were involved in the disappearance of Oscar Ntasano, a former senator, in Bujumbura on April 21, 2017. Human Rights Watch documented how in 2015 and 2016, members of the Imbon- erakure and police—sometimes armed with guns, sticks, or knives—raped women whose male family members were perceived to be government oppo- nents. In some cases, Imbonerakure threatened or attacked the male relative be- fore raping the woman. Women often continued to receive threats after being raped. Human Rights Watch received credible reports that these abuses contin- ued in 2017. In early April, a video emerged showing about 200 members of the Imboner- akure gathered in northern Burundi, singing songs encouraging the rape of polit- ical opponents or their relatives. Incitement to hatred, violence, and rape, particularly by the Imbonerakure, has become common in Burundi, almost al- ways without condemnation by authorities. Security forces arrested, ill-treated, and illegally detained many opposition party members. Some detainees were held incommunicado in unknown locations. Several activists of the Movement for Solidarity and Democracy (Mouvement pour la solidarité et la démocratie, MSD) and National Liberation Forces (Forces nationales de libération, FNL) opposition parties were arrested in June. In early April, the government had suspended the MSD for six months and shut down its offices. On January 24, unknown men attacked Camp Mukoni, a military base in Bu- rundi’s eastern Muyinga province. Seven soldiers, twelve civilians, and one po- liceman arrested after the attack were sentenced to heavy prison terms. Intelligence agents badly beat and tortured many defendants during interroga- tions, witnesses told Human Rights Watch.   

123 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Abuses by Opposition Armed Groups and Unknown Actors Several grenade attacks took place in bars and elsewhere across Burundi in 2017, killing and injuring many, including children. The identity of the perpetra- tors was often unknown. The UN Commission of Inquiry found that “human rights abuses were also com- mitted by armed opposition groups [since April 2015], but these proved difficult to document.” Emmanuel Niyonkuru, minister of water, environment, land man- agement, and urban planning, was killed on January 1. The commission was “un- able to establish” who was responsible for this and several other “assassinations.” Refugees The number of Burundian refugees remained high in 2017, despite claims from the Burundian government that the country was “peaceful.” More than 400,000 Burundians who fled the country since 2015 remained abroad at time of writing, most in Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. In September 2017, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) started repatriating hundreds of Burundian refugees back home from neighboring Tanza- nia. At least 12,000 Burundian refugees signed up for voluntary repatriation, sometimes because of the dire conditions in the refugee camps in Tanzania, while more than 234,000 refugees stayed in Tanzania. On September 15, alleged members of the Congolese security forces used exces- sive force to quash a protest in Kamanyola, South Kivu province, in eastern Congo, killing around 40 Burundian refugees and wounding more than 100 oth- ers. Civil Society and Media Most leading civil society activists and many independent journalists remained in exile, after repeated government threats in 2015 and arrest warrants against several of them, and after the Interior Minister banned or suspended 10 civil so- ciety organizations that had spoken out against government abuses in October 2016.   

124 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 In January, two new laws allowed for increased control by authorities over the ac- tivities and resources of Burundian and foreign nongovernmental organizations. On January 3, authorities banned the Ligue Iteka, a prominent Burundian human rights organization. On June 13, security forces arrested three members of Parole et Action pour le Réveil des Consciences et l’Évolution des Mentalités (PARCEM), one of the few remaining independent nongovernmental organizations in the country, while they were organizing a workshop on arbitrary arrests in Muramvya province. The national intelligence agency detained Aimé Gatore, Emmanuel Nshimiri- mana, and Marius Nizigama from June 17 to 27, before they were transferred to Mpimba prison, in Bujumbura, and later to Muramvya prison, around 30 kilome- ters away from the capital. They remained in detention at time of writing, charged with “threatening state security.” Germain Rukuki, a human rights defender and former treasurer of Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture, ACAT) in Burundi, one of the banned organizations, has been detained since July 13 and faces several charges, including “rebellion.” On August 25, UN experts called for Rukuki’s release, adding that the charges against him formed “part of an overall context of threats and harassment against human rights de- fenders in Burundi.” Authorities continued to severely restrict media space in Burundi. Radio Publique Africaine, Radio Bonesha, and Radio-Television Renaissance—all pri- vate radio stations that the government had closed following an attempted coup d’état in May 2015—remained off the air at time of writing. Other media were allowed to operate in 2017, but faced grave restrictions on their activities. On April 5, intelligence agents interrogated Joseph Nsabiyabandi, the editor-in-chief of Radio Isanganiro, another privately owned radio station, about his alleged collaboration with Burundian radios operating in exile in Rwanda. He was later criticized for having “incited the opinion and the popula- tion to revolt.” Radio Isanganiro had been closed in May 2015, and then allowed by authorities to re-open in February 2016, after it signed an “ethical charter” with the Burundian National Communications Council, in which it committed to a “balanced and objective” editorial line, respectful of the “country’s security.”   

125 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H National and International Justice Impunity for serious crimes committed in Burundi remains the norm. The justice system is manipulated by ruling party and intelligence officials and judicial pro- cedures are routinely flouted. Burundi became the first country to withdraw from the ICC on October 27, 2017. Two days earlier, ICC judges had authorized an investigation into crimes commit- ted in the country since April 2015. The judges found that Burundi’s withdrawal does not affect the court’s jurisdiction over crimes committed while the country was a member. Discriminatory Laws Since April 2009, Burundi has criminalized consensual same-sex conduct. Arti- cle 567 of the penal code, which penalizes consensual same-sex sexual relations by adults with up to two years in prison, violates the rights to privacy and free- dom from discrimination. These rights are protected by Burundi’s Constitution and enshrined in its international treaty commitments. In May 2017, President Nkurunziza signed into law new regulations requiring un- married couples to legalize their relationships through church or state registra- tions. In November, a new decree banned women from drumming and limited all “cultural shows” to official ceremonies authorized by the Ministry of Culture. Key International Actors There was little progress in regional and international efforts to broker a dia- logue between Burundian political actors, facilitated by former Tanzanian Presi- dent Benjamin Mkapa. Most major donors have suspended direct budgetary support to the Burundian government, but some maintained humanitarian assis- tance. The US and the European Union maintained targeted sanctions on several senior Burundian officials and opposition leaders. In addition to renewing the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry, the UN Human Rights Council also adopted another resolution on Burundi, on Septem- ber 28, presented by the African Group, dispatching a mission of three experts to gather information on abuses to share with local judicial authorities.   

126 O R 1 0 2 T W 8 R L D R E P O In August, the UN Security Council said it remained “alarmed by the increasing numbers of refugees outside the country and disturbed by reports of torture, forced disappearances, and extra-judicial killings, as well as by the persisting political impasse in the country and the attendant serious humanitarian conse- quences.” A July 2016 Security Council resolution authorizing 228 UN police officers to de- ploy to the country was not implemented in 2017 due to continued rejection by Burundian authorities.   

127 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Cambodia The civil and political rights environment in Cambodia markedly deteriorated in 2017 as the government arrested the leader of Cambodia’s political opposition on dubious charges of treason; dissolved the main opposition party and banned over 100 members from political activity; intensified the misuse of the justice system to prosecute political opposition and human rights activists; and forced several independent media outlets to close. Authorities have detained at least 35 opposition and civil society leaders since July 2015, many of whom have been prosecuted and convicted in summary trials that failed to meet international standards. At least 19 remained in detention at time of writing. The ruling Cambodia People’s Party (CPP), which controls the country’s security services and courts, has led the crackdown that began in 2016 and is likely moti- vated by Prime Minister Hun Sen’s anxiety about national elections scheduled for July 29, 2018. The arbitrary arrests and other abuses appear aimed at pre- venting a victory by the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), which made electoral gains during the 2013 national elections and the 2017 commune elections. Because of the dissolution of the CNRP in November, there will be no major opposition party to contest the CPP in the 2018 elections. Throughout 2017 the government continued to deny Cambodians the right to free speech and peaceful assembly by suppressing protests and issuing a series of bans on gatherings and processions. Cambodia’s anti-corruption authorities, rather than conducting investigations into suspicious government concessions and the questionable wealth of senior CPP leaders and their families, instead carried out politically motivated investigations of the CNRP and other organiza- tions critical of the government. Attacks on Political Opposition CNRP leader Sam Rainsy remained in exile in 2017 to avoid a two-year prison sentence stemming from a politically motivated criminal defamation charge from 2008.   

128 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 On September 3, the government arrested CNRP’s leader Kem Sokha on charges of treason. Kem Sokha, who had assumed leadership of the party after Sam Rainsy’s exile and resignation, had already faced de facto house arrest in 2016 in a separate politically motivated case. Several other elected opposition leaders, including parliamentarian Um Sam An, Senator Hong Sok Hour, Senator Thak Lany, and Commune Councilor Seang Chet, remained in detention after politically motivated prosecutions. Commune elections on June 4 featured threats and harassment of the opposition and civil society groups. Prior to the election, Interior Ministry Gen. Khieu Sopheak acknowledged pre-election harassment of nongovernmental organiza- tions (NGOs) and said the Interior Ministry had started an investigation “be- cause we wanted to threaten those organizations to be scared.” Although voting day was peaceful, the overarching dynamic of the elections were unfair, with unequal media access for opposition parties, bias toward the CPP in electoral institutions, and lack of independent and impartial dispute resolution mechanisms. The government used increasingly threatening political rhetoric throughout the year, including repeated threats of violence, to intimidate dissidents and civil society groups, especially in the lead-up to the commune elections. Prime Minis- ter Hun Sen and other leaders repeated claims that any election victory by the opposition would lead to “civil war,” and threatened to use violence against those who “protest” or seek a “color revolution,” a term authorities use to por- tray peaceful dissent as an attempted overthrow of the state. In May 2017, Hun Sen stated he would be “willing to eliminate 100 to 200 peo- ple” to protect “national security,” and suggested opposition members “prepare their coffins.” On August 2, Minister of Social Affairs Vong Sauth said that pro- testers who dispute the 2018 election results will be “hit with the bottom end of bamboo poles”—a reference to a torture technique used during the Khmer Rouge regime. After Kem Sokha’s arrest, CPP officials insisted he had conspired with the United States to overthrow the government, citing US capacity-building support for political parties—support that was also given to the CPP. The national assembly passed two rounds of repressive amendments to Cambo- dia’s Law on Political Parties. The amendments empower authorities to dissolve   

129 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H political parties and ban party leaders from political activity without holding hearings and or an appeal process. The amendments also contain numerous re- strictions that appear to have been tailored to use against the CNRP, most no- tably provisions that compel political parties to distance themselves from members who have been convicted of a criminal charge. In October, Hun Sen used these provisions in a case brought in the Supreme Court to dissolve the CNRP. On November 16, the Supreme Court, chaired by a judge who is also a central committee member of the ruling CPP, dissolved the CNRP and banned 118 CNRP members of parliament and party officials from po- litical activity for five years. Freedom of Media Cambodia’s General Department of Taxation, on the pretext of an unpaid tax bill, forced the independent Cambodia Daily newspaper to close on September 4, and brought tax-related criminal charges against its owners. At time of writing, two of its reporters were also being investigated for baseless charges of “incite- ment.” The government also cracked down heavily on independent radio in September, revoking the license of Mohanokor Radio and its affiliates, which broadcast Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Asia (RFA), and closing the independent radio station Voice of Democracy (VOD). Authorities also forced the closure of RFA’s bureau, and in November, a court charged two journalists with espionage for filing news reports for RFA. Other radio stations broadcasting VOA or RFA have come under pressure from the gov- ernment and stopped broadcasting in August. Almost all domestic broadcast media is now under government control. Attacks on Civil Society For most of 2017, the government detained four senior staff members of the Cam- bodian Human Rights and Development Association (ADHOC) and a former ADHOC staff member serving as deputy secretary-general of the National Elec- tion Committee (NEC). The group, commonly referred to as the “ADHOC Five,” were arrested in 2016 on politically motived charges and held in pretrial deten-   

130 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 tion for 427 days until their release in June. Each faces 5 to 10 years in prison if convicted. Authorities continued to detain the land rights activist and women’s rights de- fender Tep Vanny, who was arrested on August 15, 2016, during a “Black Mon- day” protest calling for the release of the ADHOC Five. After her arrest, authorities reactivated an old case against her stemming from a 2013 protest, and in February sentenced her to 30 months in prison. Authorities also contin- ued to prosecute several other spurious legal cases against her. In July, authorities announced an investigation into two groups that were moni- toring the commune election. The government alleged that the groups violated the vague and undefined concept of “political neutrality” in Cambodia’s Law on Associations and Non-Government Organizations (LANGO), which allows for the dissolution or denial of registration of NGOs, and had failed to register under LANGO. On August 23, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ordered the closure of the US- funded NGO National Democratic Institute (NDI), and expulsion of its non-Cam- bodian staff, citing LANGO and the 1997 Tax Law. Throughout the year, authorities harassed Mother Nature, an environmental group, arrested members on spurious charges of incitement and making unau- thorized recordings, and forced the group to deregister as an NGO in September. In October, the government suspended the registration for another NGO critical of the government, Equitable Cambodia, along with the Federation of Cambo- dian Intellectuals and Students. Impunity A suspect was convicted in March in the July 10, 2016 murder of prominent politi- cal commentator Kem Ley, in proceedings that were highly flawed and did little to dispel concerns of government involvement in the killing. Kem Ley was killed five days after a Cambodian general publicly called on Cambodian armed forces to “eliminate and dispose of” anyone “fomenting social turmoil.” Kem Ley had been a frequent critic of Hun Sen and, in the months before his killing, had given several media interviews in which he referenced the vast wealth of Hun Sen’s family.   

131 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H The convicted suspect, Oeuth Ang, was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment after proceedings that ignored improbabilities and inconsistencies in his confes- sion and shortcomings in the investigation. In June, Hun Sen brought a civil charge of defamation against another political commentator, Kim Sok, for suggesting that CPP authorities were behind the killing and authorities filed a criminal charge of incitement against him. In Au- gust, Kim Sok was sentenced to a year-and-a-half in prison and ordered to pay Hun Sen US$200,000. Opposition Senator Thak Lany was also convicted in ab- sentia for similar offenses after commenting on the Kem Lay case. Labor Rights Authorities carried out questionable legal investigations into trade unions under Cambodia’s Trade Union Law, which has prevented some unions from legally registering and excluded them from collective bargaining and formally advocat- ing for rights and improved working conditions. Key International Actors China, Vietnam, and South Korea were key investors in 2017. China, Japan, and the European Union were Cambodia’s leading providers of development-related assistance. The United States, once a key donor, is now regularly criticized by the Cambodian government as a hostile foreign power. The United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution in September re- newing the mandate of the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia for two years and requesting that the UN secretary-general re- port to the Human Rights Council in March 2018, ahead of Cambodia’s national elections.   

132 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Canada Canada is a vibrant multiethnic democracy that enjoys a global reputation as a defender of human rights. Despite a strong record on core civil and political rights protections guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faces longstanding human rights challenges. Many of these relate to the rights of Indigenous peoples, in- cluding violations of their right to safe drinking water and police abuse of Indige- nous women. Canada also grapples with serious human rights issues relating to detention, including the placement of children in immigration detention. Indigenous Rights The government has yet to pay adequate attention to systemic poverty, housing, water, sanitation, healthcare, and education problems in Indigenous communi- ties, particularly those in remote and rural areas. The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in September urged the government to remedy what it found were persistent violations of the rights of Indigenous peoples. Inadequate access to clean, safe, drinking water continues to pose a major pub- lic health concern in many Indigenous communities. The poor quality of water on First Nations reserves has a serious impact on health and hygiene, especially for . high-risk individuals—children, elders, and people with disabilities In March, Canada provided an update on progress toward meeting Prime Minis- ter Trudeau’s commitment to end drinking water advisories in First Nations in five years, and committed to taking a new approach to fixing the drinking water crisis, including an online resource for tracking the number of advisories to in- crease transparency in its progress. At time of writing, the process to adopt safe drinking water regulations had stalled, with the largest First Nations organization in the country calling for the problematic law enabling regulations to be re- pealed. Many residents of Grassy Narrows and Wabaseemoong (Whitedog), two First Na- tions communities along the English-Wabigoon River in northwestern Ontario,   

133 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H continue to live with mercury poisoning due to contamination from a now-closed chemical plant upstream in Dryden. While the Ontario Environment Ministry said it was unaware of the contamina- tion until 2016, a confidential report made public in October noted that provin- cial officials were told in the 1990s that the site was contaminated and that some groundwater samples taken at the site in recent years still show high lev- els of mercury. The Prime Minister’s Office announced in January 2017 that it would tackle the mercury contamination “once and for all,” although the prime minister subse- quently claimed it was a provincial issue. Federal and provincial-level responses to residents’ health needs and the wider environmental contamination have been woefully inadequate, although the Ontario government pledged CAN$85 million in mid-2017 towards cleaning the river. Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls Indigenous women and girls are more vulnerable to violence than their non-In- digenous counterparts in every province and territory of Canada. While Indige- nous women only make up 4.3 percent of the female population, they account for 16 percent of the total female homicides and 11.3 percent of missing women in the country. In its 2015 inquiry into the murders and disappearances of Indigenous women and girls, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights affirmed that racial discrimination and socio-economic marginalization were root causes of the vio- lence. In September 2016, the Canadian government launched a two-year national in- quiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The inquiry is tasked with examining the root causes and institutional responses to high levels of violence. Human Rights Watch and other groups have called on the national inquiry to closely examine how policing failures are contributing to Indigenous women’s vulnerability to violence. To date, Canada has made only limited progress to en- sure that police are accountable for these policing failures. Lack of accountabil-   

134 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 ity for policing abuses against Indigenous women exacerbates long-standing tensions between police and Indigenous communities in Canada. Children in Immigration Detention Canada’s federal government and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have shown willingness to reform the immigration detention system and have taken steps to address systemic issues within the immigration detention sys- tem. However, Canadian law and policy do not prohibit immigration detention of children and do not limit how long children can be held in immigration deten- tion. Human Rights Watch and other groups have called on Canadian authorities to ensure that children and families with children are not detained solely because of their immigration status; develop strong policies and guidelines about how the various alternatives to detention should be used; and review their practices to ensure that they are reflecting the best interests of the child in all decisions that affect them. Mining Industry Abuses Canada’s status as home to more than half of the world’s mining companies and its dominant position in mining investment abroad create a key opportunity for the government to exercise global leadership on the human rights challenges that arise in the extractives context. However, no Canadian law provides a mechanism to allow Canadian authorities to exercise meaningful scrutiny and oversight of the human rights impact of Canadian extractive companies operating overseas, or the extent to which those companies respect human rights in their operations. On these issues, Canadian companies operating overseas generally only must comply with the laws and reg- ulations of the countries in which they work. This often means the bar is set far too low. To date, victims of human rights abuses associated with Canadian mining com- panies operating abroad have had limited redress in Canada. However, in a po- tentially ground-breaking decision in November, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled that a civil claim against the Canadian firm, Nevsun Resources, for   

135 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H alleged used of forced labor at an Eritrean mine could be heard in Canada. Human Rights Watch and other groups have called on the government to estab- lish an ombudsperson’s office with a mandate to independently investigate and publicly report on complaints related to human rights issues involving Canadian mining companies. This would help strengthen the mining industry’s human rights practices consistent with UN Human Rights Committee’s recommenda- tions to Canada to both establish an independent mechanism to investigate ex- tractives companies operating abroad and a legal framework of remedy for abuses suffered by affected communities. Counterterrorism In June, following a comprehensive national security review, the Trudeau govern- ment introduced Bill C-59 to address the human rights shortcomings in the coun- try’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2015 (formerly Bill C-51). The bill introduces some important reforms, such as increasing oversight over the security and intelligence agencies. But a coalition of Canadian civil society organizations voiced concerns in September that the proposed legislation does not provide the fundamental change needed to undo C-51’s legacy, for example by substantially curtailing CSIS powers to disrupt a vast array of activities in the name of security, and ensure that human rights is at the core of Canada’s na- tional security framework. In June, the Trudeau government overturned a previous government law that made it possible to strip dual citizens of their Canadian nationality if convicted of terrorism, treason, or espionage. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Prime Minister Trudeau’s government has taken significant steps domestically to advance the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, in- cluding passing legislation to protect transgender people from discrimination and creating a non-binary gender option on passports. In June, Bill C-16 received royal assent amending the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination. The bill also amends the criminal code to extend protection against hate propaganda to any section of the public that is distinguished by   

136 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 gender identity or expression while deeming that any offence motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate based on gender identity and expression as an aggravating circumstance in sentencing. In November, Prime Minister Trudeau apologized to members of the LGBT com- munity for actions the government took through the late 1980s against thou- sands of workers in the military and the Canadian public service. The government also announced in May that it would pardon and expunge records for any Canadians who were charged, and who still have on their records, crimi- nal offences that are no longer on the books. Foreign Policy In her first major foreign policy address, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Free- land in June articulated the government’s view that there is a need to renew and strengthen the postwar multilateral order and reaffirmed Canada’s “unshakeable commitment to pluralism, human rights and the rule of law.” In September, Canada joined a successful Dutch-sponsored initiative at the UN Human Rights Council calling for an independent international investigation to address widespread human rights abuses in Yemen. In August, Minister Freeland ordered an investigation into the alleged use of Canadian-made military vehicles by Saudi security forces in a violent crackdown in the Shia-populated city of Awamiyah in the Eastern Province. A government spokesperson told reporters that the minister would take action if it was found that Canadian exports had been used “to commit serious violations of human rights.” Canadian law limits the export of military technology to countries with a record of human rights violations. Human Rights Watch has documented a Saudi-led coalition of states committing repeated laws of war violations, some likely war crimes, in Yemen, and has repeatedly urged the Canadian government and oth- ers to stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia until it credibly investigates and cur- tails its unlawful attacks. Key International Actors In February, Canada endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, thereby committing to do more to protect students, teachers, and schools during times of armed   

137 A H C T A W S T H G I H U M R N conflict, including through the implementation and use of the Guidelines for Pro- tecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict. In May, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities urged the Canadian government to collect much-needed disaggregated data and informa- tion about persons with disabilities and remedy persistent gaps in the equal en- joyment and exercise of rights. In June, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights concluded its 10- day visit to Canada. The group urged Canada to “take a tougher line” on human rights abuses in the extractive sector, both domestically and overseas.   

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139 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadéra’s government, with support from interna- tional partners, kept control of the capital, Bangui, and surrounding areas in the southwestern region of the Central African Republic. However, much of the coun- try remained insecure, unstable, and beset by serious human rights violations. Armed groups still control key towns, despite the presence of United Nations peacekeepers. Civilians continued to bear the brunt of fighting in central, northwestern, and eastern regions of the country, where predominantly Muslim Seleka rebel groups, largely Christian and animist anti-balaka militias, and other armed groups remained active. Armed groups killed hundreds of civilians, raped and sexually assaulted women and girls, and burned down villages. Survivors of sex- ual violence continued to face stigma, rejection, and other barriers to accessing essential services and justice. Numerous armed groups signed ceasefire agreements in June and October, but the violence and abuses committed against civilians did not stop. While im- punity for past abuses and war crimes continued, there was progress toward cre- ating a Special Criminal Court, a hybrid court in the national justice system, and the International Criminal Court (ICC) continued investigations of crimes commit- ted in the country. The United Nations Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the inde- pendent expert and scheduled a discussion with the independent expert, the UN, African Union (AU), government representatives, and civil society in March 2018 to focus on the impact of the peace and reconciliation process on the human rights situation. Attacks on Civilians Human Rights Watch documented the killings of at least 249 civilians between May and September by various armed groups, as violence surged in many parts of the country, most notably in the Basse Kotto, Haut-Mboumou, Mboumou, Ouham and Ouham-Pendé provinces. The actual number of deaths is likely sig- nificantly higher.   

140 W P R D L R O E O R T 2 0 1 8 The Union for Peace in the Central African Republic ( l’Union pour la Paix en Cen- trafrique , UPC), a Seleka faction, carried out some of the worst attacks in and around Alindao, in Basse Kotte province, killing at least 188 people between May and August. The group established a military base in Alindao in February, after the UN peacekeeping mission asked the group to leave their former base in Bambari, Ouaka province. Human Rights Watch documented the rapes of at least 25 women, ages 18 to 50, by UPC fighters during attacks on local communities in Basse-Kotto in May. On May 13, anti-balaka forces attacked the Muslim neighborhood of Tokoyo in Bangassou, Mboumou province. Nine survivors who fled to Bangui estimated that fighters killed at least 12 civilians, including the town’s imam, as they tried to seek safety in the mosque. Peacekeepers transported Muslims from the mosque to the Catholic Church, where they continued at time of writing to pro- vide protection to approximately 1,500 Muslim civilians. In July, fighters from the Central African Patriotic Movement ( Mouvement Patrio- tique pour la Centrafrique, MPC), a Seleka faction, attacked a displacement camp in Batangafo, in Ouham province, and surrounding neighborhoods, killing at least 15 people, including three with disabilities, and burning approximately 230 homes and makeshift huts in the camp. In Zemio, Haut-Mboumou province, local armed Muslims without a clear link to the Seleka killed at least 28 civilians between late June and August, including during an attack on a displacement camp in the town on August 17. Forces apparently from the UPC and Muslim civilians attacked and killed six vol- unteers working with the Red Cross in Gambo, Mboumou province, in August. In October, the armed group “Return, Reclamation, Rehabilitation,” or 3R, com- prising of Muslim Peuhl under the command of General Sidiki Abass, took con- trol of Bocaranga, a major town in Ouham-Pendé province, for several days. The UN mission forced them out of the town after several civilians were killed. Also in October, at least 20 Muslims were killed by auto-defense groups, local armed groups often linked to anti-balaka, in the town of Kembe in Basse-Kotto prefec- ture. The Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) remained active in the southeast with allegations of killings and abductions of civilians.   

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143 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons Fighting and attacks by armed groups forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes since May, bringing the total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country, based on UN figures, to 601,600, and the total number of refugees to 538,400, the highest since mid-2014. Conditions for IDPs and refugees remained harsh. Many displaced people had little or no access to hu- manitarian assistance. Persons with disabilities at displacement sites faced bar- riers to access sanitation, food, and medical assistance. About 2.4 million people, out of a population of 4.6 million, needed humanitar- ian assistance. The humanitarian response plan was only 34 percent funded, with a budget gap of US$328.3 million. Regional and International Forces The United Nations peacekeeping mission, MINUSCA, deployed about 10,050 military peacekeepers and 2,000 police across many parts of the country, but struggled to establish security in key areas and to sufficiently protect civilians. The mission is authorized, by virtue of Chapter VII of the UN Charter, to take all necessary means to protect the civilian population from threat of physical vio- lence and to “implement a mission-wide protection strategy.” On November 15, the UN Security Council approved an additional 900 troops for MINUSCA and subsequently asked Brazil to send the additional peacekeepers. The Regional Task Force (RTF)—the military component of the Regional Coopera- tion Initiative for the elimination of the LRA (RCI-LRA), an African Union effort to neutralize the LRA—withdrew from the country in early 2017. The presence of these forces, made up primarily of Ugandan soldiers and some American advi- sors, had a positive effect on general security in the southeast. Their withdrawal created a security vacuum that MINUSCA struggled to fill. The Ugandan military, deployed in the country since 2009 as a part of the RTF, withdrew its troops as widespread allegations of sexual exploitation and abuse against women and girls resurfaced. Despite its withdrawal from the RCI-LRA, the US will continue to train local forces in the Central African Republic. The EU military training mission, called EUTM RCA, trained the first of two planned army battalions in 2017.   

144 O O E R D L R P W R T 2 0 1 8 National and International Justice Impunity remained one of the main challenges in addressing past and ongoing atrocities. Progress was made towards the operationalization of the Special Criminal Court, a hybrid court with national and international judges and prose- cutors that will focus on grave international crimes committed since 2003. In February, President Touadéra appointed the court’s chief prosecutor, Toussaint Muntazini Mukimapa, the former advisor to the military attorney general of the Democratic Republic of Congo, in a process perceived to be fair and transparent, with external partners observing all discussions. In May, the UN released a mapping report documenting serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed over the past 13 years, founding that some may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity. The report may aid the work of the Special Criminal Court and future justice mechanisms. In April, Minister of Justice Flavien Mbata announced the appointment of two in- ternational judges, followed by the appointment of five national judges in May. In June, the president appointed a deputy international prosecutor. The Netherlands, the US, and the UN were the principal donors to the Special Criminal Court, but the court’s five-year budget remained only partially covered. The Special Criminal Court also continued to require technical assistance. The Office of the Prosecutor at the ICC continued investigations into alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the country. The ICC issued no arrest warrants in 2017. Jean-Pierre Bemba Gombo, a former vice president of the Democratic Republic of Mouvement Congo and leader of the Movement for the Liberation of the Congo ( ), was sentenced to 12-months in jail and fined pour la Libération du Congo €300,000 euros (approximately US$353,000) in March for bribing witnesses during an earlier war crimes trial at the ICC. ICC judges found Bemba and four as- sociates guilty of witness tampering in October 2016. Bemba was found guilty of rape, murder and pillage in March 2016 for crimes committed in the Central African Republic in 2002 and 2003. There was no progress in bringing to justice African Union peacekeepers from the Republic of Congo allegedly responsible for abuses in CAR in 2014. A mass grave exhumed at Boali in February 2016 appeared to contain the remains of 12   

145 H C T A W S H U M A N T R I G H people allegedly killed by Congolese soldiers. In June 2016, the government of the Republic of Congo had announced that a judicial procedure was ongoing for this case. A forensic investigation and exhumation was concluded in November and a private report of this investigation was handed to the Central African inves- tigating judge. The victim’s remains were buried in Boali.   

146 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Chile Twenty-eight years after the Chilean dictatorship imposed a total abortion ban, and after a difficult process that included the intervention of the Constitutional Court, the government in September 2017 enacted a law decriminalizing abor- tion if the life of the pregnant woman is at risk, the fetus is unviable, or the preg- nancy is due to rape. The courts continue to prosecute those responsible for human rights violations committed during the military regime. In 2017, courts convicted or charged for- mer military officers and state actors in three of the most egregious crimes of Au- gusto Pinochet’s dictatorship from 1973 to 1990. Carabineros Cases of crimes committed by members of the armed forces and (uniformed police) against civilians were transferred at the end of 2016 from mil- itary jurisdiction to civilian courts. President Michelle Bachelet issued a decree that increased intrusive government access to personal data, violating Chileans’ right to privacy. However, the Con- traloría General de la República (Chile’s Supreme Audit Institution) held that the decree was invalid and could not enter into force because the executive branch did not have legal authority to issue it. After an investigation conducted by a Chamber of Deputies commission of in- quiry revealed human rights violations against poor children under state care in the National Service for Minors (SENAME) network, the government proposed a set of bills to improve the centers and strengthen protection of children’s rights. The government also presented a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. Confronting Past Abuses In March, the Supreme Court convicted and sentenced 33 former state agents for the enforced disappearances of 5 members of the Manuel Rodriguez Patriot Front in 1987. The victims’ bodies were fastened to railroad sleepers and thrown into the sea. In April, an investigating judge charged the former army commander-in-chief, Juan Emilio Cheyre, with complicity in the extrajudicial execution of 15 people in   

147 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H the La Serena regiment, where he was a lieutenant during the military govern- ment. In September, an investigating judge in Santiago filed murder and attempted murder charges against 13 retired members of the army in the death of Rodrigo Rojas and the injury of Carmen Gloria Quintana. Soldiers arrested the two young activists during a protest in 1986, doused them with gasoline, set them alight, and then abandoned them in a ditch. In September, the Bachelet administration submitted a bill to Congress that would lift the 50-year veil of secrecy over testimony given before the National Commission on Political Prison and Torture, known as the Valech I Commission, from November 2003 to May 2004. The commission learned the places in which detention took place and the torture methods used by the dictatorship, and rec- ognized 28,459 victims of political prison and torture (in a second revision, an additional 9,795 new torture victims were recognized). The lifting of the secrecy order generated intense debate among those who be- lieve that opening the testimony to judges investigating human rights crimes vi- olates the victims’ privacy and those who claim that the secret contributes to impunity enjoyed by the guilty. Prison Conditions As of December 2016, 69 percent of the total prison population was convicted, and 31 percent was being held in pretrial detention. As of August 2016, Chilean prisons were operating at 103.2 percent capacity, ris- ing to 117.6 percent in the Metropolitan Region and exceeding 200 percent in some prisons. As of October 2016, the Santiago Sur Preventive Prison Center, which has a maximum capacity of 2,384 people, held 5,057 inmates. In 2017, the National Human Rights Institute (INDH) filed dozens of lawsuits for mistreatment of prison inmates, including for the new crime of torture, which was incorporated into the criminal code in November 2016.   

148 W P R D L R O E O R T 2 0 1 8 Privacy President Bachelet issued a decree that would have dangerously increased government access to the personal data of all citizens. The decree required telecommunications companies to retain, for at least two years, data that would have allowed the government to know individuals’ location and with whom they communicate. The decree did not explicitly require a court order to access this stored data. It also prohibited telecommunications companies from using technology that prevents interceptions, which could have been understood as a ban on Contraloría General protecting information through encryption. In November, the control of legality ex ante held that the decree did not pass the de la República toma de razón ( ), because the legal authority to issue such a regulation belongs with the legislative branch, not the executive. Children’s Rights The living conditions that children endure under state care in the National Service for Minors (SENAME) network are in dire need of improvement. Between January and June 2016, 34 children died under SENAME’s care. At time of writing, the public prosecutor was conducting an investigation into the deaths of 259 children in the last decade. The victims were living in SENAME centers when they died. In 2017, the INDH visited 171 SENAME centers, 83 percent of the total in the country. Of 405 children interviewed, 197 reported violations of their rights, including neglect, physical abuse, psychological abuse, and sexual abuse or exploitation. The scandal generated when these figures were publicized produced a response from the government, which presented or accelerated the processing of a set of bills that seek to replace and strengthen the institutional structure of state’s services for children in need. The Court of Appeals in la Serena ordered the Prison Police Force to refrain from conducting invasive body checks and stripping children who visit detained relatives.   

149 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Women’s Rights and Reproductive Rights In August 2017, the Chilean Congress approved a law that ended the absolute prohibition of abortion the military dictatorship imposed at the end of its mandate in 1989. The Constitutional Court upheld a law decriminalizing abortion under three circumstances: if the life of the pregnant woman is at risk, the fetus is unviable, or the pregnancy is due to rape. However, the Constitutional Court extended the right to conscientious objection beyond the medical doctor carry- ing out the abortion to all personnel present in the operating room, and even to institutions. In January 2017, the government presented to Congress a bill regarding women’s access to a life free of violence. As of September 15, 2017, 29 women had died at the hands of spouses or partners and 79 attempted killings of women by their spouses or partners were recorded. The bill addresses forms of violence that Chilean law does not currently recognize as distinct criminal offenses, such as violence in non-cohabitating couples and violence experienced by women in public spaces. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In June, after four years of deliberation, a bill recognizing the right to gender identity was passed by the Senate and submitted to the House of Representa- tives for consideration. The bill allows for unmarried individuals over 18 years old to legally change their name and gender marker on their government-issued identity documents and requires medical certification. In August 2017, President Bachelet introduced a bill to Congress that would le- galize same-sex marriage and grant same-sex couples the right to access as- sisted reproduction techniques and adoption. The presentation of the bill corresponds to a commitment adopted by the Chilean State in the friendly settle- ment agreement signed on June 11, 2016, following a petition submitted to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). The bill does not regulate, however, the situation of children of same-sex couples not united by marriage.   

150 R 0 T R O P E 2 D L R O W 1 8 Indigenous Rights In June, President Bachelet publicly apologized to the Mapuche people for all social injustices that their communities have historically endured and that were committed or tolerated by the state. In the context of the current Chilean constitutional-making process, indigenous people demand the recognition of Chile as a multinational State, collective rights, access to political rights such as self-determination, special political representation, and territorial rights to land, ancestral waters, and natural resources. In 2017, conflict between the government and Mapuche communities was marked by acts of violence. In criminal cases against Mapuche activists accused of violent acts, the public prosecutor has insisted on applying the counterterrorism law, which does not guarantee due process and defines terrorism in excessively broad terms. Migrant Rights In May 2017, the government launched the “Chile Reconoce” project, which will grant Chilean nationality to more than 2,000 children and adults born in Chile between 1995 and 2014 and denied Chilean nationality because of their parents’ irregular migratory status. In August 2017, the legislative process for a new immigration law began, aimed to replace legislation enacted in 1975. Key International Actors In October, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and the UN special rapporteur on counterterrorism, urged Chile not to prosecute Mapuche people accused of vio- lent crimes under the country’s counterterrorism legislation.   

151 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H China The broad and sustained offensive on human rights that started after President Xi Jinping took power five years ago showed no sign of abating in 2017. The death of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo in a hospital under heavy guard in July highlighted the Chinese government’s deepening contempt for rights. The near future for human rights appears grim, especially as Xi is expected to remain in power at least until 2022. Foreign governments did little in 2017 to push back against China’s worsening rights record at home and abroad. The Chinese government, which already oversees one of the strictest online cen- sorship regimes in the world, limited the provision of censorship circumvention tools and strengthened ideological control over education and mass media in 2017. Schools and state media incessantly tout the supremacy of the Chinese Communist Party, and, increasingly, of President Xi Jinping as “core” leader. Authorities subjected more human rights defenders—including foreigners—to show trials in 2017, airing excerpted forced confessions and court trials on state television and social media. Police ensured the detainees’ compliance by tortur- ing some of them, denying them access to lawyers of their choice, and holding them incommunicado for months. In Xinjiang, a nominally autonomous region with 11 million Turkic Muslim Uyghurs, authorities stepped up mass surveillance and the security presence de- spite the lack of evidence demonstrating an organized threat. They also adopted new policies denying Uyghurs cultural and religious rights. Hong Kong’s human rights record took a dark turn. Hong Kong courts disquali- fied four pro-democracy lawmakers in July and jailed three prominent pro- democracy student leaders in August. China’s growing global influence means many of its rights violations now have international implications. In April, security officials at the United Nations head- quarters in New York City ejected from the premises Dolkun Isa, an ethnic Uyghur rights activist, who was accredited as a nongovernmental organization (NGO) participant to a forum there; no explanation was provided. In June, the European Union failed for the first time ever to deliver a statement under a standing agenda item at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) regard-   

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153 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H ing country situations requiring the council’s attention. This stemmed from Greece blocking the necessary EU consensus for such an intervention due to its unwillingness to criticize human rights violations in China, with which it has sub- stantial trade ties. Chinese officials continued throughout the year to pressure governments around the world to forcibly return allegedly corrupt mainland offi- cials despite a lack of legal protections in China or refugee status determination procedures outside China. Despite the high costs, many in China continued to fight for rights and justice in 2017. Activists, including those working on women’s, disability, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights, continued to take cases to court to seek limited redress and raise awareness. In a small but significant step, in July a court in Henan province ruled against a public hospital for forcing a gay man to undergo discriminatory “conversion therapy.” In its narrow ruling, the court found that admitting the plaintiff to the hospital against his will violated his rights. Human Rights Defenders The death of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo in 2017 laid bare authorities’ ruthlessness towards peaceful proponents of human rights and democracy. In July, after serving nearly nine years of his 11-year prison sentence for “inciting subversion,” Liu Xiaobo died from cancer in a Shenyang hospital, heavily guarded by state security. During his hospitalization, authorities isolated Liu and his wife, Liu Xia, from family and supporters, and denied Liu’s request to seek treatment outside the country. Since Liu’s death, authorities have forcibly disap- peared Liu Xia. The government also harassed and detained a group of Liu’s sup- porters for commemorating his death. In 2017, authorities continued politically motivated prosecutions of human rights activists and lawyers who were rounded up in a nationwide crackdown that began in July 2015. Lawyer Wang Quanzhang and activist Wu Gan remained in police custody, awaiting trial or verdict on baseless charges. In November, lawyer Jiang Tianyong was sentenced to two years in prison on charges of “incit- ing subversion of state power.” A number of those caught in the “709 crackdown” were freed, but they continue to be closely monitored and isolated from friends and colleagues; some revealed   

154 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 that they were tortured and forced to confess while in detention. Authorities also continued to harass and intimidate the lawyers who represent the detainees, or- dering them not to speak to media and disbarring several after giving them fail- ing marks in China’s annual lawyers’ evaluation. In March, a court in Guangdong province, in separate trials, convicted women’s rights activist Su Changlan and online political commentator Chen Qitang on baseless charges of “inciting subversion” and sentenced them to prison terms of three years and four-and-a-half years, respectively. Su was released in October after serving her sentence. Her health deteriorated sharply while in detention due to inadequate medical care and poor conditions in detention. In March, a Sichuan court sentenced artist Chen Yunfei to four years in prison on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” in connection with his activities com- memorating the 1989 Tiananmen Massacre. The government also tried to eliminate the country’s few independent human rights news websites by jailing their founders. In August, a Yunnan court sen- tenced citizen journalist and protest chronicler Lu Yuyu to four years in prison on charges of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” Also in August, authorities charged Liu Feiyue, founder of the website Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch 民生观察 ) with “leaking state secrets” and “inciting subversion of state power.” ( Liu could face life imprisonment if convicted. Veteran activist and founder of the human rights website 64 Tianwang, Huang Qi, suffers from kidney disease and has been denied adequate medical care since his detention in November 2016. In August, prominent rights lawyer and activist Gao Zhisheng disappeared from his home in Shaanxi province. Authorities subsequently informed Gao’s family that he had been taken into police custody. China continues to detain non-citizens for promoting human rights in China. In March, Guangdong authorities arbitrarily detained Taiwan democracy activist Lee Ming-che. After holding him incommunicado for six months, denying him access to family, a court in Hunan province sentenced Lee to five years in prison for “subverting state power.” Mainland activist Peng Yuhua, who was tried along- side Lee, was given a seven-year sentence on the same charge.   

155 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Freedom of Expression Authorities adopted new measures to limit access to circumvention tools that allow netizens to scale the Great Firewall to access the uncensored global inter- net. In January 2017, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued regulations making it unlawful to provide circumvention tools without the min- istry’s pre-approval. In March, Chongqing authorities made public a regulation that bans unautho- rized use of internet circumvention tools in the city. Anyone—from individuals to companies—who does so would be ordered to disconnect and receive a warning. The regulation was unprecedented in banning all use of these tools. The same month a Guangdong court sentenced Deng Jiewei to nine months in jail for ille- gally selling virtual private networks, or VPNs, which protect user privacy by shielding browsing activities from service providers or state surveillance. In July, Apple removed dozens of VPNs from its App store in China, citing compli- ance with government regulations. In August, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) ordered five websites, including shopping giant Alibaba, to remove vendors that offered access to VPNs. In September, police detained Zhen Jianghua, activist and founder of a website that teaches people how to circum- vent internet censorship, on suspicion of “inciting subversion.” In November, in a letter to two US senators, Apple confirmed that it had removed 674 VPNs from its App store in China this year, citing compliance with government regulations. Authorities further tightened screws on social media. In June, they shut down dozens of entertainment news and celebrity gossip social media accounts after calling on internet companies to “actively promote socialist core values” and stop the spread of “vulgar ... sentiments.” In August, the CAC announced addi- tional new regulations on the requirement of real-name registration. In Septem- ber Weibo barred users who had not registered with their real names from posting messages on their own microblogs or comment on others. In September, the CAC promulgated measures to make creators of online chat groups such as those on QQ and Wechat liable for information other users shared in the groups. The rules also require the service providers to establish credit rating systems for chat group users. Those who violate Chinese laws and regulations will have their credit scores lowered.   

156 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 In September, Beijing police arrested Liu Pengfei, the creator of a WeChat group that had discussed political and social issues. Authorities continued their assault on academic freedom. In January, Sun Yat- sen University in Guangzhou banned staff from criticizing the Communist Party. In June, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the party’s discipli- nary body, issued a report accusing 14 top universities of ideological infractions after a months-long investigation. Several professors were fired for speaking crit- ically of the Chinese government on social media. In August, Shi Jiepeng, a pro- fessor of classical Chinese at Beijing Normal University, was sacked for “improper comments”; Shi had called Mao Zedong a “devil.” In August, Cambridge University Press admitted it had blocked access in China to more than 300 articles published in its journal China Quarterly , following or- ders from the Chinese government. The international backlash against the deci- sion compelled the publishing house to restore the articles. In November, Springer Nature pulled access to over 1,000 articles in China. The publisher said the decision was to comply with Chinese regulations. In March, authorities issued new measures to reduce the number of foreign chil- dren’s titles published in Chinese. In August, the Ministry of Education issued new national editions of primary and middle school liberal arts textbooks, with added emphasis on traditional culture and “core socialist values.” Gui Minhai, a Swedish national and publisher of books critical of the Chinese leadership, was abducted in Thailand in October 2015. After holding Gui for two years in secret detention in China, the Chinese government in October told Swedish diplomats that Gui had been “released.” Hong Kong Civil liberties in Hong Kong are increasingly being undermined by the growing in- terference of the central government, 20 years after the city returned to Chinese sovereignty in 1997. Opposition political parties and their supporters faced greater harassment from authorities. In April, the Companies Registry rejected the application of the Hong Kong National Party on grounds that the promotion of “Hong Kong independence is against the Basic Law.” During President Xi’s visit to Hong Kong, local and   

157 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H mainland police followed, harassed, and arrested some peaceful pro-democracy protesters. In April, Hong Kong police arrested 11 pro-democracy advocates on charges in- cluding “unlawful assembly” and “obstructing police.” The charges stem from the advocates’ protest against a decision by China’s top legislative body forcing Hong Kong courts to disqualify two pro-independence legislators. In July, a Hong Kong court disqualified four more pro-democracy lawmakers for modifying their oaths swearing allegiance to China in a 2016 ceremony. In March, two mainland government advisers said the central government will rely more on “legal means”—suggesting manipulation of the territory’s legal sys- tem—to strengthen central control. In April, the chief of legal affairs at the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong said the “one country, two systems” principle could be abolished altogether if the city “fails to actively defend the sovereignty” of China. In June mainland officials declared that the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which states that Hong Kong enjoys “a high degree of autonomy” except in for- eign affairs and defense, “no longer has any realistic meaning.” In August, a Hong Kong appeals court sentenced pro-democracy student leaders Alex Chow, Nathan Law, and Joshua Wong to six to eight months in prison. The three had earlier been convicted of crimes related to “unlawful assembly” for peaceful protests at the time of the 2014 Umbrella Movement, and were given community sentences by a lower court. In a politically motivated move, the sec- retary of justice, a political appointee, sought a harsher prison sentence for the trio. Also in August, the same court convicted 13 defendants of unlawful assembly for another anti-government protest in 2014. The 13, who had previously been sen- tenced to community service, were given prison terms of between 8 and 13 months after the Justice Department sought a review of their sentences. In Octo- ber, the Court of Final Appeal released Chow, Law, and Wong on bail, pending appeal. Xinjiang The Chinese government has long conflated peaceful activism with violence in Xinjiang, and has treated many expressions of Uyghur identity, including lan-   

158 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 guage and religion, as threatening. Uyghur opposition to government policies has been expressed in peaceful protests but also through violent attacks. How- ever, details about protests and violence are scant, as authorities severely cur- tail independent reporting in the region. In 2017, the Chinese government continued its 2014 “strike-hard” campaign in Xinjiang, which vowed to adopt “unconventional tactics” in countering terrorism. After Party Secretary Chen Quanguo was transferred from Tibet to Xinjiang in Au- gust 2016, the Xinjiang regional government expanded its already pervasive se- curity measures by hiring thousands more security personnel. In July, authorities forced residents in a district of Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang, to install sur- veillance apps on their mobile phones. In 2017, the Xinjiang government also waged a campaign against “two faced” Uyghur cadres thought to oppose the party’s stance on Uyghurs. In April, 97 officials in Hotan prefecture were repri- manded. Authorities increasingly restricted and punished Uyghurs’ foreign ties. Since Oc- tober 2016, authorities have arbitrarily recalled passports from residents of Xin- jiang. Since about April, 2017 authorities have arbitrarily detained thousands of Uyghurs and other Muslims in centers where they were forced to undergo “patri- otic education.” Authorities also ordered Uyghur students studying abroad, including in Egypt, to return to Xinjiang; and in July, Egyptian authorities rounded up those who had failed to return, possibly at China’s behest. By September, about 20 Uyghurs were forcibly repatriated to Xinjiang while 12 were released. Some of those who returned were detained; a Xinjiang court sentenced Islamic scholar Hebibulla Tohti to 10 years in prison after he returned with a doctorate degree from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University. In February, a video believed to be released by the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) showed Uyghur fighters who pledged to return to China and “shed blood like rivers”—the first reported direct threat by the group against Chi- nese targets. A 2016 study reported that at least 114 Uyghurs had joined ISIS, but estimates vary widely and the level of participation remains unconfirmed. In April, the Xinjiang Counter-Extremism Regulations, which prohibit the wearing of “abnormal” beards or veils in public places, became effective. Also in April,   

159 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Xinjiang authorities issued a new rule banning parents from naming children with dozens of names with religious connotations, such as Saddam and Medina, on the basis that they could “exaggerate religious fervor.” Tibet Authorities in Tibetan areas continue to severely restrict religious freedom, speech, movement, and assembly, and fail to redress popular concerns about mining and land grabs by local officials, which often involve intimidation and ar- bitrary violence by security forces. In 2017, officials intensified surveillance of on- line and phone communications. Six UN special rapporteurs sent a communication to the government of China ex- pressing concern about the late 2016 mass expulsion of monastics (monks and nuns) and demolition of living quarters at the Larung Gar monastery in Kandze, Sichuan. Similar expulsions and demolitions were reported at the Yachen Gar monastery in Kandze in August 2017. Several thousand Tibetans traveling on Chinese passports to India for a January 2017 teaching by the Dalai Lama were forced to return early when officials in Ti- betan areas attempted to confiscate passports, threatening retaliation against those travelling abroad and their family members back home. In June, residents of Palyul county, Sichuan, demonstrated against land grabs; in July and August, Qinghai residents peacefully protested against several official policies. One solo protest in central Lhasa on June 23 ended in the protester’s suicide. Between October 2016 and March 2017, there were at least six protests in Ngaba, Sichuan, alone, but details are scant due to extreme surveillance and intimidation. Tibetans continue to self-immolate to protest Chinese policies. At time of writ- ing, four had done so in 2017. Freedom of Religion The government restricts religious practice to five officially recognized religions in officially approved religious premises. Authorities retain control over religious bodies’ personnel appointments, publications, finances, and seminary applica- tions. The government classifies many religious groups outside its control as   

160 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 “evil cults,” and subjects members to police harassment, torture, arbitrary de- tention, and imprisonment. In February 2017, Beijing police detained Sun Qian, a businesswoman and Cana- dian citizen, on suspicion of “using cults to sabotage law enforcement.” Sun is a follower of the Falun Gong, a meditation-focused spiritual group banned since 1999. Sun was reportedly pepper-sprayed, put in handcuffs attached to foot shackles, and deprived of sleep. In May, authorities detained Shao Zhumin, a Catholic bishop of an underground church in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province. Shao’s church had refused to join the state-affiliated Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Beijing and the Vatican have continued negotiations on the normalization of diplomatic ties, but the dia- logue remains strained by disputes over who has authority to appoint bishops in the country. In September, China passed revisions to the 2005 Regulations on Religious Af- fairs. The document, which comes into effect in February 2018, introduces new restrictions designed to “curb extremism” and “resist infiltration,” including banning unauthorized teaching about religion and going abroad to take part in training or meetings. Donations from foreign groups or individuals that are over 100,000 RMB (US$15,000) are also prohibited. The new rules also expand the role of local authorities in controlling religious activities. Authorities in Yunnan province charged more than a dozen Christians in 2017 with “using cults to sabotage law enforcement.” In October, at least three of the charged were given prison sentences of four years. One of their lawyers said the arrests were due to the group not gathering at officially designated churches. Women’s and Girls’ Rights According to a report by World Economic Forum, China ranked 100th out of 144 countries for gender parity in 2017, falling for the ninth consecutive year since 2008, when it ranked 57th. The Party Congress, concluded in October, was marked by a striking absence of women in top political posts. Women and girls in China continue to confront sexual abuse and harassment, employment dis- crimination, and domestic violence.   

161 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H The Chinese government remains hostile to women’s rights activism. In Febru- ary, internet company Sina suspended the microblog of Women’s Voices, run by outspoken feminists, for 30 days. Between May and June, Guangzhou police forced five activists from their homes in retaliation for their campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment on public transportation. In September, au- thorities finally lifted a 10-year travel ban on activist Wu Rongrong, enabling her to travel to Hong Kong for studies. Disability Rights China ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008. However, persons with disabilities continue to face discrimination in areas in- cluding education and employment. In February, authorities released long-awaited Regulations of Education of Per- sons with Disabilities to replace out-of-date 1994 regulations. While the new reg- ulations have some positive aspects, they do not go far enough in removing discriminatory obstacles that prevent many children with disabilities from being placed in mainstream schools. They require that students with disabilities be evaluated by a quasi-governmental expert committee and placed according to their “physical conditions and ability to be educated and adapt to [mainstream] schools.” Preventing children with disabilities from attending mainstream schools, or failing to provide them with support needed to attend such schools, is itself a violation of the CRPD. In March, state press reported the death of a 15-year-old with autism in a Guang- dong “care center” for the homeless, focusing attention on neglect in these facil- ities. In a welcome move in April, the Ministry of Education issued a new rule to ac- commodate students with disabilities in college entrance exams, known as gaokao. While a 2014 decision already required schools to provide people with visual impairments access to braille or electronic paper in gaokao exams, the new rule provides more details on implementation and includes accommodation for people with other disabilities, including for deaf students.   

162 R W R L D R E P O O T 2 0 1 8   

163 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity While China de-criminalized homosexuality in 1997, it lacks laws protecting peo- ple from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and same-sex partnership is not legal. In May, Chinese authorities shut down a popular dating app for lesbians. In June, the government banned “abnormal sexual lifestyles,” including homosexu- ality, from online video programs. In July, authorities forced the LGBT group Speak Out to cancel a conference in Chengdu. An earlier Speak Out event sched- uled for May in Xi’an was also cancelled after police briefly detained the organiz- ers and told them that LGBT events were “not welcome” in the city. Refugees and Asylum Seekers Beijing also appeared to step up its campaign to forcibly return North Korean refugees and asylum seekers in 2017: between July and August, 41 people were detained; 51 had been detained in all of 2016. Key International Actors While the European Parliament, United States Congress, the UN High Commis- sioner for Human Rights, and individual members of governments and parlia- ments publicly expressed some concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in China in 2017, the response of “like-minded” governments to nega- tive developments, such as jail sentences for peaceful protestors in Hong Kong, was even more muted than in previous years. Although the United States deliv- ered a joint statement on behalf of a dozen countries at the March 2016 session of the UNHRC expressing concern at human rights violations in China, it did not present a follow-up joint statement at any of the council’s 2017 sessions. In January 2017, UN Secretary-General António Guterres introduced President Xi at an event closed to civil society at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Guterres made no reference to China’s deteriorating human rights environment or to human rights as a pillar of UN work. At a summit in Brussels on June 1-2, the EU Council and Commission presidents publicly “expressed concern” about human rights abuses in China, but did not   

164 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 call for the release of political prisoners, including EU citizens, or the repeal of abusive laws. The EU did raise concerns about China at the UNHRC in Septem- ber. In June, German Chancellor Angela Merkel publicly challenged Chinese authori- ties to fulfill their commitments to register German NGOs under China’s new For- eign NGO Management Law, which went into effect in 2017. Also in June, Italian police briefly detained and later released Dolkun Isa, a prominent Uyghur activist and German citizen, as he tried to enter the Italian Senate, where he had been invited to speak. Italian authorities refused to clarify whether China had requested Isa’s detention. Australia failed to ratify an extradition treaty with China after protests from Aus- tralian politicians arguing Australia should not send people to China because the country’s judicial system is plagued with human rights abuses. Businessmen linked to China’s government have made significant foreign dona- tions to political parties in Australia, raising concerns about Chinese attempts to influence Australian policy. An Australian parliamentary inquiry in March called for a ban on political donations from foreign sources, and the government or- dered a review of espionage laws. In July, the United States issued several statements condemning China’s failure to allow Liu Xiaobo the freedom to seek medical treatment wherever he chose. Yet within hours of Liu’s death US President Donald Trump referred to President Xi as a “terrific guy” and “a great leader.” Foreign Policy In May, China hosted its largest-ever gathering for the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative, a development program spanning 65 countries that China says will involve investments of more than $1 trillion. Many participating states have a history of countenancing serious human rights violations in major develop- ment and infrastructure projects. Key international financial institutions, including the Asian Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and the World Bank, have not taken adequate steps to ensure that they place strong human rights conditions on any participation in OBOR-related projects.   

165 A H C T A W S T H G H U M I N R At the UN Security Council, China joined Russia in February in a double veto of a resolution that would have imposed sanctions related to use of chemical weapons in Syria. In September, the council held closed-door discussions on Burmese military atrocities against Burma’s Rohingya Muslim minority; diplo- mats said China opposed language recognizing the right of return of the more than 630,000 Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh. While senior UN offi- cials described the military campaign as “ethnic cleansing,” Chinese state media endorsed it as a firm response to “Islamic terrorists.”   

166 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Colombia The government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reached an agreement in 2016 to end their 52-year armed conflict. The agreement pro- vides a historic opportunity to curb human rights abuses, but its justice compo- nent contains serious shortcomings that risk letting war criminals escape justice. At time of writing, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the judicial system the parties created to try wartime abuses, had yet to be put in place. In June 2017, the United Nations mission in Colombia verified that the FARC had handed over its weapons and demobilized. However, civilians continue to suffer serious abuses by the National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas and paramilitary successor groups that emerged after a demobilization process a decade ago. Vi- olence associated with the conflict has forcibly displaced more than 7.7 million Colombians since 1985, generating the world’s largest population of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Human rights defenders, trade unionists, journalists, indigenous and Afro-Colombian leaders, and other community activists face death threats and violence, mostly from guerrillas and successor groups. Perpe- trators of these abuses are rarely held accountable. In February 2017, the government and the ELN started peace talks in Quito, Ecuador, after more than two years of exploratory negotiations. In September, days before Pope Francis’ visit to Colombia, the parties agreed to hold a bilateral ceasefire between October 2017 and January 2018. The ELN also agreed to stop certain abuses, including recruiting children under 15 and using antipersonnel landmines. Also in September, “Otoniel,” leader of the Gaitanist Self-Defenses of Colombia (AGC), the country’s largest paramilitary successor group, said he was willing to negotiate ending the groups’ crimes. The reported negotiations remained confi- dential at time of writing. Guerrillas On June 27, 2017, the UN political mission in Colombia verified that FARC guerril- las who accepted the agreement with the government had demobilized and handed their weapons to the mission. In September, the demobilized guerrilla   

167 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H group formally announced its political party, the Revolutionary Alternative Force of the Common People (FARC). However, a minority of dissident guerrilla fighters rejected the terms of the peace agreement, have not disarmed, and continue to commit abuses. In May, guerril- las of the FARC’s dissident First Front kidnapped a consultant of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Guaviare province. They released him in July. The ELN continued in 2017 to commit serious abuses against civilians, including, for example, killings, forced displacement, and child recruitment in the province of Chocó. On October 25, ELN guerrillas reportedly killed an indigenous leader in Chocó, despite having agreed with the government to stop abuses. The ELN continued in 2017 to use antipersonnel landmines. The government re- ported that landmines and unexploded ordnances killed four civilians and in- jured 22 between January and October 2017. Paramilitaries and Successors Between 2003 and 2006, right-wing paramilitary organizations with close ties to security forces and politicians underwent a deeply flawed government demobi- lization process in which many members remained active and reorganized into new groups. These successor groups continue to commit such widespread abuses as killings, “disappearances,” and rape. They have at times benefited from the tolerance and even collusion of state agents. In its conflict with the ELN, the AGC continues to engage in serious abuses in Chocó province. In April, two boat drivers were found dead in an Afro-Colombian community in southern Chocó. Credible evidence indicates that AGC members abducted and killed them. Implementation of the Justice and Peace Law of 2005, which offers dramatically reduced sentences to demobilized paramilitary members who confess their crimes, has been slow, despite significant progress since 2014. As of July 2016, 182 of the more than 30,000 paramilitary troops who officially demobilized had been sentenced under the law. The convictions cover a small portion of the more than 4,000 defendants seeking the law’s benefits.   

168 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 In June 2017, the Attorney General’s Office sent Santiago Uribe, the brother of former President Alvaro Uribe, to trial on charges of murder and conspiracy for his alleged role in the paramilitary group “The 12 Apostles” in the 1990s. “Parapolitics” investigations and prosecutions of members of Congress accused of conspiring with paramilitaries continued in 2017. From 2006 through August 2015, 63 legislators were convicted of crimes related to “parapolitics.” Abuses by Public Security Forces From 2002 through 2008, army brigades across Colombia routinely executed civilians. Under pressure from superiors to show “positive” results and boost body counts in their war against guerrillas, soldiers and officers abducted vic- tims or lured them to remote locations under false pretenses—such as promises of work—and killed them, placed weapons on their bodies, and reported them as enemy combatants killed in action. There has been a dramatic reduction in cases of alleged unlawful killings attributed to security forces since 2009, though cred- ible reports of some new cases continue to emerge. As of September 2017, the Attorney General’s Office was investigating more than 3,600 alleged unlawful killings from 2002 through 2008, and had achieved con- victions in cases against more than 1,200 mid and low-level soldiers, including convictions against the same individual in different cases. Authorities have largely failed, however, to prosecute senior army officers in- volved in the killings and instead have promoted many of them through the mili- tary ranks. In November, the Defense Ministry proposed to elevate in rank five officers against whom there is credible evidence of involvement in “false posi- tives.” The process before the Senate remained pending at time of writing. Gen. Rodríguez Barragan continued, at time of writing, to command the armed forces, despite strong evidence implicating him in false-positive killings. Retired Gen. Jaime Alfonso Lasprilla Villamizar was Colombia’s defense attaché in Wash- ington between November 2015 and May 2017. According to the Attorney Gen- eral’s Office, he commanded a brigade likely responsible for the killing of 55 civilians between 2006 and 2007. In January, the Attorney General’s Office sent retired Gen. Henry William Torres Escalante to trial for his alleged role in the killing of two farmers in 2007. No   

169 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H meaningful progress had been achieved in other cases against generals al- legedly responsible for false-positive killings. In March 2016, prosecutors sum- moned retired Gen. Mario Montoya Uribe, who commanded the army when killings peaked, for a hearing in which he was to be charged. The Attorney Gen- eral’s Office later backtracked; Montoya had yet to be charged at time of writ- ing. In April 2017, however, Gen. Alberto José Mejía Ferrero, the current head of the army, organized an event to honor the “principles and values” of Sgt. Carlos Ed- uardo Mora, who in 2007 disobeyed an order to commit a “false positive” and later became a star witness in the prosecution of such cases. In May, policemen used excessive force against people in Buenaventura who were participating in street demonstrations the protesters called a “civic strike” to demand better living conditions, including access to basic public services, economic opportunities, and justice. The Ombudsman’s Office received 161 re- ports of alleged police abuses during the protests, including of 20 individuals who said they were shot with rubber bullets. In October, seven farmers were killed in the southern municipality of Tumaco during a peaceful protest against delays in the implementation of programs to replace illicit crops. The Defense Ministry initially said FARC dissidents had shot at protesters; survivors blamed the police. Days later, the National Police an- nounced it had suspended four officers who had “allegedly triggered firearms” during the protest. Peace Negotiations and Accountability The peace agreement provided that a Special Jurisdiction for Peace should be created to try those responsible for gross human rights violations committed during the conflict, including FARC guerrillas and members of the armed forces. Individuals responsible for crimes against humanity and serious war crimes who fully cooperate with the new jurisdiction and confess their crimes will be sub- jected to up to eight years of “effective restrictions on freedoms and rights,” but no prison time. In December 2016, Congress passed an amnesty law, with the stated purpose of excluding human rights violations from amnesty. The law, however, has lan-   

170 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 guage that could allow people responsible for atrocities to benefit from amnesties. As of September, the Constitutional Court was reviewing the law’s constitutionality. In April 2017, lawmakers passed a constitutional amendment creating the Spe- cial Jurisdiction for Peace. The amendment establishes a definition of “command responsibility”—the rule that determines when superior officers can be held re- sponsible for crimes of their subordinates—for the armed forces that departs from established norms of international law in a way that could severely weaken accountability. In November, the Constitutional Court ruled that the “command responsibility” definition was constitutional. Human Rights Defenders, Journalists, and Trade Unionists Rights advocates and journalists continue to be targeted with threats and at- tacks. Despite an Interior Ministry program that assigns protection to human rights defenders, trade unionists, and journalists, the Office of the UN High Com- missioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) documented the killings of 53 prominent rights advocates and community activists from January through October 2017. In July, the Attorney General’s Office said it had achieved convictions in 5 of more than 80 killings documented by the OHCHR since January 2016. The Foundation for a Free Press, a Colombian nongovernmental organization (NGO) that monitors press freedoms, reported that 1 journalist was killed and 136 suffered threats between January and October 2017. Former President Uribe, currently a senator, continued in 2017 to lash out against journalists and other critics, accusing them, without evidence, of being complicit with guerrilla groups. Internal Displacement and Land Restitution More than 7.7 million Colombians have been internally displaced by conflict-re- lated violence since 1985, government figures reveal. More than 48,000 were displaced between January and November 2017. Nationwide, forced displace- ment has significantly decreased since 2015, although it remains high in many areas. In Litoral de San Juan, in southern Chocó, the number of people displaced in 2016 represented 20 percent of the population.   

171 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H The government’s implementation of land restitution under the 2011 Victims’ Law continues to move slowly. The law was enacted to restore millions of hectares of land that was abandoned or stolen during the many years of conflict to internally displaced Colombians. As of August 2017, the courts had issued rul- ings in just 5,400 of more than 106,000 claims received. Gender-Based Violence Gender-based violence is widespread in Colombia. Lack of training and poor im- plementation of treatment protocols impede timely access to medical services and create obstacles for women and girls seeking post-violence care. Perpetra- tors of gender-based violence crimes are rarely brought to justice. In July 2015, “femicide”—defined, in part, as the murder of a woman because of her gender—became a crime. The law established comprehensive measures to prevent and prosecute gender-based violence, including recognizing the rights of victims and their relatives to specialized legal assistance. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In recent years, authorities in Colombia have taken several steps to recognize the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. In June 2015, the Justice Ministry issued a decree allowing people to revise the gender noted on their identification documents without prior judicial approval. In November 2015, the Constitutional Court ruled that no one can be barred from adopting a child because of their sexual orientation. In April 2016, the court upheld the right of same-sex couples to marry. In May 2017, lawmakers rejected a legislative pro- posal to hold a referendum that would have put progress in jeopardy by asking voters to decide whether same-sex couples and single people should be allowed to adopt children. Indigenous Rights Indigenous people in Colombia suffer disproportionate limitations on their en- joyment of social and economic rights. From January through August 2017, at least 24 children indigenous—the majority of them belonging to Wayuu commu- nities—died in the province of La Guajira of causes associated with malnutrition.   

172 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Many of these deaths are caused by limited access to drinking water. The Inter- American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) had asked the government in December 2015 to take measures to curb these deaths. In January 2017, the IACHR expanded the request to cover pregnant and breastfeeding women. Key International Actors The United States remains the most influential foreign actor in Colombia. At time of writing, the US Congress was moving forward with approval of more than US$390 million in aid; mostly for development and drug enforcement. A portion of US military aid is subject to human rights conditions, which the US Depart- ment of State has not rigorously enforced. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) continues to monitor Colombian investigations of crimes that may fall within the court’s juris- diction, and the prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, conducted a mission to the coun- try in September 2017. Upon request of the Constitutional Court, in October, Bensouda issued an amicus curiae before the court expressing concern about the definition of “command responsibility” and flaws in the amnesty law. In September 2017, Pope Francis visited Colombia. He supported the peace process with the FARC and asked Colombians to “welcome every person who has committed offences, who admits their failures, is repentant and truly wants to make reparation.” In January 2016, the UN Security Council, at the government’s request, estab- lished a political mission under a tripartite mechanism—the UN, the govern- ment, and FARC—to monitor and verify the peace agreement’s definitive bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, and the laying down of arms. In July 2017, the Security Council created a second mission in charge of verifying the reinte- gration of FARC guerrillas. In 2017, the Colombian government supported regional efforts to help solve the human rights crisis in Venezuela. In August, Colombia’s foreign affairs minister signed, along with those of 11 other nations, the Lima Declaration, a comprehen- sive statement condemning the rupture of democratic order and the systematic violation of human rights in Venezuela.   

173 H C T A W H U M A N S R I G H T Since 2014, when the crisis started to deepen, thousands of Venezuelans have migrated to Colombia. In July 2017, the Colombian government created a special permit that allows Venezuelan citizens who entered the country legally, but have overstayed their visas, to regularize their status.   

174 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Côte d’Ivoire Cote d’Ivoire continued the process of moving away from the successive and bloody political crises of 2000-11, with the United Nations ending a 13-year peacekeeping mission in June. However, ongoing indiscipline by members of the security services and violent army mutinies demonstrated the precariousness of the country’s newfound stability. President Ouattara promulgated a new constitution in January, which Alassane establishes a vice president position and a second legislative chamber, with one-third of its members appointed by the president. While the new constitution removed a divisive nationality clause, requiring a presidential candidate’s father and mother to be Ivorian, many of the other root causes of past conflict re- mained unaddressed, particularly a politicized judiciary and simmering conflicts over land. The prevalence of arbitrary arrests, mistreatment of detainees, and unlawful killings by the security forces lessened again in 2017, but investigations and prosecutions of those who commit abuses were rare. Although Côte d’Ivoire’s press largely operated without restrictions, laws criminalizing publication of false information were on occasion used to unfairly detain journalists and sev- eral pro-opposition newspapers were temporarily suspended. Progress in delivering justice for victims of the 2010-11 post-election violence re- mained slow, with the vast majority of perpetrators of human rights abuses— from across the military-political divide—not yet held accountable. The International Criminal Court (ICC) continued the trial of former President Gbagbo and Charles Blé Goudé, a former youth minister and leader of a pro-Gbagbo mili- tia, and is also investigating crimes committed by pro-Ouattara forces during the 2010-11 crisis. Conduct of Security Forces At least 15 people died in a wave of mutinies and demonstrations by demobi- lized soldiers. Thousands of soldiers mutinied in January and May, demanding unpaid bonuses and backpay. On both occasions, soldiers seized control of Bouake, Côte d’Ivoire’s second largest city, for several days and blocked roads in   

175 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Abidjan and other towns, killing at least four people, several from stray bullets. The mutineers only returned to their barracks after the government paid them 12 million CFA (US$21,000). The mutinies triggered sporadic demonstrations by other elements of the secu- rity forces and demobilized fighters, leaving 11 more dead, including four ex-sol- diers killed in a clash with police on May 23. Serving and demobilized soldiers were also implicated in a series of attacks on police and gendarme installations. Many members of the security forces, including senior army officers, continued to engage in racketeering and extortion. Several army commanders allegedly re- sponsible for atrocities during the 2002-03 armed conflict and 2010-11 crisis were promoted in January. Mutinying soldiers in May discovered an arms cache in Bouake, underscoring the failure of Côte d’Ivoire’s disarmament process to secure weapons hidden in private arsenals. The owner of the property where the arms were discovered, a senior aide to National Assembly president Guillaume Soro, was arrested and detained on October 9. Accountability for Past Crimes Ivorian judges continued to investigate crimes committed by both sides during the 2010-11 post-election crisis, but the deeply flawed trial of former First Lady Simone Gbagbo, acquitted on March 28, raised doubts about Ivorian courts’ ability to effectively try serious human rights cases. Côte d’Ivoire’s Special Investigative and Examination Cell, established in 2011, continued its investigations into human rights crimes committed during the 2010-11 violence. The cell has charged high-level perpetrators from both sides, including several pro-Ouattara commanders now in senior positions in the army. However, the only national civilian trials so far are those of Simone Gbagbo and General Dogbo Blé, the ex-leader of President Gbagbo’s Republican Guard, con- victed April 14 with five others for the kidnapping and murder of four foreigners on April 4, 2011. Human rights groups acting on behalf of victims refused to participate in Simone Gbagbo’s trial, which was marred both by fair trial concerns and the prosecu- tion’s failure to present sufficient evidence to fully explore her role during the   

176 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 2010-11 crisis. Simone Gbagbo is also wanted by the ICC on four counts of crimes against humanity, but so far the Ivorian government has refused to transfer her to The Hague. Neither the special cell nor the ICC are investigating crimes com- mitted during election-related violence in 2000 or the 2002-2003 armed conflict. The ICC trial of Laurent Gbagbo and the former youth minister and militia leader Charles Blé Goudé for crimes against humanity committed during the 2010-11 cri- sis continued in 2017. The ICC also intensified its investigations into crimes com- mitted by pro-Ouattara forces during the crisis, but has yet to issue arrest warrants. President Ouattara has said that all further cases related to the 2010- 11 crisis will be tried in national courts. Côte d’Ivoire’s reparations body was disbanded in April, having registered more than 316,000 victims. Having first awarded cash payments and medical care to 4,500 victims, the government began a second phase of largely non-monetary assistance in October. Freedom of Assembly and Expression Six journalists were detained on February 12 for 48 hours on charges of publish- ing false information after reporting on alleged bonuses paid to mutineers from the army’s special forces. Two other journalists were detained on July 31 for 24 hours on similar charges after alleging that bank accounts belonging to National Assembly leader Soro had been frozen. The trial of an online news editor, charged with divulging false news in May 2016 after publishing an interview with ex-President Gbagbo’s son, Michel, was adjourned October 20 after several ear- lier delays. The government in May indefinitely delayed a parliamentary vote on a new press law, which was criticized by media freedom groups for stipulating harsh penal- ties for vaguely defined media offenses. In a violation of the right to freedom of expression, Sam Mohammed, a business- man and opposition supporter, was sentenced to six months’ imprisonment on March 31 for slander and defamation, after he questioned President Ouattara’s Ivorian nationality at a public rally. Although the Ivorian constitution protects freedom of assembly, Ivorian law re- quires opposition parties to request permits for public rallies. Three opposition   

177 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H politicians were given disproportionate 30-month sentences May 26 for their role in a banned opposition rally in May 2015. Land Reform and Instability in the West Recurring disputes over land ownership remain an important source of intercom- munal tension, particularly in western Côte d’Ivoire. In October and November, at least 10 people were killed during clashes between rival groups for control of ter- ritory in protected forests in western Côte d’Ivoire. Ivorian judges have yet to complete an investigation into violent intercommunal clashes between pastoral- ists and farmers in Bouna in March 2016, which left at least 27 people dead and thousands more displaced. Implementation of a 1998 land law, which aims to reduce conflicts by converting customary land ownership to legal title, remains extremely slow, with less than four percent of rural land registered. The government in 2016 created a new rural land agency to streamline the land registration process, with the agency to be- come operational in 2018. Côte d’Ivoire, which has lost vast swathes of forest to cocoa farming, announced in September a policy to devolve responsibility for reforestation to private busi- nesses. Past, government-led reclamation efforts, such as the 2016 eviction of farmers from Mont Péko national park, led to widespread forced evictions. Judicial System Gradual efforts to strengthen the judicial system continued, demonstrated by the more frequent organization of cour d’assises sessions in Abidjan and two re- gional courts and the establishment of a legal aid fund. However, fundamental problems remain, including excessive use of pretrial detention and a lack of judi- cial independence, particularly in political trials. Dozens of former President Gbagbo supporters arrested for their alleged role in the post-election crisis or subsequent attacks against the state remain in extended pretrial detention. Prisons are severely overcrowded and detainees lack adequate access to med- ical care and suffer extortion by prison guards and fellow inmates. Close to 130 detainees escaped in a series of prison breaks in August and September, al- though at least 42 were subsequently recaptured.   

178 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Côte d’Ivoire continues to struggle with violent crime by street gangs, including by children, which has led to public beatings and lynching of suspected crimi- nals. Abidjan’s juvenile detention center is housed inside an adult prison, and children in pretrial detention are often detained with adults. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Côte d’Ivoire does not criminalize same-sex conduct, although the criminal code establishes higher minimum sentences for public indecency for same-sex cou- ples. An antidiscrimination provision in Côte d’Ivoire’s new constitution, promul- gated in January 2017, does not include protection against discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Incidents of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons, including physical assaults, are com- mon. Gender-Based Violence Although the UN reported in January 2017 that the number of reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence has progressively decreased since 2014, so- cial stigma and widespread impunity prevents many victims from reporting abuses. The holding of cour d’assises sessions has enabled some trials and con- victions for rape, but many sexual assaults are reclassified as lesser offenses or settled out of court. Protection of Human Rights Defenders Three years after the passage of a law strengthening protections for human rights defenders, the government finally adopted a decree necessary for the law’s implementation in February 2017. The decree lacks detail on how the law’s implementation will be monitored. Key International Actors Côte d’Ivoire’s international partners failed to apply public pressure on the gov- ernment to address longstanding impunity. The UN Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) concluded its 13-year peacekeeping mission on June 30, 2017, leaving   

179 H C T A W S H U M A N T R I G H the European Union, France, and the United States as Côte d’Ivoire’s principal partners on justice and security-sector reform. The mandate of the UN independent expert on human rights in Côte d’Ivoire ex- pired June 30 and was not renewed by the Human Rights Council. In June, Cote d’Ivoire was elected to the UN Security Council for the 2018-2019 term.   

180 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Cuba The Cuban government continues to repress and punish dissent and public criti- cism. The number of short-term arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, in- dependent journalists, and others was significantly less than in 2016, but still remained high, with more than 3,700 reports of arbitrary detentions between January and August 2017. The government continues to use other repressive tac- tics, including beatings, public shaming, travel restrictions, and termination of employment. US President Donald Trump announced in June that he would reverse the previ- ous administration’s policy toward Cuba by reinstating travel and commercial re- strictions that had been eased in 2015. Arbitrary Detention and Short-Term Imprisonment The Cuban government continues to employ arbitrary detention to harass and in- timidate critics, independent activists, political opponents, and others. The number of arbitrary short-term detentions increased dramatically between 2010 and 2016, from a monthly average of 172 incidents to 827, according to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, an independ- ent human rights group that lacks official authorization and the government con- siders to be illegal. The number of detentions dropped significantly in 2017, with 4,537 reports of ar- bitrary detentions from January through October, a decrease of 50 percent com- pared to the same period in 2016. Security officers rarely present arrest orders to justify detaining critics. In some cases, detainees are released after receiving official warnings, which prosecu- tors can use in subsequent criminal trials to show a pattern of “delinquent” be- havior. Detention is often used preemptively to prevent people from participating in peaceful marches or meetings to discuss politics. Detainees are often beaten, threatened, and held incommunicado for hours or days. The Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco)—a group founded by the wives, mothers, and daughters of political prisoners—like the Cuban Commission on Human Rights, lacks official   

181 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H authorization and is therefore considered illegal by the government. Police or state security agents continue to routinely harass, rough up, and detain its mem- bers before or after they attend Sunday mass. In April, political activist Eliécer Ávila from the group Somos+ was arrested twice in three days for recording and broadcasting a protest message after authorities confiscated his computer in the Havana airport. The first arrest occurred on April 6, when he arrived from Colombia. He was released the following morning and returned to the airport to reclaim his computer. The following day, his documents and electronic devices were seized and police arrested him at home, according to media reports. He was released the same day on bail. Freedom of Expression The government controls virtually all media outlets in Cuba and restricts access to outside information. A small number of journalists and bloggers who are inde- pendent of government media manage to write articles for websites or blogs, or publish tweets. The government routinely blocks access within Cuba to these websites and only a fraction of Cubans can read independent websites and blogs because of the high cost of, and limited access to, the internet. In Septem- ber 2017, Cuba announced it would gradually extend the home internet service to all the provinces in the country. Independent journalists who publish information considered critical of the gov- ernment are subject to smear campaigns and arbitrary arrests, as are artists and academics who demand greater freedoms. Henry Constantín Ferreiro, editor of La Hora de Cuba magazine and a regional vice president of the Inter American Press Association, was detained on February 20 in Camagüey airport, along with La Hora de Cuba journalist Sol García Basulto, a colleague and correspondent for the independent news website 14ymedio. García Basulto was released without charges. Constantín was held incommuni- cado for about 36 hours for allegedly fomenting “enemy propaganda,” based on information from a computer that had been confiscated when he was previously briefly detained in November 2016. The charge was dropped in February, but in March, both journalists were accused of practicing journalism without proper certification, according to press reports, and prohibited from traveling abroad. Basulto was placed under house arrest on July 24.   

182 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Members of the Committee of Citizens Defenders of Human Rights (Comité de Ciudadanos Defensores de los Derechos Humanos), José Carlos Girón Reyes, the brothers Alberto Antonio and Leonardo Ramírez Odio, and their father Alberto de la Caridad Ramírez Baró, were detained on July 26 after staging a public protest calling for “justice, freedom and democracy.” The activists said they had been beaten in custody. Girón was released without charge on August 2; the other three remained behind bars until October 18. Political Prisoners The Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation reported scores of political prisoners—including 54 members of the group Cuban Patriotic Union (Unión Patriótica de Cuba)—as of May 2017. The government denies ac- cess to its prisons by independent human rights groups, which believe that ad- ditional political prisoners, whose cases they cannot document, remain locked up. Cubans who criticize the government continue to face the threat of criminal pros- ecution. They do not benefit from due process guarantees, such as the right to fair and public hearings by a competent and impartial tribunal. In practice, courts are subordinated to the executive and legislative branches, denying meaningful judicial independence. Dr. Eduardo Cardet Concepción, leader of the Christian Liberation Movement (Movimiento Cristiano Liberación), was sentenced three years in prison on March 20. He was detained on November 2016 after criticizing in interviews with international media former President Fidel Castro shortly after he died. The activist Jorge Cervantes García, from the Cuban Patriotic Union, was de- tained allegedly for “contempt” and “resistance” in May, weeks after posting on- line videos addressing ill-treatment in a Cuban prison and corruption by Cuban authorities. After a 39-day hunger strike, he was transferred to a maximum-secu- rity facility. Cervantes was released in August after being held for 85 days. Travel Restrictions Reforms to travel regulations that went into effect in January 2013 eliminated the need for an exit visa to leave the island. Exit visas had previously been used to   

183 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H deny people critical of the government, and their families, the right to travel. Since then, many people who had previously been denied permission to travel have been able to do so, including human rights defenders and independent bloggers. Nonetheless, the reforms gave the government broad discretionary powers to re- strict the right to travel on the grounds of “defense and national security” or “other reasons of public interest.” Such measures have allowed authorities to deny exit to people who express dissent. The government restricts the movement of citizens within Cuba through a 1997 law known as Decree 217, which is designed to limit migration to Havana. The de- cree has been used to harass dissidents and prevent those from elsewhere in Cuba from traveling to Havana to attend meetings. According to the Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconcilia- tion, the government imposed restrictions mainly on people heading to Latin American countries to attend conferences. In June, the commission registered the highest number of restrictions on freedom of movement in many years: at least 29 people were prevented from traveling abroad to attend international conferences and other events. Prison Conditions Prisons are overcrowded. Prisoners are forced to work 12-hour days and are pun- ished if they do not meet production quotas, according to former political prison- ers. Inmates have no effective complaint mechanism to seek redress for abuses. Those who criticize the government or engage in hunger strikes and other forms of protest often endure extended solitary confinement, beatings, restrictions on family visits, and are denied medical care. While the government allowed select members of the foreign press to conduct controlled visits to a handful of prisons in 2013, it continues to deny interna- tional human rights groups and independent Cuban organizations access to its prisons.   

184 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Labor Rights Despite updating its Labor Code in 2014, Cuba continues to violate conventions of the International Labour Organization that it has ratified, specifically regard- ing freedom of association, collective bargaining, protection of wages, and pro- hibitions on forced labor. While the law technically allows the formation of independent unions, in practice Cuba only permits one confederation of state-con- trolled unions, the Workers’ Central Union of Cuba. Human Rights Defenders The Cuban government still refuses to recognize human rights monitoring as a legitimate activity and denies legal status to local human rights groups. Govern- ment authorities harass, assault, and imprison human rights defenders who at- tempt to document abuses. On September 2016, police raided Cubalex, a six-year-old organization that in- vestigates human rights violations and provides free legal services to free-ex- pression activists, migrants, and human-rights defenders. Officers confiscated files, strip-searched four men and a woman, and arrested two attorneys, one of whom was still in detention at time of writing. Key International Actors US and Cuba restored diplomatic relations in 2015, after the United States eased decades-old restrictions on travel and commerce. But in June 2017, President Trump declared that he would reverse the previous administration’s deal. The US government expelled 15 Cuban diplomats from the embassy in Washing- ton in October, after American diplomats in Havana reported a series of mysteri- ous illnesses. In November, the US administration reinstated restrictions on Americans’ right to travel to Cuba and to do business tied to the Cuban military, security, or intelligence services. It also voted against the UN resolution con- demning the US embargo on Cuba, reversing the previous abstention in 2016. For the first time in years, Cuba agreed to allow a United Nations human rights investigator to visit the island. In April, the UN special rapporteur on trafficking   

185 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H in persons visited Cuba and called for new laws and stronger action targeting human trafficking. The UN independent expert on human rights and international solidarity also vis- ited Cuba in July 2017, and encouraged Cuba to ratify core international treaties— the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and their Optional Protocols. OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro was denied entry to Cuba because Cuban of- ficials considered the reason for his visit “an unacceptable provocation.” Alma- gro was to receive a democracy award in honor of the late government opponent Oswaldo Payá, issued by the Latin America organization Youth for Democracy (Jóvenes por la Democracia). The government also denied visas to former Chilean Minister Mariana Aylwin, former Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and members of the Youth for Democracy. In May, the European Union held its third high-level discussion on human rights with Cuba. In July, the European Parliament approved the first agreement with Cuba to strengthen economic and political ties and bring an end to the EU’s 1996 “Common Position on Cuba,” which conditions full EU economic coopera- tion with Cuba on the country’s transition to a pluralist democracy and respect for human rights. The agreement entered into force provisionally in November 2017, but at time of writing was still pending ratification by member countries for its full application. On October 2016, Cuba was re-elected to the Human Rights Council for the 2017- 2019 term.   

186 R W R L D R E P O O T 2 0 1 8   

187 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Democratic Republic of Congo Political violence and government repression continued in 2017, as President Joseph Kabila held on to power beyond his constitutionally mandated two-term limit, which ended on December 19, 2016. As authorities stalled plans to organ- ize elections, government officials and security forces systematically sought to silence, repress, and intimidate the political opposition, human rights and pro- democracy activists, journalists, and peaceful protesters. Government security forces and numerous armed groups attacked civilians across the country with devastating consequences. A power-sharing agreement mediated by the Catholic Church and signed in late 2016 called for elections by the end of 2017 and for a number of steps to de-es- calate political tensions, including the release of political prisoners. Many of the main tenets of the agreement were largely ignored. In March, the Catholic bishops withdrew from their mediation role. In June, the bishops blamed the country’s dire security, human rights, economic, and politi- cal crises on the failure of those in power to hold elections in accordance with the constitution, and they called on the Congolese people to “stand up” and take their destiny into their own hands. In November, days after the United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, visited Congo and called for Kabila to hold elections by the end of 2018, the national electoral commission published a calendar, setting December 23, 2018 as the date for presidential, legislative, and provincial elections, while noting numerous constraints that could impact the timeline. Congolese civil society and political opposition leaders denounced the calendar as merely another delaying tactic to allow Kabila to stay in power. They called on him to step down by the end of 2017 and proposed a brief post-Kabila transition to organize credible elections, led by people who cannot run for office them- selves. Freedom of Expression and Peaceful Assembly Security forces killed at least 62 people and arrested hundreds of others during protests across the country between December 19 and 22, 2016, after Kabila re-   

188 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 fused to step down at the end of his second term. In total, security forces killed at least 171 people during protests in 2015 and 2016. Human Rights Watch research found that senior Congolese security force officers had mobilized at least 200 and likely many more former M23 rebel fighters from neighboring Uganda and Rwanda in late 2016 to protect Kabila and quash anti- Kabila protests, after they had integrated into Congolese military and police units. M23 fighters were again brought into the country between May and July 2017 to prepare for “special operations” to protect the president. Throughout 2017, government officials and security forces repeatedly and sys- tematically banned opposition demonstrations, shut media outlets, and pre- vented opposition leaders from moving freely. They jailed more than 300 opposition leaders and supporters, journalists, and human rights and pro- democracy activists, most of whom were later released. Many were held in secret detention facilities, without charge or access to family or lawyers. Others have been tried on trumped-up charges. Many were arrested while planning or start- ing peaceful protests, which often prevented the protests from going forward. When larger protests were organized, security forces fired teargas and in some cases live bullets to disperse the demonstrators. Security forces killed five people, including an 11-year-old boy, and wounded 15 others during a protest in Goma on October 30. Security forces killed at least 90 people as part of a crackdown against members of the Bundu dia Kongo (BDK) political religious sect in Kinshasa and Kongo Cen- tral province between January and March, and in August. Some of the BDK mem- bers also used violence, killing at least five police officers. In July in Lubumbashi, unidentified armed men shot and nearly killed a judge who refused to rule against opposition leader and presidential aspirant Moïse Katumbi. Authorities prevented international and Congolese journalists from doing their work, including by arresting them, denying access, or confiscating their equip- ment and deleting footage. At least around 40 journalists were detained in 2017. The government shut down Congolese media outlets and periodically curtailed access to social media. Authorities lifted a nine-month block on Radio France In- ternationale (RFI)’s signal in Kinshasa in August, but they refused to renew the   

189 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H accreditation for the RFI correspondent in Congo in June, and the visa for the Reuters correspondent in August. Attacks on Civilians by Armed Groups and Government Forces Between August 2016 and September 2017, violence involving Congolese secu- rity forces, government-backed militias, and local armed groups left up to 5,000 people dead in the country’s southern Kasai region. Six hundred schools were attacked or destroyed, and 1.4 million people were displaced from their homes, including 30,000 refugees who fled to Angola. Nearly 90 mass graves have been discovered in the region, the majority of which are believed to contain the bod- ies of civilians and militants killed by government security forces using excessive force against alleged militia members or sympathizers. In March, two United Nations investigators—Michael Sharp, an American, and Zaida Catalán, a Swedish and Chilean citizen—were summarily executed by a group of armed men while investigating serious rights abuses in the Kasai re- gion. Human Rights Watch investigations and an RFI report suggest government responsibility for the double murder. A seriously flawed trial in Congo began in June 2017. In the southeastern province of Tanganyika, more than 200 people were killed, 250,000 others displaced, and numerous villages and displacement camps burned during intercommunal violence between July 2016 and September 2017. More than 100 armed groups remained active in eastern Congo’s North Kivu and South Kivu provinces and many continued to attack civilians, including the Dem- ocratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) and allied Nyatura groups, the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Nduma Defense of Congo-Renové (NDC-R), the Mazembe, Charles, and Yakutumba Mai Mai groups, and several Burundian armed groups. Many of their commanders have been implicated in war crimes, including ethnic massacres, rape, forced recruitment of children, and pillage. A new coalition of armed groups in South Kivu known as the National People’s Coalition for the Sovereignty of Congo (Coalition nationale du peuple pour la souveraineté du Congo, CNPSC) clashed repeatedly with the Congolese army and took control of numerous villages along Lake Tanganyika. The group’s stated goal is to topple Kabila’s government, which they say is illegitimate following Kabila’s   

190 2 T R O P E R D L R O W 0 1 8 refusal to step down in December 2016. More than 100,000 people have been displaced since the fighting began in June, and the Congolese army reportedly arrested scores of local youth suspected of having links with the coalition. Also in South Kivu province, alleged Congolese security force members used ex- cessive force to quash a protest in Kamanyola in September, killing around 40 Burundian refugees and wounding more than 100 others. The humanitarian situation in Congo has severely worsened, with the country facing Africa’s largest displacement crisis in 2017, famine expected to affect 7.7 million Congolese, and a national cholera epidemic spread across the country. Meanwhile, the level of international humanitarian funding was at a 10-year low. Justice and Accountability On July 26, militia leader Ntabo Ntaberi Sheka surrendered to the UN peacekeep- ing mission in Congo (MONUSCO), which then transferred him to Congolese judi- cial officials. Sheka has been implicated in numerous atrocities in eastern Congo, and he had been sought on a Congolese arrest warrant since 2011 for crimes against humanity for mass rape. His trial was yet to begin at time of writ- ing. Authorities continued to keep warlord Gédéon Kyungu Mutanga, who surren- dered in October 2016, in house arrest instead of transferring him to prison to serve the remainder of his 2009 sentence for crimes against humanity. Sylvestre Mudacumura, military commander of the FDLR armed group, remained at large. The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him in 2012 for attacks on civilians, murder, mutilation, cruel treatment, rape, torture, destruction of property, pillage, and outrages against personal dignity, allegedly committed in 2009 and 2010 in eastern Congo. The trial continues at the ICC for Bosco Ntaganda, who is accused of 13 counts of war crimes and five counts of crimes against humanity allegedly committed in northeastern Congo’s Ituri province in 2002 and 2003.   

191 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Key International Actors On May 29, the European Union announced targeted sanctions against eight senior Congolese government and security officials and a militia leader who had long been implicated in serious abuses in Congo. On June 1, the United States imposed targeted sanctions against Gen. François Olenga, the personal military chief of staff of President Kabila and on a resort owned by General Olenga out- side Kinshasa. The sanctions include travel bans, assets freezes, and a ban on making funds or economic resources available to, or engaging in transactions with, the listed individuals and entity. In June, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and nine former African presi- dents launched an “urgent appeal” to Kabila and other Congolese leaders for a peaceful, democratic transition. They warned that the future of the country is in “grave danger.” Also in June, the UN Human Rights Council authorized an inter- national investigation into the violence in the Kasai region. In September, the council also decided to boost and continue scrutiny over the broader situation in the country for another year, including in the context of the electoral process.   

192 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Ecuador In May, Lenin Moreno took office after winning a closely contested presidential election. Unlike his predecessor, Rafael Correa, President Moreno has publicly embraced respect for free speech and promised to deliver a more tolerant gov- ernment. Ecuador still faces serious human rights challenges, including laws that give the government broad powers to limit free speech; limited judicial independence; poor prison conditions; and far-reaching restrictions on women’s and girls’ ac- cess to reproductive health care. In September, President Moreno initiated the process to carry out a plebiscite in early 2018 in which Ecuadoreans can vote on a series of proposals, including re- versing indefinite re-election of public officials, and ending statutes of limita- tions for sexual crimes against children. Freedom of Expression President Moreno has said he will respect press freedom, and ended his prede- cessor’s practice of publicly threatening and harassing independent journalists, human rights defenders, and critics. He also appointed a new team to head pub- lic media outlets, which have begun to adopt an editorial line independent of the government. However, a 2013 communications law that gives the government broad powers to limit free speech remains on the books. It requires that all information dissemi- nated by media be “verified” and “precise,” opening the door to retaliation against media critical of the same government that decides what meets these vague criteria. It also prohibits “media lynching,” defined as “repeatedly dis- seminating information with the purpose of discrediting or harming the reputa- tion of a person or entity.” And it prohibits “censorship,” defined as the failure of private media outlets to cover issues the government considers to be of “pub- lic interest.” A government plan to reform the law had not yet materialized at time of writing. Since its creation, the Superintendency of Information and Communication (SU- PERCOM), a government regulatory body created by the 2013 communications   

193 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H law and separate from the Communications Ministry (SECOM), has in dozens of cases ordered media outlets and journalists to “correct” or retract reports, in- cluding opinion pieces and cartoons, or to publicly apologize for their content. SUPERCOM has also accused outlets of engaging in “censorship” by not publish- ing information that officials deem important. In April, President Correa said on TV that media had engaged in censorship for failing to reproduce reporting by an Argentinian newspaper that claimed to im- plicate the opposition’s presidential candidate in a corruption scandal. Days later, SUPERCOM fined seven media outlets for the same offence. SUPERCOM has drastically diminished the amount of sanctions imposed since Moreno took office. Criminal defamation remains a potent means of punishing government critics, despite a 2014 legal reform narrowing the crime’s definition. In April, before leaving office, Correa brought a defamation case against Martin Pallares, a jour- nalist who had published an article that was critical of Correa. In October, an ap- peals court confirmed Pallares’ innocence. The ruling cited case law from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that states that public officials are subject to greater scrutiny. The former president, his political party and its members, state media outlets, and state agencies have repeatedly sought to make use of US copyright law in ef- forts to have critical images and documents removed from the internet. Users sometimes manage to restore content, after a legal process that can take weeks. In 2017, several Twitter accounts were reportedly blocked after publishing infor- mation critical of the government or its officials. Freedom of Association In 2015, President Correa issued a decree confirming broad government powers to intervene in the operations of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), includ- ing the power to dissolve them if authorities deem that they had “compromise[d] public peace” or had engaged in activities different from those they identified when registering with the government. In December 2016, the Ministry of the Interior asked the Environment Ministry to shut down Acción Ecológica, an environmental organization. Two days earlier,   

194 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 the group had called for an investigation into attacks against indigenous and en- vironmental rights in Morona Santiago province, where a state of exception was in force until February 2017. The Ministry of the Interior requested the dissolution, alleging that Acción Ecológica incited and supported violent acts. The accusation was related to the organization’s efforts to inform and mobilize the public against the San Carlos- Pananza mining concession. The Ministry of the Interior also accused the organi- zation of deviating from its objectives and interfering with public policy. After a national and international outcry—which included condemnation by a group of UN human rights experts—the Environment Ministry rejected the request to dis- solve the group. In October, President Moreno replaced Correa’s decree with a new one that lim- its some of its vaguely worded language, but maintains ambiguous grounds for dissolving civil society organizations. A proposal to adopt a law that could enact Correa’s presidential decree permanently, but may be modified during its discus- sion in Congress, was pending before the National Assembly at time of writing. In November, the Environment Ministry authorized the Pachamama Foundation, an environmental group that was arbitrarily closed using Correa’s decree in 2013, to start operating again. Judicial Independence Corruption, inefficiency, and political interference have plagued Ecuador’s judi- ciary for years. President Correa received a popular mandate in a 2011 referen- dum to overhaul the justice system. As part of its sweeping judicial reforms, however, the Council of the Judiciary, which in practice lacks independence from the executive, appointed and re- moved hundreds of judges, including all magistrates of the National Court of Jus- tice, undermining judicial independence. In August, a series of leaked emails suggested that President Correa, his private secretary, the Council of the Judiciary, and the Justice Ministry pressured judges, prosecutors, and public defenders to adopt specific decisions in several court cases. President Correa did not deny the authenticity of these emails, and claimed he was “doing his job.” After the leak, dozens of judges who had been   

195 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H punished by the Council of the Judiciary made public allegations of political in- terference in their decision-making. Prosecutions of Indigenous Leaders On December 14, 2016, a police officer died and several others were injured dur- ing a confrontation between the military and indigenous Shuar people in Morona Santiago province, when a small group of Shuar people attempted to take over a mining camp that they claim was built on ancestral lands without their consent. The government mobilized nearly 1,000 military and police officers and declared a state of emergency, suspending certain rights in the province, which ended in February. Indigenous leader Agustin Wachapá, president of the Interprovincial Federation of Shuar Peoples, was charged with allegedly “inciting discord” with a Facebook post on December 18, 2016, in which he called on the Amazonia peo- ple to mobilize against the military presence, and said he did not recognize Cor- rea as Ecuador’s president. Wachapá spent four months in pretrial detention in a maximum security prison before being released in April 2017. His trial was ongo- ing at time of writing. In June, President Moreno pardoned five citizens from Pastaza province who had been sentenced to 6 to 12 months in prison for the vaguely defined crime of “re- sistance” during nationwide protests in 2015. A sixth activist from Morona Santi- ago province was also pardoned. In July, a court acquitted 12 Saraguro indigenous people who had been accused of interrupting public services in 2015 by closing roads during indigenous rights demonstrations. In May, CONAIE, an umbrella group of indigenous organizations, submitted a proposal to the National Assembly, requesting that legislators issue an amnesty in favor of nearly 200 of members of indigenous peoples whom they claim have been arbitrarily prosecuted. In November, Congress’ Justice Commission recom- mended that all of the requests be archived, except for one individual’s case that remains under consideration.   

196 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Prison Conditions Prison overcrowding and poor prison conditions are longstanding human rights problems in Ecuador. Since 2012, the government has spent millions of dollars building new detention centers. In 2016, a series of videos were leaked to the public showing prison guards beat- ing inmates, some of them naked, and subjecting them to electric shocks at the Turi detention center in Azuay province. Public defenders filed a habeas corpus request, demanding that measures be implemented to protect prisoners. A judge approved the petition. The Attorney General’s Office opened an investiga- tion, but later watered it down by changing its grounds from torture to the possi- bility that the guards were responsible for “overreaching in the execution of an act of service.” In February, the Attorney General’s Office declined to accuse 34 out of the 49 of- ficers implicated, and decided that it could not assign individual responsibility to any officer. In August, the judge dismissed charges against all of the officers who had been charged. Accountability for Past Abuses A truth commission set up by the Correa administration to investigate govern- ment abuses from 1984 to 2008 (from the beginning of the repressive presi- dency of León Febres Cordero until Correa took office) documented 136 cases of gross human rights violations involving 456 victims, including 68 extrajudicial executions and 17 disappearances. A special prosecutorial unit created in 2010 to investigate the cases has initiated judicial procedures in fewer than 10 of them, and progress on those has been slow. Reproductive Rights The right to seek an abortion is limited to instances in which a woman’s health or life is at risk, or when a pregnancy results from the rape of a “woman with a mental disability.” Fear of being criminally prosecuted for having an abortion drives some women and girls to have illegal and unsafe abortions and impedes health care and services for victims of sexual violence. The Prosecutor’s Office   

197 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H reports that 184 women have been prosecuted since August 2014 for having a “voluntary abortion.” Government statistics released in 2010, the latest year for which data is avail- able, indicate that one in four women and girls over 15 years old in Ecuador has been a victim of sexual violence. Sexual Violence against Children In October, after a series of scandals regarding sexual violence against children were made public, the Education Ministry revealed that it had recorded 882 such cases that had occurred in schools between 2014 and 2017. Impunity in those cases remains the norm. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Same-sex couples are not allowed to marry in Ecuador. Since 2008, civil unions are recognized but do not accord the full range of rights enjoyed by married cou- ples, including the ability to adopt children. Key International Actors and Foreign Policy The government continued in 2017 to refuse to participate in hearings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), and said it would not comply with the commission’s recommendations. In August, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination asked Ecuador to investigate allegations by rights groups that the conflict with the min- ing company in Morona Santiago province and the deployment of security forces to the region had caused the forced displacement of dozens of Shuar families. In February, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that Ecuador was re- sponsible for an enforced disappearance in 1995 and for failing to conduct a dili- gent investigation into the case. Despite the fact that an official Truth Commission report had concluded the victim had been forcibly disappeared, Ecuador denied before the court that state agents were responsible. Throughout 2017, the UN Committees on Migrant Workers, on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, and on Enforced Disappearances evaluated Ecuador’s   

198 O R 1 0 2 T R 8 P E R D W O L compliance with UN treaties. They raised concerns, including lack of protection of indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation; lack of measures to prevent vio- lence against rights defenders; insufficient efforts to confront human trafficking; lack of due process and proper judicial remedies for people facing deportation; and slow progress made in prosecuting cases documented by the Truth Commis- sion, among other concerns. In September 2017, the Human Rights Council completed its third Universal Peri- odic Review of Ecuador. In August, Moreno expressed concern about the existence of “political prison- ers” in Venezuela, a radical departure from Correa’s strong support of the Nicolás Maduro government. More than 39,000 Venezuelans have entered Ecuador since Venezuela’s crisis deepened in 2016, according to official data. Most request temporary residency permits. Many Venezuelans have applied for refugee status, but local groups were not aware at time of writing of any case in which they had been granted such status by Ecuador’s government.   

199 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Egypt President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government maintained its zero-tolerance policy towards dissent, introducing repressive legislation, notably a nongovernmental organization (NGO) law that may end independent associations, reinstating a state of emergency and continuing near-absolute impunity for abuses by security forces under the pretext of fighting “terrorism.” Security forces rounded up hundreds of dissidents, mainly targeting the out- lawed Muslim Brotherhood. The Ministry of Interior’s National Security Agency arbitrarily detained, disappeared, and tortured people. There were numerous in- cidents of what appeared to be extrajudicial killings, including of previously de- tained persons in staged “shoot-outs.” Authorities placed hundreds of people on terrorism lists and seized their assets for alleged terrorism links without due process. The government imposed a media blackout on its counterterrorism operations in Northern Sinai. Wilayat Sinai, an affiliate of the extremist group Islamic State (ISIS) operating there, targeted civilians as well as security forces. Military prosecutors continued to send hundreds of civilians to military trials in cases related to political dissent, whether violent or peaceful. President al-Sisi has approved in August 2016 a five-year extension of a 2014 law that expanded, to an unprecedented extent, grounds for trying civilians before military courts. Between October 2014 and September 2017, authorities sent at least 15,500 civilians were sent to military courts including over 150 children. Security Forces Abuses The Interior Ministry’s National Security Agency (NSA), operating with near-ab- solute impunity, was responsible for the most flagrant abuses, including wide- spread and systematic use of torture to coerce confessions. Torture techniques included beatings, prolonged painful stress positions, and electrocutions. Pros- ecutors rarely investigated torture claims and almost never dropped torture- tainted confessions. President al-Sisi declared a nation-wide state of emergency in April following church bombings claimed by the Islamic State that killed 47. At time of writing,   

200 R W R L D R E P O O T 2 0 1 8   

201 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H he had extended the state of emergency twice since then. The 1958 Emergency Law gives unchecked powers to security forces to arrest and detain and allows the government to impose media censorship and order forced evictions. The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, an independent rights group, said that as of mid-August, 378 persons had been disappeared over the previous 12 months and the whereabouts of at least 87 remained unknown. These numbers do not include those who were found killed after having gone missing. In May, security forces arrested Hanna Bard al-Din, a co-founder of the Associa- tion of Families of the Disappeared. Prosecutors charged her with “joining a banned group” and kept her in pretrial detention. National Security agents se- cretly detained lawyer Ibrahim Mentally, a co-founder of the same association, in September as he was leaving for a meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances in Geneva. Prosecutors subsequently charged Mentally with “propagating false news” about enforced disappearance and espionage on behalf of foreign entities. In April two judges, Husham Rauf and Assam Abdi al-Gabber, faced disciplinary proceedings for their earlier efforts to advocate for a law prohibiting torture. An investigation continued against prominent human rights lawyer Egad al-Bora, with whom they worked on the project. The judges risk dismissal for being “in- volved in politics” and al-Bora risks a lengthy prison sentence on charges that included implementing human rights activities without a license and receiving foreign funds. Human Rights Watch documented three incidents in 2017 in which individuals were killed in alleged shootouts after having been detained. The Egyptian Coor- dination for Rights and Freedoms, another independent group, said that police “liquidated” at least 37 people in the first half of 2017. The government under- took no known investigations into these killings and provided little or no infor- mation to the families. In some cases, the NSA delayed the delivery of the bodies and forced families to bury the dead relatives without funerals.   

202 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Death Penalty Since July 2013, Egyptian criminal courts have sentenced over 800 people to death. The Cassation Court, Egypt’s highest appellate court, has overturned many of those sentences and ordered retrials. In 2017, the Cassation Court up- held death sentences of 22 persons at least, who remain on death row, while 103 more death sentences were awaiting final court decisions at time of writing. Military courts have issued over 60 death sentences of civilians since July 2013 and 6 of those were executed. In 2017, the Supreme Military Court of Appeals confirmed 15 more death sentences. Freedom of Association President al-Sisi ratified a new law on associations in May 2017 that, when im- plemented, could eliminate the little remaining space for civil society and end the work of decades-old human rights and other independent associations. The law criminalizes the work of NGOs, providing for up to five-year prison terms for failing to adhere to its provisions such as operating or receiving funds without government approval. It also provides for day-to-day monitoring by officials, including security agen- cies, and prohibits activities that “harm national security, public order, public morality, or public health,” vague terms that authorities can use to outlaw legiti- mate work. The new law gives organizations until May 23, 2018 to comply with its provisions or be dissolved. As of November, the government had not yet pub- lished implementing regulations. The protracted criminal investigation into NGO workers involved in Case 173 of 2011, known as the “foreign funding” case, continued. As of October, the investi- gating judge had summoned 61 staff members for interrogation and charged 15 leading rights activists from four organizations. Authorities banned 27 from trav- eling outside the country. A criminal court also ordered asset freezes of 10 ac- tivists and 7 NGOs. Those summoned in 2017 included Mohamed Zarea, deputy director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, released on 30,000 (US$1,700) bail, Mostafa al-Hassan, head of the Hisham Mubarak Law Center, and Abd al-Hafiz al-Tayel, director of the Egyptian Center on the Right to Educa- tion, released on 20,000 ($1,130) bail each.   

203 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Freedom of Expression and Assembly and Al-Borsa The government placed two independent newspapers, Daily News , and two independent news websites, Masry al-Arabiya and Cairo Portal, Egypt on the terrorist entities lists. The placement led to asset freezes and brought the four outlets under the administration of the government-owned Akhbar al-Youm newspaper, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF). In March, an appeals courts reduced a two-year prison sentence to one-year sus- pended sentence for the former head of the Journalists’ Syndicate, Yehya Qal- lash, and two former board members, Khaled al-Balshy and Gamal Abdel Rahim. A final appeal was ongoing before Egypt’s highest appellate court, the Cassation Court. According to RSF, as of late October, 17 journalists remained in jail. On October 21, journalist Hisham Gaafar had spent more than two years in pretrial detention, the maximum allowed by Egyptian law, on charges of receiving foreign funds for his institution, Mada Media Foundation, and joining a banned group. Authorities denied him proper medical care for prostate disease. Ismail al-Iskandrani, a journalist who reported on Sinai, will have entered his third year of pretrial de- tention in December 2017. He faces charges of spreading false news and joining a banned group. In May, the government blocked 21 websites of political groups and news out- lets. As of October, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression, an independent Egyptian group, said that the number of websites blocked reached more than 425, including rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and RSF. President al-Sisi signed parliamentary amendments to the 2013 protest law in- tended to meet a Supreme Constitutional Court ruling, but they did not affect the highly restrictive nature of the law, and peaceful gatherings remain effectively banned and penalized. Security forces rounded up activists preemptively, ahead of anticipated protests. For example, at the beginning of April, security arrested 190 political activists, mostly in home raids, ahead of the mid-June parliamentary approval of the con- troversial government decision to cede two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. Al-Sisi pardoned a total of 705 prisoners in March and June, most of whom had been convicted in cases related to peaceful protests.   

204 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Conflict in Sinai The government continued to effectively isolate North Sinai from the outside world, imposing a near-absolute media blackout and shutting down communica- tions for weeks at a time. Extensive military operations encompassed more areas, including al-Arish, the capital of the governorate. Between January and August 2017, 209 government forces and 430 armed group members were killed in Sinai, according to the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy, based on military statements that are hard to verify. The fighting in Sinai has been marred by widespread government abuses includ- ing secret detentions, extrajudicial executions, and military trials of civilians. In April, a video confirmed to be authentic showed army officers and pro-army mili- tia members executing at close range blindfolded detainees, later claiming the detainees were “terrorists” killed in “clashes.” The Islamic State-affiliate Wilayat Sinai targeted civilians perceived as collabora- tors and Christians, as well as security forces. In many cases, attacks against government forces also killed civilians. Seven Christians were murdered in Sinai between January 30 and February 23 in attacks that bore the hallmarks of Islamic State killings, though no group claimed responsibility. As a result, hundreds of Christian families fled to cities and towns outside Sinai, leaving almost no Chris- tian families there. On at least two occasions, in February, armed men who identified themselves as ISIS fighters stopped buses carrying women teachers on the way to work close to Rafah to warn them they faced punishment if they did not adhere to the “Is- lamic” dress code they described. Freedom of Religion On Palm Sunday, April 9, bombings later claimed by the ISIS targeted two churches in Tanta and Alexandria, killing at least 45. They were the deadliest ISIS attack since a suicide-bomber attacked Egypt’s main Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, killing 25, in December 2016. Since then, the government stepped up security around churches.   

205 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In Minya governorate in May 2017, ISIS claimed an attack on a bus carrying Cop- tic passengers travelling to a monastery that killed 29. In September, representatives of Egypt’s Orthodox Church submitted a list of more than 2,000 churches that lack any license needed legalize their status ac- cording the 2016 discriminative law. Sectarian violence around construction or repair of churches still exists and when violent incidents do occur, as in Kom al- Lofy in Minya governorate in April, the government sponsored “customary recon- ciliation” sessions in place of criminal investigations and prosecutions. Social and Labor Rights Floatation of the Egyptian Pound in late 2016, apparently as part of a $12 billion loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund, nearly halved its ex- change value from $0.112 to 0.057 and inflation reached almost 35 percent. Egypt’s economic crisis also featured constricting space for workers’ mobiliza- tion. Workers’ Strikes remain criminalized in the Egyptian law. Authorities ar- rested or charged at least 180 workers for peaceful workplace strikes and protests in 2016 and 2017, mostly over bonuses and delayed wages. In Septem- ber, for example, security forces arrested at least eight Tax Authority workers and independent union leaders prior to anticipated protests. Independent trade unions remained effectively banned. The parliament largely approved in Novem- ber a new trade unions law that will keep in place many restrictions and does recognize independent unions. In 2018, the government-controlled Egyptian Trade Union Federation, the only of- ficially-recognized union, begins its 12th year without board elections, and the government continued to appoint its leaders in violation of International Labour Organization conventions that grant the right to organize and freedom of associ- ation. Refugee Rights Egypt remained a destination, transit, and source country for refugees and asy- lum seekers. As of September, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said that 211,104 persons from 63 nationalities were registered as refugees and asylum-seekers in Egypt, mostly from Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and South Sudan.   

206 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 A law on combating irregular immigration came into force in late 2016. A misde- meanor court for minor offenses sentenced 56 defendants to terms ranging from 1 to 14 years in one mass trial. The defendants faced smuggling charges related to the 2016 capsizing of a boat off the coast of Rashid on the Mediterranean coast, killing over 200 migrants. The government has released little information, if any, about where apprehended migrants are routinely held and in what condi- tions. In June, police arrested dozens of Uyghur students, a Chinese Muslim minority, some of whom were registered as refugees or asylum seekers with the UNHCR. The arrests seemed to have been at the request of the Chinese government, which ordered the Uyghur students abroad, including in Egypt, to return home. The government deported some of them of them to China, where they faced a high risk of torture. As of October, a lawyer confirmed that authorities released at least 60 of the students and allowed them to leave to a country of their choice while 16 remained in custody. Violence and Discrimination against Women and Girls In May, according to newspaper, the Justice Ministry’s Forensic Al-Masry al-Youm Medical Authority said that they investigated three cases of female genital muti- lation (FGM) referred by prosecutors since the government amended the penal code to introduce harsher penalties in August 2016. Also in May, the National Program for Combating FGM reported a decline in the percentage of girls aged 15 to 17 who underwent FGM from 74 percent in 2005 to 55 percent in 2015. In September, the Supreme Constitutional Court took a step backwards when it ruled unconstitutional a 2008 law that prohibited the official registration of mar- riages for children under 18, although the prohibition against child marriages re- mained in place. President al-Sisi publicly spoke against child marriage after the 2017 national census in September revealed that there were 118,000 girls mar- ried under 18. “It hurts me and it should hurt anyone with true conscience,” al- Sisi said. Sexual harassment and violence against women remained endemic. Women po- lice officers, part of a special unit started in 2013 to combat violence against   

207 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H women, became more visible in public places especially during crowded holi- days. But prosecution of perpetrators was still rare. Two years passed since the declaration of the National Strategy to Combat Violence against Women but local groups were skeptical of the results because of the lack of monitoring mecha- nisms. The government remained unresponsive to local groups’ campaigns aiming at amending the highly restrictive abortion laws. Women continued to face discrimination under Egypt’s personal status law on equal access to divorce, child custody, and inheritance. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In September and October, security forces arrested as many as 75 gay and trans- gender people and activists after a few activists raised a rainbow flag, a sign of LGBT activism, at a concert in Cairo. Supreme State Security Prosecution charged two with “joining an illegal group” aiming at overthrowing the constitution. Courts sentenced over 40 of the arrested to prison terms of up to 6 years under vague “debauchery” laws. Key International Actors Egypt’s international allies continue to support Egypt’s government and rarely offer public criticism. United States President Donald Trump, in April during al- Sisi’s visit to Washington, said “he has done a fantastic job in a very difficult sit- uation.” In August the United States cut $100 million and held back another $195 million of its aid to Egypt, citing human rights violations, in particular the NGO law. An August 22 State Department memo to Congress, required by law for a national security waiver to allow US assistance, reportedly stated: “The overall human rights climate in Egypt continues to deteriorate,” noting lack of access to conflict areas in Sinai. In September, the US resumed the Bright Star joint training exercises with the Egyptian Army, after eight years of suspension. The US Senate Appropriations Committee approved withholding 26 percent of the $1 billion in military assis- tance for fiscal year 2018 until the secretary of state can certify Egyptian has   

208 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 taken “effective steps for advance democracy and human rights,” specifying re- lease of political prisoners and holding security officials accountable. While the bill approved by the committee was not law at time of writing, it would also with- hold $75 million in economic aid until the convictions of NGO staff in the “for- eign funding” case are quashed or set aside. In July, the European Union-Egypt Association Council convened for the first time in seven years. The Council released the revised adopted partnership priorities, but downplayed human rights, only mentioning them under the heading of “en- hancing stability,” despite shortcomings highlighted in the European Commis- sion’s report on EU-Egypt relations, including the restrictions on independent groups. The United Kingdom publicly supported the Egyptian government’s counterter- rorism efforts in Sinai, despite the massive rights violations associated with this initiative. The UK was largely silent about the wider human rights crisis in Egypt. In September, Italy and Egypt exchanged the return of ambassadors despite the unresolved case of the torture and murder of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni in 2016. German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Cairo in March, and in April the Ger- man parliament approved a security agreement with Egypt’s Interior Ministry that had weak human rights provisions and risked making German authorities complicit in torture in Egypt. Later in October, the German government said it had canceled a training for Egyptian police on combating cybercrimes saying that the skills could be “used to pursue other groups.” France’s then-defense minister, Sylvie Goulard, and foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, visited Cairo in early June to discuss “military and security coopera- tion.” Neither minister commented publicly on human rights issues. Following a meeting in Paris with President al-Sisi on October 24, French President Em- manuel Macron refused to criticize Egypt’s human rights record, citing respect for state sovereignty and the struggle to defeat terrorist groups. In May, Egyptian warplanes launched airstrikes in eastern Libya against armed groups allegedly involved in attacks on churches and Egyptian Christians in Egypt. Egypt released almost no information about the size and nature of troops that joined the Gulf countries in the war in Yemen.   

209 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Equatorial Guinea Corruption, poverty, and repression of human rights continue to plague Equato- rial Guinea under President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the world’s longest serving president, who has been in power since 1979. Vast oil revenues fund lavish lifestyles for the small elite surrounding the president, while little progress has been made on improving access to key rights, including health care and primary education, for the vast majority of Equatorial Guineans. Mismanage- ment of public funds, credible allegations of high-level corruption and repres- sion of civil society groups and opposition politicians, and unfair trials, persist. In April, police detained the two leaders of the Center for Development Studies and Initiatives (CEID), the country’s leading civic group and a member of the na- tional steering group of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), creating yet another obstacle toward the government’s stated goal of reapplying for EITI membership. EITI promotes a standard by which information on the oil, gas, and mining industry is published, requiring countries and companies to dis- close key revenue information. In September, police arrested an artist whose drawings frequently lampoon government officials; he remained in detention and had not been charged at time of writing. Equatorial Guinea won a seat on the Security Council beginning in January 2018. Its victory was assured after the United Nations’ African group submitted a non-competitive slate for the annual election of non-permanent council mem- bers. Governments and rights groups in a number of countries have initiated money-laundering investigations against government officials. In October, President Obiang’s eldest son, Teodorin, was convicted by a French court of embezzling more than €100 million (US$119 million) in state funds to purchase a Parisian mansion, exotic sports cars, and luxury goods. In an appar- ent attempt to shield him from accountability, Obiang appointed Teodorin vice president in 2016, shortly after French prosecutors concluded their investiga- tion. Another money-laundering prosecution implicating government officials is making its way through the Spanish courts, and Swiss authorities started inves- tigating Teodorin for alleged money-laundering activities in 2016.   

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211 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Economic and Social Rights Equatorial Guinea is among the top five oil producers in sub-Saharan Africa and has a population of approximately 1 million people. According to the United Na- tions 2016 Human Development Report, the country had a per capita gross na- tional income of $21,517 in 2015, the highest in Africa and more than six times the regional average. Despite this, Equatorial Guinea ranks 135 out of 188 countries in the Human De- velopment Index that measures social and economic development. Available data, including from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a 2011 joint household survey by government and ICF International, a US firm specializing in health surveys, reveal that Equatorial Guinea has failed to pro- vide crucial basic services to its citizens. In 2016, 42 percent of primary school age children were not registered as stu- dents, the seventh highest proportion in the world, according to UNICEF. Only half of children who begin primary school complete it. And according to the 2011 survey, about half the population lacks access to clean water and 26 percent of children exhibited stunted growth, a sign of malnutrition. Equatorial Guinea has among the world’s lowest vaccination rates; 25 percent of children received no vaccinations at all, according to the 2011 survey. In August 2014, Equatorial Guinea reaffirmed its commitment to rejoin EITI, an initiative from which it was expelled in 2010, in part due to its failure to guaran- tee an “enabling environment” for civil society to fully participate in EITI’s imple- mentation. Since then, the tripartite EITI steering committee made up of government officials, oil company representatives, and civil society has met five times, including in April and September 2017. Freedom of Expression and Association Only a few private media outlets exist in the country, and they are largely owned by persons close to President Obiang. Freedom of association and assembly are severely curtailed, and the government imposes restrictive conditions on the registration and operation of nongovernmental organizations. The few local ac- tivists who seek to address human rights-related issues often face intimidation, harassment, and reprisals.   

212 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 On April 17, 2017, the police detained Enrique Asumu and Alfredo Okenve, who head the leading civil society group CEID. The two men visited the National Secu- rity Ministry after security officers prevented Asumu from boarding a domestic flight, apparently on the ministry’s orders. The minister interrogated them for five hours and then prevented them from leaving. Authorities did not charge them or bring them before a judge, as is required under Equatoguinean law, but, after several days’ detention, conditioned their release on a fine of 2 million CFA francs (US$3,325). Asumu, who has health problems, was released on April 25, and Okenve on May 3, after both paid the sum demanded. The detentions are the latest in a series of government efforts to impede CEID’s work. In March 2016, the minister of interior, who also headed the National Elec- toral Commission, suspended the organization one week before the government called for early presidential elections. CEID resumed activities in September 2016, and prior to the detentions high-level officials attended its events and it took part in EITI meetings. On September 16, state security arrested a political cartoonist, Ramón Nsé Esono Ebalé, whose drawings are harshly critical of President Obiang and other senior government officials. At time of writing, he remains in prison without charge. Elections and Political Opposition The ruling (PDGE) party’s virtual monopoly over political life and government continued in 2017, as did harassment of the political opposition. President Obiang won a new seven-year term in April 2016 in an election the US embassy in Malabo said was marred by political harassment. PDGE and aligned parties won the entire 70-seat senate in November 12 elections, and only one opposi- tion representative won a seat in the 100-member House of Deputies. Obiang el- evated his son to the position of vice president in June 2016, four weeks after French prosecutors formally requested he be brought to trial in an apparent at- tempt to shield him from prosecution over corruption allegations. On June 23, police briefly detained two journalists, Samuel Obiang and Justo En- zema, while they were attending a press conference held by political opposition groups covering the French money laundering trial of Teodorin Obiang, according to EG Justice, an independent rights group. Four days later, police arrested   

213 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Joaquin Elo Ayeto, a member of the opposition party Convergence for Social Democracy (CPDS) and held him for three days without charge. Ayeto told Human Rights Watch that police accused him of inciting violence be- cause he and others had attended the funeral of a taxi driver killed during a protest and distributed pamphlets denouncing government violence. He was also held for approximately one month without charge in December 2016, which he said was retaliation for writing an internet post about an officer he observed at a toll booth who refused to pay the toll. International Corruption Investigations On June 19, Teodorin Obiang was tried in absentia by a French court on charges of corruption, money-laundering, and embezzlement. He was convicted on Octo- ber 27 and sentenced to a three-year suspended sentence and €30 million (US$35 million) suspended fine. During the investigation, French authorities seized assets belonging to Teodorin, including a mansion, 11 luxury cars, and a €22 million (approximately $24 million) art collection. At the time the purchases were made, Teodorin was minister of agriculture, for which he earned less than $100,000 annually. The prosecution presented evidence they claimed showed that at least €110 million (US$119 million) was transferred from the public treas- ury into Teodorin’s accounts. Teodorin was not present at the trial, but his lawyers’ argued that the charges were politically motivated and that there are no domestic conflict-of-interest laws barring Teodorin from amassing such wealth from public contracts. They also claimed that Teodorin should be immune from prosecution as vice presi- dent. Teodorin had unsuccessfully claimed immunity as second vice-president in a separate money-laundering case brought against him by the US Department of Justice following his purchase of a $30 million Malibu mansion and a $38.5 mil- lion private jet. That case was settled, with Teodorin agreeing to forfeit $30 mil- lion to US authorities that would be repatriated for the benefit of Equatoguineans. The US is expected to determine which charities will receive the funds imminently.   

214 R R 1 0 2 W O 8 L D T E P O R A Spanish judge unsealed the files in a separate corruption case implicating sev- eral senior government officials, including the president. A trial is expected in early 2018. The complaint alleges that the named officials purchased homes in Spain through a private company that a US senate investigation revealed had re- ceived $26.5 million in government funds at around the same time of the pur- chases. In September 2015, police arrested a Russian couple and their son who are accused of facilitating the transactions.   

215 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Eritrea Eritrea remains a one-man dictatorship under President Isaias Afewerki, now in his 26th year in power. It has no legislature, no independent civil society organi- zations or media outlets, and no independent judiciary. The government restricts religious freedoms, banning all but four groups. Every Eritrean must serve an indeterminate period of “national service” after turning 18, with many ending up serving for well over a decade. Some are as- signed to civil service positions, while most are placed in military units, where they effectively work as forced laborers on private and public works projects. Largely because of the oppressive nature of the Isaias rule and the prolonged na- tional service, about 12 percent of Eritrea’s population has fled the country. In 2016 alone, 52,000 escaped, according to the latest United Nations High Com- missioner for Refugees (UNHCR) report. In June, the United Nations special rapporteur on Eritrea reported to the Human Rights Council that there can be “no sustainable solution to the refugee outflows until the government complies with its human rights obligations.” The council echoed her call for reform in a resolution calling on Eritrea to end indefinite con- scription and forced labor. It also urged the African Union (AU) to investigate government abuses so that perpetrators can be brought to justice. Indefinite Military Service and Forced Labor Abuse in national service is rampant and is the principal reason why thousands flee the country annually. Service lasts over a decade although the proclamation establishing national service limits conscription to 18 months. A UN Commission of Inquiry in 2016 characterized the system as “enslavement.” Conscripts are subjected to 72-hour work weeks, severe arbitrary punishment, rape by commanders if female, and grossly inadequate food rations. Pay in- creased after 2014, but deductions for food limited the increase, and net pay re- mained inadequate to support a family.   

216 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Freedom of Speech, Expression, and Association President Isaias, freed from all institutional restraints, uses well-documented tactics of repression, showing little signs of easing up in 2017. The populace is closely monitored. Offenses include seeming to question authority attempting to avoid national service or to flee the country, practicing an “unrecognized” reli- gion, or simply offending someone in authority. After witnessing the ordeal fam- ily members and others face when trying to exercise their rights, ordinary citizens have come to realize they are not allowed any rights. Eritreans are subject to arbitrary imprisonment. Arrest and harsh punishment in- cluding torture, are at the whim of security force commanders without trial or ap- peal. Few are told the reason for their arrests. Imprisonment is indefinite and often incommunicado; some arrestees disappear altogether. For example, an in- dividual was arrested and held since 2002 but never charged and not allowed visits or other communications with his family for 15 years. His body was re- leased to his family in August. The government issued a new criminal procedure code in 2015 but its significant procedural safeguards, requiring warrants for arrest, access to defense counsel, and the right to habeas corpus petitions, remain largely unimplemented. In September 2001, the government closed all independent newspapers and ar- rested their editors and leading j ournalists. None were brought to trial. They re- main in solitary detention. There are reliable reports that about half of them had died. In May 2017, Dawit Isaac, not seen since 2005, received United Nations Ed- ucational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Press Freedom Prize. Eleven former high-level officials who criticized Isaias’s rule have also been im- prisoned and held incommunicado since 2001. Eritrea has ignored calls by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Human Rights Coun- cil to release them or at least bring them to trial. After a former minister defected in 2012, Isaias had his then-15-year old daugh- ter, a United States citizen, his 87-year-old grandfather, and 38-year-old son ar- rested. All three remain jailed without trial.   

217 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Freedom of Religion In 2002, Eritrea required all religious groups to register but refused to register any except Sunni Islam and the Eritrean Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Evangel- ical (Lutheran) churches. The government exercises strict control over these religious groups. It deposed the Eritrean Orthodox patriarch in 2006, placed him under house arrest, and im- posed a successor on the church. In July 2017, the octogenarian former patriarch was brought to a church service for the first time in 11 years but not allowed to speak. A contemporaneous church announcement blamed the patriarch for as- sociation with heresy but claimed the “issue” had been resolved. He has not been seen since. Reliable sources reported as many as 170 arrests of Evangelical Christians in May to June alone. Some reportedly were sent to an infamous Red Sea Dahlak Island prison. It has become usual in Eritrea for security personnel to raid private homes where devotees of unrecognized religions meet for communal prayer. Re- pudiation of their religion is typically the price of release. In October, the government suppressed protests by students at a private Islamic school in Asmara, Al Diaa, against a planned government takeover. The protests were triggered by the arrest of the school’s nonagenarian honorary president after he objected to the takeover. Arrests of other school officials followed. The government had previously announced it planned to convert all religious schools into government-administered institutions. Jehovah’s Witnesses remain especially persecuted. As of August, 53 were impris- oned for attending religious meetings or for conscientious objection, including three arrested over 23 years ago, in 1994. Refugees Fleeing Eritreans faced increased hostility in several countries. Sudan forcibly re- turned over 100 asylum seekers, including about 30 minors, to Eritrea in 2017. UNHCR criticized the expulsions as “a serious violation of international refugee law.” In 2016, Sudan had repatriated 400 Eritreans who were promptly arrested upon their return, according to a UN Commission of Inquiry report. Whether any   

218 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 have been released since is speculative because of government secrecy and the absence of independent monitors. Until early 2013, Israel prevented tens of thousands of Eritreans from lodging asylum claims. As of end of 2015, Israel had recognized only five Eritrean asylum seekers as refugees. It has tried to coerce others to leave by imprisoning, or threatening to imprison indefinitely, those who refuse to leave “voluntarily.” In August 2017, the Israeli High Court of Justice held that authorities could detain those who refuse to leave for no longer than 60 days. The justice minister imme- diately proposed amending Israeli law to circumvent the court decision. A Swiss court held in 2017 that an Eritrean woman who had not proved she had deserted national service could be presumed not to face punishment on return. The UN special rapporteur on migration criticized a similar earlier Swiss court de- cision because the court had no real evidence that involuntary returnees would not be prosecuted. Eritreans make up the largest group of asylum seekers in Switzerland. Eritreans traveling from the Horn of Africa to Europe face grave dangers during their journey, including rape, being held for ransom, torture by smugglers, and drowning in the Mediterranean when boats sink. Nonetheless, thousands re- main undeterred. Key International Actors In July, Qatar suddenly withdrew its 450 troops guarding the Eritrea-Djibouti bor- der. The two countries had fought a two-day battle inside Djibouti in 2008, and the UN Security Council concluded that Eritrea was the aggressor. The two ulti- mately agreed to have Qatar mediate the dispute and patrol the border. The only result of the mediation was that Eritrea released four prisoners-of-war in 2016, after eight years of captivity; Djibouti claims Eritrea holds a dozen more. At Dji- bouti’s request, the AU proposed sending a fact-finding mission to the border but Eritrea did not respond. By year’s end the border remained quiet. Relations with Ethiopia remain tense but no major incidents occurred in 2017. The two nations fought a bloody border war in 1998-2000, and Ethiopia occupies territory identified by an international boundary commission as Eritrean, includ- ing the town of Badme. President Isaias uses the “no-war, no-peace” situation   

219 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H with Ethiopia to continue his repressive domestic policies, including protracted national service. The UN Security Council retained arms embargo against Eritrea until at least April 2018 after receiving a report from its Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea. Eritrea again refused to cooperate with the group in 2017. The group reported it had no evidence Eritrea was sending arms to Al-Shabab in Somalia, but Eritrea continued to arm and train anti-Ethiopia and anti-Djibouti militias in violation of the UN embargo. Eritrea receives substantial income from foreign companies mining gold, copper, zinc, and nickel in the country. Government has 40 percent ownership in these companies. Two mines, SFECO Group’s Zara Mining Share Company and Sichuan Road & Bridge Mining Investment are Chinese majority-owned; another, at Bisha, is majority-owned by Canada’s Nevsun Mining. All are required by the government to use government-owned construction firms for infrastructure development, thereby indirectly profiting from national service conscript labor. In November, a Canadian appellate court allowed a suit against Nevsun by former national service conscripts complaining of forced labor at Bisha to proceed Absent evidence that Eritrea had implemented democratic reforms and ended its human rights abuses, the European Parliament in July once again denounced as unwarranted further disbursements from the European Union’s 2015 €200 (US$238) million aid package, awarded to try to stem migration from Eritrea.   

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221 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Ethiopia Ethiopia made little progress in 2017 on much-needed human rights reforms. In- stead, it used a prolonged state of emergency, security force abuses, and repres- sive laws to continue suppressing basic rights and freedoms. The 10-month state of emergency, first declared in October 2016, brought mass arrests, mistreatment in detention, and unreasonable limitations on freedom of assembly, expression, and association. While abusive and overly broad, the state of emergency gave the government a period of relative calm that it could have used to address grievances raised repeatedly by protesters. However, the government did not address the human rights concerns that pro- testers raised, including the closing of political space, brutality of security forces, and forced displacement. Instead, authorities in late 2016 and 2017 an- nounced anti-corruption reforms, cabinet reshuffles, a dialogue with what was left of opposition political parties, youth job creation, and commitments to en- trench “good governance.” Ethiopia continues to have a closed political space. The ruling coalition has 100 percent of federal and regional parliamentary seats. Broad restrictions on civil society and independent media, decimation of independent political parties, ha- rassment and arbitrary detention of those who do not actively support the gov- ernment, severely limited space for dissenting voices. Despite repeated promises to investigate abuses, the government has not credi- bly done so, underscoring the need for international investigations. The govern- ment-affiliated Human Rights Commission is not sufficiently independent and its investigations consistently lack credibility. State of Emergency Ethiopia spent much of 2017 under a state of emergency first imposed in Octo- ber 2016 following a year of popular protests, renewed for four months in March, and lifted on August 4. Security forces responded to the protests with lethal force, killing over 1,ooo protesters and detaining tens of thousands more. The state of emergency’s implementing directive prescribed draconian and overly broad restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly   

222 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 across the country, and signaled an increasingly militarized response to the situ- ation. The directive banned all protests without government permission and per- mitted arrest without court order in “a place assigned by the command post until the end of the state of emergency” and permitted “rehabilitation”—a euphe- mism for short-term detention that often involves forced physical exercise. During the state of emergency military were deployed in much larger numbers across Oromia and Amhara regions, and security forces arbitrarily detained over 21,000 people in these “rehabilitation camps” according to government figures. Detainees reported harsh physical punishment and indoctrination in govern- ment policies. Places of detention included prisons, military camps, and other makeshift facilities. Some reported torture. Artists, politicians, and journalists were tried on politically motivated charges. Dr. Merera Gudina, the chair of the Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), a legally registered political opposition party, was charged with “outrages against the constitution” in March. He joins many other major OFC members on trial on polit- ically motivated charges, including deputy chairman Bekele Gerba. At time of writing, at least 8,000 people arrested during the state of emergency remain in detention, according to government figures. Freedom of Expression and Association The state tightly controls the media landscape, a reality exacerbated during the state of emergency, making it challenging for Ethiopians to access information that is independent of government perspectives. Many journalists are forced to choose between self-censorship, harassment and arrest, or exile. At least 85 journalists have fled into exile since 2010, including at least six in 2017. Scores of journalists, including Eskinder Nega and Woubshet Taye, remain jailed under Ethiopia’s anti- terrorism law. In addition to threats against journalists, tactics used to restrict independent media include harassing advertisers, printing presses, and distributors. Absent a vibrant independent domestic media, social media and diaspora televi- sion stations continue to play key roles in disseminating information. The gov- ernment increased its efforts to restrict access to social media and diaspora media in 2017, banning the watching of diaspora television under the state of   

223 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H emergency, jamming radio and television broadcasts, targeting sources and fam- ily members of diaspora journalists. In April, two of the main diaspora television stations—Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) and the Oromia Media Network (OMN)—were charged under the repressive anti-terrorism law. Executive director of OMN, Jawar Mohammed, was also charged under the criminal code in April. The government regularly restricts access to social media apps and some web- sites with content that challenges the government’s narrative on key issues. Dur- ing particularly sensitive times, such as during June’s national exams when the government feared an exam leak, the government blocked access to the internet completely. The 2009 Charities and Societies Proclamation (CSO law) continues to severely curtail the ability of independent nongovernmental organizations. The law bars work on human rights, governance, conflict resolution and advocacy on the rights of women, children, and people with disabilities by organizations that re- ceive more than 10 percent of their funds from foreign sources. Torture and Arbitrary Detention Arbitrary detention and torture continue to be major problems in Ethiopia. Ethiopian security personnel, including plainclothes security and intelligence of- ficials, federal police, special police, and military, frequently tortured and other- wise ill-treated political detainees held in official and secret detention centers, to coerce confessions or the provision of information. Many of those arrested since the 2015/2016 protests or during the 2017 state of emergency said they were tortured in detention, including in military camps. Several women alleged that security forces raped or sexually assaulted them while they were in detention. There is little indication that security personnel are being investigated or punished for any serious abuses. Former security person- nel, including military, have described using torture as a technique to extract in- formation. There are serious due process concerns and concerns about the independence of the judiciary on politically sensitive cases. Outside Addis Ababa, many de- tainees are not charged and are rarely taken to court.   

224 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Individuals peacefully expressing dissent are often charged under the repressive anti-terrorism law and accused of belonging to one of three domestic groups that the government has designated as terrorist organizations. The charges carry punishments up to life in prison. Acquittals are rare, and courts frequently ignore complaints of torture by detainees. Hundreds of individuals, including opposi- tion politicians, protesters, journalists and artists, are presently on trial under the anti-terrorism law. The government has not permitted the United Nation’s Working Group on Arbi- trary Detention to investigate allegations despite requests from the UN body in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, and 2015. Somali Region Security Force Abuses Serious abuses continue to be committed by the Somali Region’s notoriously abusive Liyu police. Throughout 2017, communities in the neighboring Oromia regional state reported frequent armed attacks on their homes by individuals be- lieved to be from the Somali Region’s Liyu police. Residents reported killings, as- saults, looting of property, and displacement. Several Somali communities reported reprisal attacks carried out by unknown Oromo individuals. Human Rights Watch is not aware of any efforts by the federal government to stop these incursions. Several hundred thousand people have been internally displaced as a result of the ongoing conflict. The Liyu police were formed in 2008 and have a murky legal mandate but in practice report to Abdi Mahmoud Omar (also known as “Abdi Illey”) the presi- dent of the Somali Regional State, and have been implicated in numerous al- leged extrajudicial killings as well as incidents of torture, rape, and attacks on civilians accused of proving support to the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF). No meaningful investigations have been undertaken into any of these al- leged abuses in the Somali Regional State. Abdi Illey’s intolerance for dissent extends beyond Ethiopia, and family mem- bers of Ethiopian Somalis living outside of the country are frequently targeted in the Somali Region. Family members of diaspora have been arbitrarily detained, harassed, and had their property confiscated after their relatives in the diaspora attended protests or were critical of Abdi Illey in social media posts.   

225 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Key International Actors Despite its deteriorating human rights record, Ethiopia continues to enjoy strong support from foreign donors and most of its regional neighbors, due to its role as host of the African Union and as a strategic regional player, its contributions to UN peacekeeping, regional counterterrorism efforts, its migration partnerships with Western countries, and its stated progress on development indicators. Ethiopia is also a country of origin, transit, and host for large numbers of mi- grants and refugees. Both the European Parliament and US Senate and House of Representatives have denounced Ethiopia’s human rights record. The European Parliament urged the establishment of a UN-led mechanism to investigate the killings of protest- ers since 2015 and to release all political prisoners. In April, European Union Special Representative (EUSR) for Human Rights Stavros Lambrinidis visited Ethiopia, underscoring EU concern over Ethiopia’s human rights situation. Other donors, including the World Bank, have continued business as usual without publicly raising concerns. Ethiopia is a member of both the UN Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council. Despite these roles, Ethiopia has a history of non-cooperation with UN special mechanisms. Other than the UN special rapporteur on Eritrea, no special rapporteur has been permitted to visit since 2006. The rapporteurs on torture, freedom of opinion and expression, and peaceful assembly, among others, all have outstanding requests to visit the country.   

226 R W R L D R E P O O T 2 0 1 8   

227 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H European Union Xenophobic populists hostile to human rights shaped politics even when they failed to win at the ballot box, and European governments seemed determined to keep migrants away at all costs. Yet there were hints in the response to the cri- sis in Poland that European Union leaders were beginning to recognize that the bloc’s future depends on a willingness to stand up for human rights and the rule of law. Migration and Asylum The EU and its member states intensified efforts to prevent arrivals and out- source responsibility for migration control to countries outside the EU’s borders. In Libya, in particular, the EU pursued a strategy of containment in cooperation with Libyan authorities, despite overwhelming evidence of pervasive and routine brutality against asylum seekers and other migrants arbitrarily detained by those authorities, or otherwise deprived of their liberty. Libya has not signed the Refugee Convention, and does not have a functioning asylum system. By mid-November 2017, just over 150,000 people reached Europe by sea, less than half the arrivals for the same period in 2016, with a significant decrease in arrivals on Greek islands and dip in boat departures from Libya. There was a large increase in boat migration in the western Mediterranean, from Morocco to Spain, though the overall numbers remained low. The Western Balkan route re- mained largely closed, aided by an abusive border regime in Hungary and mi- grant pushbacks by Croatia. The Mediterranean remained deadly, with almost 3,000 dead or missing by mid- November 2017. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) performed roughly 40 percent of all rescues in the central Mediterranean in the first half of 2017, but by September several NGOs had suspended activities due to security concerns and increased interceptions, sometimes reckless and accompanied by abuse, by Libyan coast guard forces. Backed by EU institutions, Italy imposed on NGOs a code of conduct governing rescues following a campaign to delegitimize and even criminalize their efforts.   

228 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Despite calls for expanded safe and legal channels, including family reunifica- tion and humanitarian visas, EU institutions and member states moved forward only on resettlement of recognized refugees. The European Commission an- nounced in September that member states had resettled 22,518 refugees over the past two years, and recommended a plan to resettle 50,000 refugees to Eu- rope over the next two years. Member states were slow to respond to the earlier commission call for resettlement pledges. Member states less affected by direct arrivals remained reluctant to share re- sponsibility for asylum seekers. The two-year binding plan to relocate almost 100,000 asylum seekers out of Greece and Italy officially ended in September, with only 29,401 people actually transferred, less than one-third of the final tar- get. Some countries continued to relocate, however, and over 2,000 more had been relocated by mid-November. In June, the European Commission initiated in- fringement proceedings against Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic for failure to comply with the plan. In September, the EU Court of Justice (CJEU) dis- missed the case against the relocation plan brought by Hungary and Slovakia. EU countries continued to return asylum seekers to Italy, and resumed returns to Greece, under the Dublin Regulation, which requires the first EU country of entry to take responsibility for asylum claims in most cases. In March, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Hungary was in violation of its human rights obligations for the way it detained asylum seekers and returned them to Serbia under the “safe third country” argument, and in April the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) called for a suspension of returns to Hungary under the Dublin rules. Germany officially suspended such returns in late August, and a number of other EU countries took a similar approach. Little progress was made on reform of EU asylum laws. Problematic proposals would make it easier to summarily reject claims, send people to countries out- side the EU based on the “safe third country” concept, and revoke refugee sta- tus. Meanwhile, asylum seekers continued to face widely varying recognition rates across the union. Discrimination and Intolerance Populist extremist parties exercised an outside influence over European politics during the year. While they came second rather than first in presidential elec-   

229 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H tions in France and Austria and the parliamentary vote in the Netherlands, radi- cal right populists entered the German parliament, and at time of writing were in talks to become part of the coalition government in Austria, following elections in October. Worse still, elements of their anti-immigration, anti-refugee and anti- Muslim policy agenda continue to be embraced by mainstream political parties in many EU countries. Racist, xenophobic, and anti-Muslim sentiment and violence persisted across the EU. Muslims experienced widespread hostility and intolerance. Anti-Semi- tism, including hate crimes, remained a serious concern. In its June annual report, the Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) noted that nationalistic populism and xenophobic hate speech had entered the political mainstream in the region. In an April report, the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) noted that many hate crimes in the EU re- main unreported and invisible, leaving victims without redress, and urged mem- ber states to improve access to justice for victims. In an August assessment on strategies aimed at helping Roma, the European Commission found that as many as 80 percent of Roma are at risk of poverty across the EU, calling for further efforts to improve access to schooling and em- ployment. In August, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks identified the right to live in the community and deinstitutionaliza- tion; the right to legal capacity; and the right to an inclusive education as key challenges affecting persons with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities in Europe. In September, Muižnieks called for an end to school segregation for chil- dren with disabilities, Roma children and refugee and migrant children. A March decision by the CJEU backing private sector workplace bans on head- scarves seriously undermined women’s right to equality and non-discrimination. In July, the ECtHR upheld Belgium’s ban on burqas and full-face Islamic veils. In a June resolution, the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly called for an end to impunity of sexual violence and harassment of women in public by prose- cuting perpetrators. In June, the EU signed the Istanbul Convention on prevent- ing and combatting violence against women. Eleven EU member   

230 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 states—including the United Kingdom, Greece, and Hungary—have yet to ratify the convention. In May, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland warned that at- tacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people are wide- spread in Europe, and highlighted the need for strong and effective anti-discrimination laws. In April, the ECtHR ruled that requiring transgender people to undergo sterilization in order to have their gender recognized violates human rights. Terrorism and Counterterrorism Attacks in Belgium, Finland, France, Greece, Spain, Sweden and the UK, together killed over 60 people and left hundreds injured. All the mass casualty incidents among these were claimed by the Islamic State (also known as ISIS). Some inci- dents were attributed to or claimed by far-right, left-wing and regional separatist armed organizations. During the year, attacks specifically targeting police offi- cers or soldiers took place in France, Poland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. France, Germany, and the Netherlands passed laws permitting or enhancing ex- isting powers of the executive, to order administrative controls restricting the movement and association of people considered a threat to national security. In March, a new EU directive to combat terrorism, strengthening the existing EU framework, was approved by governments. The directive requires states to crimi- nalize “public provocation to commit a terrorist offence” and various preparatory acts that fall short of direct participation in attacks. Human rights groups ex- pressed concern about insufficient safeguards and vague terminology in the di- rective, and its impact on freedom of expression. During the year, people in France and Spain were convicted of terrorism offences for posting comments online that were treated as glorification of or apology for terrorism, in some cases without evidence of any direct link to incitement to vio- lence. In June, the European Commission accelerated existing plans to combat radical- ization and remove online terrorist content. An Anglo-French action plan pub- lished the same month included proposals to remove extremist material online,   

231 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H and to access encrypted content, raising concerns about freedom of expression and privacy. Criminal investigations into alleged complicity by Polish and Lithuanian authori- ties remained stalled, and a judicial review of a 2016 decision by prosecutors to close the investigation into alleged UK complicity in renditions by the Central In- telligence Agency (CIA) to Libya remained pending. A ECtHR case brought against Lithuania and Romania over their complicity in CIA torture and secret detention remained pending. Croatia By August, 1,262 people claimed asylum in Croatia in 2017, including people re- turned to Croatia from other EU member states under EU asylum rules. Only 76 asylum seekers had been granted some form of protection in 2017 at time of writing. Croatia relocated 78 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy by late Sep- tember. During the year, Croatia forced back asylum seekers and migrants who entered the country from Serbia without examining their asylum claims. In July, the CJEU ruled that Croatia breached EU law by allowing asylum seekers and migrants to cross into Slovenia and Austria without first examining their asylum claims. Asylum seekers and refugees continued to face social isolation and difficulties in accessing language classes, education, and employment. Unaccompanied mi- grant and asylum children continued to be placed in residential institutions for children without adequate arrangements for their protection and care. Out of 30 registered unaccompanied children, only one had been enrolled in school for the academic year of 2017/2018. People with disabilities continued to be denied the right to legal capacity and to live in the community. Adult persons with disabilities continued to be placed in residential institutions without their consent. Members of national minorities, in particular ethnic Serbs and Roma, continued to face discrimination, ethnic intolerance, and hate speech. Thousands of Roma remain stateless. Roma children are effectively segregated in schools. The Croatian judiciary continued to make slow progress on war crimes accounta- bility.   

232 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Estonia The number of stateless persons continued to decline in Estonia in 2017, al- though the naturalization rate is very slow. According to the Interior Ministry, in 2016, only 1,450 stateless people acquired citizenship by naturalization and as of January 2017, leaving 79,438 stateless persons residing in Estonia, compared to 82,561 in January 2016. Stateless persons, most of whom are ethnic Russians who lost their citizenship in 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union, continue to face significant barriers to social and economic integration. Not only do they lack full political and employment rights, they are also unable to pursue certain careers in national and local civil service, police, and customs. While Estonia has made some strides in reducing child statelessness in recent years, the government has only partially addressed the problem. Children be- tween 15 and 18 and those born outside Estonia to parents who are stateless residents of Estonia still cannot automatically obtain citizenship. In February 2017, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child recommended that Estonia “fast track the naturalization of children with undetermined citizenship” be- tween 15 and 18 years old. In January 2017, Estonia became the first former Soviet republic to recognize same-sex marriages entered into abroad. In July 2017, Estonia held its first Pride Parade in 10 years. Despite these significant steps, the government has yet to implement the 2016 Cohabitation Act that would give people in same-sex civil partnerships the same rights as married couples, including in relation to prop- erty and adoption. As of September 25, 2017, the government had relocated 141 asylum seekers under the EU relocation scheme. France France continues to rely on abusive counterterrorism powers introduced follow- ing November 2015 attacks. The state of emergency that permitted the use of security powers without ade- quate safeguards was extended in December 2016 and July 2017. The state of emergency ended on November 1, when the new Law to Strengthen Internal Se-   

233 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H curity and the Fight against Terrorism entered into force, following its adoption by parliament in October. Despite widespread concern from rights bodies, both domestically and abroad, the law incorporates some of the powers utilized under the state of emergency. These include powers that have led to significant abuse, such as the power to order people considered a threat to national security to live in an assigned place of residency, and to carry out house searches without judicial authorization. The French Ombudsman, the French National Consultative Commission of Human Rights (CNCDH) and a large coalition of NGOs criticized the law for grant- ing the executive the power to restrict freedom of worship, assembly, free move- ment and the right to privacy, without adequate judicial safeguards. A report by the French ombudsman in January confirmed earlier CNCDH’s find- ings that young men from visible minorities are overrepresented in police checks, and are 20 times more likely to be stopped by the police than members of the majority population. The new security law expands police check powers at and around borders, including international train stations, raising concerns that the use of discriminatory identity checks could be expanded. An April report by the CNCDH records a 44.7 percent decrease in anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim incidents in 2016 compared to 2015. There were reportedly between 500 and 1,000 migrants, including up to 200 un- accompanied children, in the Calais area, as of October, despite the dismantling of the squalid, informal camp at the end of 2016. The French ombudsman and local organizations reported dire living conditions for migrants there, as well as police harassment and abuse against migrants and aid workers, concluding that they contributed to “inhuman living conditions.” The report of an investigation ordered by the interior minister, published in October, found that police had abused migrants in Calais. Despite several court orders, local authorities in Calais continued to obstruct the work of aid groups and refused to provide water and sanitation. By the end of October, the central government had opened four new short-term shelters and provided running water, toilets, and showers. By late September, France relocated 377 asylum seekers from Italy and 4,091 from Greece.   

234 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 In an annual report in March 2017, the inspector of prisons found that women in prison face difficulties “accessing psychiatric care.” In February, France became the first permanent member of the UN Security Coun- cil to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration. Germany Arrivals of asylum-seekers and migrants fell for the second year in a row. By the end of July, 105,000 new asylum-seekers had been registered. Authorities made decisions on over 408,000 asylum applications in the first half of the year, many pending from the previous year. By August, Germany had accepted 1,730 reset- tled refugees, of whom 1,700 were Syrian. By late September, Germany had relo- cated 3,641 asylum seekers from Italy and 4,838 from Greece. In the first half of 2017, authorities recorded 143 attacks on asylum shelters and 642 attacks on refugees and asylum seekers outside their home. Germany’s federal parliament approved a series of surveillance measures during the year that raise concerns about the rights to privacy and freedom of expres- sion. One measure, which would allow law enforcement agencies to install mal- ware on mobile phones, tablets and computers to circumvent encryption, had not entered into force at time of writing. A second came partly into force in Octo- ber, requiring social media companies to take down “illegal content,” a poorly defined term including hate speech, or face large fines. A third, which entered into force in July, permits law enforcement authorities at the border to examine data on the mobile phones of refugees and migrants, without a prior court order, a reasonable suspicion of a criminal offense, or consent. An amendment to the Federal Criminal Police Act, in force since July, allows the pre-emptive electronic tagging and imposition of restrictions on the movement ), but who had of people considered to pose a risk to national security ( Gefährder not yet committed any crime. An immigration power allowing similar restrictions on foreign nationals pending deportation came into effect the same month. German authorities continued to investigate serious international crimes related to the conflict in Syria and Iraq. Trials for war crimes are underway or have been concluded against members of ISIS, former Jabhat al-Nusra members, and vari- ous armed groups opposed to the Syrian government.   

235 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In June, Federal Parliament approved the recognition of equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and the law came into force on October 1. Greece A December 2016 European Commission plan for Greece recommended tougher measures aimed at increasing the number of returns of asylum seekers to Turkey, including weakening protections for vulnerable groups, expanding detention, and curbing appeal rights. As a result, Greece increased detention capacity and forced people identified as “vulnerable” to remain on the Aegean islands until their asylum claim is heard. Despite progress, access to asylum remained difficult and subject to delay while there were particular concerns with low refugee recognition rates on the islands. The policy under the EU-Turkey deal of containing asylum seekers on the islands trapped thousands in overcrowded and abysmal conditions, while denying most access to adequate asylum procedures or refugee protection. According to UNHCR data, there were more than 46,000 asylum seekers and mi- grants in mainland Greece, and 13,652 on the islands, as of October. The Greek authorities’ failure to properly identify vulnerable asylum seekers for transfer to the mainland impeded their access to proper care and services. The policies, conditions, uncertainty and the slow pace of decision-making con- tributed to deteriorating mental health for some asylum seekers and other mi- grants on the islands, while creating tensions that sometimes erupted into violence. Greek police were criticized for excessive use of force against asylum seekers during a July protest at the hotspot on Lesbos, and ill-treatment of some of those who were detained following ensuing clashes. At time of writing, an inquiry was ongoing. In September, the Council of State ruled that two Syrian asylum seekers could safely be removed to Turkey without their claims being heard, paving the way for large scale returns of Syrians under the EU deal. The wider impact of the ruling had yet to be felt on the islands at time of writing, and no asylum seekers had been returned under the conditions permitted in the ruling.   

236 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 More than 1,390 migrants had been removed to Turkey by the end of October, after their claims were rejected on the merits or because they did not file an asy- lum claim or agreed to return voluntarily. In June, the Greek ombudsman launched an inquiry into allegations of pushbacks, including of Turkish nation- als, at the Greek-Turkish land border. An estimated 3,150 unaccompanied migrant children entered Greece as of Octo- ber 31. In July, the Greek ombudsman criticized the prolonged detention of unac- companied children at police stations and refugee camps while they await placement in the overburdened shelter system. At time of writing, an estimated 2,016 were waiting to be placed in a dedicated facility, including 107 who were detained. Greece opened afternoon preparatory classes to integrate asylum-seeking and migrant children into public schools on the Greek mainland, but failed to cover hundreds of children on the islands. At time of writing, the education ministry was planning to extend classes to children on the islands, but plans excluded children older than 15 and those living in camps. Far-right groups regularly attacked asylum seekers on the island of Chios. In April, two men were convicted for racially-aggravated crimes over the incidents. In a landmark ruling in March, the ECtHR ordered Greece to pay some €600,000 in damages for failing to protect from forced labor 42 migrant strawberry pickers who were shot at by farm foremen in 2013 when they protested about unpaid wages. In September, parliament adopted a new law on legal gender recognition, re- moving medical requirements to change a person’s legal gender. Hungary Hungary saw a decrease in asylum applications in 2017, with 3,035 asylum seek- ers registered in the first ten months of the year, compared to more than 26,000 during the same period in 2016, according to UNHCR. Most asylum seekers in 2017 came from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. A March law allows for automatic detention of all asylum seekers, including chil- dren over 14 years, in two transit zones at Hungary’s border with Serbia for the entire duration of the asylum procedure. Coupled with recent restrictive amend-   

237 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H ments to the asylum law, which bar asylum seekers from meaningful access to the asylum procedure, authorities limited daily entry of asylum seekers to 20, leaving thousands stranded in Serbia in poor conditions. In September, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grande called on Hun- gary to improve access for people seeking asylum, and to dismantle the transit zones at the borders. The construction of a second line of fencing on Hungary’s border with Serbia in April, and violent and other pushbacks of asylum seekers at the border also con- tributed to the significant drop in arrivals. By mid-November, there were 455 asylum seekers detained in the two transit zones, including 243 children, among them 19 unaccompanied children, accord- ing to UNHCR. The government engaged in a campaign to discredit civil society organizations, particularly those funded by philanthropist George Soros, describing them as foreign paid traitors, to smear Soros himself. In February, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defend- ers raised concerns about the government’s continued stigmatization of human rights defenders. In April, the government passed a law forcing all civil society organizations re- ceiving more than US$27,000 per annum in foreign funding to register with au- thorities as foreign funded, and to report that fact on all published materials. Failure to comply results in a fine and could ultimately mean deregistration. To date, over 200 organizations have declined to register, while 20 complied. A group of 23 organizations, including prominent human rights organizations, filed a complaint to the constitutional court in August, challenging the law. The EU Commission started infringement proceedings against Hungary in April as a result of the law. Also in April, parliament adopted a law targeting the Central European University in Budapest, introducing requirements that would make its operations in Hun- gary impossible, and undermine academic freedom. The law triggered protests in Budapest and drew significant international criticism, including from the US   

238 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Department of State and the European Commission, which also initiated in- fringement proceedings against Hungary. In May, the European Parliament adopted a resolution characterizing the human rights situation as one that risked breaching EU values and calling for action under article 7 of the EU treaty. Many media outlets are under state control or owned by people with close ties to 888.hu pub- the government. In September, pro-government online publication lished a list with names of eight journalists, accusing them of pursuing a foreign agenda sponsored by Soros. Roma continued to face discrimination in housing, education, and public health care. In May, the European Commission launched infringement proceedings against Hungary for on-going discrimination of Roma children in education. The UN Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice highlighted domestic violence in Hungary in a report to the Human Rights Council in June, and urged authorities to ratify the Istanbul Convention and improve training for law enforcement officials. In June, the appeals court in Budapest ordered the retrial of a Syrian man sen- tenced in November 2016 to 10 years in prison for terrorism, for throwing stones during 2015 clashes between Hungarian security forces and migrants and asy- lum seekers at the Serbian-Hungarian border. Italy Over 114,000 migrants and asylum seekers had reached Italy by sea by mid-No- vember, according to UNHCR, significantly straining the country’s reception sys- tem. The government adopted harsher policies amid a toxic political debate over migration. In the first seven months of the year, the number of new asylum applications al- most doubled compared to 2016, while authorities granted some form of protec- tion in 43 percent of cases. The majority received temporary humanitarian leave to remain in the country, including for abuses suffered as migrants in Libya.   

239 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In February, the government introduced measures to accelerate the asylum pro- cedure, including by limiting appeals against negative decisions, and an- nounced plans for new immigration detention centers around the country. The central government faced problems finding accommodation for asylum seek- ers across Italy, with many communities refusing to host reception centers. Many reception centers lack care and support for sexual violence survivors, as well as survivors of other traumatic violence. Italy’s failure to provide long-term support to individuals granted international protection was on stark display in August, when police violently evicted hundreds of homeless Eritrean refugees from an occupied building in Rome. Children made up 15 percent of new arrivals, with many traveling on their own. In March, parliament adopted a law to improve protections for unaccompanied children, including prioritizing their placement with foster families rather than institutions and ensuring every child is appointed a legal guardian. A government proposal to make it easier for those born in Italy to obtain citizen- ship faced significant opposition and remained blocked in parliament at time of writing. In July, parliament adopted a law finally making torture a crime, but with a defini- tion and statute of limitations that do not meet international standards. The Council of Europe’s Committee for Prevention of Torture published a report in September calling on authorities to address prison overcrowding and condi- tions, and improve investigations into alleged ill-treatment by law enforcement agents. In July, the UN women’s rights committee recommended stronger measures against gender-based violence, including improving identification and protec- tion in asylum reception centers and adequate anti-trafficking mechanisms. Latvia In 2017, Latvia made little progress in reducing its stateless population, which as of late 2016 was 242,736 persons, according to UNHCR. Stateless persons, most of whom are ethnic Russians, do not have full political rights and continue to ex- perience social and economic discrimination. They are also unable to pursue   

240 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 certain careers in civil service, among other professions, and face restrictions on property rights. In September, the parliament rejected amendments to Latvia’s citizenship law submitted by the country’s president earlier the same month, which would allow all children born in Latvia automatically to receive Latvian citizenship, unless their parents opt out or they already have another nationality. Under current leg- islation, non-citizens may register their children as Latvian citizens, but this process is not automatic. The Latvian State Language Center continues to sanction individuals for failing to use Latvian in professional communications. During 2016, the center issued 160 warnings and fines, a sharp decrease from the previous year. For a second year, the mayor of Riga was among those fined. In December 2016, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks published recommendations following his visit to Latvia in September 2016, calling on the Latvian authorities to ensure greater protection for women, children, and LGBT people. Latvia has yet to ratify the Istanbul Convention, which it signed in 2016. By late September, Latvia had accepted a total of 321 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece under the EU relocation plan. The Netherlands Anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim rhetoric pervaded the election platforms of main- stream parties in the run-up to the general election in March. The incumbent prime minister published an open letter to voters telling immigrants who did not accept Dutch values “to act normal or leave.” The time-limited and conditional support offered by the Dutch government to re- jected asylum seekers continued to raise concern. In July, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights criticized a law making health, education and welfare assistance contingent on rejected asylum-seekers’ “demonstrated willingness to return to their country of origin.” In 2017, the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) reduced its shelter capacity from 48,700 to 31,000 places and closed 45 locations, claim- ing it reflected a decrease in asylum seeker numbers.   

241 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In March, new counterterrorism powers entered into force, allowing authorities to impose restrictions on people suspected of involvement in terrorism, includ- ing reporting obligations, geographic limits on movement, contact bans, prohibi- tions on leaving the country, and extending the power to strip Dutch nationals as young as 16 of their citizenship while abroad if suspected of joining a terrorist group. In August, the acting justice minister confirmed the first use of the power to strip Dutch nationality from a person convicted of a terrorism offense. In July, parliament took the final step to adopt sweeping new surveillance legis- lation, despite widespread criticism that it violated the right to privacy. Domestic rights groups criticized as inadequate the body established by law to oversee the exercise of the broad powers given to the intelligence services to intercept communication. Poland The government continued to undermine the rule of law and human rights pro- tection during the year. Using its parliamentary majority, the government introduced a series of laws in July that threaten judicial independence and the rule of law. One law would give the minister of justice control over judicial appointments. A second law, ap- proved in the same month, would remove all sitting supreme court judges, ex- cept those chosen by the government, and together with its power to appoint judges, would give it control of the court. Following significant international criticism, Poland’s president vetoed both laws and submitted his own proposals to parliament, which also fail to adequately guarantee the independence of the judiciary. The president signed a third law giving the justice minister power to appoint the presidents of lower courts, lower the retirement age for judges and dismiss the president of any court. The efforts to undermine the independence of the judiciary met with significant international opposition, including from the Organisation for Security and Co-op- eration in Europe (OSCE), the Council of Europe, and the UN special rapporteur on the independence of the judiciary. The EU Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Poland in July over the law on common courts. The commission also made further recommen-   

242 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 dations under the rule of law framework and expressed willingness to trigger ar- ticle 7 of the EU Treaty if Polish authorities did not address concerns. EU member states twice debated rule of law in Poland in the General Affairs Council during the year, with many expressing support for the commission’s efforts, but without the council reaching a firm conclusion. In November, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on Poland to take steps needed for the parliament to make a formal request to the council to trigger article 7 in relation to Poland. In September, the Polish parliament passed a law with adverse effects on civil society organizations. It establishes a government controlled body in charge of overseeing the distribution of public funds to NGOs. Prior to its adoption, the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights raised concerns about the law, and urged lawmakers to provide safeguards limiting government interference in the body’s work. State-funded NGOs working on asylum and mi- gration, women’s rights, and LGBT rights reported difficulties and delays during the year accessing the state funds granted to them. Asylum seekers, the majority from the Russian republic of Chechnya and Central Asia, who arrived at the Polish-Belarus border crossing were routinely denied the right to access the Polish asylum procedure, and summarily returned to Belarus. Polish authorities on five occasions in 2017 ignored binding ECtHR interim orders to halt the removal of asylum seekers to Belarus. In June, the Polish parliament adopted a law restricting access to emergency contraception, even in cases of rape. Spain Catalonian authorities held an independence referendum on October 1, even though Spain’s Constitutional Court had ordered it to be suspended and later declared it unconstitutional. The vote was marred by excessive use of force by Civil Guard and national police officers. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urged Spanish authorities to ensure thorough, independent, and impartial investigations into all acts of violence. Central authorities used constitutional powers to dissolve the Catalan regional government and impose direct rule on October 27, and called for elections in De-   

243 I H C H U M A N R T G H T S W A   

244 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 cember. In November, prosecutors began criminal proceedings against 14 repre- sentatives of the dissolved Catalan government for sedition and other offenses. Attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils by an armed extremist cell in August left 16 dead and more than 100 wounded. ISIS claimed responsibility. The Barcelona at- tack was the deadliest in Spain since 2003. Public officials warned against Islamophobia in the wake of the attacks. Re- ported anti-Muslim incidents included an assault on a 14-year-old Moroccan child. A Pakistani man began a case against Spain at the ECtHR in May, for police use of ethnic profiling, a perennial problem in the country. The increased numbers of migrants reaching Spain by sea faced substandard conditions in police facilities and obstacles to applying for asylum. Over 16,000 people arrived by sea in the first ten months of 2017, a significant in- crease over the previous year. Over 5,000 crossed land borders into Ceuta and Melilla, many by scaling fences around Spain’s enclaves. In October the ECtHR found that the 2014 summary return from Melilla to Mo- rocco of two sub-Saharan African men constituted collective expulsions. The rul- ing means Spain should reform a 2015 law formalizing this practice, which continued periodically throughout 2017. Asylum seekers in Spain’s enclaves faced delays in transfers to the mainland, including LGBT asylum seekers, de- spite vulnerability to abuse. In January, an appeals court reopened the investigation into the February 2014 deaths of 15 migrants in Ceuta waters after Guardia Civil officers fired rubber bul- lets and tear gas into the water. As of September, Spain had relocated only 1,257 asylum seekers of the 9,323 it had committed to taking from Greece and Italy. While it pledged to resettle 1,449 refugees from outside the EU, at time of writing it had resettled only 631. The CJEU issued two rulings against Spain, in December 2016 and January, for unfair mortgage practices, paving the way for consumer lawsuits against banks. United Kingdom More than six months after the government formally triggered the start of Brexit, significant concerns remained about the status of rights and protection for all UK   

245 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H residents derived from EU law after the UK leaves the EU. A draft law to move EU law into domestic law after Brexit raised serious concerns about granting broad powers to the executive to amend laws undermining rights without parliamen- tary scrutiny, and excluding rights currently protected under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. In June, a fire destroyed an apartment block in London, of which significant parts were social housing, raising troubling questions about the state’s fulfilment of its duty to ensure safe and adequate housing. Seventy-one people died, and hundreds were left homeless. The government established a public inquiry into the immediate circumstances surrounding the fire. Despite allegations of serious abuse in immigration detention centers, the UK persisted in not imposing a maximum time limit for immigration detention, and continued to detain asylum-seeking and migrant children. By June, the UK had resettled 8,535 Syrians, part of a commitment to resettle 20,000 by 2020. Separately, in April the government reversed a much-criticized decision in February to curtail a program to bring unaccompanied asylum-seek- ing children in Europe without family ties to the UK. No new anti-terrorism laws were proposed in response to attacks in London, Manchester, and Northern Ireland that resulted in 36 deaths and more than 250 injuries. Three attacks inspired by or claimed by ISIS caused most of these casualties. The government linked its efforts to press internet companies to re- move content deemed extremist to the ISIS-related attacks. A case at ECtHR on the privacy implications of the UK’s mass interception of communications data remained pending at time of writing. The Iraq Historic Allegations Team, a body set up to investigate alleged abuses of civilians in Iraq by UK armed forces between 2003 and July 2009, was shut down by the government in June 2017. A preliminary examination by the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court into alleged war crimes com- mitted by UK personnel in Iraq remained open. Although access to abortion remained restricted in Northern Ireland, in June, the UK health minister announced that women and girls from the region who travel to access abortion services in England each year would no longer have to pay to do so.   

246 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Foreign Policy While the European Union and its member states continued to pledge their com- mitment to human rights, foreign policy initiatives were often undermined by other national interests, including security, trade and access to natural re- sources; a desire to prevent refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants from arriving in Europe; and a failure of the EU’s External Action Service to provide principled leadership on behalf of human rights. In April, EU foreign ministers adopted a strategy on Syria that included justice for war crimes, the release of thousands of prisoners, clarification about enforced disappearances, lifting of sieges, and the end of unlawful attacks and the use of illegal weapons, despite the lack of effective EU action to realize these priorities. Also in April, the EU co-hosted an international donors’ conference to secure continued support for Syrian refugees and host countries in the region. The EU and its member states became the biggest donors to the International Impartial Independent Mechanism to investigate atrocity crimes committed in Syria. EU member states supported the United Nations Security Council’s establish- ment of a mechanism for crimes committed by ISIS in Iraq, without insisting that Iraq become a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which would have jurisdiction over crimes committed by all parties. The EU and its member states continued to denounce Israeli settlement expan- sion, displacement of Palestinians, and demolitions of their homes and other structures in the Occupied West Bank as violations of international law and ob- stacles to lasting peace. In the Arab Gulf states, the EU did not publicly insist on the release of numerous jailed human rights defenders, including EU nationals and a Sakharov prize win- ner. The EU often stayed silent about severe human rights violations in countries along the Mediterranean migration route such as Egypt, Libya and Sudan, while engaging these countries in efforts to curb migration flows. The EU and its member states strengthened diplomatic and business ties with Iran, and remained a staunch supporter of the Iran nuclear agreement. The EU and Iran also began discussions to establish an Iran-EU human rights dia- logue. But, by and large the EU and its member states did not use their politi-   

247 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H cal and economic leverage to press for the release of jailed journalists and human rights defenders and for effective human rights reforms in the country. The EU repeatedly expressed concerns over the arrests of human rights defend- ers, journalists, and political opposition members in Turkey. While the European Parliament responded to negative developments in Turkey by voting to cut pre- accession funding, there was disagreement among member states on the way forward. Despite disputes among member states, the EU issued numerous public state- ments deploring the human rights crackdown in Russia, and exhibiting support for the embattled human rights community. The EU failed to leverage talks on a new partnership agreement with Azerbaijan to secure concrete rights improvements. At the UN Human Rights Council, the EU took the lead on the establishment, and later the extension of the mandate, of a Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) to investigate and report on abuses in Burma’s Rakhine State. EU foreign ministers condemned atrocity crimes in Rakhine state, urged the Burmese government to cooperate with the FFM, insisted on Rohingya refugees’ right to return to their homes, and demanded that those responsible for serious human rights violations be held accountable. However, at time of writing, the EU had not adopted targeted sanc- tions against Burmese military officials responsible for crimes against humanity. The EU, and its member states, were the biggest humanitarian donors support- ing Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. In June, the EU high representative issued an unheeded call to China to allow the terminally ill Nobel Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, to travel abroad with his wife to re- ceive medical treatment. Several EU member states echoed that call, and Ger- many used the G20 Summit in Hamburg to press the Chinese president to let Liu Xiaobo go, but China refused. Meanwhile the EU did not seriously challenge the broader crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression in China. The EU and the European Parliament condemned Cambodia’s crackdown on po- litical opposition and media freedom and the decision to dissolve the Cambo- dian National Rescue Party, and stated that respect for human rights is a “prerequisite for Cambodia to continue to benefit from the EU ‘s preferential ‘Everything but Arms’ scheme.”   

248 O D 1 0 2 T R 8 P W O R L E R The EU’s commissioner for trade raised concerns over the Philippines’ anti-drug campaign involving extrajudicial killings of alleged drug users and dealers. The European Parliament adopted a resolution decrying abuses, and called for the release of Senator Leila de Lima, who received a visit from a delegation of MEPs. The EU and its member states decried the crackdown on human rights in Venezuela, and imposed an embargo on arms and material that can be used for internal repression. EU foreign ministers also adopted a legal framework to im- pose targeted punitive sanctions against individuals responsible for abuses, but at time of writing had not named any people to its sanctions list. The European Parliament awarded the 2017 Sakharov Prize to the democratic opposition and political prisoners in Venezuela.   

249 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Gambia The human rights climate in Gambia improved dramatically as the new presi- dent, Adama Barrow, and his government took steps to reverse former President . Yahya Jammeh’s legacy of authoritarian and abusive rule After winning the December 2016 election and taking office in January, Barrow moved quickly to distinguish his government from Jammeh’s, whose security forces used arbitrary arrests, torture, and extrajudicial killings to suppress dis- sent and independent media during his 22 years in power. The new government promised to make Gambia the “human rights capital of Africa,” released scores of political prisoners, and began to strengthen the judiciary and reform the secu- rity services. It also reversed Jammeh’s planned withdrawal from the Interna- tional Criminal Court (ICC). President Barrow committed to investigate those most responsible for human rights abuses during the Jammeh era. During 2017, the government took mean- ingful steps to uncover past abuses, including by announcing that it would es- tablish a truth, reconciliation and reparations commission, beginning the trial of nine former intelligence officials for the April 2016 death of an opposition ac- tivist, and establishing a commission of inquiry into Jammeh’s abuse of public funds. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) played a critical role in convincing Jammeh to leave office after he lost the elections, and, at time of writing, maintains a 500-strong peacekeeping force in Gambia. The international community provided significant financial backing to the Barrow government, including support for the investigation of past human rights abuses and reform of the security forces and judiciary. Political Developments Following his defeat in the December 1, 2016 presidential election, Jammeh ini- tially conceded defeat and promised to peacefully cede power to Barrow. Eight days later he rejected the results “in totality” and called for new elections, hold- ing on to power despite widespread condemnation from ECOWAS, the African Union, and the UN. The security forces arrested soldiers perceived as loyal to   

250 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Barrow, closed independent radio stations and detained opposition supporters, causing many to flee the country. Barrow himself left Gambia on January 13 and was sworn in as president in Dakar, Senegal, on January 19. On January 20, after a last attempt at mediation by regional leaders and with ECOWAS troops at the Gambian border, Jammeh agreed to step down and left for Equatorial Guinea the next day. Barrow returned to Gambia on January 26 and was officially inaugurated February 18. Gambia held peaceful legislative elections on April 6, 2017, with most seats won by the United Democratic Party (UDP). Barrow was a UDP member when he was elected to head the opposition coalition during the 2016 presidential elections. Political Prisoners Following Jammeh’s election defeat, and particularly after his departure for exile, Gambian courts and prisons released dozens of people wrongfully imprisoned during Jammeh’s time in office. This included opposition leader Ousainou Dar- boe, serving a three-year prison term after being detained during a 2016 peace- ful protest, who was released in December 2016 along with 40 other opposition supporters. Judicial and Prison Reform President Barrow’s government took steps to reform the judiciary, which was heavily politicized during Jammeh’s time in office, by appointing a slate of new judges, including a respected new supreme court head. Prison conditions, how- ever, remained dire, with prisoners lacking appropriate housing, sanitation, food, and adequate medical care. The government significantly reduced prison overcrowding by pardoning more than 250 prisoners in February and March 2017. On September 21, Barrow signed a UN treaty committing Gambia to abolish the death penalty. Proposed legislation on the creation of a human rights commission, which was drafted in 2016 with UN assistance, was presented to the National Assembly for adoption in November.   

251 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Accountability and Truth Telling In the first trial for human rights abuses committed during the Jammeh era, a Gambian court in March began the trial of nine officials of the National Intelli- gence Agency, including its former head, for the April 2016 murder of opposition activist Solo Sandeng. The minister of justice, Aboubacarr Tambadou, has not provided a timeline for further prosecutions of human rights abusers, citing the need to strengthen the justice sector before further trials. Gambian human rights groups are concerned that the government has not taken steps to preserve documentary and physical evidence of security force abuses. In October 2017, Gambian victims, civil society organizations, and international human rights groups formed a coalition to cam- paign to bring Jammeh and his accomplices to justice. The bodies of four people suspected of being forcibly disappeared during the Jammeh era were exhumed in March 2017, including that of Solo Sandeng. The Ministry of the Interior also in February 2017 created a specialized police unit, the Panel on Missing Persons, to investigate enforced disappearances during the Jammeh era. The Gambian government formally informed the UN secretary-general on Febru- ary 10 that it was reversing Jammeh’s withdrawal from the ICC. Ousmane Sonko, minister of the interior from 2006 until he fled the country in September 2016, is being investigated in Switzerland for alleged crimes against humanity committed during the Jammeh era. The Ministry of Justice in October drafted legislation establishing a Truth, Recon- ciliation and Reparations Commission to document violations committed from 1994 to January 2017 and oversee reparations to victims. The government in Au- gust conducted an extensive consultation process into the commission’s man- date and structure, envisioned to be established by years end. The government has frozen assets suspected of belonging to Jammeh and has established a commission of inquiry to investigate Jammeh’s alleged abuses of public finances. The commission began hearing evidence in public sessions on August 10.   

252 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Security Sector Reform President Barrow in May 2017 underscored the need for comprehensive security sector reform, describing security institutions as “polluted” because of their ties to Jammeh-era abuses. In February 2017, the National Intelligence Agency, which during the Jammeh era oversaw arbitrary detention and torture, was renamed the State Intelligence Services and its powers of detention eroded. However, while Barrow’s government has replaced the heads of the army, police, intelligence and prison services, at time of writing it had not yet begun a wider vetting of these agencies. At least 12 soldiers arrested between July and November on suspicion of plotting against Barrow’s government were held in military detention, without charge, until being brought to court on November 17. Gambia’s constitution requires that anyone suspected of a crime be brought to court within 72 hours. The family of one soldier alleged that he was hospitalized after being beaten in detention. At least 10 soldiers implicated in human rights abuses during the Jammeh era are still being held in military detention and have not yet been brought before a judge. Freedom of Expression and Assembly During 2017, Barrow’s government largely respected media and opposition free- doms and promised to repeal laws that curtail freedom of expression, including those criminalizing sedition, defamation and the publication of “false news.” Many journalists who fled Gambia during the Jammeh era, often after being arbi- trarily detained and even tortured, have returned to Banjul. The government an- nounced in November that it will comply with judgments of the ECOWAS Community Court against Gambia regarding the forced disappearance of two journalists and torture of another, including by negotiating compensation pay- ments with victims’ families. The government publicly apologized after a journalist, Kebba Jefang, was beaten by supporters of the ruling coalition after a March 5 press conference. The Gambian government has not yet amended laws that require a permit for public rallies, an infringement of freedom of assembly. A November 12 peaceful protest against electricity and water shortages, which the government had ini-   

253 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H tially authorized but then prohibited on November 11, was dispersed by riot po- lice. One person died and at least six were injured when Senegalese peacekeepers fired live ammunition to disperse demonstrators near Jammeh’s former resi- dence in Kanilai on June 2. The government promised an investigation but at time of writing no report or findings had been published. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity President Barrow’s government has promised not to prosecute same-sex couples for consensual sexual acts, which sharply contrasted with Jammeh’s hate-filled rhetoric toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. How- ever, the government has not repealed laws that criminalize same-sex conduct, including an October 2014 law that imposes sentences of up to life in prison for “aggravated homosexuality” offenses. Key International Actors West Africa regional body ECOWAS played a critical role in convincing Jammeh to accept the results of the December 2016 election. After high-level ECOWAS delega- tions on December 13, 2016, and January 13, 2017, failed to convince Jammeh to step down, ECOWAS authorized the deployment of a military force (ECOWAS Mis- sion in The Gambia, ECOMIG). With military intervention imminent, Guinean President Alpha Condé and Mauri- tanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz convinced Jammeh to leave office on January 21, 2017. The same day, hundreds of ECOMIG forces, largely made up of Senegalese troops, entered Gambia to maintain peace and security for a transi- tional period. ECOMIG’s mission was extended for 12 months on June 4. The European Union, United Kingdom, and United States, which were strong crit- ics of Jammeh’s human rights abuses and provided little or no foreign assistance to his government in 2016, committed significant funds to address the dire eco- nomic situation inherited by the Barrow government. China also provided signifi- cant bilateral assistance. The World Bank in July committed US$56 million in budget support, with the International Monetary Fund in June approving a $16 million loan.   

254 R R 1 0 2 W O 8 L D T E P O R The United Nations, both through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), provided financial and technical support to the proposed creation of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission. The OHCHR also facilitated visits to Gambia by the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances and the special rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guaran- tees of non-recurrence.   

255 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Georgia The ruling Georgian Dream party rushed in 2017 to approve constitutional re- forms to complete Georgia’s evolution to a parliamentary system of governance, without securing broader political consensus. Lack of accountability persisted for abuses committed by law enforcement. Georgia maintained punitive criminal drug policies for drug users. Other areas of concern included privacy rights, labor rights, media freedom and the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans- gender (LGBT) people. Constitutional Reform Opposition parties, the president, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) criticized the new constitution for postponing critical electoral reforms until 2024. The Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body on legal af- fairs, positively assessed the reform, but saw postponement of the move to a fully proportional electoral system as “highly regrettable” and “a major obstacle to reaching consensus.” It welcomed the ruling party’s commitment to amend the new constitution to alleviate the negative effects of postponing implementa- tion of a fully proportional electoral system, including allowing party blocs and a one-time reduction of the election threshold to 3 percent in the 2020 elections. Lack of Accountability for Police, Security Service Abuse Georgia does not have an effective independent mechanism for investigating abuse by law enforcement officials. Investigations, if launched, often lead to charges that carry lesser, inappropriate sanctions, like abuse of office, and rarely result in convictions. Authorities often refuse to grant victim status to those who allege abuse, depriving them the opportunity to review investigation files. Since November 2016, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), a lead- ing human rights group, received at least 20 allegations of torture and ill-treat- ment by police, and five by prison staff. According to GYLA, authorities did not effectively investigate the allegations.   

256 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 At the ombudsman’s request, the prosecutor’s office launched investigations into 63 cases of alleged torture and ill-treatment since 2014. The investigations did not lead to a single criminal prosecution. In May, Azerbaijani journalist and political activist Afgan Mukhtarli vanished from central Tbilisi. Less than 24 hours later, he resurfaced in Azerbaijani border police custody, facing fabricated illegal border crossing and other charges. Mukhtarli, who lived in political exile in Georgia, alleged that several people wearing Georgian police uniforms and speaking Georgian stopped him near his house, put a bag over his head, pushed him into a car, beat him, and drove him away. Authorities promptly launched an investigation and denied security serv- ice involvement. Later, facing increasing international and domestic criticism, they suspended a number of counterintelligence and border police officials, pending the investigation’s outcome. Drug Policy Although numbers have decreased in recent years, authorities continued to use harsh drug laws to criminally prosecute people who use drugs, while treatment options remain limited. In response to a 2015 Constitutional Court decision de- claring imprisonment for marijuana possession unconstitutional, parliament amended legislation in July 2017 to remove imprisonment as a penalty for cannabis possession of up to 70 grams, but retained it as a felony for larger amounts. Drug-related felonies often result in disproportionately long sentences, prohibitive fines, and deprivation of other rights. Police compelled thousands of people to take drug tests, in some cases by detaining them for up to 12 hours. In June, police arrested two rappers, Mikheil Mgaloblishvili and Giorgi Keburia, on charges of illegal purchase and possession of large quantities of illicit drugs. Mgaloblishvili and Keburaia claimed that police planted the drugs in retaliation for their video mocking police. After a public outcry, authorities released both on bail and investigated their allegations of police misconduct. Both investigations were pending at time of writing.   

257 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Right to Privacy In March, parliament adopted a new surveillance bill, establishing a new agency within the State Security Services to carry out surveillance operations. In 2016, the Constitutional Court ruled unconstitutional legislation that allowed state se- curity services to have direct, unrestricted access to telecom operators’ networks to monitor communications. The court found this system allowed mass collec- tion of personal information in real time without effective oversight, and re- quired independent oversight of mass surveillance. Several nongovernmental organizations, supported by the president and the ombudsman, filed a lawsuit against the new law, claiming that it does not guarantee the right to privacy, as the new agency is not sufficiently independent. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity The new constitution defined marriage “as a union of a woman and a man,” en- trenching the definition that had existed for years in the civil code. Rights groups feared that using the constitution to reinforce a barrier to same-sex marriage could feed widespread homophobia. The Venice Commission said the clause should not be interpreted “as prohibiting same-sex partnership” and urged Georgia to provide legal recognition of civil unions for same-sex couples. In May, a small group of gay rights activists and supporters gathered in front of the main government building in Tbilisi to mark International Day Against Homo- phobia and Transphobia, amid heavy security presence. Police erected fences to block counter demonstrators, assembled activists at two locations beforehand, and escorted them to and from the area on municipal buses. In August, unidentified persons in Batumi assaulted three transgender women and two activists with the LGBT rights group Equality Movement, inflicting bruises on activists Levan Berianidze and Tornike Kusiani. The assailants shouted homophobic slurs. Police standing nearby did nothing to stop the as- sailants. Instead, they pushed Berianidze and Kusiani to the ground, kicked them, and took them to a police station, where police allegedly subjected them to verbal abuse. The next day, a court fined them for disorderly conduct and disobeying police. Rights groups and the ombudsman demanded timely investigation into   

258 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 alleged police ill-treatment and the homophobic nature of the assault. Authori- ties launched an internal probe, which was pending at time of writing. In July, the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional the ban on gay and bi- sexual men donating blood. Labor Rights Every year dozens of workers die and hundreds suffer injuries as a result of occu- pational accidents. According to the ombudsman, 270 people died in the past five years because of unsafe working conditions, 18 of them in the first half of 2017. The ombudsman and NGOs criticized the Labour Inspection Department under the Ministry of Labour, Health, and Social Affairs, for having no executive authority to enforce standards, thus failing to introduce effective health and safety measures at the workplace. Investigations into workplace incidents rarely lead to accountability. Freedom of Media The ownership dispute over Georgia’s most-watched television broadcaster, Rus- tavi 2, now in its third year, continued in 2017 and raised concerns over ongoing government interference with media. In March, the Supreme Court ruled that the station’s ownership should revert to Kibar Khalvashi, a businessman who owned it from 2004 to 2006, and who alleged he had been improperly forced to sell the station at below market value by then-president Mikheil Saakashvili. The court issued a unanimous decision the same day it examined the case, declining to allow the parties to make oral arguments. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ordered the Supreme Court decision suspended until further notice and instructed Georgian authorities to refrain from interfering in the station in the in- terim. In February, the new leadership of the Public Broadcaster announced it would suspend several political talk shows, citing plans to upgrade the station’s equip- ment and content. In June, it stopped airing two joint programs with Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. A regional TV station, Adjara TV, picked up both cancelled shows.   

259 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Key International Actors A June European Parliament resolution condemned the abduction of Afgan Mukhtarli and urged Georgian authorities to ensure an effective investigation into his disappearance in Georgia and “illegal transfer to Azerbaijan,” and to bring the perpetrators to justice. In its January resolution on media freedom in Europe, the Parliamentary Assem- bly of the Council of Europe highlighted concerns about the Rustavi 2 ownership dispute, and called on Georgia “to continue strengthening the independence and diversity of the public and private media.” In March, following the Supreme Court ruling on Rustavi 2, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) representative on media freedom called on the authorities to ensure media independence and pluralism. Concluding observations on Georgia by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, issued in March, noted some progress, including the adop- tion of the Juvenile Justice Code, but expressed concern regarding, among other things, corporal punishment, sexual exploitation and abuse, and the rights of children with disabilities and of internally displaced children. During his visit in August, US Vice President Mike Pence highlighted the ties that bring the two countries together, including “freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.” In his September report to the Human Rights Council, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights highlighted Georgia’s lack of an independent “framework” to investigate torture and ill-treatment, violations of the right to pri- vacy, and media freedom. Despite lack of access to Georgia’s breakaway re- gions, the commissioner noted that some practices there “appear to amount to discriminatory patterns based on ethnic grounds.” The International Criminal Court (ICC) continued its investigation into war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in the lead-up to, during, and after the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia.   

260 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Guatemala Guatemala continued to make progress in prosecuting human rights and corrup- tion cases, due in significant part to the collaboration of the Attorney General’s Office with the United Nations-backed International Commission against Im- punity in Guatemala (CICIG), established in 2007 to investigate organized crime and reinforce local efforts to strengthen the rule of law. At time of writing, CICIG and the Attorney General’s Office were prosecuting more than a dozen current and former Congress members, as well as former President Otto Pérez Molina and former Vice-President Roxana Baldetti—who were arrested on corruption charges in 2015. The work of CICIG produced a strong backlash from public officials in 2017. In Au- gust, President Jimmy Morales ordered the expulsion of CICIG Commissioner Iván Velásquez from the country—two days after CICIG and the Attorney Gen- eral’s Office sought to lift the president’s immunity to investigate his alleged role in illicit campaign financing. In September, the Guatemalan Congress voted to reduce the maximum penalty for campaign finance crimes to 10 years and to allow prison sentences of 10 years or less to be commuted to monetary fines—a change that would allow the president and many members of congress to avoid prison sentences if they are convicted of crimes for which they are being investigated. Both efforts provoked strong criticism within Guatemala and abroad and were blocked by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court. Public Security, Corruption, and Criminal Justice Violence and extortion by powerful criminal organizations remain serious prob- lems in Guatemala. Gang-related violence is an important factor prompting peo- ple, including unaccompanied youth, to leave the country. Guatemala suffers from high levels of impunity, partly because criminal proceed- ings against powerful actors often suffer unreasonably long delays due to exces- sive use of motions by criminal defendants. Those delays are compounded by courts often failing to respect legally mandated timeframes and suspended hear-   

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262 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 ings may take months to reschedule. Intimidation against judges and prosecu- tors and corruption within the justice system continue to be problems. Despite these obstacles, investigations by CICIG and the Attorney General’s Of- fice have exposed multiple corruption schemes, implicating officials in all three branches of government, and prompting the resignation and arrest of the coun- try’s then-president and vice-president in 2015, for their alleged participation in a scheme to defraud the customs authority by collecting bribes instead of cus- toms duties. Prosecutors also pressed charges against scores of officials—including more than a dozen current and former members of Congress from six different political parties—for hiring people in Congress who never performed any work for the in- stitution (or already received a salary from another employer) and pocketing the wages for those “phantom jobs.” At time of writing, these corruption cases were still in pretrial proceedings. Accountability for Past Human Rights Violations In July 2017, an appellate court confirmed the conviction of two former military officers for crimes against humanity in the form of sexual violence and domestic and sexual slavery. The victims were 14 Maya Q’eqchi’ women. One of the offi- cers was also found guilty of the homicides of three females, and the other one of the enforced disappearance of the husbands of seven of the female victims. They were sentenced to 120 years and 240 years in prison respectively. In March 2017, a judge ordered a trial for five former military officers for the en- forced disappearance of Marco Antonio Molina Theissen and the rape of his sis- ter in 1981. The suspects include Benedicto Lucas García, former top military officer and brother of former military dictator Romeo Lucas García. At time of writing, a trial date had not been set. Former Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt was ordered to stand trial in April 2017 for his role in the 1982 Dos Erres massacre, in which Guatemalan army spe- cial forces killed around 200 civilians. In 2011 and 2012, five former members of the military were convicted for their roles in the massacre. At time of writing, no trial date for Ríos Montt had been set.   

263 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In May 2013, Ríos Montt was found guilty of genocide and crimes against human- ity for the assassination of over 1,771 Mayan Ixil civilians in 105 massacres, when he was head of state in 1982 and 1983. He was sentenced to 80 years in prison, but 10 days later the Constitutional Court overturned the verdict on procedural grounds. The retrial began in March 2016 but was suspended two months later. In May 2017, the Constitutional Court ruled that because Ríos Montt was mentally unfit for a public trial, proceedings against him would take place behind closed doors, but those against his co-defendant, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez— the former intelligence director—would be public. The trial date for each defen- dant had yet to be scheduled at time of writing. Human Rights Defenders and Journalists Journalists are targets of harassment and violence. In June 2017, TV journalist Carlos Rodríguez survived a gunshot to the head. In June 2016, radio journalist Álvaro Aceituno was killed, and in March 2015, journalists Danilo López and Fed- erico Salazar were assassinated. In January 2017, investigations by CICIG and the Attorney General’s Office implicated Congressman Julio Juárez from government party FCN-Nación in the latter crime. Juárez’ political immunity was lifted in No- vember 2017. Women’s and Girls’ Rights In March 2017, 41 adolescent girls were killed in a fire in the Hogar Seguro gov- ernment-run shelter. Fifty-six girls had been locked up for the night in a space that could hold only 11, without access to water or a restroom, following a protest against the poor living conditions and treatment received in the shelter—includ- ing reports of sexual violence stretching back years. The guards’ failure to open the door when fire broke out meant that 41 girls burned to death and 15 were in- jured. In August 2017, a judge sent the former presidential secretary for social welfare and the former director of the Hogar Seguro to trial for involuntary manslaughter and breach of duty, among other charges. At time of writing, pro- ceedings against five other public officials were ongoing. Guatemalan law makes it a crime to obtain abortions, except in cases in which the life of the woman might be at risk. Women and girls who terminate pregnan- cies in any other circumstances face prison sentences of up to three years.   

264 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In April 2017, lawmakers presented a legislative proposal, supported by over 30,000 signatures, to explicitly prohibit same-sex marriage. The bill also aimed to restrain public schools from teaching students about sexual diversity and “gender ideology”. Key International Actors The UN-backed CICIG plays a key role in assisting Guatemala’s justice system in prosecuting violent crime. CICIG works with the Attorney General’s Office, the police, and other government agencies to investigate, prosecute, and dismantle criminal organizations operating in the country. It is empowered to participate in criminal proceedings as a complementary prosecutor, to provide technical assis- tance, and to promote legislative reforms. After President Jimmy Morales ordered the expulsion of CICIG Commissioner Iván Velásquez in August 2017, UN Secretary-General António Guterres reaffirmed the UN’s commitment to supporting CICIG and maintaining Velasquez at its helm. The attempt to remove Velásquez was also condemned by the UN High Commis- sioner for Human Rights, the administration of US President Donald Trump, and members of the US Congress and the European Parliament. The Constitutional Court’s annulment of Morales’ order ensured that Velásquez would continue to lead CICIG, at least until its mandate expires in September 2019. The US Congress approved US$655 million in assistance for 2017 for the Plan of the Alliance for Prosperity in the Northern Triangle, a five-year initiative an- nounced in 2014 that intends to reduce incentives to migrate from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The aid aims to reduce violence, strengthen governance, and increase economic opportunity. Fifty percent of it is conditioned on the US Department of State an- nually certifying progress by the beneficiary countries in strengthening institu- tions, fighting corruption and impunity, and protecting human rights. In 2017, Guatemala received certification for continued full funding under the plan. The assistance for 2017 included $7 million for CICIG.   

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266 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Haiti Political instability in 2017 hindered the Haitian government’s ability to meet the basic needs of its people, resolve long-standing human rights problems, or ad- dress continuing humanitarian crises. The United Nations peacekeeping mission operating in Haiti for the past 13 years ended in October. A smaller mission re- placed it. More than 175,000 individuals remained displaced in the aftermath of October 2016’s Hurricane Matthew, and many more faced food insecurity due to wide- spread damage to crops and livestock. As of September 2017, authorities had failed to assist many of the nearly 38,000 individuals still living in displacement camps since the 2010 earthquake in re- settling or returning to their places of origin. The country’s most vulnerable com- munities continue to face environmental risks, such as widespread deforestation, pollution from industry, and limited access to safe water and sani- tation. Almost one-third of people live with food insecurity due to the ongoing drought affecting much of the country. Since its introduction by UN peacekeepers in 2010, cholera has claimed more than 9,500 lives and infected more than 800,000 people. Cholera cases surged in October 2016 in communities most impacted by Hurricane Matthew. There were more than 41,000 suspected cases and 440 deaths in 2016. The number of cases has since declined significantly due to intensified cholera control efforts, including an ambitious campaign in which more than 800,000 people were vac- cinated. Only 11,916 suspected cases of cholera and 118 deaths had been re- ported from January to October 2017. Electoral Crisis In October 2015, elections were deferred indefinitely due to allegations of fraud. To thwart a constitutional crisis when President Michel Martelly’s term ended in February 2016 without an elected successor, the National Assembly selected Jo- celerme Privert as a provisional president until a new one could be elected. In June 2016, a special commission confirmed fraud and irregularities in the 2015 presidential and run-off parliamentary elections and scheduled a new first-   

267 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H round presidential election to be held in October. The elections were further postponed due to Hurricane Matthew and finally took place in November 2016. Jovenel Moïse won 56 percent of the vote. In response to fraud allegations made by opponents, an electoral tribunal conducted a verification process and con- firmed Moïse’s victory in January. Moïse was sworn in on February 7, 2017. Criminal Justice System Haiti’s prison system remained severely overcrowded, with many inmates living in inhumane conditions. In 2016, the United Nations estimated that nearly all in- mates in Haiti’s national prison system have access to less than one square meter of space and most are confined for 23 hours a day. According to the UN, overcrowding is largely attributable to high numbers of arbitrary arrests and the country’s large number of pretrial detainees. In May 2017, Haitian prisons housed more than 10,000 detainees, 71 percent of whom were awaiting trial. Illiteracy and Barriers to Education Illiteracy is a major problem in Haiti. According to the UN Development Fund, ap- proximately one-half of all Haitians age 15 and older is illiterate. The quality of education is generally low, and 85 percent of schools are run by private entities that charge school fees that can be prohibitively expensive for low income fami- lies. M ore than 500,000 children and youth remain out of primary and secondary school. Hurricane Matthew significantly impacted access to education, damag- ing 1,633 out of 1,991 schools in the most hard-hit areas. Accountability for Past Abuses The Human Rights Committee has called on Haiti to continue investigations into financial and human rights crimes allegedly committed during former President Jean-Claude Duvalier’s tenure as president from 1971-1986. It has called on Haiti to bring to justice all those responsible for serious human rights violations com- mitted during that time. Allegations of violations include arbitrary detentions, torture, disappearances, summary executions, and forced exile. Duvalier died in 2014, six months after the Port-of-Prince Court of Appeal ruled that the statute of limitations could not be applied to crimes against humanity   

268 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 and ordered that investigations against him should continue. As of November 2017, a re-opened investigation into crimes committed by Duvalier’s collabora- tors remained pending . Violence against Women Gender-based violence is a widespread problem. Haiti does not have specific legislation against domestic violence, sexual harassment, or other forms of vio- lence targeted at women. Rape is only criminalized according to a 2005 ministe- rial decree. In March 2016, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women called on Haiti to expedite the adoption of a draft law on violence against women. The political crisis prevented progress towards consideration of the bill or a similarly pending criminal code reform that would address gaps in protection. Destruction from Hurricane Matthew has forced many people to mi- grate to Port-au-Prince, leaving women and children in temporary shelters and camps, where they are more vulnerable to abuse. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons continue to suffer high levels of discrimination. In June 2017, the Haitian Senate introduced a bill regu- lating conditions for the issuance of the Certificat de Bonne Vie et Mœurs, a doc- ument that many employers and universities require. The bill lists homosexuality, alongside child pornography, incest, and commercial sexual ex- ploitation of children, as a reason to deny a citizen a certificate. In August 2017, the Haitian Senate passed another bill calling for a ban on gay marriage, as well as any public support or advocacy for LGBT rights. The bill states that “the parties, co-parties and accomplices” of a homosexual marriage can be punished by three years in prison and a fine of about US$8,000. The Senate approved both these bills, which were awaiting a vote in the Cham- ber of Deputies as of November 2017.   

269 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Children’s Domestic Labor Widespread use of child domestic workers—known as restavèks—continues. Restavèks, most of whom are girls, are sent from low-income households to live with wealthier families in the hope that they will be schooled and cared for in ex- change for performing light chores. Though difficult to calculate, some estimates suggest that between 225,000 and 300,000 children work as restavèks. These children are often unpaid, denied education, and physically or sexually abused. Haiti’s labor code does not set a minimum age for work in domestic services, though the minimum age for work in industrial, agricultural, and commercial en- terprises is 15. In February 2016, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on Haiti to criminalize the practice of placing children in domestic service. Deportation and Statelessness for Dominicans of Haitian Descent At least 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian migrants working in the Dominican Republic re-entered Haiti between June 2015 and May 2017, after Dominican officials deported more than 27,000 people, along with another 24,254 who were deported without official documentation—in accordance with a controversial 2015 regularization plan for foreigners in the Dominican Republic. Many others left under pressure or threat. Many deportations did not meet inter- national standards and many people have been swept up in arbitrary, summary deportations without any sort of hearing. Some of the poorest arrivals live in unofficial camps in the Anse a Pitres area, in harsh conditions with little or no access to basic services. Humanitarians relo- cated 580 families from these camps into housing in April and May 2016. Key International Actors In March, as insisted upon by Haiti, the UN Human Rights Council abruptly dis- continued the mandate of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Haiti, established in 1995. The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) has been operating since 2004 and has a mandate to contribute to efforts to improve public security, protect vulnerable groups, and strengthen the country’s democratic institutions. Follow-   

270 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 ing the end of MINUSTAH’s mandate in October 2017, the UN adopted a new, smaller peacekeeping mission, the UN Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MIN- UJUSTH). This successor mission began on October 16, 2017, and was slated to run for an initial six months. In October 2016, the UN deputy secretary-general announced the UN’s new ap- proach to cholera in Haiti, which included intensifying efforts to treat and elimi- nate cholera, and establishing a trust fund to raise $400 million to provide “material assistance” to those most affected by the epidemic. In a special ses- sion of the UN General Assembly in December 2016, the secretary-general apolo- gized on behalf of the UN’s role in the cholera outbreak, calling the provision of material assistance a “concrete expression” of the organization’s “regret” for the suffering of many Haitians. As of November 2017, only $13 million had been pledged to the New Approach from 33 member states. As of November 2017, no consultations had taken place between the UN and vic- tims of cholera on the development of the material assistance package. Mean- while, the UN has stated a preference for moving forward with community-based assistance projects instead of individual assistance for those whose family members have died from cholera. Victim advocates have criticized this as a de- parture from the promise to place victims at the center of the development of the new package. In August 2016, a United States federal court dismissed an appeal filed in 2013 by the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti and the Bureau des Avocats In- ternationaux on behalf of 5,000 victims of the epidemic. In August 2017, a fed- eral judge dismissed the only remaining class-action suit seeking compensation for Haitians from the UN, affirming the organization’s assertion of immunity. According to figures from the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services, at least 102 allegations of sexual abuse or exploitation have been made against MINUS- TAH personnel since 2007. The Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians in the US is set to end in July 2019, and would affect an estimated 60,000 Haitians who were permitted to stay in the US following the 2010 earthquake. After that time, they will lose per- mission to work legally in the US and face deportation back to Haiti.   

271 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Honduras Violent crime is rampant in Honduras. Despite a downward trend in recent years, the murder rate remains among the highest in the world. Journalists, environ- mental activists, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals are among those most vulnerable to violence. Efforts to reform the institutions responsible for providing public security have made little progress. Marred by corruption and abuse, the judiciary and police remain largely ineffective. Im- punity for crime and human rights abuses is the norm. The Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Impunity in Honduras (MACCIH), established in 2016 through an agreement between the government and the Organization of American States (OAS), has successfully promoted the passage of legislation aimed at curbing illegal funding for political campaigns. Police Abuse and Corruption In January 2017, President Juan Orlando Hernández announced that the Special Commission for Police Reform Restructuring will extend its mandate until 2018. As of May, nearly 4,000 of the more than 9,000 police officers evaluated by the commission had been removed, including many for alleged involvement in cor- ruption or criminal acts. However, none of the police officers expelled upon or- ders of the commission has been convicted to date for alleged involvement in criminal activities including human rights abuses. Judicial Independence Judges face interference from the executive branch and others, including private actors with connections in government. On June 30, the former vice-president of the defunct Judiciary Council, Teodoro Bonilla, was found guilty of influence ped- dling. Using his authority as a senior official of the judicial oversight body, Bonilla pressured two judges into favoring relatives of his who were charged with illegal weapons possession and money laundering.   

272 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Attacks on Journalists and Freedom of Expression, Association, and Assembly Twenty-five journalists were murdered between 2014 and 2016 according to the human rights ombudsman, CONADEH, which also revealed in its 2016 report that 91 percent of killings of journalists since 2001 remain unpunished.Most recently, journalist Carlos William Flores was shot and killed by unidentified gunmen on a motorcycle in Cortes, near the Guatemalan border. Flores directed a television “Sin Pelos en la Lengua,” which was critical of major agribusiness en- program , terprises linked to deforestation in the area. In February 2017, Congress approved a new penal code making it a criminal of- fense—punishable by a four to eight-year prison sentence—for individuals or media outlets to engage in the “apology, glorification, [or] justification” of terror- ism. The new legislation also defines as terrorist offenses any form of “illegal as- sociation” and acts “causing fear, putting in grave risk, or systematically and indiscriminately affecting the fundamental rights of the population or a part of it, the internal security of the State or the economic stability of the country.” These vague and unreasonably broad provisions could conceivably be used to bar peaceful protests and association meetings as terrorism. The Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) both expressed concern about the ambiguous formulation of the law and its potential to arbitrarily re- strict freedom of expression and of the press. Attacks on Lawyers, Human Rights Defenders, and Environmental Activists Lawyers and human rights defenders suffer threats, attacks, and killings. In 2016, CONADEH registered 16 violent attacks against lawyers, including 13 killings. The IACHR described Honduras in August 2016 as one of the “most hos- tile and dangerous countries for human rights defenders” in the Americas. To date, eight men have been charged with the murder in March 2016 of environ- mental and indigenous rights activist Berta Cáceres, including an army major and the former environment manager of Desarrollo Energético S.A. (DESA), the   

273 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H company behind the Agua Zarca dam project that Cáceres was campaigning against at the time of her death. The Mechanism for the Protection of Journalists, Human Rights Defenders and Operators of Justice, created in 2015, suffered from a lack of adequate resources and staffing, according to local activists. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Homophobic violence is a major problem in Honduras. Several UN agencies working in Honduras have noted that sexual violence against LGBT individuals forces them into “internal displacement” or to flee the country in search of inter- national protection. In July 2017, David Valle, project coordinator of the Center for LGBTI Cooperation and Development, was stabbed by a stranger in his home in Tegucigalpa. Valle had received repeated threats in the past. He survived the attack. Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights Under the criminal code, abortion is illegal without any exceptions in Honduras, and women and girls who terminate pregnancies can face prison sentences of up to six years. On May 5, 2017, the National Congress of Honduras voted against modifying the existing criminal code to allow abortion in cases of rape, grave fetal malformations and grave risks to the health of the woman. The law that re- mains in force also sanctions abortion providers and those who assist with pro- cedures. Children’s Rights In July 2017, the Honduran Congress unanimously passed a bill making all child marriage illegal. The new bill replaces legislation that previously allowed for girls to marry at 16 with permission from family. According to UNICEF, a third of Hon- duran girls are married before 18. In May 2017, President Juan Orlando Hernández launched an initiative to revise the criminal code to allow children as young 12 to be prosecuted as adults, rather than through the existing juvenile justice system, in violation of interna- tional standards.   

274 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Prison Conditions Inhumane conditions, including overcrowding, inadequate nutrition, and poor sanitation, are endemic to Honduran prisons. Designed to hold up to 8,000 in- mates, the country’s penal institutions held more than 17,500 in 2016, the last year for which reliable figures were available. Prison guards at many facilities have effectively relinquished control over the prison grounds to the inmates. Key International Actors At the behest of the Mission to Support the Fight against Corruption and Im- punity in Honduras (MACCIH), Congress passed the Law on Clean Politics, which came into force in March 2017. The law created a framework to prevent organized crime from contributing to political campaigns and to hold parties and candi- dates accountable for financing their campaigns illegally.In July 2017, the MAC- CIH announced that it would investigate the funding and government concession granted to DESA for the Agua Zarca Dam project for possible corruption and money laundering. For fiscal year 2017, the US Congress allotted US$95.3 million in bilateral aid to Honduras. Members of Congress reintroduced the “Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act” (H.R. 1299) on March 2, 2017. The bill would suspend US fund- ing for the country’s police and military operations until the Honduras govern- ment prosecutes and convicts those who ordered and carried out the murder of Cáceres, in addition to other killings and attacks against other activists; investi- gate and prosecute members of military and police forces who have allegedly vi- olated human rights; withdraw the military from domestic policing; establish effective protections for human rights defenders; and strengthen rule of law. In May 2016, after prosecutors filed murder charges against an employee of DESA, the Dutch development bank, FMO, and the Finnish Fund for Industrial Co- operation, Finnfund, announced they would suspend payments of their loans to that they Guardian the Agua Zarca Dam. In June 2017, both funders told the would withdraw completely from the Agua Zarca project. The third and largest in- vestor in the project, the Central American Bank of Economic Integration (CABEI), also announced that it would no longer fund the project.   

275 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H India Vigilante violence aimed at religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government—often carried out by groups claiming to support the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—became an increasing threat in India in 2017. The government failed to promptly or credibly investigate the attacks, while many senior BJP leaders publicly promoted Hindu supremacy and ultra-national- ism, which encouraged further violence. Dissent was labeled anti-national, and activists, journalists, and academics were targeted for their views, chilling free expression. Foreign funding regulations were used to target nongovernmental or- ganizations (NGOs) critical of government actions or policies. Lack of accountability for past abuses committed by security forces persisted even as there were new allegations of torture and extrajudicial killings, including in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, and Jammu and Kashmir. Supreme Court rulings in 2017 strengthened fundamental rights, equal rights for women, and accountability for security forces violations. In August, the court de- clared the right to individual privacy “intrinsic” and fundamental under the country’s constitution, and emphasized the constitution’s protections, including free speech, rule of law, and “guarantees against authoritarian behaviour.” ,” allowing Muslim talaq That month, the court also ended the practice of “triple men the right to unilaterally and instantaneously divorce their wives. In July, the court ordered an investigation into 87 alleged unlawful killings by government forces in Manipur state from 1979 to 2012. Violent Protests, Impunity for Security Forces In the first 10 months of 2017, there were 42 reported militant attacks in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in which 184 people were killed, including 44 security force personnel. Several were killed or injured as government forces attempted to contain violent protests. In May, the army gave a commendation to an officer who used a bystander un- lawfully as a “human shield” to evacuate security personnel and election staff from a mob in Jammu and Kashmir’s Budgam district.   

276 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 In a setback for accountability for security force abuses, the Armed Forces Tribu- nal in July suspended the life sentences of five army personnel who were con- victed in 2014 for a 2010 extrajudicial killing of three villagers in the Machil sector in Jammu and Kashmir. The government failed to review and repeal the abusive Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), in force in Jammu and Kashmir and in parts of India’s north- eastern region, which gives soldiers who commit violations effective immunity from prosecution. At time of writing, the government had yet to comply with a Supreme Court ruling civilian authorities should investigate all allegations of vio- lations by troops. Several parts of India witnessed violent protests in 2017. In August, at least 38 people were killed during protests in Haryana and Punjab led by supporters of a popular spiritual guru, after he was convicted of raping two female followers. In June, the West Bengal state government’s decision to make Bengali language mandatory in all schools triggered protests in Darjeeling district over the long- standing demand for a separate Gorkhaland state, killing eight. Five farmers were fatally shot in June in Madhya Pradesh state, allegedly by police, during protests demanding debt relief and better prices. In April, 26 paramilitary soldiers from the Central Reserve Paramilitary Force were killed in an ambush by Maoists in Chhattisgarh’s Sukma district. In June, Manjula Shetye died in a Mumbai prison after six prison staff allegedly beat and raped her. The case drew attention to mistreatment in custody, but po- lice reforms remained stalled. Treatment of Dalits, Tribal Groups, and Religious Minorities Mob attacks by extremist Hindu groups affiliated with the ruling BJP against mi- nority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid ru- mors that they sold, bought, or killed cows for beef. Instead of taking prompt legal action against the attackers, police frequently filed complaints against the victims under laws banning cow slaughter. As of November, there had been 38 such attacks, and 10 people killed during the year.   

277 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In July, even after Prime Minister Narendra Modi finally condemned such vio- lence, an affiliate organization of the BJP, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), announced plans to recruit 5,000 “religious soldiers” to “control cow smuggling and love jihad.” So-called love jihad, according to Hindu groups, is a conspiracy among Muslim men to marry Hindu women and convert them to Islam. Two people died in caste clashes between Dalits and members of an upper caste community in Uttar Pradesh in April and May. Between April and July, 39 people reportedly died from being trapped in toxic sewage lines, revealing how the in- human practice of “manual scavenging”—disposal of human waste by communi- ties considered low-caste— continues because of the failure to implement laws banning the practice. In November, following a two-week official visit to India, the United Nations spe- cial rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation, Léo Heller, called on the government to incorporate a human rights perspective into its national programs on water and sanitation, including the flagship Swachh Bharat Mission. As part of his preliminary findings, he said the government’s emphasis on constructing toilets to end open defecation should not “involuntar- ily contribute to violating fundamental rights of others,” including specific castes engaged in manual scavenging, or marginalized people, including ethnic minori- ties and those living in remote rural areas. Tribal communities remained vulnerable to displacement because of mining, dams, and other large infrastructure projects. Freedom of Expression Authorities in India continued to use sedition and criminal defamation laws against government critics. In June, police in Madhya Pradesh state arrested 15 Muslims on sedition charges for allegedly celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in a cricket match, despite Supreme Court directions that sedition allega- tions must involve actual violence or incitement to violence. After a public out- cry, the police dropped the sedition case but charged them with disturbing communal harmony. Also, in June, the Karnataka state assembly punished two editors for articles that allegedly defamed two of its members.   

278 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 In March, authorities in Maharashtra state charged a journalist for spying and criminal trespass for reporting that officers improperly used subordinates for personal work, filming on army premises without permission, and using a hid- den camera. Journalists faced increasing pressure to self-censor due to threat of legal action, smear campaigns and threats on social media, and even threats of physical at- tacks. In September, unidentified gunmen shot dead publisher and editor Gauri Lankesh, a vocal critic of militant Hindu nationalism, outside her home in Ben- galuru city. State governments resorted to blanket internet shutdowns either to prevent vio- lence or social unrest, or to respond to an ongoing law and order problem. By November, they had imposed 60 internet shutdowns, 27 of these in Jammu and Kashmir. In August, the government issued rules to govern temporary shutdown of the internet and telecommunications services in the event of “a public emer- gency or public safety [issue].” However, the rules do not specify what the gov- ernment considers to be a public emergency, or a threat. Civil Society and Freedom of Association Activists and human rights defenders faced harassment including under the For- eign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), which governs access to foreign funding for NGOs. In April, the government canceled the FCRA license of the Public Health Founda- tion of India (PHFI), one of country’s largest public health advocacy groups, ac- cusing it of diverting foreign funds to lobby parliamentarians, media, and the government. Although FCRA may be revoked if the groups violate procedures laid down in the law, the government’s political motivations became evident after the Centre for Promotion of Social Concerns (CPSC) challenged the government’s decision in the Delhi High Court. A January 2017 government affidavit in response accused CPSC of using foreign funding to share information with United Nations special rapporteurs and foreign embassies, “portraying India’s human rights record in negative light.” In November 2016, India’s National Human Rights Commission questioned the government’s decision not to renew the FCRA for CPSC and con-   

279 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H cluded: “Prima-facie it appears FCRA license non-renewal is neither legal nor ob- jective.” Women’s and Girls’ Rights Multiple high-profile cases of rape across the country during the year once again exposed the failures of the criminal justice system. Nearly five years after the government amended laws and put in place new guidelines and policies aimed at justice for survivors of rape and sexual violence, girls and women continue to face barriers to reporting such crimes, including humiliation at police stations and hospitals; lack of protection; and degrading “two-finger” tests by medical professionals to make characterizations about whether the victim was “habitu- ated to sex.” Rape survivors also lack adequate support services including health care, qual- ity legal assistance, and compensation. While women and girls should have ac- cess to safe abortions if they become pregnant after rape, several rape victims have had to petition courts in 2017, including in Delhi and Chandigarh, seeking safe abortion when denied by doctors. In a setback for women’s rights, in July the Supreme Court passed several direc- tives on section 498A of the penal code—the anti-dowry law—to curb what it said was “abuse” of the law, directing police not to make arrests until complaints are verified by family welfare committees, bodies the court recommended be com- prised of members of civil society, not police. Children’s Rights The murder of a 7-year-old boy in a private school in Haryana state in September highlighted that child sexual abuse is disturbingly common in homes, schools, and residential care facilities. In a deadly outcome resulting from state corruption and neglect, over 60 chil- dren died in a public hospital in Uttar Pradesh state in August when a private supplier cut off the oxygen supply after government officials failed to pay long- pending dues. Children’s education was frequently disrupted in areas facing conflict and vio- lent protests. Clashes between protesters and security forces in Jammu and   

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281 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Kashmir state that began in July 2016, continued to simmer throughout 2017, leading to frequent closing of schools and colleges. In May 2017, a student was killed by paramilitary forces inside a government school in Anantnag district dur- ing a violent protest. Schools and colleges also faced disruptions in Darjeeling district in West Bengal state after violent protests and strikes erupted in June over demands for a sepa- rate Gorkhaland state. In October, the Supreme Court ruled that sex with a girl younger than 18 was un- lawful, regardless of whether she is married or not, saying the exception for mar- ried girls was arbitrary and discriminatory. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In August, the Supreme Court, in its ruling that privacy is a fundamental right, gave hope to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in India by stating that section 377 of India’s penal code, which effectively criminalizes same-sex relationships between consenting adults, had a chilling effect on “the unhindered fulfilment of one’s sexual orientation, as an element of privacy and dignity.” In July, a parliamentary committee submitted a report examining the draft Trans- gender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, introduced in parliament in August 2016. The report recommended that the bill adopt a 2014 Supreme Court ruling, guaranteeing transgender people the right to self-determine their gender iden- tity. The committee also recommended the bill recognize transgender people’s right to marriage, partnership, divorce, and adoption. No date has been set for the Supreme Court to hear a set of curative petitions, filed in 2014, challenging the 2013 ruling that reinstated section 377 after a High Court had struck it down in 2009. Rights of Persons with Disabilities In April, India enacted a new mental health law that provides for mental health care and services for everyone and decriminalizes suicide. However, disability rights groups say much remains to be done to ensure that the law is properly en- forced.   

282 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Death Penalty There were no executions in 2017 but nearly 400 prisoners remained on death row. The number of people sentenced to death nearly doubled from 2015 to 2016, from 70 to 136. Most crimes for which capital punishment was handed down included murder, and murder involving sexual violence. Foreign Policy In May, India did not attend China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) summit in Bei- jing, citing sovereignty and procedural issues. The initiative is China’s major de- velopment campaign to build infrastructure connecting it to countries across Asia and beyond. Despite concerns over China’s influence, India intervened in Nepal to persuade the government to adopt inclusive policies that accommodated minority commu- nities in the southern part of the country. India continued to abstain, and even played a negative role, in country-specific resolutions at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and General Assembly. In September, Prime Minister Modi visited Burma amid a growing humanitarian crisis as more than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State fled to Bangladesh in the face of ethnic cleansing by Burmese security forces following attacks by a Rohingya militant group. India committed to providing aid for large- scale infrastructure and socio-economic development projects in Rakhine State, but did not call on the government to check abuses by its security forces or to amend its discriminatory citizenship law that effectively keeps the Rohingya stateless. At home, BJP leaders threatened to deport Rohingya refugees, saying they were illegal immigrants. Key International Actors In May, at India’s Universal Periodic Review at the UNHRC, countries raised nu- merous human rights issues and reminded India to fulfil its past commitments to ratify human rights conventions, including the Convention against Torture. Sev- eral countries, including the US, Norway, South Korea, Czech Republic, Switzer-   

283 H H C T A W S T H G I R N A M U land, Canada, Germany, and Sweden raised concerns over restrictions on civil society and called on India to ensure freedom of association. During Modi’s visit to the United States in June, a US-India joint statement reiter- ated cooperation on increasing trade and combating terrorism, including calling upon Pakistan to ensure that its territory is not used to launch terrorist attacks on other countries. There was not even a token mention of pressing human rights issues in India, including limits on free speech and attacks on religious minorities. China’s attempt to extend an unpaved road on the Doklam Plateau in June, part of the disputed territory between China and Bhutan, led to a three-month mili- tary standoff between India and China. India, competing with China for influence in the region, saw this as a move by China to extend its control. In August, both sides agreed to de-escalate tensions ahead of September’s BRICS (Brazil, Rus- sia, India, China, and South Africa) Summit in Xiamen, China.   

284 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Indonesia Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s government took small steps in 2017 to protect the rights of some of Indonesia’s most vulnerable people. In Sep- tember, the Attorney General’s Office announced that it had rescinded a job no- tice that not only barred lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) applicants, but suggested homosexuality was a “mental illness.” The govern- ment also quietly reduced its population of Papuan political prisoners from 37 in August 2016 to between one and five in August 2017. But the Jokowi government has consistently failed to translate the president’s rhetorical support for human rights into meaningful policy initiatives. Religious minorities continue to face harassment, intimidation from government authori- ties, and threats of violence from militant Islamists. Authorities continue to ar- rest, prosecute, and imprison people under Indonesia’s abusive blasphemy law. Papuan and Moluccan political prisoners remain behind bars for nonviolent ex- pression. And Indonesian security forces continue to pay little price for commit- ting abuses, including unlawful killings of Papuans. The government’s acquiescence in 2017 to generals and powerful thugs who seek to stifle discussion of the army-led 1965-66 massacres made Jokowi’s promised reconciliation mechanism for those atrocities appear increasingly un- likely. Jokowi and senior police generals also advocated adopting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s approach to suspected drug users and dealers: shoot-to-kill orders that have been accompanied in the Philippines by more than 12,000 summary executions of suspects. Following a 2016 deluge of government-driven anti-LGBT rhetoric, authorities in 2017 continued to target private gatherings and LGBT individuals—a serious threat to privacy and public health initiatives in the country. Freedom of Religion In March, a Jakarta court handed down five-year prison terms for blasphemy to two leaders of the Gerakan Fajar Nusantara (Gafatar) religious community, founder Ahmad Moshaddeq and president Mahful Muis Tumanurung; the group’s vice-president, Andry Cahya, received a three-year sentence.   

285 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H On May 9, a Jakarta court sentenced former Jakarta governor Basuki “Ahok” Pur- nama, a Christian, to a two-year prison sentence for blasphemy against Islam. That conviction followed the success of Islamist militant groups in making his blasphemy prosecution a centerpiece of efforts to defeat him in Jakarta’s guber- natorial election in April 2017. On August 21, Siti Aisyah, the owner of an Islamic school in Mataram, Lombok Is- land, was sentenced to 30 months in prison on blasphemy for “strange teach- ings.” In August, municipal governments in Java took steps to effectively shut down two mosques that espoused the ultra-conservative Wahabhi strain of Islam—Al Arqom mosque in Pekalongan and the Ahmad bin Hanbal mosque in Bogor—due to concerns that they could fuel “social turmoil.” In a landmark ruling in November, the Constitutional Court struck down a law prohibiting adherents of native faiths from listing their religion on official identi- fication cards. The ruling will help protect adherents of more than 240 such reli- gions from prosecution under Indonesia’s dangerously ambiguous blasphemy law . In early 2017, the Ministry of Religious Affairs drafted a religious rights bill that would further entrench the blasphemy law as well as government decrees mak- ing it difficult for religious minorities to obtain permits to construct houses of worship. The draft law, still pending at time of writing, would also impose exces- sively narrow criteria for a religion to receive state recognition. Freedom of Expression and Association On April 5, the Constitutional Court ruled that the central government could no longer repeal local Sharia (Islamic law) ordinances adopted by local govern- ments in Indonesia. It deprived the Home Ministry of the power to abolish ordi- nances that threaten universal rights to freedom of expression and association and violate the rights of women and LGBT people. On July 12, President Jokowi issued a decree amending the law that regulates nongovernmental organizations, enabling the government to fast-track the ban- ning of groups it considers “against Pancasila or promoting communism or advo- cating separatism.” Pancasila, or “five principles,” is Indonesia’s official state philosophy. Days later the government used the decree to ban Hizbut ut-Tahrir, a   

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287 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H conservative Islamist group that supports the creation of a Sharia-based Islamic caliphate. Women’s and Girls’ Rights Indonesia’s official Commission on Violence against Women reports that there are hundreds of discriminatory national and local regulations targeting women. They include local laws compelling women and girls to don the jilbab, or head- scarf, in schools, government offices, and public spaces. Indonesian female domestic workers in the Middle East continue to face abuse by employers, including long working hours, non-payment of salaries, and physi- cal and sexual abuse. Indonesia’s ban on women migrating for domestic work in the Middle East, imposed in 2015, has led to an increase in irregular migration of women seeking such work, increasing the risk of abuse and exploitation. Papua and West Papua In March 2017, the Indonesian government loosened its tight controls on visits by foreign observers to Papua, allowing Dainius Pūras, the United Nations spe- cial rapporteur on the right to health, to make a rare two-day visit. But foreign journalists seeking to report from Papua continue to face harassment, intimida- tion, and deportation despite Jokowi’s May 2015 commitment to lift the restric- tions. In March, Indonesian authorities deported French journalists Jean Frank Pierre and Basille Marie Longchamp from Timika. On May 11, six Japanese journalists were arrested and deported while filming in Wamena without reporting visas. In September, a police ethics panel inquiry ruled that four police officers were guilty of “improper conduct” when they deliberately opened fire on Papuan pro- testers in the Deiyai region on August 1, killing a young man. The panel ruled that their punishment should be limited to demotions and public apologies rather than criminal prosecution.   

288 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity On April 30, police raided a private gathering of gay men in Surabaya, arrested and detained 14 men, and subjected them to HIV tests without their consent. On May 21, police raided the Atlantis club in Jakarta, arrested 141 men, and charged 10 for holding an alleged gay sex party. Officers allegedly paraded the suspects naked in front of media and interrogated them still unclothed, a claim the police deny. On May 23, Aceh, Indonesia’s only province that implements Sharia, flogged two gay men each 83 times. The two, ages 20 and 23, were found in bed together by vigilantes who entered their private accommodation in March. This was the first caning of gay men in Indonesia. On June 8, government officials in Medan apprehended five “suspected les- bians” and ordered their parents to supervise them—then shared a video of the raid and the names of the five women with reporters. On September 2, police and local government officials unlawfully raided the homes of 12 women in Bogor, West Java, alleging they were “suspected les- bians.” Police recorded the women’s personal details and ordered them to relo- cate from the area within three days. Military Reform and Impunity In August, Indonesian police and military personnel forced the cancellation of a public workshop on financial compensation for victims of the state-sanctioned massacres of 1965-66, in which the military and military-backed militias and vig- ilantes killed an estimated 500,000 to 1 million people. Victims included sus- pected members of the Communist Party of Indonesia (PKI), ethnic Chinese, trade unionists, teachers, activists, and artists. Security forces “interrogated and intimidated” organizers, claiming they lacked a permit. On September 16, authorities prevented the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute from host- ing a seminar about the massacres. Police and military officers surrounded the compound, preventing participants from entering the building on the pretext that the organizers lacked a permit for the gathering.   

289 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Children’s Rights Thousands of children continue to perform hazardous work on tobacco farms. They are exposed to nicotine, toxic pesticides, and other dangers, which can have lasting impacts on health and development. The government pledged to eradicate child labor by 2022. In meetings with Human Rights Watch in late 2016 and 2017, government officials said they had begun activities to raise awareness about the health risks to children of tobacco farming. However, authorities have not changed laws or regulations to protect children from hazardous work on tobacco farms. Disability Rights Despite a 1977 government ban on the practice, families and traditional healers continue to shackle people with psychosocial disabilities, sometimes for years at a time. Enforcement of the ban has been long delayed, but in 2017 the govern- ment announced steps to improve access to mental health services, a key com- ponent of its campaign to eliminate shackling. Health ministry officials claim that in 2017 the government accredited about 2,000 community health centers, certifying their capacity to respond to 155 con- ditions including psychosocial disabilities, and oversaw the training of some 25,000 trainers, people who are to in turn train primary health staff on improved responses to and community outreach around a range of health issues, includ- ing mental health. In April, UN Special Rapporteur on Health Dainius Pūras urged the government to scale-up its campaign against shackling and ensure it is not replaced by other forms of restraint that violate human rights. Extrajudicial Killings On July 20, National Police Chief Gen. Tito Karnavian called for combating drugs The next day, President Jokowi issued an . in Indonesia by shooting drug dealers order instructing police who encounter foreign drug dealers who resist arrest to “Gun them down. Give no mercy.”   

290 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 According to a University of Melbourne analysis, Indonesian police killed an esti- mated 49 suspected drug dealers in the first six months of 2017, a sharp rise from the 14 such killings in all of 2016 and 10 in all of 2015. Key International Actors In September 2017, Indonesia rejected 58 human rights recommendations made by United Nations member states as part of Indonesia’s Universal Periodic Re- view before the UN Human Rights Council. The recommendations targeted issues including threats to the rights of LGBT people, the abusive blasphemy law, and the death penalty. An Indonesian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official responded weakly, describing the recommendations as “hard to accept” given “Indonesian conditions.” On July 14, Indonesia announced that it was renaming a part of the South China Sea the “North Natuna Sea.” The newly named body of water encompasses a re- gion of the sea north of Indonesia’s Natuna Island that partly falls within the in- famous “nine dash line,” marking the area of the South China Sea that China claims as its own. The Chinese government has condemned the renaming as “not conducive to the effort of the international standardization of the name of places.” In September, Indonesia took the initiative to provide humanitarian aid to ethnic Rohingya refugees along the Burma-Bangladesh border. Jokowi deplored the vio- lence against the Rohingya and dispatched his foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, to meet with Burmese de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to express Indonesia’s concern about the Rohingya’s plight. In October, the National Security Archive, a US nongovernmental public trans- parency organization, released 39 declassified documents from the US Embassy in Jakarta that show US diplomatic personnel were fully aware of army-orches- trated mass killings as they were unfolding in late 1965 and early 1966 in In- donesia. The documents underscore the need for the US and Indonesian governments to fully disclose all related classified materials to provide an accu- rate historical record of the killings and to provide justice for the crimes.   

291 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Iran President Hassan Rouhani secured a second four-year term in office in May 2017, in an election marked by debate over the state of civil and political rights in Iran. Executions, especially for drug-related offenses, continued at a high rate. Au- thorities in the security apparatus and Iran’s judiciary continued to target jour- nalists, online media activists, and human rights defenders in an ongoing crackdown that showed blatant disregard for international and domestic legal standards. Death Penalty The judiciary continued to execute individuals at a high rate, particularly for drug offenses. Human rights groups reported that Iran executed at least 476 individu- als as of November 27, 2017, including five individuals who were sentenced to death for crimes they allegedly committed as children. On August 13, the Iranian parliament approved a long-awaited amendment to the country’s drug law that significantly raises the bar for a mandatory death sentence for drug-related offenses. The Guardian Council, a body of 12 Islamic jurists, approved the amendment in October and the law went to force on No- vember 14. On November 21, Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, prosecutor of Tehran, stated that 3,300 individuals convicted of drug offenses have filed appeals under the new law. Under Iran’s penal code that went into force in 2013, judges can use their discre- tion not to sentence children to death. However, a number of individuals who were retried under this provision for crimes they allegedly committed as children have been sentenced to death anyway. Iranian law considers acts such as “insulting the prophet,” apostasy, same-sex relations, adultery, and certain non-violent drug-related offenses as crimes pun- ishable by death. On August 28, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tababi, the lawyer of Mo- hammadi Ali Taheri, a spiritual teacher and the founder of the spiritual group of Erfan-e-Halghe (Circle of Mysticism), announced that his client was sentenced to death for the second time on a charge of “sowing corruption on earth.” Previ- ously, in 2011, a revolutionary court had sentenced Taheri to five years in prison,   

292 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 but in 2015 tried him again for corruption on earth and sentenced him to death. The Supreme Court rejected the ruling in 2016. Due Process Rights and Treatment of Prisoners Iranian courts, and particularly revolutionary courts, regularly fell short of provid- ing fair trials and used confessions obtained under torture as evidence in court. Authorities routinely restrict detainees’ access to legal counsel, particularly dur- ing the investigation period. Several individuals charged with national security crimes suffered from a lack of adequate access to medical care in detention. In August, authorities refused to allow the hospitalization of Arash Sadeghi, a 30-year-old human rights defender, who suffers from digestive complications following his long-term hunger strike in February. Zeinab Jalalian, a Kurdish prisoner who is serving a life in prison sen- tence in Khoy prison in West Azarbaijan province, is reportedly in urgent need of medical treatment for her eye. In 2017, several political prisoners in Rajai Shahr and Evin prisons, including Saeed Shirzad, a child rights activist, embarked on a hunger strike to protest their prison conditions. Freedom of Expression, Association, and Assembly On December 19, 2016, President Rouhani announced the Charter on Citizens’ Rights, which largely reiterated rights and protections that already exist in the constitution and domestic law. In the absence of a mechanism for enforcement, however, it is unclear whether the charter will add real protections. Authorities continued to restrict freedoms of expression, association, and as- sembly and prosecuted dozens of journalists, online media activists, and trade unionists on charges of “acting against national security,” “propaganda against the state,” and “assembly and collusion to disrupt national security,” merely for exercising their legitimate rights. On August 29, Ali Mojtahedzadeh, the lawyer of six administrators of channels on the social media application Telegram who were close to reformists arrested before the May presidential elections, told Ilna news agency that Branch 15 of Tehran’s revolutionary court had sentenced his clients to three to five years in prison.   

293 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In March, the Intelligence Ministry arrested journalists Hengameh Shahidi and Zeinab Karmianian and detained them for nearly five months. They were re- leased on August 29. Authorities from the Judiciary Intelligence Agency arrested Sasan Aghaei, 34, deputy editor of the reformist daily Etemad, and Yaghma Fashkhami, a journalist for the Didban Iran website, at their offices in Tehran on August 13 and 22, re- spectively. As of November, authorities have not charged either individual with a recognizable crime. Authorities sent back to prison several prominent trade unionists whom they had sentenced to prison for peaceful activities but later released. Authorities ar- rested Ismael Abdi, secretary general of the Teachers’ Union, and Mahmoud Be- heshti Langeroudi, the union’s spokesperson, on June 7 and September 13, respectively, while they were out on furlough. On August 9, Reza Shahabi, a prominent labor activist, returned to prison to serve the remainder of his six-year prison sentence in order to prevent the judiciary from seizing his bail. Shahabi had been released on medical grounds in May 2014. Human Rights Defenders and Political Prisoners Scores of human rights defenders and political activists remain behind bars for their peaceful activism. Atena Daemi, a child rights activist, is still serving a seven-year prison sentence from November 2016 for peaceful activism. Abdolfa- tah Soltani, a prominent human rights lawyer who has been in prison since 2011, is serving a 13-year prison sentence for his human rights work, including co- founding the Defenders of Human Rights Center. Zia Nabavi, a student activist, is serving a 10-year prison sentence in Karoon prison in the city of Ahvaz. On March 16, Narges Mohammadi, a prominent human rights defender who was arrested in June 2015 to serve the remainder of her six-year prison sentence, began serving a new sentence of 10 years in prison on charges including “mem- bership in the banned campaign of Step by Step to Stop the Death Penalty.” Over the past three years, authorities have prosecuted, on charges of cooperat- ing with foreign states, several Iranian dual nationals and foreign nationals who have traveled to Iran. These include Siamak Namazi, a businessman, and his 81-   

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295 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H year-old father Baquer, as well as Nazanin Zaghari Radcliffe, Nizar Zakka, and Xiyue Wang. Former presidential election candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir Hossein Mousavi, as well as Mousavi’s wife Zahra Rahnavard, who is a scholar, have re- mained under house arrest without charge or trial since February 2011. Their families have reported that the health of all three has deteriorated and that they have been denied access to adequate healthcare. Women’s Rights Iranian women face discrimination in personal status matters related to mar- riage, divorce, inheritance, and child custody. A virgin woman needs her male guardian’s approval for marriage regardless of her age, and Iranian women can- not pass on their nationality to their foreign-born spouses or their children. A married woman may not obtain a passport or travel outside the country without the written permission of her husband. Under the civil code, a husband is ac- corded the right to choose the place of living and can prevent his wife from hav- ing certain occupations if he deems them against “family values.” In 2017, Human Rights Watch documented how in this discriminatory environ- ment, and in the face of government policies that do not afford adequate protec- tion against discrimination in the public and private sectors, women are marginalized in the economy, constituting only 16 percent of the workforce. The rate of unemployment for women is 20 percent, twice that of men. During his reelection campaign, President Rouhani criticized women’s marginal- ization in the economy and vowed to increase their presence in decision-making roles in his government. He did not, however, select a female minister despite expectations that he would do so by many, including members of parliament. On June 9, Iran reportedly allowed 300 women to attend a volleyball game be- tween Iran and Belgium national teams, but only 30 of those tickets were sold to the public. Authorities, prevent girls and women from attending certain sporting events, including men’s soccer.   

296 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Treatment of Minorities, Migrants, Rights of People with Disabilities Iranian law denies freedom of religion to Baha’is and discriminates against them. At least 92 Baha’is were held in Iran’s prisons as of November 2017. On September 18 and October 31, Mahvash Sabet, Fariba Kamal Abadi, and Behrouz Kamali, three of the seven members of the former leadership group of the Ba- ha’is in Iran, were released from prison after serving their 10-year prison sen- tence. The government also discriminates against other religious minorities, including Sunni Muslims, and restricts cultural as well as political activities among the country’s Azeri, Kurdish, Arab, and Baluch ethnic minorities. On August 2, Molavi Abdolhamid, a prominent Sunni leader, wrote a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei asking him to remove restrictions on the appointment and employment of Sunnis in Sunni-majority areas and to remove restrictions on Friday prayer assemblies in major cities in Iran. Ayatollah Khamenei reportedly responded that Iranian law and Sharia oblige officials not to discriminate between Iranians based on religion or ethnicity according to law and Sharia. On October 8, the court of administrative justice suspended Sepanta Niknam, a Zoroastrian member of the Yazd City Council, because of his religion. In 2015, Iran reportedly allowed all Afghan children, including undocumented ones, to enroll in schools after Ayatollah Khamenei issued a ruling emphasizing that “no Afghan child, even the undocumented ones, should be left out of school.” On September 14, 2017, Seyed Mohammad Bathaie, Iran’s Minister of Education, announced that 370,000 Afghans and other foreign students have enrolled in schools in Iran. In 2017, Human Rights Watch documented that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) had recruited Afghan children residing in Iran to fight as combatants in Syria in its Fatemiyoun division. Under Iranian law, same-sex conduct is punishable by flogging and, in the case of two men, can be punished by the death penalty. Although Iran permits and subsidizes sex reassignment surgery for transgender people, no law prohibits discrimination against them. On September 14, Nasser Atabati, prosecutor of   

297 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Ardebil province, told media that six people have been arrested in Ardebil for promoting homosexuality on the Telegram messaging platform. In March 2017, before the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Iran denied alle- gations that coercive treatment and electric shocks were being used against les- bian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. On April 12, in its concluding observation, the Committee on the Rights of Per- sons with Disabilities expressed concerns over violation of disability rights by the Iranian government in many areas including preventing and punishing vio- lence and abuse, access to justice, and denial of legal capacity. The committee also recommended that Iran brings its legislation in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Iran ratified in 2009. At time of writing, a new Bill on Protecting Rights of Persons with Disabilities was under consideration in a specially designated commission in the parliament. Key International Actors Iran continues to provide the Syrian government with military assistance and plays an influential role alongside Russia and Turkey in the Syria negotiations currently taking place in Astana, Kazakhstan. Human Rights Watch has docu- mented a pattern of deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, as well as torture by the Syrian government. On October 13, US President Donald Trump announced he was not certifying Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council, plus Germany and the European Union. Instead, Trump asked Congress to re-evaluate conditions for re- imposing sanctions on Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has maintained that Iran is complying with the terms of the agreement.   

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299 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Iraq Multinational military operations in Iraq against the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) intensified over 2017, including major operations to retake Mosul and Telafar. Iraqi armed forces, including army, federal police, Pop- ular Mobilization Forces, and Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) forces, were supported by Iran and the 73-nation Global Coalition against ISIS, led by the United States. Fighting displaced at least 3.2 million Iraqis, over 1 million of them to the Kurdis- tan Region of Iraq (KRI). ISIS used civilians as human shields, carried out chemi- cal attacks and targeted fleeing civilians, before being defeated in most of Iraq. In their battle against ISIS, Iraqi forces summarily executed, tortured, and forcibly disappeared hundreds of ISIS suspects. Communities in former ISIS-con- trolled territory took actions of collective punishment against families of sus- pected ISIS members, displacing them and destroying their property with the complicity of government forces. Since 2014, mostly Shia armed groups under the authority of a government body known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (the PMF or Hashd al-Sha’abi), have played a significant military and security role in the battle against ISIS. Over 2017, authorities integrated more armed groups made up predominately of other religious groups into the PMF, some with very little formal military training. On September 25, despite the opposition of the federal Iraqi government and most of the international community, the KRG held a non-binding referendum on independence in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq as well as in disputed territories under KRG de facto control. After the referendum, which passed, the federal Iraqi government issued a set of demands including that Kurdish authorities nullify the results of the referendum and withdraw from Kirkuk, a major city in the dis- puted territories 85 kilometers south of Erbil, and surrounding military and oil in- stallations. On October 16, a range of Iraqi forces retook parts of the disputed territories some of which had been under de facto KRG control since 2003. In the context of the operations, thousands of Kurdish families fled their homes as Iraqi forces arrived, and some Iraqi forces looted and burned homes in the town of Tuz Khurmatu.   

300 O O E R D L R P W R T 2 0 1 8 ISIS Abuses Since 2014, ISIS forces have carried out the most serious human rights abuses, war crimes and crimes against humanity. The United Nations-mandated Inde- pendent International Commission of Inquiry (COI) on abuses in the conflict in neighboring Syria, where ISIS is also active, found that ISIS forces were responsi- ble for acts of genocide. ISIS’s struggle for power since 2011 has been marked by hundreds of suicide and car bombing attacks, killing thousands of civilians, in- cluding through the use of child soldiers. In territory under its control in 2017, fighters continued to resort to ill-treatment, including sexual violence, as well as public beheadings and other grotesque killings and acts of torture as a method of governing through fear. ISIS’s Diwan al-Hisba (Moral Policing Administration) subjected the mostly Sunni populated areas under its control to severe restrictions and punishments, in- cluding executions of allegedly gay men, stonings of individuals for alleged adul- tery, and prohibition on the use of cell phones and cigarettes. It imposed severe restrictions on women and girls’ clothing and freedom of movement. Sunni women and girls have said that they were only allowed to leave their houses niqab dressed in full face veil ( ) and accompanied by a close male relative. These rules, enforced by beating or fines on male family members or both, isolated women from family, friends, and public life. ISIS also taxed families living under its control, confiscated property of those that fled, raided banks and stole money, gold and other valuables. ISIS de- stroyed mosques, shrines, churches, statues, tombs, and other religious and ar- chaeological sites throughout areas under its control, and looted and sold valuable cultural artifacts to help finance its operations. In June 2017, its fighters destroyed the Grand al-Nuri Mosque in Mosul, where its leader Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi declared the caliphate three years earlier. These acts represent war crimes. In its battles against anti-ISIS forces, the group also has carried out chemical at- tacks and launched ground-fired munitions into civilian populated areas. Fight- ers have hidden themselves among civilians in protected objects like hospitals, using civilians as human shields during operations, and firing on civilians trying to flee. In the midst of its battles, ISIS has also carried out mass executions of civilians under its control, leaving many mass graves in its wake.   

301 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Treatment of ISIS Suspects Iraqi and KRG forces are screening people leaving ISIS-controlled areas in order to arrest ISIS suspects. The screening process relies on official wanted lists or identification by community members. As part of this process, KRG forces have stopped hundreds of families fleeing ISIS-controlled areas, for weeks or even months at a time, citing security concerns about ISIS fighters present among them or their affiliation with ISIS. In many cases they stopped families at check- points on the frontlines of fighting, preventing their access to more secure areas and to humanitarian assistance. The judicial systems of both the federal Iraqi and the KRG authorities are prose- cuting thousands of ISIS suspects under their respective counterterrorism legis- lation, primarily for membership in or providing support to ISIS, as well as for killings and other acts enshrined in counterterrorism legislation. Authorities have made no efforts to solicit victims’ or witnesses’ participation in the trials. Authorities are detaining ISIS suspects in overcrowded and in some cases inhu- mane conditions. They are failing to segregate some detained children from adult detainees. Authorities are also systematically violating the due process rights of ISIS suspects, such as guarantees in Iraqi law for detainees to see a judge within 24 hours, to have access to a lawyer throughout interrogations, and to have families notified of their detention and to able to communicate with them. Numerous detainees have alleged that authorities forced them to confess by using torture. ISIS convicts may be entitled to release in federal Iraq under the General Amnesty Law passed in August 2016 (no.27/2016). The law offers amnesty to those who can demonstrate they joined ISIS or another extremist group against their will and did not commit any serious offense before August 2016. According to the Justice Ministry, by February 2017 authorities had released 756 convicts under the Amnesty Law, but it is unclear whether judges are consistently apply- ing this law and the percentage of those convicted for ISIS affiliation among the released. The KRG has not passed any amnesty law, and a KRG spokesperson said none was under consideration.   

302 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Collective Punishment of Families of Suspected ISIS-Affiliates Local officials have forcibly displaced hundreds of families of suspected ISIS- members in Anbar, Babil, Diyala, Salah al-Din, and Nineveh governorates. Iraqi forces have done little to stop these abuses, and in some instances participated in them, moving the families to open-air prison camps. In May, local communi- ties in Nineveh carried out grenade and other attacks on ISIS families, and is- sued threatening letters and demands to deny the families humanitarian assistance. As a result, many of these families were forced to move to nearby camps housing families displaced by the fighting in Mosul. At time of writing, Iraqi authorities were detaining around 1,400 foreign women and children who had been in Iraqi custody since they surrendered with ISIS fighters in late Au- gust. Abuses by Anti-ISIS Forces Ill-Treatment and Executions The battle against ISIS has afforded Iraqi government and KRG forces the latitude to carry out serious abuses under the guise of fighting terror. For example, dur- ing the operations to retake Mosul, Iraqi forces tortured and executed those cap- tured in and around the battlefield with complete impunity, sometimes even after posting photos and videos of the abuses on social media sites. Indiscriminate Bombardment Iraqi and US-led coalition forces bombarded civilian objects including homes and hospitals in ISIS-held areas. They have fired inherently imprecise ground- fired munitions, including mortars, grad rockets and Improvised Rocket-Assisted Munitions (IRAM), into densely populated civilian areas. In addition, aircraft have dropped explosive weapons with wide-area effects on these areas. By the coalition’s own admission, its aircraft have unintentionally killed at least 624 civilians. Prime Minister al-Abadi said that between 970 and 1,260 civilians were killed during the battle to capture Mosul but provided no details on how those num- bers were reached. It is likely that Iraqi and coalition forces have killed many thousands of civilians in the course of their military operations against ISIS.   

303 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Death Penalty Iraq has long had one of the highest rates of executions in the world, ranked number four after China, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Iraqi law permits the death penalty against adults for a range of crimes, including offenses under the coun- terterrorism law. In the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, the KRG implemented a de facto moratorium on the death penalty in 2008, banning it “except in very few cases which were considered essential,” per a KRG spokesperson. Currently, federal Iraqi authorities are conducting executions without publicizing any official numbers or sharing this information with international actors. Human Rights Watch is aware of at least 78 executions of individuals convicted of ISIS affiliation. In August, the Higher Judicial Council stated that the Nineveh coun- terterrorism court had sentenced four ISIS suspects to death, three of whom had been ISIS police and one responsible for recruiting fighters. A judge at the court told Human Rights Watch that the court had issued many more death sentences but could not provide numbers. The expedited nature of the ISIS trials in Nineveh’s court, with the completion in six months of 5,000 con- viction hearings now in the sentencing phase, raises the concern that courts will issue many death sentences despite serious due process shortcomings. The Iraqi criminal code prohibits the use of the death penalty against children. However, Prime Minister al-Abadi stated in September that judges are deciding whether to sentence to death a German girl for communicating with ISIS, a crime under the counterterrorism law. Women’s Rights Women have few legal protections to shield them from domestic violence. Iraq’s criminal code includes provisions criminalizing physical assault, but lacks any explicit mention of domestic violence. While sexual assault is criminalized, arti- cle 398 provides that such charges be dropped if the assailant marries the vic- tim. A 2012 Ministry of Planning study found that at least 36 percent of married women reported experiencing some form of psychological abuse from their hus- bands, 23 percent reported verbal abuse, 6 percent reported physical violence, and 9 percent reported sexual violence. While more recent national studies are   

304 O W 1 0 2 T R 8 P E R D L R O not available, women’s rights organizations continue to report a high rate of do- mestic violence. In 2015, Iraqi officials published a deeply flawed draft domestic violence law, but parliament has yet to pass it or to consider a range of amendments for which women’s rights advocates have been petitioning. Iraq’s criminal code does not prohibit same-sex intimacy, although article 394 makes it illegal to engage in extra-marital sexual relations. Key International Actors The US-led Global Coalition against ISIS, including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, as well as Iranian and Turkish forces, have supported Iraqi and Kurdish troops in the war against ISIS since 2014. The US-led coalition carried out over 24,160 airstrikes on ISIS targets since Au- gust 2014. The United States, with 5,000 troops in Iraq, was the largest provider of equipment to the Iraqi military, and Germany the largest provider to the KRG’s Peshmerga forces. In light of the rampant impunity of Iraqi security forces, Human Rights Watch called on foreign governments to end military assistance to units involved in laws of war violations and explain publicly any suspension of military assistance, including the grounds for doing so.   

305 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Israel and Palestine The Israeli government continued to enforce severe and discriminatory restric- tions on Palestinians’ human rights; restrict the movement of people and goods into and out of the Gaza Strip; and facilitate the unlawful transfer of Israeli citi- zens to settlements in the occupied West Bank. Punitive measures taken by the Palestinian Authority (PA) exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused by the closure enforced by Israel. The PA in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza esca- lated crackdowns on dissent, arbitrarily arresting critics, and abusing those in their custody. In February, the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, passed the Regularization Law, which allows Israel to retroactively expropriate private Palestinian land on which settlements have been built, though it agreed in March to suspend implementa- tion pending a ruling by the High Court of Justice on its legality. Between July 2016 and June 2017, Israeli authorities authorized construction work on more than 2,000 new housing units for settlers in the West Bank, excluding East Jerusalem. Israel operates a two-tiered system in the West Bank that provides preferential treatment to Israeli settlers while imposing harsh conditions on Palestinians. While settlements expanded in 2017, Israeli authorities destroyed 381 homes and other property, forcibly displacing 588 people as of November 6, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as part of discriminatory practices that reject al- most all building permit applications submitted by Palestinians. Israel continued to maintain its decade-long effective closure of Gaza, exacer- bated by Egypt’s keeping its own border with Gaza largely sealed, and to impose restrictions that limit supply of electricity and water, restrict access to medical care and educational and economic opportunity, and perpetuate poverty. Ap- proximately 70 percent of Gaza’s 1.9 million people rely on humanitarian assis- tance. Periodic shutdowns of Gaza’s only power plant, a result of a dispute between Fatah and Hamas over who should pay for fuel needed to operate the plant, and the decision by the Israeli government in June to accede to a PA request to cut the electricity it sells to the PA for use in to Gaza, significantly reduced electricity supply in Gaza, leaving households for stretches with four hours or less of elec-   

306 2 T R O P E R D L R O W 0 1 8 tricity a day. Power outages jeopardize water supply, interfere with sewage treat- ment, and cripple hospital operations. Tensions around the Al-Aqsa/Temple Mount compound in July-August 2017 trig- gered an escalation in violence. Israeli security forces used lethal force against demonstrators and against suspected attackers in the West Bank and at the Gaza border. Palestinian assailants, most of them apparently acting without the formal sponsorship of any armed group, carried out stabbings and occasional shootings against Israelis. Between January 1 and November 6, 2017, Israeli security forces killed 62 Pales- tinians, including 14 children, and injured at least 3,494 Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel, including protesters, suspected assailants or members of armed groups, and bystanders. Palestinians killed at least 15 Israelis during this same time, including 10 security officers, and injured 129 in conflict-related inci- dents in the West Bank and Israel. In April and May, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners spent 40 days on hunger strike seeking better conditions. As of November 1, Israeli authorities incarcer- ated 6,154 inmates on what they consider security grounds, the overwhelming majority Palestinian, including 3,454 convicted prisoners, 2,247 pretrial de- tainees and 453 administrative detainees held without charge or trial, according to the Israel Prison Service. The PA and Hamas arrested activists who criticized their leaders, security forces, or policies, and mistreated and tortured some in their custody. The Independent Commission for Human Rights in Palestine (ICHR), a statutory commission charged with monitoring human rights compliance by the Palestinian authori- ties, received 205 complaints of torture and ill-treatment by PA security forces and 193 such complaints against Hamas security forces as of October 31. Hamas authorities executed six people during this same period following trials that lacked appropriate due process protections.   

307 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Gaza Strip Closure Israel’s near-total closure of the Gaza Strip, particularly restrictions on move- ment of people and on outgoing goods, together with Egypt keeping its border with Gaza mostly closed, continued to have severe consequences for the civilian population. Travel through the Ere Crossing, Gaza’s passenger crossing to Israel, the West Bank, and the outside world, is limited to what the Israeli military calls “excep- tional humanitarian cases,” meaning mostly medical patients, their compan- ions, and prominent businesspersons. In the first 10 months of 2017, an average of about 230 Palestinians exited Erez each day, compared to the average of more than 24,000 Palestinians who crossed each day in September 2000, just before the second “Intifada” or Pales- tinian uprising, began. Outgoing goods in the same period averaged 207 truck- loads per month, mostly produce to be sold in the West Bank and Israel, just 19 percent of the average 1,064 truckloads per month that exited prior to the June 2007 tightening of the closure. Israeli restrictions on the delivery of construction materials to Gaza and a lack of funding have impeded reconstruction of the 17,800 housing units severely dam- aged or destroyed during Israel’s 2014 military operation in Gaza. About 29,000 people who lost their homes remain displaced. The Israeli government sought to justify the restrictions by saying that construction materials can be used for mili- tary purposes, including fortifying tunnels; it allowed only limited quantities to enter, under the supervision of international organizations. Measures taken by the PA to pressure Hamas further exacerbated the impact of the closure. Its decision in January to stop buying fuel from Israel that it had been supplying to Hamas authorities and its request in May for Israel to cut the electricity the Israeli government sells to the PA for use in Gaza significantly re- duced already limited electricity supply, imperiling critical health, water, and sanitation services. Patients in Gaza seeking treatment outside Gaza faced lengthening delays in ob- taining approvals from the PA. While the PA approved 99 percent of applications   

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309 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H within seven days of submission between January and May, that number dropped to 36 percent between June and August and 32 percent in September, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). In addition, in September, Is- rael authorities denied or delayed permits with no response by the time of the appointment to 45 percent of patients seeking treatment outside Gaza. As of Au- gust, 40 percent of medications on the “essential drug list” were are at zero stock in Gaza, according to the WHO. Egypt also blocked all regular movement of goods at the crossing with Gaza that it controls, with narrow exceptions mostly for medical patients, those holding foreign passports, residencies or visas, including students, and pilgrims to Mecca. Between January and October, an average of about 2,766 persons monthly crossed through Rafah in both directions, compared with an average of 40,000 per month in the first half of 2013, prior to the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy. Israel As of November 6, lethal force by Israeli forces resulted in the killing of 17 and in- juring of at least 215 Palestinians in Gaza, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported. The Israeli authorities have declared an area inside Gaza near the border with Is- rael to be a “no-go” zone, justifying it as a means to prevent cross-border at- tacks. Israeli soldiers fire at people who enter that zone and at fishermen who venture beyond six nautical miles from the shore—the area to which Israel re- stricts Gaza fishing boats. Israel temporarily expanded the fishing zone to nine miles between May and June and again between October and December. Israel says it restricts access to the sea to prevent the smuggling of weapons into Gaza. Hamas and Palestinian Armed Groups In 2017, Palestinian armed groups launched 10 rockets into Israel from Gaza as of October 31, causing no casualties but generating fear and disruption in af- fected cities and towns. These rockets cannot be accurately aimed at military ob- jectives and amount to indiscriminate or deliberate attacks on civilians when directed at Israeli population centers. Hamas, which has internal control over   

310 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Gaza, is responsible for policing the border and the territory it controls and act- ing to ensure that unlawful attacks do not take place. Hamas authorities arrested scores of protesters following demonstrations in Jan- uary related to the electricity crisis in Gaza as well as activists, journalists, and critics throughout the year. In addition, Gaza’s civilian authorities executed three men in April convicted of collaboration with Israel and three men in May convicted of killing a Hamas leader after trials rife with due process violations, including reliance on confes- sions in a system where coercion and torture are prevalent. In Gaza, where laws differ somewhat from those in the West Bank, having “un- natural intercourse” of a sexual nature, understood to include same-sex relation- ships, is a crime punishable by up to 10 years in prison. West Bank Israel In the West Bank, as of November 6, Israeli security forces fatally shot 42 Pales- tinians and wounded at least 3,279, including passersby, demonstrators, and those suspected of attacking Israelis. In many cases, video footage and witness accounts strongly suggest that forces used excessive force. In this same period, attacks by settlers killed three Palestinians, injured 49, and damaged property in 106 incidents, according to OCHA. In February, an Israeli military court sentenced to 18 months in prison soldier Elor Azaria, who had been convicted of manslaughter for the 2016 killing at close range of a Palestinian who lay immobilized on the ground after stabbing another Israeli soldier. The IDF chief of staff reduced the sentence to 14 months in Sep- tember. The conviction marked a rare exception, as Israeli authorities continued in 2017 to fail to hold accountable security forces and settlers who attack Palestinians and destroy or damage Palestinian mosques, homes, schools, olive trees, cars, and other property. Between 2013 and 2016, police closed 91.8 percent of cases of reported settler violence against Palestinian persons and property tracked by the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din without indicting anyone.   

311 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Settlements, Discriminatory Policies, Home Demolitions Israel continued to provide security, administrative services, housing, education, and medical care for about 607,000 settlers residing in unlawful settlements in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Israel’s building of 2,000 new settle- ment housing units in the period between July 2016 and June 2017 marked an 18 percent decrease over the same period in 2015-2016, but Israeli authorities ap- proved plans for 85 percent more housing units in the first half of 2017 than all of 2016, according to the Israeli group Peace Now. International humanitarian law bars an occupying power’s transfer of its civilians to occupied territory. Building permits are difficult, if not impossible, for Palestinians to obtain in East Jerusalem or in the 60 percent of the West Bank under exclusive Israeli control (Area C). This has driven Palestinians to construct housing and business struc- tures that are at constant risk of demolition or confiscation by Israel on the grounds of being unauthorized. Palestinians in these areas have access to water, electricity, schools, and other state services that are either far more lim- ited or costlier than the same services that the state makes available to Jewish settlers there. Of the 381 Palestinian homes and other property demolished in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) in 2017 as of November 6, displacing 588 people, Is- raeli authorities sought to justify most for failure to have a building permit. Israel also destroyed the homes of families in retaliation for attacks on Israelis al- legedly carried out by a family member, a violation of the international humani- tarian law prohibition on collective punishment. Freedom of Movement Israel maintained onerous restrictions on the movement of Palestinians in the West Bank, including checkpoints and the separation barrier, a combination of wall and fence in the West Bank that Israel said it built for security reasons. Is- raeli-imposed restrictions designed to keep Palestinians far from settlements forced them to take time-consuming detours and restricted their access to agri- cultural land. Israel continued construction of the separation barrier, 85 percent of which falls within the West Bank rather than along the Green Line separating Israeli from   

312 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Palestinian territory, cutting off Palestinians from their agricultural lands and isolating 11,000 Palestinians on the western side of the barrier who are not al- lowed to travel to Israel and must cross the barrier to access their own property as well as services in the West Bank. Arbitrary Detention and Detention of Children Israeli military authorities detained Palestinian protesters, including those who advocated nonviolent protest against Israeli settlements and the route of the separation barrier. Israeli authorities try the majority of Palestinian children in- carcerated in the occupied territory in military courts, which have a near-100 per- cent conviction rate. Israeli security forces arrested Palestinian children suspected of criminal of- fenses, usually stone-throwing, often using unnecessary force, questioned them without a family member present, and made them sign confessions in Hebrew, which most did not understand. The Israeli military detained Palestinian children separately from adults during remand hearings and military court trials, but often detained children with adults immediately after arrest. As of June 30, Is- raeli authorities held 315 Palestinian children in military detention. As of October 2017, Israel held 453 Palestinian administrative detainees without charge or trial, based on secret evidence, many for prolonged periods. Israel jails many Palestinian detainees inside Israel, violating international humanitarian law requiring that they not be transferred outside the occupied territory and re- stricting the ability of family members to visit them. Palestinian Authority PA security services arrested dozens of journalists, activists and opposition members. In September, the PA detained for seven days human rights defender Issa Amro over a Facebook post. Amro also faces charges in Israeli military court for his role in a protest. In June, the PA issued a new cybercrime law, granting the government vast authority to control online activity and blocked access in the West Bank to at least 29 news websites affiliated with Hamas and Fatah factions opposed to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Complaints persisted of tor- ture and ill-treatment carried out in the West Bank by PA security services. Arbi- trary arrests and torture violate legal obligations that the state of Palestine   

313 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H assumed after it ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture in 2014. Israel Israeli authorities have continued to narrow the space for criticism of its policies toward Palestinians. In March, the Knesset passed a law barring entry to foreign- ers who call for boycotting Israel or settlements. Authorities continue to impose onerous reporting requirements on nongovernment organizations receiving most of their funding from foreign government entities. Palestinian Bedouin citizens of Israel who live in “unrecognized” villages in the Negev suffered discriminatory home demolitions on the basis that their homes were built illegally, even though most of those villages existed before the state of Israel was established or were created in the 1950s on land to which Israel trans- ferred Bedouin citizens. The Israeli government continued its openly stated policy of rendering “miser- able” the lives of the roughly 40,000 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum seekers present in the country in order to induce them to depart. These measures in- clude prolonged detention; restrictions on freedom of movement; ambiguous policies on permission to work; and restricting access to health care. On August 28, the Israeli High Court ruled that authorities could not detain rejected asylum seekers refusing transfer to Rwanda for longer than 60 days and that they could only use force to transfer them if Rwanda agreed to that approach. Key International Actors Under commitments stemming from the 1978 Camp David accords, the United States allocated US$3.1 billion in military aid to Israel in 2017 fiscal year. It also allocated $362 million in assistance to Palestinian security forces and economic support to the PA. The International Criminal Court (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor is conducting a preliminary examination into the situation in Palestine to deter- mine whether the criteria have been met to merit pursuing a formal investigation into crimes committed in and from Palestine. In December 2016, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution, with the US abstaining, that said settlements have “no legal validity,” are a “fla-   

314 R R 1 0 2 W O 8 L D T E P O R grant violation” of international law and a “major obstacle” to peace between Is- rael and the Palestinians. The UN Human Rights Council requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to create a database of businesses that have enabled or profited from the construction and growth of the settlements. Originally scheduled for March, the council accepted the High Commissioner’s request to defer submission of the database report until the end of 2017 at the latest.   

315 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Japan Japan is an established democracy with rule of law and an active civil society. After Prime Minister Shinzo Abe dissolved the lower house of the Diet in Septem- ber, Japanese voters went to the polls on October 22, 2017. Prime Minister Abe’s ruling coalition kept the two-thirds majority that increased the chance that he will realize his long-time ambition of amending the post-World War II constitu- tion. Refugees and Asylum Seekers Japan’s asylum and refugee determination system is tilted strongly against granting refugee status. In 2016, the Ministry of Justice reported that 10,901 peo- ple applied for asylum (the highest number ever), but the government rejected most of them and granted formal recognition as a refugee to only 28 applicants. Japan classified another 97 asylum seekers as having humanitarian status, which spares them from being forcibly returned to their home country. Abuse of Foreign “Technical Intern Trainees” Japan provides only weak legal protections for the approximately 230,000 for- eigners— most of them from Vietnam and China—working in the country as part of the Technical Intern Training Program. Created in response to labor shortages for low-level jobs, the program is a main framework through which foreign mi- grant workers are permitted to work in Japan. Abuses that program participants faced include payment of sub-minimum wages, illegal overtime, dangerous or unhygienic working conditions, restric- tions on changing employers, forced return to their home countries, as well as requirements to pay unreasonably high fees to labor-sending agencies, and penalty fees if the trainee does not successfully complete the training. Sexual abuses and rules that violate privacy (for example, prohibitions on owning a cell phone, or having romantic relationships) are also significant problems. In November 2016, the Diet responded by passing the so-called Technical Train- ing Act. These stronger regulations, which took effect in November 2017, estab- lished the Organization for Technical Intern Training as the program execution   

316 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 body and introduced more criminal penalties against rights violations. However, key issues the reforms failed to address included restrictions related to changing employers and reliance on often exploitative labor-sending agencies. In March 2017, the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games announced the adoption of the Sustainable Sourcing Code ahead of the 2020 games, which includes a comprehensive protection clause for migrant workers throughout supply chains for provision of goods and services for the committee. However, the committee has not yet established an effective imple- mentation system for the code, including a grievance mechanism for affected in- dividuals including workers and contractors. Racial and Ethnic Discrimination Reflecting the recent rise of anti-ethnic Korean groups, Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike, for the first time in a decade, did not send a eulogy to the annual memo- rial service on September 1 for ethnic Korean victims of the 1923 Kanto Great Earthquake. Ethnic Koreans (Zainichi) were massacred in the aftermath when demagogues claimed Koreans were looting and committing arson. Historically, ethnic Koreans have faced widespread social and economic discrimination in Japan, attitudes that persist in ultra-nationalist political groups. Women’s Rights In July, revisions to the penal code strengthening criminal penalties against sex- ual violence entered into force. The new provisions add additional offenses in- cluding in cases of abuse within families, increase sentences, permit prosecutors to proceed in cases where victims refrain from lodging a criminal complaint, and make provisions regarding sex offenses gender neutral rather than applicable only to female victims. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In December 2016, the National Personnel Authority, which handles rules and policies involving national government officials, revised its interpretation of rules on prohibiting sexual harassment to include harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.   

317 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In revising the government’s policy on bullying prevention, the Ministry of Educa- tion, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) specified for the first time that sexual and gender minority students should be protected from bullying, and required schools to promote accepted understanding of the issues among teach- ers and take other necessary measures. Unfortunately, in March, the MEXT failed to include information about sexual and gender minority students in its once-in- a-decade review of the national educational curriculum. As a result, the national curriculum still only refers to heterosexuality, rather than also referring to homo- sexuality. A multi-party group in the parliament failed to make progress in its goals to enact legislation to address discrimination based on sexual orientation and gen- der identity. Similarly, parliamentarians were unable to advance their efforts to revise an existing law to eliminate the requirement that transgender persons seeking legal recognition according to their gender identity undergo sterilization surgery. Disability Rights In February, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations pressed the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to provide a formal government apology and financial compensation to the approximately 84,000 persons mostly with genetic disorder (including 16,500 persons forced to have sterilization surgery) victimized under the Eugenic Protection Act between 1948 and 1996. Use of restraints in psychiatric hospitals again came under scrutiny when Kelly Savage, 27, an English teacher from New Zealand, died in a psychiatric hospital in Kanagawa Prefecture in May. He allegedly died from cardiopulmonary arrest, after officials had held him continuously in restraints on his hands, legs, and waist for 11 days. A survey shows that psychiatric hospitals in Japan use physical restraints on patients with mental health conditions for very long periods—about 96 days on average. Children’s Rights In August, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare endorsed that children younger than preschool age shall in principle not be institutionalized in alterna-   

318 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 tive child care centers, in line with the “family-based care’” principle in the amendment of the Child Welfare Act in May 2016. The government also endorsed new goals, such as lifting national foster placement rate to 75 percent for pre- school children within seven years, and reforming temporary custody institu- tions. Death Penalty Japan continued to use the death penalty in 2017, executing two people in July. One had filed an appeal for a retrial, the first time since December 1999 that an inmate seeking retrial was executed. Foreign Policy Japan states that it pursues “diplomacy based on the fundamental values of freedom, democracy, basic human rights, and the rule of law.” However, some important diplomatic actions were inconsistent with this commitment. In Decem- ber 2016, Japan abstained from the United Nations Security Council resolution on South Sudan including arms embargo, along with seven other council mem- bers. Japan’s abstention helped ensure the resolution was not adopted. In March, when the UN Human Rights Council established the international Fact- Finding Mission to Burma, Japan stated it did not support the mission. Japan subsequently abstained from Burma resolutions at the UN General Assembly in November and the Human Rights Council Special Session in December, which called for an end to violence against ethnic Rohingya and requested that access be given to the Fact-Finding Mission. In September, Japan presented the resolution on Cambodia at the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution fell short of adequately responding to the rapidly deteriorating situation on the ground and ultimately failed to include robust re- porting and discussion ahead of Cambodia’s national elections in July 2018. In 2017, Japan held human rights dialogues with Burma, Iran, and Cambodia. As in the past, there was either no prior announcement, or only last minute notice, about these dialogues. The Japanese government did hold a formal dialogue with nongovernmental or- ganizations based in Cambodia before the human rights dialogue with the Cam- bodian government, a modest but significant step forward.   

319 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Jordan In February 2017, a royal committee convened by King Abdullah II released sweeping proposals to reform Jordan’s judiciary and justice system. In June, par- liament passed a new disabilities law that includes the concept of “informed consent” and prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. Despite these reforms, Jordan continued to violate human rights, including re- strictions on free expression, free assembly, and women’s rights. Bassel Tarawneh, Jordan’s governmental human rights coordinator, facilitated government interaction with local and international nongovernmental organiza- tions (NGOs) and held open consultation sessions on human rights issues. Freedom of Expression Jordanian law criminalizes speech deemed critical of the king, foreign countries, government officials and institutions, and Islam, as well as speech considered to defame others. On January 12, Jordanian authorities arrested eight men, including a former member of parliament and a retired senior intelligence officer, apparently in re- sponse to critical comments online and peaceful anti-corruption advocacy. Au- thorities held the men on suspicion of “undermining the political regime,” a vague provision under the “Terrorism” section of Jordan’s penal code, but re- leased them on February 8 without formal charges. On October 31, authorities briefly detained well-known cartoonist Emad Hajjaj for publishing a cartoon deemed offensive to Christians. In 2017, authorities proposed amendments to the country’s 2015 Electronic Crimes Law that criminalize hate speech, defining it vaguely as “any word or ac- tion that incites discord or religious, sectarian, ethnic, or regional strife or dis- crimination between individuals or groups.” The amendments require parliamentary approval and the king’s endorsement to become law. In July 2017, high-level Jordanian officials used an inquiry into the legality of a Jordanian online magazine to issue statements against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The ministers of justice and interior wrote sepa- rate official letters to the minister of political and parliamentary affairs declaring   

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321 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H their broad intolerance of LGBT people and making it clear that the government would not defend the rights of LGBT Jordanians. Freedom of Association and Assembly In September, authorities threatened the Center for Defending Freedom of Jour- nalists (CDFJ), a regional media freedom organization, over its receipt of foreign funding. The authorities said that CDFJ’s registration category prohibits it from receiving foreign funding under government rules. But prior to 2017 the organiza- tion operated without incident or official complaint for 19 years. The group works on behalf of journalists detained across the region and hosts annual workshops and events on media freedom. Since the amended Public Gatherings Law took effect in March 2011, Jordanians no longer require government permission to hold public meetings or demonstra- tions. However, organizations and venues continued to seek permission from Jordan’s Interior Ministry to host public meetings and events. In some cases, the ministry cancelled public events without explanation. In May, Jordan’s Supreme Administrative Court upheld a Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs decision denying registration to the Jordanian Civil Gather- ing Party because some of its founders have “dark skin.” The court argued that Jordan’s political parties law forbids formation of parties on an ethnic basis, even though the party’s platform has no reference to ethnicity or race. Refugees and Migrants Between 2011 and 2017, over 655,000 persons from Syria had sought refuge in Jordan, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Of these, approximately 79,000 were housed at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in northern Jordan; 53,000 were registered in Azraq Camp, 100 kilometers east of Amman; and 7,100 were at the Emirates Jordan Camp in Zarqa Gover- norate. The rest were living outside refugee camps. In 2017, Jordan did not permit Syrians to enter the country to seek asylum. Jordanian officials stated that the country did not receive enough international fi- nancial assistance in 2017 to cope with the effects of the refugee crises on its public infrastructure, especially in the areas of public education and health. The   

322 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 UNHCR Jordan office, which coordinates the refugee response, said that by No- vember it had raised only 42 percent of its US$1.2 billion budget goal for 2017. In 2017, Jordan deported hundreds of Syrian refugees—including the collective expulsion of large families—without giving them a meaningful chance to chal- lenge their removal and failing to consider their need for international protec- tion. During the first five months of 2017, Jordanian authorities deported about 400 registered Syrian refugees each month. In addition, approximately 300 reg- istered refugees each month returned to Syria during that time under circum- stances that appeared to be voluntary. Another estimated 500 refugees each month returned to Syria under circumstances that are unclear. In 2017, authorities continued the implementation of the Jordan Compact, which aims to improve the livelihoods of Syrian refugees by granting new legal work opportunities and improving the education sector. By 2017, labor authorities had issued at least 60,000 work permits for Syrians. Data compiled by the Jordanian government and published in April found that only 125,000 out of approximately 220,000 school-age Syrian refugee children were enrolled in formal education in Jordan, lower than previous estimates. Jor- dan implemented programs to reach out-of-school refugee children and waived documentation requirements for them to enroll in school. Between January and June 2017, Jordanian authorities allowed limited deliveries of humanitarian aid to the tens of thousands of Syrians in unorganized camps along the border with Syria facing limited access to food, water, and medical as- sistance. In October, authorities announced that no more aid deliveries would be permitted from Jordanian territory. Women’s and Girls’ Rights Jordan’s personal status code remains discriminatory, despite a 2010 amend- ment that included widening women’s access to divorce and child custody. Mar- riages between Muslim women and non-Muslim men, for instance, are not recognized. Article 9 of Jordan’s nationality law does not allow Jordanian women married to non-Jordanian spouses to pass on their nationality to their spouse and children. In 2014, Jordanian authorities issued a cabinet decision purporting to ease re-   

323 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H strictions on non-citizen children of Jordanian women’s access to key economic and social rights. By September 2017, the government distributed at least 66,000 special ID cards, but affected persons reported officials’ lack of follow- through on promised reforms, especially regarding the acquisition of work per- mits and drivers’ licenses. In August, Jordanian lawmakers abolished article 308 of the country’s 1960 penal code, an infamous provision that allowed perpetrators of sexual assault to avoid punishment if they married their victims. Lawmakers also amended article 98 to state that perpetrators of crimes “against women” cannot receive miti- gated sentences. The provision leaves a loophole, however, under article 340 of the same law, which allows for mitigated sentences for those who murder their spouses discovered committing adultery. Criminal Justice System and Police Accountability In 2017, Jordanian lawmakers overhauled the country’s criminal procedure law, making positive changes that guarantee all suspects the right to access a lawyer from the time of arrest and during interrogations and create a legal aid fund to provide lawyers for suspects who cannot afford them. Under the changes, the law states that pretrial detention is an “exceptional measure” rather than the norm and only allowed under limited circumstances. Pretrial detention for minor offenses cannot exceed a maximum of three months, and courts can only extend pretrial detention for serious offenses and to a year or 18 months. For the first time, anyone sent for pretrial detention has the right to appeal. Jordanian executed 15 Jordanian men on March 4 by hanging. Those executed in- cluded 10 convicted in six terrorist attacks between 2003 and 2016, and five con- victed in murder cases. They were the first executions since February 2015. In May, authorities detained policemen allegedly involved in the death in cus- tody of an 18-year-old man. The “torture” trial of five policemen in the Police Court relating to the September 2015 death in detention of 49-year-old Omar al- Nasr remained ongoing as of December 2017. Local governors continued to use provisions of the Crime Prevention Law of 1954 to place individuals in administrative detention for up to one year, in circumven-   

324 E 1 2 T R O P 0 R D L R O W 8 tion of the Criminal Procedure Law. The National Center for Human Rights re- ported that 30,138 persons were administratively detained in 2016, some for longer than one year. Key International Actors Jordan received approximately US$1.279 billion in economic and military assis- tance from the United States in 2017, according to the Congressional Research Service. The US did not publicly criticize human rights violations in Jordan in 2017, except in annual reports. Jordan is a member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen. Human Rights Watch has documented 87 apparently unlawful coalition attacks in Yemen, some of which may be war crimes, which have killed nearly 1,000 civil- ians. Jordan did not respond to Human Rights Watch inquiries regarding what role, if any, it has played in unlawful attacks in Yemen and if it was undertaking investigations into the role its own forces played in any of these attacks. On March 29, Jordan failed to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir after al- lowing him to enter the country to attend the 28th summit of the Arab League even though al-Bashir has been a fugitive from the International Criminal Court (ICC) since 2009 and Jordan is an ICC member. In March, commenting on Jordan’s execution of 15 people convicted for terror- ism, the EU reiterated its strong opposition to death penalty. In June, the EU re- port on EU-Jordan relations highlighted some shortcomings in freedom of expression and women’s rights. In July, the EU and Jordan held their 12th Associ- ation Council meeting.   

325 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Kazakhstan As the Kazakh government hosted high-profile international events, including EXPO 2017, an annual international exhibition, and several rounds of Syria peace talks, its human rights record further deteriorated. Authorities suppressed inde- pendent trade union activity and continued to target government critics, includ- ing journalists, with politically motivated criminal charges and other harassment. Several activists and union leaders remain wrongfully imprisoned. The government is considering legislative amendments that appear to propose even further restrictions on freedom of religion. Impunity for torture and ill-treat- ment in detention persist. Civil Society In January 2017, tax officials ordered two human rights groups, International Legal Initiative and Liberty, to pay substantial fines on alleged undeclared profits despite laws that exempt nonprofit organizations from taxes on grants. The groups unsuccessfully challenged the fines in court. Maks Bokaev and Talgat Ayan, activists imprisoned in November 2016 after protesting land reform proposals, continued to serve five-year sentences. Bokaev was transferred to prison medical units due to health complications in July and October. In April, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Deten- tion deemed Bokaev’s and Ayan’s deprivation of liberty arbitrary, and called on the government to release and compensate them. On October 29, an unknown assailant attacked Marat Zhanuzakov, an activist in Kokshetau, northern Kazakhstan, wounding him in the head. Police investigated but later claimed Zhanuzakov fell on his own. Zhanuzakov linked the attack to his critical political commentary on social media. Activist Vadim Kuramshin continued to serve a 12-year prison sentence, despite fair trial violations and concerns that his December 2012 conviction was retribu- tion for government criticism. Government critic Natalya Ulasik, whom a court found mentally incompetent in October 2016, remained in forced psychiatric de- tention.   

326 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Authorities continued to misuse the vague and overbroad criminal charge of “in- citing discord” to target outspoken activists and others. On August 1, an Almaty court convicted Olesya Khalabuzar of “inciting national discord” for preparing leaflets criticizing proposed constitutional changes to land ownership rights. Bogus charges of “inciting religious discord” brought against atheist writer Alek- sandr Kharlamov in 2013 remain pending. On October 25, an Almaty region court acquitted four people charged with allegedly “inciting ethnic discord” for com- ments they posted on Facebook and the Russian social media network VKon- take. Freedom of Media Independent and opposition journalists continued to face harassment, physical attacks, and spurious criminal prosecutions. Unknown assailants stabbed jour- nalist Ramazan Yesergepov in May as he traveled by train to Astana to meet with diplomats. Yesergepov linked the attack to his public calls for sanctions against Kazakh officials who commit human rights violations. Officials opened an inves- tigation, but at time of writing no one has been held accountable. The European Union delegation in Astana called for a swift, thorough investigation to bring those responsible to justice. In September, an Almaty court convicted Zhanbolat Mamay, editor of the inde- newspaper, on politically motivated money laun- Sayasy Kalam: Tribuna pendent dering charges. The court banned Mamay from journalism for three years among other restrictions. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Media Freedom Representative Harlem Dé sir criticized the ban. Kazakhstan’s Supreme Court ruled in August to overturn and return to a lower court a 2016 defamation conviction against Tamara Eslyamova, editor of the in- and the newspaper’s founders. The dependent newspaper Uralskaya Nedelya lower court ruled against Eslyamova in October, but reduced total damages to 300,000 tenge (US$900) from 3.5 million tenge ($10,500). In November, a court granted parole to Seitkazy Mataev, head of the National Press Club, whose six-year prison sentence was halved in April. Mataev, along with his son, Aset, also a journalist, were imprisoned in October 2016 on spuri- ous embezzlement charges. Aset remained in prison.   

327 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Parliament is considering some media and information law amendments that could undermine media freedoms, including by introducing an overly vague defi- nition of “propaganda.” In an open letter, human and media rights groups in September urged parliament to create a working group to draft a new media law instead. Labor Rights The independent labor movement faced a concerted crackdown in 2017. In Janu- ary, a court closed the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Kaza- khstan (KNPRK) for failing to register in accordance with the restrictive trade union law. A court convicted KNPRK President Larisa Kharkova on politically mo- tivated embezzlement charges in July, and imposed travel and other restrictions for four years, and banned her from trade union leadership positions for five years. A court found illegal a January hunger strike by approximately 400 oil workers in Aktau protesting the closure of KNPRK. Nearly 50 workers were fined or or- dered to pay compensation to their employer. In April and May, courts sen- tenced two participants, Amin Eleusinov and Nurbek Kushakbaev, to two-and-a-half and two years’ imprisonment, respectively, in apparent retalia- tion, and barred them from union activities for two and five years. In June, the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Committee on the Applica- tion of Standards reviewed Kazakhstan for the third year in a row for freedom of association violations, and called on authorities to revise the Trade Union Law and ensure that KNPRK operates. At time of writing, the government has not ad- dressed the ILO’s conclusions. Freedom of Assembly Kazakh authorities regularly deny permits for gatherings aiming to criticize gov- ernment policies. Police break up unauthorized protests and arbitrarily detain and sanction organizers and participants. For example, in February, police de- tained three activists for attempting to organize a rally in Almaty supporting de- tained journalist Mamay. A court sentenced one of them to 15 days’ detention.   

328 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Torture and Ill-Treatment Six years after violent clashes brought an end to an extended oil sector labor strike in Zhanaozen, the authorities still have not credibly investigated torture al- legations made by those subsequently detained and prosecuted. In March, the UN Human Rights Committee found that Zhaslan Suleimenov, sen- tenced to eight years in prison in 2011 on terrorism-related charges, was tortured in custody and denied an effective remedy. Despite a 2014 UN Human Rights Committee decision, authorities have not held accountable those who tortured Rasim Bayramov, detained in 2008 on suspicion of robbery. Freedom of Religion Courts convicted at least 22 people on criminal charges of “inciting religious dis- cord” or “membership in a banned organization,” in violation of their right to freedom of religion or belief, according to international religious freedom watch- dog Forum 18. Among them were 15 members of the Tabligh Jamaat movement, five men who worked or studied in Saudi Arabia, and two Jehovah’s Witnesses. In October, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention called for the immedi- ate release of Jehovah’s Witness Temir Akhmedov, imprisoned in May. In July, an Almaty Region court fined a Protestant pastor and five foreign visi- tors for illegal missionary activity for an outdoor baptism. Authorities imposed three-month bans on Protestant and Jehovah’s Witness churches in Almaty in March and June, respectively, and on a Protestant church in Ust-Kamenogorsk in August, for violating the restrictive religion law. The government is proposing amendments to the religion law, which would in- crease restrictions and sanctions on religious teaching, proselytizing, and publi- cations. At time of writing, the draft had not yet been submitted to parliament. Women’s and Girls’ Rights In July, President Nursultan Nazarbaev signed amendments to the criminal code decriminalizing battery and light bodily harm, including in cases of domestic vio- lence. The law does not envisage criminal sanctions for repeat offenses.   

329 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Counterterrorism Amendments to counterterrorism and extremism-related legislation, which in- crease restrictions on travel abroad for religious purposes and tighten censor- ship of religious literature, took effect in January 2017. An October 2016 report by the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights found the amend- ments could unduly restrict freedom of movement, expression, and religion. In July, President Nazarbaev signed into law amendments that allow deprivation of citizenship for certain terrorism-related crimes and that bar independent can- didates from running for president. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people hide their sexual orientation or gender identity out of fear of reprisals or discrimination. On rare occasions when LGBT people report abuse, they can face indifference and hostil- ity from authorities. Transgender people must undergo humiliating and invasive procedures—including a psychiatric diagnosis and coerced sterilization—to change gender on official documents. Feminita, an Almaty-based lesbian, bisex- ual and queer (LBQ) group, reported that “police not only use vulgar, evil, insult- ing jokes, but also blackmail, [and] sometimes violence,” based on interviews with LBQ people across Kazakhstan in 2016 and 2017. Key International Actors Many of Kazakhstan’s international partners did not use key opportunities to in- sist that the government improve the human rights situation. Public criticism re- mained muted. During his June tour of Central Asia, UN Secretary-General António Guterres named Kazakhstan a “pillar of stability,” but failed to condemn politically moti- vated prosecutions and imprisonment of activists, journalists and union leaders. Guterres did not meet independent groups or activists in Kazakhstan. In statements in advance of and during EXPO 2017, US officials continued to downplay human rights concerns. In June, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson   

330 O L 1 0 2 T R 8 P E R W O R D praised Kazakhstan for “its commitment to democracy, religious tolerance, and free speech.” German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier met President Nazarbaev on July 12, to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations, and to discuss political and economic cooperation. Steinmeier urged the Kazakh government to pursue rule of law re- forms, and pledged technical assistance. European Parliament hearings on ratification of the EU-Kazakhstan Enhanced Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, signed in December 2015, began in Au- gust but had not concluded at time of writing. Following her September visit, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas, acknowledged the government’s stated commitment to the rights of people with disabilities, but criticized continued in- stitutionalization, denial of legal capacity, involuntary medical treatment, and lack of inclusive education.   

331 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Kenya On August 8, Kenya’s electoral commission declared incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta winner for a second term, amid opposition and civil society claims of fraud. The elections were marred by excessive use of force against residents, es- pecially in opposition strongholds in Nairobi, the coast and western Kenya. On September 1, the Supreme Court nullified the election after the leading oppo- sition candidate Raila Odinga of the National Super Aliance (NASA) successfully challenged the results. The ruling Jubilee party responded to the court decision with threats and intimidation of the Supreme Court Judges and moved to change elections laws in a bid to weaken accountability measures for election offences. A fresh election was held on October 26, from which Odinga withdrew and Keny- atta was declared the winner, with the court dismissing all petitions challenging his win. Impunity for abuses committed during the country’s 2007-2008 post-election vi- olence (PEV) persists, after the International Criminal Court (ICC) dropped cases against Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto, and four others. The government has yet to develop a plan to implement a reparations fund it established in 2015 to support the PEV victims. Although it has taken steps to help some victims from the 2007 political violence such as internally displaced persons (IDPs), the gov- ernment has not assisted rape survivors who still need medical treatment and fi- nancial help. Three men wanted by the ICC since 2013 and 2015 for witness interference in one of the cases have yet to be surrendered. Challenges to the ar- rest warrants or surrender are pending in Kenyan courts. Dropping water levels in Kenya’s Lake Turkana following the development of dams and plantations in Ethiopia’s lower Omo Valley threaten the livelihoods of half-a-million indigenous people in Ethiopia and Kenya. Security Forces Abuses Kenyan and international human rights organizations documented a range of rights abuses by the security forces in military and law enfrocement operations between 2016 and 2017 across the country. In Laikipia county of the Rift Valley, where herders looking for pasture for their livestock are in conflict with private ranch owners, Human Rights Watch found in June 2017 that police and the mili-   

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333 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H tary were implicated in beating and killing herders and their livestock from the Pokot community. Police killings in Mathare and other informal settlements in Nairobi such as Dan- dora, Kayole, Huruma, Eastleigh, Kibera, and Kariobangi have not been investi- gated. In May 2017, a report by Mathare Social Justice Center, a community based human rights organization, found that between 2016 and 2017 alone, po- lice had extrajudicially killed at least 57 young men and women. Kenyan security forces have also been implicated in serious human rights viola- tions, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances of those sus- pected of links to Al-Shabab, the Somalia based Islamist armed group, and abusive policing operations mostly targeting Kenyan and non Kenyan Somalis and Muslims. In a letter to President Uhuru Kenyatta in December 2016, Kenyan and international human rights organizations, incuding Human Rights Watch, called for a commission of inquiry into these killings and disappearances. The president had not responded at time of writing. Security Forces Abuses During Elections Both the August and October 2017 elections were marred by serious human rights abuses. In early August, a technology manager with the electoral commis- sion, Chris Musando, was abducted and his body found two days later on the outskirts of Nairobi. The opposition alliance, NASA, said the killing was a step toward manipulating polling technology and the tallying of results. During and after the August 8 polling, Kenyan police and other security agencies used excessive force against protesters, primarily in opposition strongholds. The protests erupted following allegations by Raila Odinga that the August 2017 elec- tions had been rigged. Police also carried out violent house to house operations, beating or shooting primarily male residents, even though they also beat female residents for failing to produce the males suspected of participating in demonstrations. At least 67 people were shot or beaten to death by police nationwide, and hundreds more were injured during these operations. There were troubling reports of rape and sexual harassment during police operations in Kisumu and Nairobi. At time of   

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335 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H writing, the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) was investigating just about six of the cases of killings. Freedom of Expression and Media Over the past five years, Kenyan authorities have used legal, administrative, and informal measures to restrict media. In the lead up to the 2017 elections, journal- ists and bloggers reporting on sensitive issues such as land, corruption, and se- curity faced threats, intimidation, arbitrary arrests, and physical assaults. At least two Kenyan journalists were arrested before and after the August elec- tions. On June 18, police officers arrested Daily Nation journalist Walter Menya and released him without charge after two days. Police alleged Menya had so- licited for a bribe, but the Nation Media Group argued that he was being targeted for reporting how government officials flouted election campaign laws with im- punity. On August 12, police arrested two television journalists, Duncan Khaemba, and Otieno Willis, whom they wrongly suspected of wearing bullet-proof vests with- out relevant approval documents. The arrests appear to have been designed to obstruct their work in covering police abuses. In May, Human Rights Watch documented at least 50 cases of journalists and bloggers who faced a range of abuses in the last three years across Kenya, in- cluding beatings and threats. At least two journalists were killed by unknown people in the past two years. In some cases, Kenyan authorities have withdrawn advertisements or withheld payment to media houses in a bid to pressure indi- vidual media outlets to stop criticism of the government. Despite receiving formal complaints from journalists and bloggers, police have rarely investigated the attacks or threats and perpetrators have rarely been held to account. Threats to Civil Society NGOs working on a range of issues, particularly accountability, security forces abuses, and elections, continue to face hostile rhetoric and restrictions, in- cluding threats of closure by authorities.   

336 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 In December 2016, Kenyan authorities suspended a civic education program, “Kenya Electoral Assistance program, KEAP 2017,” worth US$20 million that was funded by USAID and being implemented by International Foundation for Elec- toral Systems (IFES). The NGO regulatory body, the NGO Board accused IFES of not being duly registered. IFES denied the accusation, but halted the implemen- tation of the program. On August 14, the NGO Board announced the cancellation of the registration of the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)—one of the oldest human rights groups in Kenya— citing alleged tax evasion and other reasons, but the cabinet secretary for interior suspended the move. On August 16, police and Kenya Rev- enue Authority (KRA) officials visited the offices of another NGO, AfriCOG, which focuses on governance issues and had challenged the 2013 elections in which Kenyatta was declared winner, but were successfully resisted by AfriCOG’s lawyers. In November, the NGO Board summoned Inuka Kenya, Katiba Institute and Mus- lims for Human Rights (MUHURI) over, among other allegations, lacking proper registration documents. The officials of these organizations said they believed the threats to deregister them were aimed at stopping them from challenging the August election results in court. Refugees In February, the High Court of Kenya stopped the government order to shut down Daadab refugee camp, home to 240,000 mainly Somali refugees. The number of refugees in the camp had fallen by half, from about 465,000 living there in 2011, as a result of government threats of closure and significant cuts in services and food rations by the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR. About 32,000 returned to Soma- lia in 2017. Kenyan authorities said in May 2016 they would close the camp and forcefully return Somali refugees, accusing Somali refugees of harboring terror- ists and disbanded the department of refugee affairs, which is responsible for registration of new refugees. In January, human rights lawyer, Samuel Dong Luak, and his colleague, Aggrey Idris, were abducted by unknown people in Nairobi and are suspected to have been forcibly returned to South Sudan where they were at risk of being tortured or persecuted. Kenyan government failed to prevent or even investigate these   

337 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H and other abductions and forcible return of South Sudanese refugees and human rights defenders to South Sudan. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Constitutional challenges regarding Kenya’s anti-homosexuality laws and the use of forced anal examinations remained pending before the courts. The Kenya Medical Association condemned forced anal exams. The attorney general estab- lished a task force in May 2017 to study policy reforms regarding intersex per- sons. Key International Actors Kenya remains a regional hub in the global counterterrorism efforts largely sup- ported by the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, and the United Nations. Kenya is a troop contributor to the African Mission to Somalia (AMISOM) and the UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). In November, the UN sacked the Kenyan peace keeping force commander for the mission, prompting Kenya to withdraw all its troops. In January 2017, Kenya agreed to redeploy troops following negotiations between President Kenyatta and UN Secretary- General António Guterres in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The international community deployed significant resources to observe the Au- gust 2017 elections and to assess the potential for violence and human rights vi- olations. The African Union, EU, Commonwealth, and two US organizations, National Democratic Institute (NDI), and The Carter Cente monitored the August elections, but significantly scaled down during the October 26 repeat election. Observers and the international community in general were more guarded in their endorsement of the October 26 election than they were in the August elec- tion, and did not congratulate Kenyatta for winning the October poll. Despite concerns about the credibility of the August elections, the US and UK missions urged the opposition to accept the outcome and concede defeat. The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) deployed human rights monitors in parts of Kenya during both elections and urged restraint by security forces.   

338 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Kuwait In January 2017, Kuwait carried out its first executions since 2013, hanging seven people. Despite recent reforms, migrant workers do not have adequate legal protections, and remain vulnerable to abuse, forced labor, and deportation for minor infrac- tions. In October, Kuwait’s Constitutional Court found that an overbroad 2015 law that required all Kuwaiti citizens and residents to provide DNA samples to authorities violated the right to privacy. Provisions in Kuwait’s constitution, the national security law, and other legisla- tion continue to restrict free speech, and were again used in 2017 to prosecute dissidents and stifle political dissent. Kuwait continues to exclude thousands of stateless people, known as Bidun, from full citizenship despite their longstanding roots in Kuwaiti territory. In 2017, Kuwait reportedly deported 76 men on suspicion of being gay. Kuwait is a member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen, with media reporting that Kuwait had deployed 15 aircraft. Human Rights Watch has documented 87 apparently unlawful coalition attacks in Yemen, some of which may amount to war crimes, yet coalition members have provided insuf- ficient information about the attacks to determine which countries are responsi- ble. Unlike many of its Gulf neighbors, Kuwait continued to allow Human Rights Watch access to the country and engaged in constructive dialogue with the or- ganization on a range of human rights issues. Migrant Workers Two-thirds of Kuwait’s population is comprised of migrant workers, who remain vulnerable to abuse despite recent reforms. In 2015, Kuwait issued a new standard contract for migrant workers, and a 2016 administrative decision allowed some migrant workers to transfer their sponsor-   

339 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H ship to a new employer after three years of work, without their employer’s con- sent. However, these reforms do not include migrant domestic workers. In 2015, the National Assembly passed a law granting domestic workers the right to a weekly day off, 30 days of annual paid leave, a 12-hour working day with rest, and an end-of-service benefit of one month a year at the end of the con- tract, among other rights. In 2016 and 2017, the Interior Ministry passed imple- menting regulations for the law, and mandated that employers must pay overtime compensation. The ministry also issued a decree establishing a mini- mum wage of KD60 (US$200) for domestic workers. Protections for domestic workers are still weaker than those in Kuwait’s labor law. The domestic worker law also falls short by failing to set out enforcement mechanisms, such as inspections of working conditions in households. The law also does not set out sanctions against employers who confiscate passports or fail to provide adequate housing, food, and medical expenses, work breaks, or weekly rest days. Migrant workers remain vulnerable to abuse, forced labor, and deportation for minor infractions including traffic violations and “absconding” from an em- ployer. In April, a video, apparently filmed by her employer, captured an Ethiopian domestic worker falling from the seventh floor of an apartment build- ing. Authorities reportedly charged the employer for failing to assist the worker. Freedom of Expression Kuwaiti authorities have invoked several provisions in the constitution, penal code, Printing and Publication Law, Misuse of Telephone Communications and Bugging Devices Law, Public Gatherings Law, and National Unity Law to prose- cute journalists, politicians, and activists for criticizing the emir, the govern- ment, religion, and rulers of neighboring countries in blogs or on Twitter, Facebook, or other social media. Prosecutions for protected speech are ongoing in Kuwaiti courts. Kuwaiti offi- cials and activists reported that many, if not most, initial complaints in these cases are filed by individuals, underscoring the need to further amend broadly written or overly vague Kuwaiti laws to ensure adequate protections for speech and expression. Kuwaiti courts continued to issue deportation orders in some of   

340 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 these cases, including against members of the Bidun population, although Kuwaiti officials reported these orders would not be implemented. In 2016, Kuwait amended the election law to bar all those convicted for “insult- ing” God, the prophets, or the emir from running for office or voting in elections. The law is likely to bar some opposition members of parliament from contesting or voting in future elections. The Cybercrime Law, which went into effect in 2016, includes far-reaching restric- tions on internet-based speech, such as prison sentences, and fines for insult- ing religion, religious figures, and the emir. Treatment of Minorities Kuwait has a population of about 100,000 stateless persons, known as Bidun, whose predicament dates to the foundation of the Kuwaiti state. After an initial registration period for citizenship ended in 1960, authorities shifted Bidun citizenship claims to administrative committees that for decades have avoided resolving the claims. Authorities claim that many Bidun are “illegal residents” who deliberately destroyed evidence of another nationality to receive benefits. Members of the Bidun community have taken to the streets to protest the gov- ernment’s failure to address their citizenship claims, despite government warn- ings that Bidun should not gather in public. Article 12 of the 1979 Public Gatherings Law bars non-Kuwaitis from participating in public gatherings. In September, a Bidun man reportedly set himself on fire to protest the status and conditions of the Bidun in Kuwait. Terrorism In October, Kuwait’s Constitutional Court found that an overbroad 2015 law that had required all Kuwaiti citizens and residents to provide DNA samples to au- thorities violated the right to privacy. The law was introduced after the June 2015 suicide bombing of the Imam Sadiq Mosque. Authorities reported to local media at the time that anyone failing to comply with the law would be subject to sanc- tions, including cancelling their passports and a possible travel ban. In 2016,   

341 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H the United Nations Human Rights Committee found the law imposed “unneces- sary and disproportionate restrictions on the right to privacy.” Women’s Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity Kuwaiti personal status law, which applies to Sunni Muslims who make up most Kuwaitis, discriminates against women. For example, some women require a male guardian to conclude their marriage contracts; women must apply to the courts for a divorce on limited grounds unlike men who can unilaterally divorce their wives; and women can lose custody of their children if they remarry some- one outside the family. Men can marry up to four wives, without the permission or knowledge of the other wife or wives. A man can prohibit his wife from work- ing if it is deemed to negatively affect the family interests. The rules that apply to Shia Muslims also discriminate against women. Kuwait has no laws prohibiting domestic violence or marital rape. A 2015 law es- tablishing family courts set up a center to deal with domestic violence cases, but requires the center to prioritize reconciliation over protection for domestic vio- lence survivors. Article 153 of the Kuwaiti penal code stipulates that a man who finds his mother, wife, sister, or daughter in the act of adultery and kills them is punished by either a small fine or no more than three years in prison. Kuwaiti women married to non-Kuwaitis, unlike Kuwaiti men, cannot pass citi- zenship to their children or spouses. Adultery and extramarital intercourse are criminalized, and same-sex relations between men are punishable by up to seven years in prison. In 2017, Kuwait re- portedly deported 76 men on suspicion of being gay. Transgender people can be arrested under a 2007 penal code provision that prohibits “imitating the oppo- site sex in any way.” Death Penalty Kuwait maintains the death penalty for nonviolent offenses, including drug-re- lated charges. In January, it carried out seven executions by hanging, the first ex- ecutions since 2013. Human Rights Watch has documented due process violations in Kuwait’s criminal justice system that have made it difficult for de- fendants to get a fair trial, including in capital cases.   

342 W 1 0 2 T R 8 O R L D O R E P Key International Actors Kuwait joined the Saudi-led coalition that began attacking Houthi and allied forces in Yemen on March 26, 2015, with media reporting that Kuwait had de- ployed 15 aircraft. Human Rights Watch has documented 87 apparently unlawful coalition attacks in Yemen, some of which may amount to war crimes, that killed nearly 1000 civilians and repeatedly hit markets, schools, and hospitals. Kuwait did not respond to Human Rights Watch inquiries regarding what role, if any, it has played in unlawful attacks in Yemen and if it was undertaking investigations into the role its own forces played in any of these attacks.   

343 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Kyrgyzstan The 2017 presidential election was won by Sooronbai Jeenbekov and marked the second time since independence in 1991 that Kyrgyzstan experienced a peaceful transfer of presidential power. International observers found the election to be competitive and orderly, but noted concerns about abuse of public resources, pressure on voters, and vote buying. Prior to the election, authorities banned public assemblies in central Bishkek and introduced restrictions on domestic election monitors, such as limiting the number of civil society observers per polling station to one. Human rights defender Azimjon Askarov continued to serve a sentence of life im- prisonment, notwithstanding his wrongful conviction and ill-treatment. Impunity for ill-treatment and torture remain the norm. The situation for media freedoms deteriorated, with the Prosecutor General’s Office bringing unjustified multimil- lion Som (tens of thousands of US dollars) lawsuits against critical media. Sev- eral foreign human rights workers are banned from Kyrgyzstan. Parliament in April adopted in its first reading a draft ombudsman law, aimed at bringing the institution into compliance with the Paris Principles, the interna- tional standards that frame and guide national human rights institutions. The government has yet to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Per- sons with Disabilities. Access to Justice Authorities continue to deny justice to victims of the June 2010 inter-ethnic vio- lence in southern Kyrgyzstan, and took no steps to review torture-tainted convic- tions delivered in its aftermath. Ethnic Uzbeks were disproportionately affected by the violence, which left more than 400 dead and led to numerous cases of ar- bitrary detention, ill-treatment and torture, and house destruction. Instances of courtroom violence occurred in 2017. In April, relatives and friends of a murdered police officer hit and threatened Osh-based lawyers Muhayo Ab- duraupova and Aisalkyn Karabaeva, and their client, a relative of two men ac- cused of the officer’s murder. At time of writing, no one had been held accountable.   

344 2 T R O P E R D L R O W 0 1 8 In a March 2017 ruling, the UN Human Rights Committee determined that four ethnic Uzbeks from southern Kyrgyzstan were arbitrarily detained following in- terethnic violence in Osh in 2010, and ill-treated or tortured in custody. The com- mittee concluded that Kyrgyzstan must investigate the authors’ torture allegations and provide adequate compensation. At time of writing, authorities had taken no steps to fulfill the decision. Civil Society The government continued to ignore its obligation to fulfill the 2016 UN Human Rights Committee decision to release rights defender Azimjon Askarov and quash his conviction, handed down after a trial marred by torture and violence. On January 24, a Bishkek court upheld Askarov’s life sentence. In September, a Bazar-Kurgon court found unlawful the authorities’ efforts to confiscate Askarov’s family home. In May, the Supreme Court ruled against human rights defender Tolekan Is- mailova, who in 2016, along with fellow rights defender Aziza Abdurasulova, had sued President Almazbek Atambaev for defamation after he publicly smeared them. On October 30, a Bishkek court found that Kyrgyzstan’s National Security Committee (GKNB) had in January disseminated false information about the human rights group Bir Duino, and ordered the GKNB to refute the information in media. In July, following Russian human rights activist Vitaly Ponomarev’s participation in a conference on countering violent extremism, authorities banned him from Kyrgyzstan. Human Rights Watch Central Asia researcher and Bishkek office di- rector Mihra Rittmann remained banned from Kyrgyzstan. Freedom of Expression In March and April, Kyrgyzstan’s prosecutor general brought five defamation law- , its founder Narynbek Idinov, and editor Dina suits against media outlet Zanoza Maslova; Radio Azattyk, the Kyrgyz branch of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty; and human rights defender Cholpon Djakupova. The prosecutor accused them of discrediting the president’s honor and dignity and spreading false information.   

345 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Courts ordered Idinov’s and Djakupova’s bank accounts frozen and seized their property as collateral, and banned Idinov, Maslova, and Djakupova from leaving Kyrgyzstan. The prosecutor general in May withdrew the lawsuit against Radio , Idinov, Maslova, and Djakupova. Zanoza Azattyk, but pursued lawsuits against In rushed hearings in late June, Bishkek courts awarded crippling multi-million som damages, which were upheld on appeal in August. In another defamation lawsuit, a Bishkek court on October 5 awarded then-presidential candidate Jeen- bekov 10 million som (US$143,000) against news portal 24.kg and Kabay Karabekov, a journalist and former member of parliament. In November, a Bishkek court banned the chief editor of Tribuna.kg, Yrysbek Omurzakov, from leaving Kyrgyzstan. Authorities in June charged Ulugbek Babakulov, a freelance journalist and con- tributor to Moscow-based Ferghana News, an independent news website, with inciting ethnic hatred after a May article about the increase of nationalist and anti-Uzbek sentiments in social media. On June 10, a Bishkek court ordered Fer- ghana News’ website to be blocked. Babakulov, fearing for his safety, fled Kyr- gyzstan in June. On August 22, a Bishkek court ordered the closure of Sentyabr television station for disseminating “extremist material.” Authorities did not inform Sentyabr of the allegations or the court case until two hours before the hearing began. Sentyabr is tied to the opposition politician Omurbek Tekebaev, who in mid-Au- gust was imprisoned for eight years for corruption, charges which his supporters claim were politically motivated. On September 29, a Bishkek appeals court reduced Zulpukar Sapanov’s four- year prison sentence to a two-year suspended sentence and released him. Sapanov was convicted on September 12 for inciting religious discord after his book was determined to “diminish the role of Islam as a religion and create a negative attitude toward Muslims.” Freedom of Assembly Authorities took steps to limit freedom of peaceful assembly. In February, a Bishkek court imposed a three-week ban on public assemblies in the Leninskii district, citing the need to ensure public order. In mid-March, five protest partici- pants were detained during a peaceful march to support freedom of speech.   

346 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 A Bishkek court in July banned public assemblies at central locations in Bishkek, including Ala-Too Square, from July 27 to October 20, citing concerns about pub- lic security before the elections. On August 9, police detained Ondurush Tok- tonasyrov, an activist who held a single-person protest outside the Central Election Committee building, for violating the ban. Toktonasyrov was issued a warning and released. On November 8, a Bishkek court, citing the then-upcoming presidential inaugu- ration on November 24, banned public gatherings in several locations in central Bishkek until December 1. Torture and Ill-Treatment Impunity for torture remains the norm, and investigations into ill-treatment and torture allegations remain rare, delayed, and ineffective. Kyrgyzstan’s Coalition Against Torture, a group of 16 nongovernmental organizations working on torture prevention, reported in February that the prosecutor’s office had registered 435 complaints of ill-treatment in 2016, but declined to open investigations into 400 cases. Sardar Bagishbekov, a representative of the coalition, noted that, on aver- age, the prosecutor’s office declines to investigate torture allegations in over 90 percent of cases. Violence against Women In April, Kyrgyzstan adopted a new Law on the Prevention and Protection against Family Violence, which requires police to register any domestic abuse complaint, and recognizes physical and psychological abuse, and “economic violence,” which includes restricting access to and use of financial resources or other as- sets. The law mandates police and judicial response to domestic violence, and ensures victims’ access to shelter, psychosocial support, and legal aid. Some provisions of the law lack specificity and survivor protections. Despite positive legislative changes, domestic violence remains widespread. Pressure to keep families together, stigma, economic dependence, and fear of reprisals by abusers, or limited services and police hostility and inaction hinder survivors from seeking assistance or accessing protection or justice.   

347 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people continued to experience ill-treatment, extortion, and discrimination by both state and non-state actors. There is widespread impunity for these abuses. Consideration of an anti-LGBT bill, which would ban “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” remained stalled in parliament. Several days before a peaceful public gathering planned for September 23, five law enforcement officers arrived unannounced at Labrys, a Bishkek-based LGBT rights group, threatening members not to hold the gathering. Labrys cancelled the event. Terrorism and Counterterrorism The government stepped up counterterrorism measures following deadly attacks abroad that investigators linked to armed extremists of Central Asian origin, ar- resting scores of people for storage of vaguely defined “extremist” materials, an offense which carries a mandatory prison sentence of three to five years. As of August, 191 people had been imprisoned for terrorism or extremism-related of- fenses. Many were ethnic Uzbeks who alleged they had been arrested based on false testimony or evidence planted by the police, and that they were tortured and otherwise abused in police custody. An overly broad constitutional amendment approved in December 2016 aims to revoke citizenship of Kyrgyz nationals who join international terrorist organiza- tions. The measure awaited enabling legislation. Key International Actors In January, the European Union timidly reacted to a Bishkek court’s decision to uphold Askarov’s life sentence. EU leaders failed to publicly call for Askarov’s re- lease during meetings with President Atambaev in February and in November, nor has the EU publicly made any other reference to Askarov’s case at time of writing. Brussels hosted the 8th annual EU-Kyrgyzstan human rights dialogue in June. The EU commended Kyrgyzstan for its new domestic violence legislation, and   

348 O D 1 0 2 T R 8 P W O R L E R called on the government to ensure media freedoms, enable transparent presi- dential elections, and protect the rights of ethnic minorities. Concrete outcomes were not known at time of writing. In a meeting with President Atambaev in June, UN Secretary-General António Guterres failed to express concern about worrying media freedom develop- ments, and instead praised the government for upholding the rule of law, pro- tecting human rights, and serving as a “pioneer of democracy in Central Asia.” Guterres did not meet activists in Bishkek. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) announced in April that as of May 1, it would downgrade its presence in Kyrgyzstan to an “OSCE Programme Office.”   

349 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Lebanon In June, Lebanon adopted a new electoral law and set parliamentary elections for May 2018, the first such elections since 2009. In November, Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced his surprise resignation while visiting Saudi Arabia, rais- ing the likelihood of a renewed period of political instability in the country. At time of writing, the actual impact of the resignation was uncertain. Lebanese authorities continue to prosecute individuals for peaceful use of free speech, and in June soldiers beat protesters demonstrating in downtown Beirut against a third extension of parliament. Human Rights Watch continues to document reports of torture by Lebanese se- curity forces, including Internal Security Forces and the Lebanese Armed Forces. A new torture law falls short of Lebanon’s obligations under international law. Lebanon has 15 separate religion-based personal status laws, which discrimi- nate against women. Marital rape and child marriage both remain legal in Lebanon. In a positive development, parliament repealed article 522 of the crim- inal code, which had allowed rapists to escape prosecution by marrying the vic- tim. Lebanon’s waste management crisis has led to widespread open burning of waste, risking a range of short term and long-term health effects among local residents. As the Syrian refugee crisis continued, an estimated 80 percent of the approxi- mately 1.5 million refugees lack legal status, leaving them vulnerable to arrest, abuse, and exploitation; contributing to poverty and child labor; and restricting their access to education and healthcare. Lebanon waived burdensome resi- dency fees for some Syrians in February. Lengthy Pretrial Detention, Ill-Treatment, and Torture Human Rights Watch continued to document reports of torture by Lebanese se- curity forces, including Internal Security Forces, the Lebanese Armed Forces, and Military Intelligence. In October, parliament passed a new anti-torture law that, while a positive step, falls short of Lebanon’s obligations under international law.   

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351 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H On July 4, 2017, the Lebanese military issued a statement saying four Syrians died in its custody following mass raids in Arsal, a restricted access area in northeast Lebanon. A doctor with expertise in documenting torture reviewed photos of three of the men, provided by their families’ lawyers to Human Rights Watch, and found the injuries “consistent with inflicted trauma in the setting of physical torture.” The army said the men had died of natural causes but has not publicly released the results of its own investigation. In 2016, parliament passed legislation creating a national preventative mecha- nism to monitor and investigate the use of torture. However, Lebanon has still not established the mechanism, allocated funding, or announced its members. Freedom of Assembly and Expression While freedom of expression is generally respected in Lebanon, defaming or crit- icizing the Lebanese president or army is a criminal offense carrying penalties of up to three years in prison. The Lebanese penal code also criminalizes libel and defamation of other public officials, authorizing imprisonment of up to one year. In 2017, Lebanese authorities continued to detain and charge individuals for so- cial media posts critical of government officials. In June, soldiers were captured on video kicking and beating protesters who had gathered to demonstrate against a third extension of parliament’s term. The army said it had opened an investigation but has not publicly released the re- sults. Military Courts Lebanon continues to try civilians, including children, in military courts, in viola- tion of their due process rights and international law. Those who have stood trial in the military courts describe incommunicado detention, the use of confessions extracted under torture, decisions issued without an explanation, seemingly ar- bitrary sentences, and a limited ability to appeal. In one prominent case, 14 protesters, arrested in 2015 for demonstrating against corruption and the government’s failure to resolve a trash crisis, were charged before the Military Tribunal though some of the charges were transferred to a civilian court in March.   

352 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Migrant Workers An estimated 250,000 migrant domestic workers, primarily from Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Nepal, and Bangladesh, are excluded from labor law kafala (sponsorship) system subjects them to restrictive immi- protections. The gration rules and places them at risk of exploitation and abuse. The most common complaints documented by the embassies of labor-sending countries and civil society groups include non-payment or delayed payment of wages, forced confinement, refusal to provide time off, and verbal and physical abuse. Migrant domestic workers suing their employers for abuse face legal ob- stacles and risk imprisonment and deportation due to the restrictive visa sys- tem. Several migrant domestic workers in Lebanon committed suicide or attempted to commit suicide in 2017. In 2016 and 2017, Lebanon’s General Security agency detained and deported mi- grant domestic workers, apparently for having children in Lebanon. Women’s and Girls’ Rights On August 16, Lebanon’s parliament repealed article 522, which had allowed rapists to escape prosecution by marrying the victim, but left a loophole with re- gard to offences relating to sex with children aged 15-17 and seducing a virgin girl into having sex with the promise of marriage. A lack of coordination in the government’s response to sex trafficking continues to put women and girls at risk. Syrian women appear to be at particular risk of being trafficked into forced prostitution and sexual exploitation. Women continue to face discrimination under the 15 distinct religion-based per- sonal status laws. Discrimination includes inequality in access to divorce, resi- dence of children after divorce, and property rights. Unlike Lebanese men, Lebanese women cannot pass on their nationality to foreign husbands and chil- dren and are subject to discriminatory inheritance laws. Lebanon has no minimum age for marriage for all its citizens. Instead, religious courts set the age based on the religion-based personal status laws, some of which allow girls younger than 15 to marry. Parliament has failed to take up draft bills that would set the age of marriage at 18.   

353 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H A 2014 Law on the Protection of Women and Family from Domestic Violence es- tablished important protection measures and introduced policing and court re- forms. But it failed to criminalize all forms of domestic violence, including marital rape. Some women continued to face obstacles in pursuing criminal com- plaints of domestic violence, mostly due to lengthy delays. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Sexual relations outside of marriage—adultery and fornication—are criminalized under Lebanon’s penal code. Furthermore, article 534 of the penal code pun- ishes “any sexual intercourse contrary to the order of nature” with up to one year in prison. In recent years, authorities conducted raids to arrest persons allegedly involved in same-sex conduct, some of whom were subjected to torture includ- ing forced anal examinations. In January, a judge challenged the legal basis of the arrest of men for same-sex conduct, declaring in a court ruling that “homosexuality is a personal choice, not a criminal offence.” Refugees More than 1 million Syrian refugees are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Lebanon. The government estimates the true number of Syrians in the country to be 1.5 million. Lebanon’s residency policy makes it difficult for Syrians to maintain legal status, heightening risks of exploitation and abuse and restricting refugees’ access to work, education, and healthcare. According to humanitarian organizations, an estimated 80 percent of Syrians in Lebanon now lack legal residency and risk de- tention for unlawful presence in the country. In February, Lebanon waived resi- dency fees for some Syrians in Lebanon. More than 200,000 school-age Syrian children were out of school during the 2016-2017 school year, largely due to parents’ inability to pay for transport, child labor, school directors imposing arbitrary enrollment requirements, and lack of language support. Secondary school-age children and children with disabilities faced particular barriers.   

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355 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H An estimated 10,000 Syrians returned from Arsal, a restricted access border area in northeast Lebanon, to Syria between June and August, under deals largely ne- gotiated by Hezbollah. Refugees told Human Rights Watch that military raids and lack of residency permits were the primary reasons they felt pressured to return. In 2017, Lebanon continued to impose entry regulations on Syrians that effec- tively barred many asylum seekers from entering Lebanon. Human Rights Watch has also documented isolated forcible deportations of Syrians and Palestinians back to Syria, putting them at risk of arbitrary detention, torture, or other perse- cution. Approximately 45,000 Palestinians from Syria have also sought refuge in Lebanon, joining the estimated 260-280,000 Palestinian refugees already in the country, where they face restrictions, including on their right to work. Open Burning of Waste Lebanon has never implemented a national waste management system and con- tinues to face a waste management crisis. There are hundreds of open dumps across the country, many of which are being burned, posing a range of short and long term health risks to populations living nearby. Open burning disproportion- ately affects poorer areas of the country, and children and older persons among local residents are at particular risk. Legacy of Past Conflicts and Wars Lebanon has failed to advance justice or accountability for the families of the es- timated 17,000 kidnapped or “disappeared” during the 1975-1990 civil war. In October 2012, Justice Minister Shakib Qortbawi put forward a draft decree to the cabinet to establish a national commission to investigate the fate of those “dis- appeared” during the country’s 1975-1990 civil war and its aftermath, but no fur- ther action was taken. In September 2014, the government finally provided the families of the disappeared with the files of the Official Commission of Inquiry appointed in 2000. These showed that the government had not conducted any serious investigation.   

356 O D 1 0 2 T R 8 P E W O R L R Key International Actors Syria, Iran, and Saudi Arabia maintain a strong influence on Lebanese politics through local allies and proxies, increasingly so as the conflict in neighboring Syria drags on. Many countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, members of the European Union, Canada, and various Gulf countries, have given Lebanon exten- sive, albeit insufficient, support to help it cope with the Syrian refugee crisis and to bolster security amid spillover violence. Lebanese armed forces and police also receive assistance from a range of inter- national donors, including the US, EU, UK, France, and Saudi Arabia. Some of these actors have tried to ensure the forces adhere to international human rights law, but compliance remains weak.   

357 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Libya Political divisions and armed strife continued to plague Libya as two govern- ments vied for legitimacy and control of the country, and United Nations’ efforts to unify the feuding parties flagged. The UN backs the Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, in the west, but not the rival Interim Government based in the eastern cities of al-Bayda and Benghazi. Clashes between militias and forces loyal to these governments decimated the economy and public services, including the public health system, law enforce- ment, and the judiciary, and caused the internal displacement of over 200,000 people. Armed groups throughout the country, some of them affiliated with one or the other of the competing governments, executed persons extrajudicially, attacked civilians and civilian properties, abducted and disappeared people, and im- posed sieges on civilians in the eastern cities of Derna and Benghazi. The extremist armed group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) lost control of its Libya “capital” Sirte in December 2016. In January 2017, remaining ISIS forces in Benghazi fled the city. ISIS-affiliated fighters remained present in areas south of Sirte and Bani Walid. Most of the more than 200,000 migrants and asylum seekers who reached Eu- rope by sea in 2017 departed in boats from Libya. Migrants and asylum seekers who ended up in detention in Libya faced beatings, extortion, sexual violence, and forced labor in unofficial and quasi state-run detention centers, at the hands of guards, militias, and smugglers. Coast guard forces also beat migrants they intercepted at sea and forced them back to detention centers with inhumane conditions. Between January and November, 2,772 migrants died during perilous boat journeys in the central Mediterranean Sea, most having departed from the Libyan shore. Political Transition and Constitution The GNA struggled to gain authority and control over territory and institutions. Between February and May, militias aligned with it overran positions in Tripoli   

358 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 held by militias that supported a third authority, the Government of National Salvation (GNS). In the east, Libyan National Army forces (LNA), under the command of General Khalifa Hiftar and allied with the Interim Government, continued to expand con- trol over territory in the east and south. Libya’s legislative body, the House of Representatives, remained allied with the LNA and Interim Government, and failed to approve a slate of ministers for the GNA. Armed Conflict and War Crimes In March, the LNA ended its siege of nearly two years on the Benghazi neighbor- hood of Ganfouda, which fighters of the Benghazi Revolutionaries Shura Council (BRSC) had controlled. When LNA forces entered, they committed what appeared to be war crimes, killing civilians and summarily executing and desecrating the bodies of opposition fighters. On May 18, forces aligned with the GNA, including the Third Force from Misrata, the Benghazi Defense Brigades, and other local units from the south, attacked an LNA airbase at Brak Al-Shati, in the south of the country, summarily executing as many as 51 individuals, most of them LNA fighters captured during the attack. Clashes between pro- and anti-GNA militias for the control of Tripoli lasted be- tween March and May. Hostilities left many injured and resulted in the deaths of scores of fighters, and some civilians before militias and security forces aligned with the GNA took control of the capital. Several videos recorded between June 2016 and July 2017 emerged on social media seemingly implicating LNA fighters in summary executions and the dese- cration of bodies of captured enemy fighters in eastern Libya. On August 15, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against Mahmoud al-Werfalli, an LNA commander implicated in these record- ings. On August 18, the LNA announced they had arrested al-Werfalli for ques- tioning. As of September, the LNA had not provided any update on the status of the alleged investigation against him. On August 23, unidentified gunmen beheaded nine LNA fighters and two civil- ians in an attack on a LNA-controlled checkpoint in al-Jufra region. According to the LNA, ISIS carried out the attack.   

359 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In August, the LNA intensified a 14-month siege against the eastern city of Derna, which remained controlled by the Derna Mujahedeen Shura Council (DMSC), an alliance of armed groups that opposed Khalifa Hiftar and the LNA. Local council members, activists, and journalists reported on an impending hu- manitarian crisis in the city, where the LNA intermittently imposed strict meas- ures that included cutting delivery of cooking gas, food items, and fuel. On October 4, unidentified armed men including a suicide bomber, attacked a courthouse in Misrata where regular criminal proceedings were taking place, killing at least four and injuring several people. ISIS claimed it carried out the at- tack. In October, unidentified forces conducted air strikes in Derna killing 16 civilians, including 12 children. There was no claim for responsibility. Also in October, armed groups loyal to the LNA appear to have summarily exe- cuted 36 men in the LNA-controlled eastern town of al-Abyar. Judicial System and Detainees The criminal justice system has all but collapsed since 2014. Civilian and military courts in the east and south remained mostly shut, while elsewhere they oper- ated at reduced capacity. Prison authorities, often only nominally under the authority of the ministries of interior, defense, and justice of the two rival governments, continued to hold thousands of detainees in long-term arbitrary detention without charges. Militias that operated their own informal and often-secret detention facilities also held detainees in similar circumstances. According to the Tripoli-based Judicial Police, the body responsible for managing prisons under the GNA Justice Ministry, 6,400 detainees were held in prisons managed by it in the east, west, and south of the country, of whom only 25 per- cent had been sentenced for a crime. The rest were held in pre-charge or pretrial detention. The Defense and Interior Ministries of both governments in Libya held an unknown number of detainees, in addition to militia-run secret detention fa- cilities. Hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children and including non-Libyan na- tionals, remain held without charge in two prisons in Tripoli and Misrata and in a   

360 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 camp run by the Libyan Red Crescent in Misrata for their apparent link to alleged ISIS fighters, without prospect for release due to their uncertain citizenship sta- tus and lack of coordination with countries of origin. On May 26, The Tripoli Revolutionaries Brigade, a militia allied with the GNA Inte- rior Ministry, overran the al-Hadba Correctional Facility in Tripoli and transferred from there to another location in Tripoli Gaddafi-era officials detained there, in- cluding former intelligence chief Abdullah Sanussi, former Prime Minister Abuzaid Dorda, and al-Saadi Gaddafi, a son of ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. International Criminal Court The ICC prosecutor has a mandate to investigate war crimes, crimes against hu- manity, and genocide committed in Libya since February 15, 2011, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1970. In April, the ICC unsealed an arrest warrant for Mohamed Khaled al-Tuhamy, a former chief of the Internal Security Agency under Gaddafi, for war crimes and crimes against humanity during the 2011 uprising. His whereabouts were un- known at time of writing. Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, a son of Gaddafi, continued to be subject to an arrest war- rant issued by the ICC to face charges of crimes against humanity. In 2015, the Tripoli Court of Assize sentenced Gaddafi to death in absentia for crimes com- mitted during the 2011 uprising. The Abu Baker al-Siddiq militia in Zintan, which had held him since 2011, reported it released him on June 9, 2017, citing an amnesty law issued passed by Libya’s parliament. His release could not be con- firmed; independent international observers have not seen or heard from Gaddafi since June 2014. Death Penalty The death penalty is stipulated in over 30 articles in Libya’s penal code, includ- ing for acts of speech and association that are protected activities under interna- tional human rights law. Civil and military courts around the country have imposed the death penalty since the overthrow of Gaddafi in 2011, often after tri- als marred by due process violations. An unknown number of people were sen-   

361 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H tenced to death by Libyan civil and military courts since 2011, yet no death sen- tences have been carried out since 2010. Internally Displaced Persons The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimated that 217,000 peo- ple were internally displaced in Libya as of September. According to the IOM, most displaced people originated from Benghazi, Sirte, Misrata, and Ubari. Militias and authorities in Misrata continued to prevent 35,000 residents of Taw- ergha from returning to their homes, despite the announcement on June 19 by the GNA that it had ratified a UN-brokered agreement between them and Taw- erghans to end their disputes and allow Tawerghans to return to their homes. Misrata representatives, who accused Tawerghans of having committed serious crimes as supporters of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 upris- ing that ousted him, demanded, as stipulated in the agreement, that the GNA es- tablish a fund to compensate persons who had been detained and the families of victims who went missing or were killed, between February and August 2011. At time of writing, the GNA had yet to establish such a fund, and Misrata forces continued to block displaced families from returning to their homes in Tawergha. According to the Benghazi municipal council based in “exile” in Tripoli, approxi- mately 3,700 Benghazi families have been forcibly displaced since 2014 and have sought shelter in the western cities of Tripoli, Misrata, Khoms, and Zliten, after militias affiliated with the LNA threatened them, attacked, burnt or appro- priated their homes, and accused them of being terrorists. Authorities in Misrata and Tripoli have detained a number of people displaced from Benghazi, often on dubious terrorism allegations. An additional 9,200 families from Benghazi were internally displaced in western Libya due to the conflict in the east. Freedom of Speech and Expression Armed groups intimidated, threatened, and physically attacked activists, jour- nalists, bloggers, and media professsionals. Security forces affiliated with the LNA in Benghazi arrested AFP photographer Abdullah Doma twice within one week—on March 28 and April 2—for a day each time. According to Doma’s family, the arrests were for his coverage of Earth Hour,   

362 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 a global event that took place on March 25 to raise awareness of climate change. Security forces also briefly arrested four of the organizers of the event, slamming it as “offensive to Islam” for allowing men and women to mix. In August, members of militias and armed groups in both east and west Libya threatened in phone calls and on social media the contributors and editors of Sun on Closed Windows , a book of essays and fiction, accusing them of “im- moral content.” Militias briefly arrested two participants in the book launch in the city of Zawiyah. In November, a force affiliated with the GNA Interior Ministry, reportedly arrested participants of a comic book convention in Tripoli under the pretext that it breached the country’s “morals and modesty.” Freedom of Religion Since 2011, militias and forces affiliated with several interim authorities, as well as ISIS fighters, have attacked religious minorities, including Sufis and Chris- tians, and destroyed religious sites in Libya with impunity. In July 2017, the Supreme Fatwa Committee under the General Authority for En- dowments and Islamic Affairs, the religious authority of the Interim Government, issued a religious edict calling the minority Ibadi sect of Islam “a misguided and aberrant group,” and “infidels without dignity.” The Ibadi faith is practiced by many Amazighs, mostly in western Libya. Amazighs number between 300,000 and 400,000 of Libya’s total population of 6.5 million. The GNA responded by condemning the religious edict. In August, unidentified armed groups in Benghazi reportedly kidnapped or ar- rested 21 Sufi adherents, a minority Muslim group, at different times and differ- ent locations. As of September, none of the 21 had been released. Women’s Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity Libyan law does not specifically criminalize domestic violence.Personal status laws continue to discriminate against women, particularly with respect to mar- riage, divorce, and inheritance. The penal code allows for a reduced sentence for a man who kills or injures his wife or another female relative because he sus- pects her of extramarital sexual relations. It also allows rapists to escape prose-   

363 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H cution if they marry their victim under article 424. On February 16, Abdelrazeq al-Nadhouri, chief of staff of the LNA, issued an order requiring women who wished to travel abroad by land, air, or sea to be ac- companied by a male guardian. Al-Nadhouri rescinded the order on February 23 after public pressure, and replaced it with another order requiring all men and women ages 18 to 45 to acquire clearance by relevant security agencies ahead of any international travel from east Libya. The penal code prohibits all sexual acts outside marriage, including same-sex relations, and punishes them with up to five years in prison. Abductions and Enforced Disappearances Militias linked with various government authorities in east and west of the coun- try and criminal gangs kidnapped or forcibly disappeared scores of people for political gain, ransom, and extortion. Tripoli-based activist, Jabir Zain, remained missing after an armed group linked to the GNA Interior Ministery abducted him in Tripoli on September 25, 2016. Civil society activist Abdelmoez Banoon and Benghazi prosecutor Abdel-Nasser Al-Jeroushi, both abducted by unidentified groups in 2014, remained missing. In August, an armed group affiliated with the GNA kidnapped former Prime Min- ister Ali Zeidan during a visit to Tripoli and released him nine days later. Migrants, Refugees, and Asylum Seekers Libya remained a major hub for refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants on their way to Europe. As of November, the IOM recorded over 161,010 arrivals to Europe by sea since January, most of whom departed from Libya. According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), at least 2,772 died or went missing while crossing the central Mediterranean route to Europe. As of November, the IOM reported that 348,372 migrants and asylum seekers were present in Libya. Italy and the EU provided training and material support to Libyan coast guard forces to boost their capacity to intercept boats in territorial and international waters and return migrants and asylum seekers to Libyan territory, where many were exposed to physical abuse including beatings, sexual violence, extortion, abduction, harsh detention conditions, and forced labor.   

364 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 In November, after revelations of alleged “slave auctions,” Rwanda offered to re- settle 30,000 African “slaves” from Libya. The Department for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM), which is part of the GNA- aligned Interior Ministry, managed the formal migrant detention centers, while smugglers and traffickers ran informal ones. Key International Actors The United States announced in September 2016 that it had ended its military campaign against ISIS targets in Libya. In September 2017, the US conducted what it called “precision airstrikes” against purported ISIS targets south of Sirte. There were no reports of civilian casualties. In June, the UN Security Council extended an arms embargo on Libya, effective since 2011, for another 12 months. On June 1, the UN Panel of Experts of the Libya Sanctions Committee, established pursuant to UN Security Council resolu- tion 1973 (2011), issued its report on human rights abuses, violations of the arms embargo, and misappropriation of funds. In February, the UN Support Mission to Libya published a report on the 2014 and 2015 trial proceedings against 37 former members of the Gaddafi government who were accused of crimes during the 2011 uprising, concluding that proceed- ings violated both international fair trial norms and Libyan law. Members of the European Council met in Malta in February, and pledged to train, equip, and support Libyan coast guard forces, and, together with UNHCR and the IOM, improve reception capacities and conditions for migrants in Libya. The EU pledged a total of €200 million for migration-related projects in Libya to support migrant detention centers and coast guard forces, despite evidence of abuse. In July, the EU Council extended the mandate of its anti-smuggling naval opera- tion in the central Mediterranean, Operation Sophia, until December 2018. Oper- ation Sophia’s mandate is to disrupt migrant smugglers and human traffickers, including training Libyan Coastguard and Navy forces, and contributing to the implementation of the UN arms embargo in international waters off Libya’s coast. On July 25, France’s President Emmanuel Macron hosted a meeting between Libyan leaders Prime Minister Fayez Serraj and General Hiftar in a bid to break   

365 A H C T A W S T H G H U M I N R the stalemate between them. The meeting resulted in a declaration of principles, mainly to a conditional ceasefire, and plans for future elections. In September, the EU renewed sanctions for six months against three Libyans seen as threatening the peace, security, and stability of Libya, and obstructive to the implementation of the LPA: Agila Saleh, president of the House of Represen- tatives; Khalifa Ghweil, prime minister of the National Salvation Government; and Nuri Abu Sahmain, president of the self-declared General National Con- gress.   

366 W P R D L R O E O R T 2 0 1 8 Malaysia Malaysia’s government continued its crackdown on critical voices and human rights defenders in 2017. With corruption allegations casting a shadow over Prime Minister Najib Razak, the government strengthened abusive laws and fa- cilitated a societal shift toward a more conservative and less tolerant approach to Islam. Freedom of Expression Although Prime Minister Najib claimed, at a speech in April 2017, that freedom of speech was “thriving” in Malaysia, the reality is far different. The Communica- tions and Multimedia Act (CMA) has been used repeatedly to investigate and ar- rest those who criticize government officials on social media. Section 233(1) of the CMA provides criminal penalties of up to one year in prison for a communica- tion that “is obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive in character with in- tent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass another person.” It has been used against, among others, a blogger who posted an image showing Najib behind bars and, in 2017, individuals who criticized former Chief Minister Adenan Satem after his death. In May 2017, the government launched its CMA prosecution of the CEO and the Malaysiakini editor-in-chief of online news portal over a video the news portal carried criticizing Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali for clearing the prime minister of corruption allegations. In April, the government threatened to withdraw the publishing license of Chi- because it published a satirical cartoon Nanyang nese language newspaper about the debate in parliament on Sharia, or Islamic law. The threat was with- drawn only after the newspaper withdrew the cartoon and apologized. In August, authorities used Malaysia’s restrictive Film Censorship Act to require the deletion of scenes from a film by a Malaysian investigative journalist impli- cating Malaysian immigration officials in the trafficking of Rohingya girls. Author- , a film by a Swedish Kakuma Can Dance ities also banned in its entirety filmmaker about refugees and hip-hop dance in Kenya. Both films were sched- uled to be shown during the annual Refugee Festival in Kuala Lumpur.   

367 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Criminal Justice System Malaysia continues to detain individuals without trial under restrictive laws. Both the 1959 Prevention of Crime Act and the 2015 Prevention of Terrorism Act give government-appointed boards the authority to impose detention without trial for up to two years, renewable indefinitely, to order electronic monitoring, and to impose other significant restrictions on freedom of movement and free- dom of association, with no possibility of judicial review. In August, the government passed amendments to the Prevention of Crime Act that effectively eliminated the right of a detainee to be heard. The amendments abolished the detainee’s right to appear before or make representations to ei- ther the inquiry officer responsible for presenting the case for detention or to the government-appointed Prevention of Crime Board (POCB) that makes the deten- tion decision. The similarly restrictive Security Offences (Special Measures) Act, which allows for preventive detention of up to 28 days with no judicial review for a range of “security offenses,” was renewed for an additional five years in April. Malaysia retains the death penalty for various crimes, and makes the sentence mandatory for 12 offenses, including drug trafficking. Nearly 1,000 people are estimated to be on death row. The government is not transparent about when and how decisions are made to carry out executions, and executed two men for murder on short notice in March 2017 despite a pending clemency petition. Human Rights Defenders Human rights defenders continue to face legal attacks and arbitrary restrictions on their rights. In March, authorities investigated three members of the Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearances (CAGED) under section 505(b) of the Penal Code for making statements with “intent to cause fear and alarm in to the public” after they used the phrase “enforced disappearances” to refer to the un- solved abduction of Pastor Raymond Koh and the disappearance of several other individuals connected to the Christian church. In the same month, a court sentenced Lena Hendry to pay a fine of RM$10,000 (US$2,062) or face one year in prison for her role in arranging a showing of the documentary film No Fire Zone . In June, lawyer Siti Kassim was charged with “ob-   

368 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 structing a public servant” for her actions in challenging the authority of officials conducting a raid on a transgender beauty pageant in April 2016. The government also regularly takes action to block foreign human rights ac- tivists from attending events in Malaysia. In June, immigration authorities de- tained Singaporean activist Han Hui Hui when she attempted to enter the country to attend a human rights event and sent her back to Singapore. In July, government officials detained Adilur Rahman Khan, head of the prominent Bangladesh human rights nongovernmental organization (NGO) Odhikar, when he arrived to attend a conference on the death penalty. Authorities held him for more than 15 hours at the airport before putting him on a plane back to Dhaka. Police Abuse and Impunity Police torture of suspects in custody, in some cases resulting in deaths, contin- ues to be a serious problem, as does a lack of accountability for such offenses. In February, detainee Chandran Muniandy was hospitalized with multiple in- juries to his head and body and most of his toenails missing; police claimed his injuries resulted from a fall in the toilet. The Enforcement Agency Integrity Commission (EAIC) announced that it would in- vestigate the death of S. Balamurugan, who died in custody in February, only after a post-mortem found evidence of blunt force injuries. In October, one po- lice inspector was charged with “voluntarily causing hurt” to Balamurugan to ex- tort a confession. At time of writing, no one has been arrested or disciplined in the Munianty case. During the year, at least two other individuals died in custody as a result of untreated medical conditions. Refugees, Asylum Seekers, and Trafficking Victims Malaysia is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, and refugees and asylum seekers have no legal rights or status in the country. Over 150,000 refugees and asylum seekers, most of whom come from Burma, are registered with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, in Malaysia but are unable to work, travel, or enroll in government schools. Asylum seekers arrested by authorities are treated as “ille- gal migrants” and locked up in overcrowded and unhealthy immigration deten- tion centers.   

369 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H No Malaysians have been held responsible for their role in the deaths of over 100 ethnic Rohingya trafficking victims whose bodies were found in 2015 in re- mote jungle detention camps on the Thai-Malaysian border. The 12 policemen initially charged in the case were all exonerated and released in March 2017. The Malaysian government has failed to effectively implement amendments passed in 2014 to Malaysia’s 2007 anti-trafficking law, in particular by taking the necessary administrative steps to provide assistance and work authorization to all trafficking victims who desire it, while ensuring their freedom of movement. Despite these clear failures, the US State Department upgraded Malaysia to Tier 2 in its annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Freedom of Assembly and Association Malaysian authorities regularly prosecute individuals who hold peaceful assem- blies without giving notice or participate in “street protests.” The Societies Act restricts freedom of association by requiring that organizations with seven or more members register with the registrar of societies. The law gives the minister of home affairs “absolute discretion” to declare an organization illegal, and grants the Registrar of Societies authority over political parties. In July, the Registrar of Societies compelled the opposition Democratic Action Party to hold new elections for its central executive committee, finding that a previous election was invalid. In November, it threatened to deregister opposi- tion party Bersatu, claiming the name of its youth wing was illegal. Freedom of Religion Malaysia has continued its shift towards a more conservative approach to Islam, the majority religion. A bill to increase the punishments that can be imposed by state Sharia courts remains pending in parliament, and in July 2017 the state of Kelantan passed legislation to permit public canings imposed by Sharia courts. In August, a government minister called for “atheists” to be tracked down, and statues of winged women were removed from a local park after complaints that they were “offensive” to Muslims. In September, Turkish academic Mustafa Akyol, author of a book arguing for liberal Islam, was detained and interrogated by the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Department (JAWI) for giving a talk on   

370 2 T R O P E R D L R O W 0 1 8 Islam without official credentials from religious authorities. Dr. Ahmad Farouk Musa, who organized the talk, was charged with abetting Akyol in the offense and faces up to three years in prison if convicted. The home minister subse- quently banned Akyol’s book, along with a collection of scholarly articles by the G25 organization calling for a more moderate approach to Islam. The abduction of Christian Pastor Raymond Koh by 15 masked men in February, followed by the unexplained disappearance of three other people linked to Christian churches, raised serious fears among the Christian community. At time of writing, all four persons remained missing. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people is pervasive in Malaysia. Numerous laws and regulations attributed to Sharia pro- hibiting a “man posing as a woman,” sexual relations between women, and sex- ual relations between men effectively criminalize LGBT people. Violence against LGBT people remains a serious concern, highlighted by the mur- der of a transgender woman Sameera Krishnan in February, and the rape and murder of 18-year-old T. Nhaveen, a young man whose assailants taunted him with anti-LGBT slurs, in June. In a positive development, the Health Ministry, in response to strident criticism from activists and the general public, reframed the terms of a youth video competition, removing language and criteria that stigma- tized LGBT identities in favor of language that appears to affirm them. Domestic and Sexual Violence Malaysia took a step forward in the protection of women’s rights in 2017 by amending its domestic violence law to provide better protection for victims of domestic violence. It also passed a law expanding criminal sanctions for sex of- fenses against children. Efforts to pass a law to end child marriage were de- feated, however, and Malaysia is one of the few countries that does not collect data on the number of children marrying. Marital rape is not a crime in Malaysia.   

371 H C T A W S H U M A N T R I G H Key International Actors Malaysia positions itself in the UN and the international community as a moder- ate Muslim state prepared to stand up to Islamist extremism, earning support from the US and its allies. Malaysia also has continued its engagement with China, its largest trading partner.   

372 R W R L D R E P O O T 2 0 1 8   

373 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Mali Insecurity in Mali worsened as Islamist armed groups allied to Al-Qaeda dramati- cally increased their attacks on government forces and United Nations peace- keepers. The peace process envisioned to end the 2012-2013 political-military crisis stalled in 2017. Government forces conducted counterterrorism operations that resulted in arbitrary arrests, summary executions, torture, and ill-treatment. In the north, armed groups made scant progress on disarmament and the gov- ernment made inadequate progress on the restoration of state authority. This deepened a rule of law and security vacuum, facilitating rampant banditry and displacement. In central Mali, Islamist armed group presence and intimidation of the population steadily increased through the year, resulting in numerous se- rious abuses including summary executions of local officials and alleged govern- ment informants. Intercommunal violence in central and northern Mali left scores dead, displaced thousands, and was exploited by ethnically aligned and abusive vigilante groups to garner recruits. Banditry and attacks undermined the delivery of basic health care, education and humanitarian assistance. Some effort was made toward ensuring justice for victims of abuses committed during the 2012-2013 armed conflict, but the judiciary was reluctant to investi- gate ongoing abuse by the armed forces. Rule of law institutions remained weak, and corruption endemic, further impeding Malians’ access to basic health care and education. The spread of militant attacks from north to central Mali and across borders into Burkina Faso and Niger sparked increased diplomatic and military engagement by the international community, leading to a United Nations sanctions regime and the creation of a five-nation counterterrorism military force, the G5 Sahel Joint Force. Abuses by Armed Groups in North and Central Mali A suicide bombing in Gao claimed by Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) killed over 50 former members of armed groups. Islamist armed groups summar- ily executed numerous local government officials and members of armed groups   

374 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 they accused of being government informants. At least two victims were be- headed. In central Mali, Islamist armed groups increasingly imposed their version of Sharia (Islamic law), establishing courts that did not adhere to fair trial stan- dards. They threatened villagers collaborating with authorities, recruited chil- dren, destroyed schools, and beat villagers who engaged in cultural practices they had forbidden. Several civilians were killed during fighting between armed groups, as well as by explosives planted by the groups on major roads. In 2017, humanitarian agencies suffered scores of attacks, mostly by bandits, which undermined their ability to deliver aid. At least 23 UN peacekeepers with the Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) were killed and 103 wounded in attacks by Islamist armed groups in 2017, bringing the total to 92 killed since MINUSMA’s creation in 2013. At time of writing, Islamist armed groups still held six foreigners hostage, includ- ing a Colombian nun, a French aid worker, American and Swiss missionaries, a Romanian mine worker, and an Australian doctor, all kidnapped within the Sahel region from 2015 to 2017. A Swede and a British-South African held hostage since 2011 were released in 2017. In November, 11 Malian security force person- nel kidnapped during operations in 2016 and 2017 were inadvertently killed dur- ing a French airstrike on armed Islamists. Abuses by State Security Forces Government forces took steps to protect civilians by patrolling and intervening to stop communal tension, but military operations to counter the growing presence of Islamist armed groups resulted in serious violations of human rights and inter- national humanitarian law including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappear- ances, torture, and arbitrary arrest. During 2017, soldiers allegedly killed and buried at least 15 suspects in common graves, while more than 25 were subjected to enforced disappearance. Dozens of other suspects were subjected to severe ill-treatment during interrogations.   

375 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Numerous men and some children accused of crimes against the state and ter- rorist-related offenses were detained by the national intelligence agency without respect for due process. Some members of the security forces were also impli- cated in acts of extortion, bribe-taking, and theft, including from detainees. The military made little effort to hold to account soldiers or militiamen impli- cated in abuses. However, they took steps to ensure the presence of military po- lice—responsible for monitoring respect for international humanitarian law—during military operations, made progress in operationalizing the Military Justice Directorate in Bamako, and, in October, promised an internal investiga- tion into alleged abuses by their forces in central Mali. Recruitment of Child Soldiers and Children’s Rights Armed groups in the north and center, including those allied with the govern- ment, continued to recruit and use child soldiers. Numerous children suspected of supporting armed groups were detained in state-run detention centers, in con- travention of a 2013 protocol stipulating that children were to be placed in a care center managed by UNICEF. During 2017, over 150,000 children were denied the right to education because of insecurity, threats against teachers and school closures in northern and cen- tral Mali. Numerous teachers were directly threatened and schools vandalized or destroyed by armed Islamist groups. At least 10 children died during crossfire, intercommunal violence, or explosions. Accountability for Abuses The Justice Ministry took steps to improve its case management system, and, in late December 2016, set up a special investigations cell to address serious crimes, attached to the Specialized Judicial Unit on Terrorism and Transnational Organized Crime. At year’s end, implementation of the decision had not moved forward. The August conviction of Aliou Mahamane Touré, former head of the Islamic po- lice force in Gao for crimes against the state, indicates progress towards ac- countability. The trial of former coup leader Gen. Amadou Haya Sanogo and 17   

376 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 other members of the Malian security services for the 2012 killing of 21 elite “Red Beret” soldiers was suspended in December 2016. Judicial authorities failed to open investigations into ongoing violations against civilians by security forces and made little progress in ensuring justice for the victims of violations committed during Mali’s 2012-2013 armed conflict. Truth and Reconciliation Mechanism and Independent Human Rights Commission The Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission, established by presidential executive order in 2014 with a three-year mandate to investigate crimes and the root causes of violence dating back to 1960, made meaningful progress in 2017. The 25-member commission operationalized five regional offices and took over 5,000 statements from victims and witnesses. However, the credibility of the commission was undermined by government’s inclusion of nine armed group members, while excluding victims’ group representatives. The mandate of the National Commission for Human Rights was strengthened with improved funding and the appointment in May of nine full-time commis- sioners. However, the commission showed reluctance to investigate abuses by security force personnel. Judiciary and Legal Framework for Human Rights The Malian judiciary was plagued by neglect and mismanagement, and insecu- rity led many judicial personnel to abandon their posts in northern and central Mali. Due to the courts’ inability to adequately process cases, hundreds of de- tainees have been held in extended pretrial detention. However, some effort was made to rehabilitate and improve prison conditions. In March, under pressure from international donors, the government established the Central Office for the Fight against Illegal Enrichment, mandated by a 2016 law to coordinate anti-corruption efforts. In April, a new Ministry of Human Rights and State Reform was created by a pres- idential decree to oversee activities related to rule of law and transitional justice. However, the minister was reluctant to investigate or denounce violations by se- curity force personnel.   

377 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In April and October, the National Assembly extended the state of emergency, first declared in 2015. The constitution review process stalled amid protests by opposition parties and civil society that the process had been hijacked by the executive and that proposed changes increased executive powers. Key International Actors Mali remained a top political priority for France, which, together with the United States, took the lead on military matters. The European Union led on training and security sector reform, and the UN led on rule of law and political stability. These actors were largely reluctant to publicly call for investigations into past and ongoing government violations. Regional actors acted to combat the spread of Islamist militancy in the Sahel. In January, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger established a joint task force to combat rising insecurity along their shared borders. In July, Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad launched the G5 Sahel multinational counterterrorism military force. The creation of G5 Sahel was en- dorsed by the African Union and welcomed by the UN Security Council. The EU pledged $56 million, the US $60 million and Saudi Arabia $100 million in sup- port of G5-Sahel. MINUSMA meaningfully contributed to training government forces and members of the judiciary. While the forces increased patrols, MINUSMA struggled to imple- ment its more robust 2016 civilian protection mandate, largely due to persistent lack of equipment and assets. Operation Barkhane, the 4,000-strong French regional counterterrorism opera- tion, conducted numerous operations in Mali. The EU Training Mission in Mali (EUTM) and the EU Capacity Building Mission (EUCAP) continued to train the Malian army, national guard, gendarmerie, and police forces. The situation in Mali remained under investigation by the International Criminal Court (ICC) since 2012. In August, the court ordered former Ansar Dine leader Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi to pay US$3.2 million in reparations after his 2016 con- viction for his role in the 2012 destruction of historical and religious monuments in Timbuktu. ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda visited Mali in October. Investiga- tions are ongoing but limited due to the precarious security situation.   

378 O D 1 0 2 T R 8 P E W O R L R The UN, EU, Netherlands, Swiss, and Canada took the lead in programs to sup- port the justice sector and address corruption. The United States supported re- form of military justice. In March, the UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the indepen- dent expert on Mali and decided to hold a discussion with the independent ex- pert and government representatives in March 2018 to focus on justice and reconciliation. In September, UN Security Council Resolution 2374 imposed an asset freeze and travel ban against those who obstruct the 2015 peace accord, commit human rights abuses, recruit child soldiers, hinder aid delivery, or conduct attacks on peacekeepers and other UN personnel. The sanctions will be monitored by a panel of experts.   

379 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Mexico During the administration of President Enrique Peña Nieto, which began in 2012, security forces have been implicated in repeated, serious human rights viola- tions during efforts to combat organized crime—including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and torture. The government has made little progress in prosecuting those responsible for recent abuses, let alone the large number of abuses committed by soldiers and police since former President Felipe Calderón initiated Mexico’s “war on drugs” in 2006. In April, the Mexican Congress passed legislation to curb torture and the use of coerced evidence during judicial proceedings. Implementation of the law re- mained pending at time of writing. Enforced Disappearances Since 2006, Mexico’s security forces have carried out widespread enforced dis- appearances. In August 2017, the government reported that the whereabouts of more than 32,000 people who had gone missing since 2006 remain unknown. Prosecutors and police routinely fail to take basic investigative steps to identify those re- sponsible for enforced disappearances, often telling the missing people’s fami- lies to investigate on their own. Authorities have routinely failed to identify remains of bodies or body parts found in various locations, including in clandes- tine graves, throughout the country. The federal government has pursued potentially promising initiatives to find people who have gone missing, but they have produced limited results. In 2013, it created a unit in the Attorney General’s Office to investigate disappearances, which became a Special Prosecutor’s Office in October 2015. However, the office has made only limited progress in investigating and prosecuting cases of forced disappearance. In 2015, Congress approved a constitutional reform giving it authority to pass general laws on enforced disappearances and torture that would establish a sin- gle nationwide definition for each of the crimes and facilitate their prosecution   

380 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 in all 31 states and Mexico City. The law was passed in November 2017. At time of writing, its implementation remained pending. Mexican authorities have failed to make progress in determining what happened to 43 missing students from the teachers college in Ayotzinapa who disappeared in 2014 and are believed killed. Only one of the students has been positively identified among remains that the government says are those of the students. The Attorney General’s Office has failed to conduct in-depth investigations fol- lowing recommendations made by the Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts (GIEI), established through an agreement between the government and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR). At time of writing, more than 100 people had been charged with alleged involve- ment in the abductions, yet prosecutors had neither presented accusations against state or federal authorities nor against members of the armed forces, de- spite indications of their involvement. An August 2016 internal report from the Attorney General’s Office about the Ay- otzinapa investigations established that investigators had broken the law and had engaged in arbitrary detentions and the coercion of alleged suspects. The inspector general who wrote the report claimed that the Attorney General’s Of- fice asked him to step down shortly after he presented the report to his superi- ors. The report was rewritten, and the version that the Attorney General’s Office eventually published concluded that only a handful of minor violations had been committed. Extrajudicial Killings Unlawful killings of civilians by Mexican security forces “take place at an alarm- ingly high rate” amid an atmosphere of “systematic and endemic impunity,” ac- cording to the United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions in 2014. In August 2016, the National Human Rights Commission (CNDH) concluded that federal police arbitrarily executed 22 of 42 civilians who died in a confrontation in 2015 in Tanhuato, Michoacán State. Police fatally shot at least 13 people in the back, tortured two detainees, and burned a man alive, the CNDH concluded, then altered the crime scene by moving bodies and planting guns to justify the   

381 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H illegal killings. At time of writing, nobody had been charged and a federal inves- tigation into the Tanhuato killings remained open. Military Abuses and Impunity Mexico has relied heavily on the military to fight drug-related violence and or- ganized crime, leading to widespread human rights violations by military person- nel. As of July 2016, the CNDH had received almost 10,000 complaints of abuse by the army since 2006—including more than 2,000 during the current adminis- tration. It found in more than 100 cases that military personnel committed seri- ous human rights violations. In November 2017, the Chamber of Deputies approved the Law on Internal Secu- rity, authorizing military involvement in domestic law enforcement activities—in- cluding intelligence gathering—without including meaningful measures to improve accountability. At time of writing, the proposal was under discussion in the Senate. In 2014, Congress reformed the Code of Military Justice to require that abuses committed by members of the military against civilians be handled by the civil- ian criminal justice system rather than the military system, which had a history of routinely failing to hold members of the military accountable for abuses. In May 2016, provisions included in a new Military Code of Criminal Procedure and in reforms to the Code of Military Justice granted military prosecutors and judges broad powers to order the search of homes and public buildings, and to listen to private telecommunications, without a judicial order issued by a civilian judge. In June 2016, the CNDH challenged the constitutionality of these provi- sions. At time of writing, a Supreme Court decision was still pending. In the case of Tlatlaya, where soldiers killed 22 civilians in 2014—witnesses and the CNDH reported that they extrajudicially executed at least 12 of them—nobody has been convicted of the killings. In May 2016, a civilian, federal court absolved the last of eight soldiers charged with homicide. However, in July 2017, a judge ordered the Attorney General’s Office to investigate the case in-depth, including the responsibility of military commanders and the alteration of the crime scene. The Attorney General’s Office appealed the ruling. The appeal was pending reso- lution at time of writing.   

382 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Torture Torture is widely practiced in Mexico to obtain confessions and extract informa- tion. It is most frequently applied in the period between when victims are de- tained, often arbitrarily, and when they are handed over to civilian prosecutors, a period in which they are often held incommunicado at military bases or illegal detention sites. According to a survey of more than 64,000 people incarcerated in 370 Mexican prisons located throughout the country in 2016, performed by Mexico’s national statistics office (Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía – INEGI), 57.8 per- cent of the prison population reported having suffered some type of physical vio- lence at the time of their arrest. Of these people, 19 percent reported receiving electrical shocks; 36 percent being choked, held underwater, or smothered; and 59 percent being hit or kicked. In addition, 28 percent reported that they were threatened that their family would be harmed. In April 2017, the Mexican legislature approved the Law to Investigate, Prevent, and Sanction Torture, aimed at curbing torture and excluding testimony obtained through torture from judicial proceedings. At time of writing, implementation of the law remained pending. As of June 30, 2017, the Specialized Unit for the Investigation of the Crime of Tor- ture—a unit within the Attorney General’s Office—had 4,390 ongoing investiga- tions into alleged cases of torture. Additionally, between September 2016 and June 2017, courts ordered more than 750 criminal investigations into allegations of torture. The Interdisciplinary Group of Independent Experts, established through an agreement between the government and the IACHR concluded in April 2016 that 80 percent of the suspects detained in connection with the case showed bodily injuries possibly due to ill-treatment and torture. As of September 2017, the At- torney General’s Office was conducting six investigations related to the alleged torture of 31 people. None of the investigations had been finalized at time of writing. According to the CNDH, Mexico State prosecutors sought to cover up military wrongdoing in the Tlatlaya case by using torture to coerce false testimony from witnesses. Four police officers were sentenced to three years and eight months’   

383 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H imprisonment for the crime. As of September 2017—more than three years after the massacre—nobody has been convicted in connection with the cover-up. Criminal Justice System The criminal justice system routinely fails to provide justice to victims of violent crimes and human rights violations. Causes of failure include corruption, inade- quate training and resources, and complicity of prosecutors and public defend- ers with criminals and abusive officials. The failure of law enforcement has contributed to the emergence of armed citizen self-defense groups in several parts of the country. In 2013, Mexico enacted a federal Victims Law intended to ensure justice, pro- tection, and reparations for crime victims. Reforms to the law, intended to re- duce bureaucracy and improve access to aid and reparations for victims, were approved in January 2017. Attacks on Journalists and Human Rights Defenders Journalists, particularly those who report on crime or criticize officials, face ha- rassment and attack by both government authorities and criminal groups. Jour- nalists are often driven to self-censorship as a result. From 2000 through October 2017, 104 journalists were killed and 25 disap- peared, according to the Attorney General’s Office. The nongovernmental organi- zation (NGO) Article 19 documented eight cases of journalists killed and one disappeared between January and July 2017. Authorities routinely fail to investigate crimes against journalists adequately, often preemptively ruling out their profession as a motive. The CNDH reported in 2016 that 90 percent of crimes against journalists in Mexico since 2000 have gone unpunished, including 82 percent of killings and 100 percent of disappear- ances. Since its creation in July 2010, the Special Prosecutor’s Office for Crimes against Freedom of Expression has opened more than 1,000 investigations into crimes against journalists. As of October 2017, it has brought charges in 115 cases and obtained only 3 convictions. In July 2017, an investigation by Citizen Lab, a research center at the University of Toronto, showed that at least 11 human rights activists and journalists (as well as   

384 2 T R O P E R D L R O W 0 1 8 the 16-year-old son of a journalist) and members of the GIEI had been targets of a spyware campaign conducted with sophisticated software bought by the Mexi- can government. A senator and two high-ranking members of the main opposi- tion party were also targeted. The affected activists filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office, which opened an investigation. By October 2016, 617 people had received protection under a 2012 law to protect journalists and human rights defenders. However, protection has been slow to arrive or, in some cases, insufficient. Women’s and Girls’ Rights Mexican laws do not adequately protect women and girls against domestic and sexual violence. Some provisions, including those that make the severity of pun- ishments for some sexual offenses contingent upon the “chastity” of the victim, contradict international standards. Eighteen of Mexico’s 31 states have passed laws establishing that there is a right to life from the moment of conception. Although the Supreme Court ruled in 2010 that all states must provide emergency contraception and access to abor- tion for rape victims, many women and girls face serious barriers accessing abor- tions after sexual violence, including official intimidation. Unaccompanied Migrant Children Apprehensions of unaccompanied children from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras decreased sharply in the first seven months of 2017 compared with the same period in 2016, and asylum recognition rates for unaccompanied children from these countries have risen in recent years. Even so, less than 1 percent of those apprehended each year received in- ternational protection, far short of the likely need: the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has estimated that as many as half of the unaccompanied children who arrive in Mexico from the Northern Triangle have plausible asylum claims that should be seriously considered.   

385 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Same-sex marriage has been legal in Mexico City since 2010. It is also permitted in 10 additional states (eight of which have reformed their local legislation to allow it and two where the Supreme Court invalidated articles of the local Civil Code, therefore permitting it without a legislative change). In 2015, the Supreme Court opened the door to recognition in all states by ruling that defining mar- riage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman constitutes discrimina- tion and thus violates Mexico’s Constitution. In May 2016, President Peña Nieto introduced bills to recognize same-sex mar- riage in the constitution and the Federal Civil Code. This would have also re- moved sexual orientation and gender identity as barriers to adoption. However, the federal bill was rejected when two committees in the Chamber of Deputies voted against the initiative in November 2016. At the same time, President Peña Nieto instructed federal agencies to recognize gender identity through the reissuance of birth certificates and passports, with- out a doctor’s involvement. He also instructed the Secretariat of Education to in- clude sexual diversity among the new educational materials. It had yet to do so at time of writing. Disability Rights In a 2014 report, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities found that, despite new laws and programs protecting the rights of the disabled, serious gaps remained, including in access to justice, legal standing, and the right to vote; access to buildings, transportation, and public spaces; violence against women; and education. In 2015, Disability Rights International reported that conditions were inhumane in Mexico City’s government-funded facilities for people with disabilities, includ- ing one institution that locked children in cages. The report also documented that women with psychosocial disabilities at state-run clinics in Mexico City were sometimes pressured into being sterilized or, when pregnant, into having abor- tions. Mexico made no progress in the implementation of the right to legal capacity for persons with disabilities. In addition, it amended the General Education Law in   

386 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 June 2016, enabling the special education of children with disabilities in schools. In February 2016, Mexico’s Supreme Court determined the requirement that peo- ple on the autistic spectrum obtain a certificate of ability to work violates Mex- ico’s Constitution, as well as international human rights standards. Key International Actors In September, the UN Committee on Migrant Workers published a preliminary re- port in which it expressed its concern about the “grave irregularities” in the identification of the victims and those responsible for the mass murders of mi- grants committed between 2010 and 2012 in the states of Nuevo León and Tamaulipas. It also urged the state to guarantee the rights of migrants in transit and called upon Mexican authorities to “only use the detention of migrants as a measure of last resort,” to improve conditions of detention, and to “immediately put an end to” the detention of migrant children. In January, after his visit to the country, the UN special rapporteur on human rights defenders raised concerns about attacks against human rights defenders and criminalization of their activities. In May, the special rapporteurs on freedom of expression from the UN and the IACHR issued a joint statement urging the Mexican government “to end [the] epidemic of violence against journalists.” In April, the UN working group on human rights and business had also urged the government to better protect human rights defenders and journalists, as well as to implement mechanisms to create social dialogue about large-scale projects and improve efforts to combat gender-based discrimination in the workplace. The IACHR published a report in March 2016 documenting a wide range of abuses in Mexico—including disappearances; extrajudicial executions; torture; and insecurity for women, children, migrants, human rights defenders, and jour- nalists—which they concluded amounted to a “crisis of gross human rights viola- tions.” The government criticized the report, responding that there was no “human rights crisis” in Mexico. Later that month, Mexican authorities denied UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Méndez permission to return before the end of his term, rejecting his conclusion that torture was widespread and accus- ing him of acting “unethically.”   

387 H H C T A W S T H G I R N A M U In October 2016, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) issued 14 recommendations to Mexico on the need to address impunity for human rights violations, adopt laws to regulate the use of force and eliminate torture and enforced disappearances, and establish an independent forensic in- stitution with adequate resources. In May 2016, the UN special rapporteur on ex- trajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions released a report on Mexico identifying continuing serious violations, including extrajudicial killings and ex- cessive use of force by security forces, impunity, and lack of reparations for vic- tims. Since 2007, the United States has allocated more than US$1.6 billion in aid through the Mérida Initiative to help combat organized crime. In 2015, the US secretary of state withheld $5 million in security aid, saying the State Depart- ment could not confirm that Mexico had met the agreement’s human rights crite- ria, but Mexico received its full Mérida aid the following year. In 2017, the Mérida aid was $139 million.   

388 R W R L D R E P O O T 2 0 1 8   

389 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Morocco/Western Sahara Morocco responded to ongoing demonstrations in the restive Rif region through- out 2017 with its characteristic vacillation between tolerance and repression. Se- curity forces allowed many street protests to proceed against the central government’s alleged neglect of the region’s needs, but, starting in May, moved to arrest activists of the so-called Hirak Rif movement, beating and abusing many of them. Some were subsequently imprisoned after unfair trials. A court imprisoned a well-known journalist-commentator on dubious charges relating to inciting the Hirak Rif demonstrations. The political process for self-determination of Western Sahara, a territory under Moroccan control, remained stalled with little international mediation or atten- tion. Morocco proposes autonomy under its continued rule but rejects a referen- dum on independence. The government systematically prevented gatherings in Western Sahara supporting Sahrawi self-determination. A new trial before a civilian court of 24 Sahrawis accused of involvement in the deaths of policemen during 2010 clashes resulted in their conviction and lengthy prison sentences, an outcome similar to the one in their first trial before a military tribunal. The trial was tainted by apparent due process violations such as the reliance on testimony allegedly obtained under coercion without properly examining allegations of torture. Authorities continued throughout 2017 to restrict the activities of Morocco’s biggest independent human rights organization, the Moroccan Association for Human Rights, and of international human rights groups seeking to conduct re- search visits. Freedom of Expression The Press and Publications Code, adopted by parliament in July 2016, eliminates prison sentences yet imposes fines and court-ordered suspensions of publica- tions or websites as punishment for many nonviolent speech offenses. Meanwhile, the penal code maintains prison as a punishment for a variety of nonviolent speech offenses, including for crossing Morocco’s long-standing “red lines,” that is “causing harm” to Islam, the monarchy, the person of the king,   

390 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 and the royal family, and “inciting against” Morocco’s “territorial integrity,” a ref- erence to its claim to Western Sahara. Prison also remains a punishment for in- sulting state institutions and for speech and writings that are perceived as an “apology for terrorism.” On September 11, 2017, the al-Hoceima Appeals Court increased the three-month prison sentence handed down by a lower court against website editor and jour- nalist Hamid Mahdaoui on July 25, 2017, for inciting participation in an unautho- rized demonstration, to one year. The case was based on comments that Mahdaoui made in a public square in al-Hoceima on July 19, supporting the Hirak Rif movement and condemning the government’s decision to ban a demonstration planned for July 20. Among the several citizen journalists and web activists prosecuted in connection with the Rif protests was Ilyass Akallouch, whom the al-Hoceima Court of First Instance sentenced on August 24 to eight months in prison and a MAD20,000 (US$2,000) fine for social media posts that “incite others to participate in unauthorized demonstrations.” Authorities require but often refuse to issue permits for foreign broadcast media to film in Morocco. On July 25, they deported two Spanish journalists who were covering the Rif protests, including one, Jose Luis Navazo, who had been living in Morocco for 17 years. Freedom of Assembly and Association Authorities tolerated many marches and rallies throughout the year demanding political reform and protesting government actions, but often forcibly dispersed protests, even when they were peaceful. In the Rif region, security forces had arrested over 450 Hirak Rif protesters, as of October. The protests began in October 2016, after a fishmonger in al-Hoceima was crushed to death in a garbage truck while trying to rescue his goods that au- thorities had confiscated. Many of the detained protesters alleged beatings by police during arrest and said police forced them to sign written statements unread. Some of these allega- tions were corroborated by reports prepared by forensic doctors appointed by the National Human Rights Council, who had examined detained protesters. Courts convicted protesters on charges that included insulting and physically as-   

391 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H saulting members of the security forces, armed rebellion, and destruction of public goods, sentencing them to terms in prison that were mostly 18 months or less. Officials continue to arbitrarily prevent or impede associations from obtaining legal registration, although the 2011 constitution guarantees freedom of associa- tion. Authorities have kept sealed since 2006 houses belonging to at least two mem- bers of the Islamist movement al-Adl wal-Ihsan (Justice and Spirituality), an Is- lamist movement that questions the king’s claim of spiritual authority, without providing a formal legal basis. Authorities frequently impeded events organized by local chapters of the Moroc- can Association for Human Rights (AMDH), by denying access to planned venues. In a typical instance, on July 8, authorities in the village of Zaouiat Cheikh prevented access of participants to the community center, where AMDH had planned a public conference on human rights. They also sometimes pre- vented efforts by chapters to comply with document-filing requirements, placing some of these chapters in legal jeopardy. The government has continued to impose a de facto ban on research missions by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch since 2015, despite relative unimpeded access of the two organizations for nearly 25 years before then. As in previous years, authorities expelled several foreign visitors who came to witness human rights conditions in Western Sahara or attend human rights events there. On July 4, Spanish citizens Laura Moreno and Andrea Sáez, who had come to meet with Sahrawi human rights activists were not allowed to de- plane in El-Ayoun and were sent back. Police Conduct, Torture, and the Criminal Justice System Courts failed to uphold due process guarantees in political and security-related cases. The Code of Penal Procedure, amended in 2011, gives a defendant the right to contact a lawyer after 24 hours in police custody or a maximum of 36 hours if the prosecutor approves this extension. In cases involving terrorism offenses, the prosecutor can delay access to a lawyer for up to six days. The law does not give   

392 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 detainees the right to a have a lawyer present when police interrogate or present them with their statements for signature. The 2003 counterterrorism law contains an overly broad definition of “terrorism” garde à vue (precharge) detention in terrorism re- and allows for up to 12 days of lated cases. The Rabat Appeals Court conducted a new trial of 24 Sahrawis convicted by a military court in 2013 for their alleged role in violence that erupted after security forces entered to dismantle a protest encampment set up in Gdeim Izik, Western Sahara. The violence resulted in the deaths of 11 security force members. The ap- peals court sentenced nearly all of the defendants to prison terms of between 20 years and life, similar to the sentences that the military court handed them in 2013. In its verdict, the court relied on the original police statements from 2010, which the defendants rejected as false. They said they were either coerced or physically forced into signing the statements, including through the use of tor- ture. The court ordered medical examinations, which concluded that torture could neither be proven nor disproven, an unsurprising conclusion given that these examinations, the first of a forensic nature of these defendants, were tak- ing place seven years after the alleged torture took place. On March 9, a Rabat court of appeals upheld the conviction of French citizen Thomas Gallay on charges of materially aiding persons who harboured terrorist aims, but reduced his prison sentence from six to four years. Gallay’s lawyer, who was not present when the police questioned him, said that police used pressure and deceit to persuade him to sign statements in Arabic, a language that he could not read. The court also convicted Gallay’s eight Moroccan co-de- fendants, sentencing them to prison terms of up to 18 years. Hundreds of others were serving prison terms on terrorism charges, some of them following unfair mass trials, like those arrested in the “Bellarij” case in 2008. Between January 1 and October 1, Morocco’s highest court upheld the death penalty in three cases; 11 other death sentences that lower courts pronounced in 2017 were still under review at time of writing. Authorities have not carried out any executions since the early 1990s.   

393 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Migrants and Refugees A draft of Morocco’s first law on the right to asylum had yet to be adopted. Since 2013, Morocco’s ad hoc inter-ministerial commission charged with refugee is- sues has granted refugee cards and one-year renewable residency permits to al- most every person that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recognized as a refugee, totalling 745 persons since 2013, most of them sub-Saharan Africans. As of September 30, UNHCR said it had 2,995 Syrian asy- lum seekers in its registry. While Morocco has not formally recognized these Syri- ans as refugees, it allows them to reside in Morocco and to access essential public services, such as health and education, according to UNHCR. Morocco also granted one-year renewable residency permits to thousands of sub-Saharan migrants who were not asylum-seekers but who met criteria set forth in a 2013 plan. On June 21, Moroccan authorities granted temporary residence status to 28 Syr- ian asylum seekers who remained blocked in no-man’s land between Algeria and Morocco after a two-month-long stand-off between the two countries during which time neither agreed to admit them. Women’s and Girls’ Rights The 2011 constitution guarantees equality for women, “while respecting the pro- visions of the constitution, and the laws and permanent characteristics of the Kingdom.” The 2004 Family Code, which improved women’s rights in divorce and child cus- tody, discriminates against women with regard to inheritance and procedures to obtain divorce. The code raised the age of marriage from 15 to 18, but judges rou- tinely allowed girls to marry below this age. Criminalization of adultery and sex outside marriage has a discriminatory gender impact, in that rape victims face prosecution if they file charges that are not later sustained. Women and girls also face prosecution if they are found to be preg- nant or bear children outside marriage. On March 17, 2016, the government adopted a revised bill on combatting vio- lence against women (Bill 103-13), and the House of Representatives passed it   

394 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 on July 20, 2016. The draft law remained with the House of Councillors, the par- liament’s second chamber, at the end of 2016. Domestic Workers A 2016 law on domestic worker rights is scheduled to go into effect in October 2018, following the adoption in 2017 of necessary implementing regulations. The law requires written contracts for domestic workers and sets 18 as the minimum age for such employment, after a five-year phase in during which 16- and 17-year- olds can work. It limits weekly working hours and guarantees 24 continuous hours of rest per week and sets a minimum wage and provides for financial penalties for employers who violate the law. Despite a current prohibition on employing children under the age of 15, thou- sands of children under that age—predominantly girls—are believed to still work as domestic workers. Disability Rights Parliament in 2016 adopted Framework Law 97.13 on the rights of persons with disabilities, a step toward harmonizing legislation with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Morocco ratified in 2009. However, the Framework Law fell short in some areas, such as in guaranteeing access to inclu- sive education for children with disabilities, and in affirming the right of legal ca- pacity. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Moroccan courts continued to jail persons for same-sex conduct under article 489 of the penal code, which stipulates prison terms of six months to three years for “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex.” In December 2016, a court in Marrakech acquitted two teenage girls who had been detained for one week and charged with “sexual deviancy” for allegedly hugging and kissing in private. On February 24, two men were sentenced on charges that included violating article 489, to six months in prison and a fine of MAD1,000 (US$107) by a Tangiers court of first instance, after a video showing them engaging in consensual sex was shared on social media.   

395 M H C T A W S T H G I R H U N A Key International Actors On December 21, 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union concluded that 2012 bilateral EU-Morocco agreements liberalizing trade in agriculture and fish were not applicable to Western Sahara, due to the separate and distinct sta- tus guaranteed to that territory under the Charter of the United Nations and the principle of self-determination of peoples. The court however overturned a 2015 court decision invalidating the trade agreement. Despite its own mixed record on eradicating torture, Morocco is a founding mem- ber of the Convention against Torture Initiative, a campaign by states to get the UN Convention against Torture universally ratified and better implemented by 2024.   

396 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Mozambique A ceasefire in December 2016 ended armed clashes between the government and the former rebel group, now political party, Resistência Nacional Moçambi- cana (Mozambican National Resistance, or RENAMO). But members of govern- ment security forces and RENAMO-linked armed groups continued to commit abuses with impunity during armed clashes that started in late 2014, including killings, enforced disappearances, kidnappings, arbitrary arrests, and destruc- tion of property. The country further endured an economic crisis, mainly due to the disclosure of state-owned companies’ debt to foreign banks, which led donors to freeze their contributions to the state budget. Authorities failed to prosecute government of- ficials implicated in the debt scandal, despite an international audit that de- tailed the transactions and named individuals involved in the process. Impunity and Unresolved Killings Mozambican law enforcement continued its practice of not investigating a range of serious crimes. The cases of 10 high-profile figures, including senior opposi- tion members, state prosecutors, and prominent academics, who were either killed or injured in apparently politically motivated attacks in 2016, remained un- resolved. Likewise, the government provided no new information about 15 unidentified bodies found scattered under a bridge between the central provinces of Manica and Sofala, in May 2016. A parliamentary commission es- tablished in June 2016 to investigate the case did not publish an account of its findings or state when it would complete its work. Authorities also failed to investigate human rights abuses allegedly committed by government security forces in 2015 and 2016 in relation to clashes with armed men from RENAMO, such as enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and property destruction. In 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said at least 14 RENAMO officials were killed or abducted across the coun- try in the first quarter of 2016. Mozambique’s leading human rights group, Liga dos Direitos Humanos (LDH), said that government security forces abducted and summarily executed at least   

397 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H 83 people in the provinces of Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambezia between No- vember 2015 and December 2016. In cases investigated by Human Rights Watch, family members of “disappeared” people said that government officials had failed to provide them with informa- tion, despite strong evidence that security forces had detained their relative. Au- thorities also failed to investigate the destruction of homes and crops by security forces in Manica and Sofala provinces, or provide compensation to those af- fected. There was also no significant progress in the investigation into a major financial scandal involving three state-owned companies that illegally borrowed over US$2 billion from Credit Suisse and VTB of Russia in 2013 and 2014 without par- liamentary approval. The case led to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) sus- pending its Mozambique program and all 14 international donors freezing aid to the annual budget, pending an investigation and independent audit of the loans. In June, the attorney general published the audit report conducted by Kroll, a British audit firm, which detailed the transactions and individuals in- volved in the process, including former ministers and former heads of the state intelligence and security service. At time of writing, the government claimed to be investigating the case, but no individual mentioned in the report had been charged. Abuses in the Mining Industry In July, videos shared on social media appeared to show Mozambican security forces assaulting artisanal miners at the ruby mines in Namanhumbir, Mon- tepuez, northern Cabo Delgado province, which are co-owned by the British company Gemfields and former generals linked to the ruling party. The footage showed uniformed officers beating the miners and ordering some of them to beat others who were tied to trees or had their heads buried in the sand. Reacting to the videos, a police spokesman said on July 26 that the officers in- volved were under investigation but provided no details. In August, the Bar Association’s human rights commission, after a mission to the , found that security forces in the region had committed Montepuez region   

398 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 abuses against miners, such as killings, beatings, and extortion. The commis- sion urged authorities to investigate and hold perpetrators to account. These events followed accounts from media and activists in February 2017 that Mozambican police had beaten and raped some Tanzanian miners while they were being deported for working illegally in the country. Mozambique denied the accusations and Tanzania said it was investigating how its nationals were treated. Attacks on Children and Adults with Albinism The killings, kidnappings, and physical attacks against people with albinism continued, despite government efforts to stop the violence, including several ar- rests. In Mozambique and some neighboring countries, people with albinism are hunted for their body parts, which are used for witchcraft. In March 2017, the United Nations independent expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, told the UN Human Rights Council that the situation of people with albinism in Mozambique “re- quires urgent and immediate attention.” She estimated that more than 100 at- tacks against people with albinism had occurred in Mozambique since 2014. Many of the victims are children. In September 2017, according to the police, a 17-year-old boy with albinism was killed and his brain removed, in Tete province. Four months earlier, police uncovered an attempt by two parents to sell their child with albinism in the same province. In June, the Malawian press reported that a 12-year-old Malawian boy with albinism had been killed in Mozambique, and police had arrested five people allegedly connected with the crime. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Two years since the decriminalization of homosexuality in Mozambique, the gov- ernment had still not registered the country’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) group, Lambda. Since January 2016, the government has not made a public statement about Lambda or the rights of homosexuals in the country, despite constant appeals by the UN Human Rights Council for the gov- ernment to register nongovernmental organizations that work on issues of sex- ual orientation and gender identity. Homosexuality is widely tolerated in   

399 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Mozambique, but LGBT people and local activists point to frequent discrimina- tion at work and mistreatment by family members . Prison Conditions Prison overcrowding continued to be a major problem, with prisons that have a total capacity of just over 8,000 holding more than 18,000 people. Authorities blame the overcrowding on slow judicial processes, the large number of illegal detentions, and a lack of alternative forms of punishment for petty crimes. The attorney general has also expressed concern about the overcrowding, which, ac- cording to her, was the highest it has been since 2014. Domestic Violence Domestic violence was in the spotlight with two high-profile cases making head- lines. In December 2016, the daughter of former President Armando Guebuza was shot dead by her husband during a domestic dispute in their home. As of late November, the case was awaiting trial. In February, the daughter of former President Samora Machel won a court case against her ex-boyfriend, who beat her so badly she lost an eye. Reacting to the cases, the Association of Women in Legal Careers said the gov- ernment often fails to investigate and prosecute cases of domestic violence. Ac- cording to the group, family pressure and obstruction by the police caused many cases to be dropped. Domestic violence against men also made headlines in 2017, after at least three women, in separate cases, allegedly tried to kill their husbands. In reaction to the cases, police said that in the first three months of the year they had registered 210 cases of domestic violence against men and women. Impact of the Economic Crisis Mozambique’s economic crisis had a significant impact on the country’s fi- nances, making it harder for people to enjoy basic economic and social rights. The health authorities struggled to purchase medicine, and in March, media re- ported that there were temporary shortages of basic medicine, such as paraceta- mol, in at least three provinces: Inhambane, Manica, and Zambezia. In June,   

400 O L 1 0 2 T R 8 P E R W O R D media reported that due to the financial crisis, hospitals in Inhambane province did not have food for patients. Key International Actors In August, the European Union and the United States congratulated President Fil- ipe Nyusi and RENAMO leader Afonso Dhlakama for having their first meeting since February 2015. Held on August 6, the meeting raised expectations for a po- tential peace agreement by the end of 2017, though no agreement was reached. The EU encouraged the two leaders to work toward a deal that would allow 2018 local elections and 2019 general elections to take place in a climate of peace. In September, the US pledged US$400 million to fight HIV/AIDS in Mozambique, as part of the president’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). In August, the IMF said it would not resume its assistance programs in Mozambique until au- thorities provide all information on money that state-owned companies had bor- rowed from foreign banks.   

401 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Nepal Shifts in Nepal’s political landscape continued throughout 2017, with a new prime minister taking office in June. Local district elections, held for the first time in 20 years, were a significant step in the country’s political transition following the 1996-2006 civil war. However, public differences between political parties and interest groups over power sharing underscored the country’s deep, ongoing rifts, which had intensified with the 2015 constitution. Successive administrations stalled on delivering justice for atrocities committed during the decade-long civil war between government forces and insurgent Maoist forces. The slow pace of reconstruction efforts around the devastating 2015 earthquakes, mired by corruption, reinforced social and economic margin- alization. Severe flooding during the monsoon season from June to August affected an es- timated 1.7 million people, with 65,000 homes destroyed and 461,000 dis- placed. Transitional Justice and Accountability Nepal’s transitional justice process has been plagued by a lack of political will from all parties, as well as the military. At least 13,000 people were killed and over 1,300 were forcibly disappeared during the country’s decade-long conflict, yet political leaders continue to neglect calls for accountability. Although the mandate for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Commission of Investigation on Enforced Disappeared Persons (CIEDP) was extended for another year in February 2017, political and resource constraints obstructed their work. The government failed to amend the commissions’ enact- ing law, despite pledges and two separate Supreme Court rulings that found the act contravenes international norms due to amnesty provisions. In August, the commissions began preliminary investigations into the more than 65,000 complaints they received. However, reports of flawed implementation, including lack of transparency and weak engagement with victims, sustained concerns among stakeholders.   

402 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Authorities consistently ignored court orders for investigations, prosecutions, and convictions. They failed for years to enforce repeated court summons and an arrest warrant for three army officers charged with the 2004 murder of a 15-year- old girl tortured to death in military custody. In April, the officers were sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia, but the government has yet to take measures to locate the convicted and uphold the landmark verdict. A fourth officer tried in the case, Maj. Niranjan Basnet, was acquitted, which the district prosecutor de- clined to appeal in May. In October, Maoist leader and former parliamentarian Bal Krishna Dhungel was arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison on a conviction from 2004 for a 1998 murder, which he had long evaded through political protection. The Supreme Court had issued an order for his immediate arrest in April, yet he re- mained free for a further six months until a second contempt of court was filed against the police chief for failing to act. Dhungel’s party staged protests calling for his release. Earthquake Reconstruction Marginalized groups have been disproportionately affected by challenges in the rebuilding process from the 2015 earthquakes that left 3.5 million homeless. The widening gap in recovery efforts has significantly impacted lower caste and in- digenous ethnic groups, people with low income and education levels, and per- sons living with disabilities. Government corruption also obstructed dispersal of aid, with the estimated US$4 billion raised by the international community remaining largely undistrib- uted. Elections Nepal held local district elections in three phases in May, June, and September, and provincial and national parliamentary elections in November and December. In February, protests flared up over demands for constitutional amendments from Terai-based political parties seeking a greater role in governance. In March, four people were killed and dozens injured after security forces used live ammu- nition to disperse crowds protesting a campaign event in Saptari district. While   

403 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H investigating the deaths, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) officials were attacked in their vehicle by supporters of parties boycotting the election. Although there were some incidents of violence, and a section representing Madhesi communities in the south maintained their call to boycott the polls, the elections were largely considered free and fair. Migrant Workers More than 2 million Nepalis work abroad—about 10 percent of the population— although the numbers are likely higher as many workers migrate through unoffi- cial channels. The migrant workforce contributes 30 percent of the country’s annual revenue in funds sent home. Government reforms have failed to protect migrant workers from abusive recruit- ment agencies. In 2015, Nepal introduced a “free visa, free ticket” policy, through which employers in Gulf countries and Malaysia bear the costs of visas and flights tickets. After two years, however, the policy’s implementation re- mains inadequate. Authorities’ failure to enforce protections has allowed agencies to continue charging exorbitant fees for jobs abroad. Other exploitative practices include confiscation of travel documents and false depictions of the work. In tangent with recruitment debts, these leave migrants highly vulnerable to forced labor and other abusive conditions. In 2016, Nepal lifted the ban on domestic workers migrating to the Gulf and in- troduced new guidelines on employers and recruitment agencies in countries of employment. In April 2017, the parliament’s labor committee recommended the ban be re-implemented. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In line with a 2007 Supreme Court decision, the government has gradually intro- duced a legal third gender on various documents, including citizenship certifi- cates and passports. In 2017, the court issued a new judgment to emphasize the government’s responsibility to issue such documents. Activists remain frus- trated with the lack of implementation of a Supreme Court-mandated committee recommendation that the government recognize same-sex relationships.   

404 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Women’s and Girls’ Rights Nepal has the third highest rate of child marriage in Asia—37 percent of girls are married before 18, and 10 percent by 15. Progress toward ending the practice has stalled. In 2016, the government launched a national strategy to end child mar- riage by 2030, but they have yet to announce any practical action plan. Chaupadi, a practice that forces menstruating women and girls from their homes, was criminalized under a new law in August after a series of publicized deaths of women and girls in menstrual sheds. However, the Supreme Court had already outlawed the practice in 2005 with little practical outcome. Women won 41 percent of seats in the local district elections as a result of com- pulsory quotas, yet higher level posts remained predominantly male. While the constitution reserves one-third of seats in parliament for women, only 7 percent of direct polling candidates for the parliamentary elections were women. Key International Actors In the face of strained relations with India, Nepal’s ties with China grew stronger over 2017, particularly as tensions between China and India flared during a standoff over the disputed Doklam plateau near Bhutan. In April, Nepal and China held their first joint military exercise. In May, Nepal signed China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative, which India strongly opposes, es- tablishing wide-ranging plans for infrastructure projects including an airport and hydropower plants. The partnership posed an increased risk to Nepal’s popula- tion of Tibetan refugees due to increased cooperation between Nepal and China’s border security forces. In October, Nepal was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Council for a three-year term, pledging to “remain committed to addressing the cases related to violations of human rights that occurred during the conflict period and provid- ing justice to victims.” The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the international community were largely silent on the transitional justice process, despite the country’s refusal to bring its laws into compliance with Supreme Court and international law directives.   

405 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Nigeria The ongoing Boko Haram conflict in the northeast, cycles of communal violence between pastoralists and farmers, and separatist protests in the south defined Nigeria’s human rights landscape in 2017. Notably absent for much of the year was President Muhammadu Buhari, who traveled overseas on two extended medical leaves for an undisclosed illness. Vice President Yemi Osinbajo acted as interim president on both occasions. While the Nigerian army made considerable gains against Boko Haram, the toll of the conflict on civilians continued as the extremist group increasingly resorted to the use of women and children as suicide bombers. Over 180 civilians have been killed in suicide bomb attacks since late 2016, mostly in Maiduguri, the Borno state capital. In August, female suicide bombers killed 13 people and in- jured 20 others in an attack near a security checkpoint in Borno. Three suicide bombers also killed 27 people and wounded 83 in coordinated attacks at a mar- ket and an internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in Maiduguri in August. Bomb attacks in September killed at least 25 IDPs in two camps at Banki and Ngala. Nigeria’s eight-year conflict with Boko Haram has resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 civilians and a large-scale humanitarian crisis. Approximately 2.1 million people have been displaced by the conflict while 7 million need humanitarian assistance; in February the United Nations secretary-general, together with key UN agencies, warned Nigeria was facing famine-like conditions due to insecurity triggered by the war. In June, Nigeria helped Cameroonian authorities unlawfully force almost 1,000 asylum seekers back to Nigeria. In May, after negotiations brokered by Switzerland and the International Commit- tee for the Red Cross, 82 Chibok schoolgirls were released. Boko Haram fighters had abducted 276 schoolgirls from Chibok, Borno state, in April 2014. More than 100 of the girls and hundreds other captives, including over 500 children from Damasak, Borno, remained in Boko Haram captivity at time of writing.   

406 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Abuses by Boko Haram Boko Haram retained control over a small portion of Nigerian territory after nu- merous offensives to dislodge the group by security forces from Nigeria and Cameroon. The extremist group, however, continued its violent campaign in the northeast, particularly in Borno and some parts Yobe and Adamawa states. The group used suicide bombers in markets, universities and displacement camps; ambushed highway convoys; and raided and looted villages. At least 300 civilians died in the group’s attacks in 2017. In perhaps its deadliest 2017 attack, Boko Haram ambushed an oil exploration team from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation in July, killing at least 69 people in Magumeri, approximately 30 miles outside Maiduguri. Boko Haram mostly used women and girls as suicide bombers, forcing them to detonate bombs in urban centers. According to the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, 83 children were used as suicide bombers since January: 55 girls and 27 boys, one was a baby strapped to a girl. The group abducted 67 women and children in 2017. On October 9, authorities began closed-door trials in a Kainji Niger state military base of more than 2,300 Boko Haram suspects, some detained since the insur- gency’s inception in 2009. Concerns about due process and fair hearing height- ened when, within four days of trial, 45 of the first batch of 565 defendants were convicted and sentenced to between three to 31 jail terms for undisclosed charges. The court threw out charges against 34, discharged 468, and referred 25 defendants for trial in other courts. Prior to October, only 13 Boko Haram suspects had faced trial, out of which nine were convicted for alleged involvement in crimes committed by the group. Conduct of Security Forces On January 17, the Nigerian air force carried out an airstrike on a settlement for displaced people in Rann, Borno State, killing approximately 234 people accord- ing to a local official, including nine aid workers, and injuring 100 more. The mili- tary initially claimed the attack was meant to hit Boko Haram fighters they believed were in the area, blaming faulty intelligence. After six months of investi-   

407 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H gations, authorities said they had mistaken the settlement of displaced people for insurgent forces. At the time, the settlement was run by the military. In June, a military board of inquiry made up of seven army officers and two lawyers from the National Human Rights Commission concluded that there was no basis to investigate allegations of war crimes committed by senior army offi- cials in the northeast conflict and elsewhere. The allegations they investigated included extrajudicial killings, torture, and arbitrary arrests of thousands. Authorities have failed to implement a December 2016 court order for the re- lease of Ibrahim El Zakzaky, leader of the Shia Islamic Movement of Nigeria, IMN. Zakzaky and his wife Zeenat, as well as hundreds of IMN members, have been in detention without trial since December 2015, when soldiers killed 347 IMN mem- bers in Zaria, Kaduna state. In August, acting President Osinbajo established a presidential judicial panel to investigate the military’s compliance with human rights obligations and rules of engagement. The seven-person panel, which began hearing complaints in Sep- tember, was set up in response to allegations of war crimes committed by the military across the country, including the December 2015 Shia IMN incident in Zaria, the killing of pro-Biafra protesters in the southeast, and the killing, tor- ture, and enforced disappearance of Boko Haram suspects in the northeast. Inter-Communal Violence Violence between nomadic and farming communities spread beyond the north- central region to southern parts of the country in 2017. Hundreds of people were killed, and thousands displaced. In July, two days of clashes between herdsmen and farmers killed over 30 people in Kajuru village, 31 miles outside the city of Kaduna, Kaduna state. A similar attack in Jos, Plateau State left 19 dead and five injured in September. The governor of Kaduna state called for the intervention of the regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to end the perennial violence between the two groups. In April, Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was released from detention on the orders of a court. He was arrested in October 2015 and detained on treason charges. In response to calls for Igbo in- dependence by IPOB, in June a northern-interest pressure group, the Arewa   

408 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), issued a notice demanding that Igbos leave northern Nigeria before October 1, or face “visible actions.” Following condem- nation by various interlocutors, including UN independent experts, the AYCF withdrew the quit notice in late August. Public Sector Corruption Corruption continues to plague Nigeria despite the Buhari administration’s in- creased efforts at reform and oversight. In October, President Buhari sacked Sec- retary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal, on corruption allegations, and National Intelligence Agency head, Ayodele Oke, after the Economic and Finan- cial Crimes Commission (EFCC) found US$43 million in cash in his apartment. The EFCC accused Diezani Alison-Madeke, the former oil minister, of bribery, fraud, money laundering and misuse of public funds. In August, a court ordered forfeiture to the government of $44 million worth of property and $21 million from bank accounts linked to Alison-Madeke. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity The passage of the Same Sex Marriage (Prohibition) Act (SSMPA) in January 2014 effectively authorized abuses against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgen- der (LGBT) community in 2017. The law has undermined freedom of expression for members of the LGBT community, human rights organizations, and others. In July, authorities arrested over 40 men attending an HIV awareness event at a hotel in Lagos and accused them of performing same-sex acts, a crime that car- ries up to 14 years in jail. In April, 53 men were arrested for celebrating a gay wedding, and charged with “belonging to a gang of unlawful society.” In addition to the SSMPA, under the Nigeria Criminal Code Act of 1990, “carnal knowledge of any person against the order of nature” carries a maximum sen- tence of 14 years in prison. The Sharia penal code adopted by several northern Nigerian states prohibits and punishes sexual relations between persons of the same sex, with the maximum penalty for men being death by stoning, and whip- ping and/or imprisonment for women.   

409 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Freedom of Expression, Media, and Association Nigerian press, bolstered by strong civil society, remains largely free. Journalists, however, face harassment, and the implementation of a 2015 Cyber Crime Act threatens to curtail freedom of expression. In January, police arrested two journalists, the publisher and judiciary correspon- dent of an online publication, Premium Times, in Abuja for articles that allegedly showed “deep hatred for the Nigerian army.” In June, Ibraheema Yakubu, a jour- nalist with the Hausa radio service of the German Deutsche Welle, was arrested and detained while covering a procession by the Muslim Shiites group in Kaduna. He told media that policemen beat and slapped him. In August, police arrested and detained journalist Danjuma Katsina in Katsina state for posting “injurious comments” about a politician on Facebook. The two journalists were released after a day each in detention following the intervention of officials of the Nigerian Union of Journalists. The director of defense information announced in August that the military would monitor social media for “hate speech, anti-government and anti-security infor- mation.” The government also directed the National Broadcasting Commission to sanction any radio or television station that broadcasts hate speech. It threat- ened to charge people found to spread yet-to-be defined hate speech under the Terrorism Prevention Act. A “Bill to provide for the Establishment of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs),” described by local groups as an attempt to crackdown and monitor NGOs has passed two readings in the House of Representatives. Key International Actors International actors, notably the United States and the United Kingdom, have continued their support for the Nigerian government in the fight against Boko Haram, providing military equipment, funding, and humanitarian aid for the cri- sis in the northeast. In August, the US finalized the sale of $593 million-worth of military equipment to Nigeria. The sale, which was initially delayed under the Obama administration because of human rights concerns, included 12 A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircrafts, laser guided rockets, unguided rockets and other equipment. While   

410 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 members of Congress expressed concern about this sale, there was no attempt to block it. Following an August visit to Nigeria by the UK secretary of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, the UK pledged $259 million over five years in an emer- gency assistance package to provide food, medical treatment, and education as- sistance in Nigeria’s beleaguered northeast. In February, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA co-hosted a donor conference that raised $700 million in Oslo, Norway to address the humanitarian crisis in the Lake Chad Basin in the northeast. Despite an August army raid on a UN com- pound in Maiduguri, allegedly to search for arms, UN relations with Nigeria re- main intact. The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) continued its preliminary examination into allegations of atrocities committed by all sides in the Boko Haram conflict. The office also has an ongoing analysis of the De- cember 2015 event between soldiers and Shia IMN members. In May, Nigeria was reviewed by the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, but failed to submit its report to the committee or send a delegation to the review. The committee ex- pressed concerns, including about harassment and exploitation of domestic mi- grant workers and lack of information on measures taken by Nigeria to ensure non-discrimination for all migrant workers in law and in practice. When reviewing Nigeria in July, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimi- nation against Women expressed concerns regarding access to justice; female genital mutilation; sexual exploitation in IDP camps; gender based violence, in- cluding domestic violence; trafficking for the purpose of sexual and labor ex- ploitation; and continued abduction, rape, and sexual slavery under Boko Haram. Foreign Policy Nigeria currently sits on the UN Human Rights Council, as well as the Economic and Social Council. In January, Nigeria’s minister of environment Amina Mo- hammed assumed office as UN deputy secretary-general. In August, government officials joined the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in the condemna-   

411 A H C T A W S T H G H U M I N R tion of ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Burma, and called on the UN to invoke the principle of “responsibility to protect” to end the abuse. Africa has been the focus of Nigeria’s foreign policy for many years, but at the African Union 28th Summit in January, the country failed to secure any leader- ship position in the body. In January, President Buhari played an important role with other ECOWAS leaders in ending Gambia’s political crisis. Nigeria took a stand in support of justice for grave crimes by publicly opposing ICC withdrawal at the African Union’s January 2017 summit in Addis Ababa.   

412 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 North Korea North Korea is one of the most repressive authoritarian states in the world. In his sixth year in power, Kim Jong-un—the third leader of the dynastic Kim family and head of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) who exercises almost total polit- ical control—intensified repressive measures; tightened domestic restrictions on travel and unauthorized cross-border travel with China; and punished North Ko- rean for contacting the outside world. The government continued to generate fearful obedience from citizens by means of threatened and actual execution, detention, and forced labor under harsh, sometimes fatal, conditions. During 2017, North Korea fired 23 missiles during 16 tests and conducted its sixth nuclear test, sending tensions between the US and its allies and North Korea to their highest level in decades. Personal insults and threats traded be- tween US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un in September and October further worsened the situation. On human rights, the international community continued to press for action on the findings of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry (COI) report on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea) that found the government committed crimes against humanity, including extermina- tion, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape and other forms of sex- ual violence, and forced abortion. On December 9, 2016, for the third consecutive year, the UN Security Council put North Korea’s egregious human rights violations record on its formal agenda as a threat to international peace and security. On March 24, the Human Rights Coun- cil adopted without a vote a resolution that authorizes the hiring of “experts in legal accountability” to assess cases and develop plans for the eventual prose- cution of North Korean leaders and officials responsible for crimes against hu- manity. The North Korean government restricts all basic civil and political liberties for its citizens, including freedom of expression, religion and conscience, assembly and association. It prohibits any organized political opposition, independent media and civil society, and free trade unions. Lack of an independent judiciary, arbitrary arrest and punishment of crimes, torture in custody, forced labor, and executions maintain fear and control.   

413 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H North Korea discriminates against individuals and their families on political grounds in key areas such as employment, residence, and schooling by applying songbun , a socio-political classification system grouping people into “loyal,” “wavering,” or “hostile” classes. Pervasive corruption enables some room to ma- songbun system, and some people who bribe neuver around the strictures of the government officials can receive permission, pursue market activities, or travel domestically or abroad. Vulnerable Groups North Korea refuses to cooperate with either the Office of the UN High Commis- sioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Seoul office or the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea, Tomás Ojea Quintana. However, in 2017, the DPRK engaged with two UN human rights treaty bodies and invited a UN thematic special rapporteur to visit for the first time ever. On December 6, 2016, the North Korean government ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). From May 3 to 8, Catalina Devan- das-Aguilar, UN special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, met with government officials, visited schools and rehabilitation centers, and spoke with some people with disabilities. Although her schedule was tightly controlled and authorities did not grant her request to visit a mental health facility, Devan- das-Aguilar acknowledged the DPRK’s commitment to advance the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities. Following a long delay in submitting overdue reports required under the Conven- tion on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), North Korea submitted reports on both conventions in 2016. North Korean officials had their record on chil- dren’s rights examined by the CRC committee on September 20, 2017, and ap- peared before the CEDAW committee on November 8, 2017. The CEDAW committee expressed concerns about a broad range of violations af- fecting women, including discrimination; stereotyping; non-criminalization of marital rape; sexual harassment and violence, including in the workplace; traf- ficking; lack of political participation; and lack of an independent human rights institution, civil society organizations, or other means to enable independent monitoring and promotion of the rights of women.   

414 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Despite such engagement, North Korea often refuses to acknowledge its own rights violations or accept committee recommendations. When the CRC commit- tee raised concerns about the North Korean government requiring unpaid labor from children, subjecting children to physical punishment and violence, and dis- crimination against children on political grounds, DPRK officials denied these al- legations. The government did acknowledge the possibility that schools or individual teachers may have forced children to work, but offered no further de- tails. Women’s and Girls’ Rights Women in North Korea face a range of sexual or gender-based abuses, as well as violations of other rights in common with the rest of the population. These in- clude punishment for acts of their husband or other relatives, torture, rape and other sexual abuses in detention facilities, sexual exploitation, or forced mar- riages of North Korean women in China, and other forms of sexual and gender- based violence and discrimination. Gender-based discrimination starts from childhood, with girls constantly ex- posed to and compelled to comply with stereotyped gender roles. It is harder for women than it is for men to be admitted to university and to join the military and the ruling Korean Workers’ Party, which serves as the gateway to any position of power. State authorities are sometimes perpetrators of abuses against women, and fail to offer protection or justice to women and girls facing gender-based or sexual abuse. Border Tightening Kim Jong-un’s government bolstered efforts to prevent people from leaving North Korea without permission by increasing the number of border guards, CCTV cam- eras, and barbed wire fences on its border with China. Tactics included jamming Chinese cellphone services at the border and targeting those communicating with people outside the country. China also increased checkpoints on roads leading from the border. During the summer of 2017, Chinese authorities also apparently intensified crackdowns on both North Koreans fleeing through China and the networks guid-   

415 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H ing them, resulting in fewer North Koreans being able to complete the arduous overland journey to Laos or Thailand, and from there, most often, to South Korea. The Ministry of People’s Security classifies defection as a crime of “treachery against the nation.” Harsh punishments apply to North Koreans forcibly returned by China, including potentially a death sentence. Former North Korean security officials told Human Rights Watch that those forcibly returned face interrogation, torture, sexual violence, humiliating treatment, and forced labor. The severity of punishment depends on North Korean authorities’ assessments of what returnees did while in China. North Koreans caught working or living in ) or China are sent to different types of forced labor camps, long-term ( kyohwaso rodong danryeondae ). Those discovered trying to reach short-term prisons ( South Korea are treated as enemies of the country, and may disappear into North Korea’s horrific political prison camp system ( kwanliso ), where prisoners face torture, sexual violence, forced labor, and other inhuman treatment. North Koreans fleeing into China should be considered refugees sur place re- gardless of their reason for flight because of the certainty of punishment on re- turn. China treats them as illegal “economic migrants” and fails to meet its obligation to protect refugees as a state party of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol. Beijing regularly denies the staff of the UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, permission to travel to border areas where North Koreans are present. Key International Actors On May 9, South Korea elected Moon Jae-In, a former student activist and human rights lawyer, as South Korea’s new president, following a bitter race prompted by President Park Geun-Hye’s impeachment and removal from office. President Moon proposed dialogue with the North Korean leadership, resumption of hu- manitarian reunions of families separated between the north and south since the Korean War (1950-1953), and offered to share with the DPRK the privilege of hosting the 2018 Winter Olympics. The DPRK rejected these offers. In a policy shift from Park’s administration, the Moon administration allowed hu- manitarian and development groups to engage in projects with North Korea.   

416 O W 1 0 2 T R 8 P E R D L R O To date, the Moon administration has not announced its policy on various North Korean human rights issues. These include the creation of a foundation based on the North Korean human rights law that went into effect in September 2016; assistance for North Korean escapees detained in China; and the seven South Korean nationals currently detained in the DPRK. On September 21, South Korea approved a US$8 million aid package for North Korean children and women at risk that will be distributed at an “appropriate time” and monitored by UNICEF and the UN World Food Program (WFP). North Korea’s relations with Malaysia and other Southeast Asian states suffered serious damage when Kim Jong-nam, the half-brother of Kim Jong-un, was assas- sinated on February 13 in a public area of Kuala Lumpur International Airport in a plot many believe North Korea planned. Japan continues to demand the return of 12 Japanese citizens whom North Korea abducted in the 1970s and 1980s. Some Japanese civil society groups insist the number of abductees is much higher. In January and October 2017, the US government imposed targeted sanctions for human rights abuses on five institutions, including the Military Security Com- mand (the military’s secret police), the Ministry of Labor, and 14 North Koreans, including Kim Yo-Jong, Kim Jong-un’s younger sister and vice director of the Workers’ Party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department.   

417 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Oman Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said, 77, has ruled Oman since 1970. He holds several positions of authority, including prime minister, supreme commander of the armed forces, minister of defence, minister of finance, and minister of foreign af- fairs. Omani authorities continued in 2017 to harass activists and restrict publi- cations by local independent magazines and newspapers critical of the government, violating international standards of freedom of expression. (sponsorship) immigrant labor system and lack of labor law pro- kafala Oman’s tections leaves the country’s more than 160,000 female migrant domestic work- ers exposed to abuse and exploitation by employers, whose consent they need to change jobs. Those who flee abuse—including beatings, sexual abuse, un- paid wages, and excessive working hours—have few avenues for redress and can face legal penalties for “absconding.” Freedom of Expression Authorities, particularly from the Internal Security Service (ISS), continued to tar- get pro-reform activists, often for views they expressed on social media plat- forms like Facebook and Twitter. Several bloggers and online activists were harassed, arrested, and sometimes detained up to several months for criticizing the authorities’ policies. Courts across the country sentenced activists to prison terms on the basis of vaguely defined laws that limit free speech, including crimes such as “insulting the Sultan” and “undermining the prestige of the state.” Authorities often have relied on provisions in the 2002 Telecommunications Act and 2011 Cybercrime Law to restrict freedom of expression online. In 2017, several activists remained behind bars for views they expressed either online or in their writings. Former diplomat and online activist Hassan al-Basham remains in prison serving a three-year sentence on charges that include insulting God and Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said. He has been detained since May 3, 2016. newspaper to permanently Azamn On October 5, Oman’s Supreme Court ordered close. In August 2016, authorities ordered the immediate closure of the paper,   

418 O O E R D L R P W R T 2 0 1 8 after arresting the editor-in-chief, Ibrahim al-Ma’mari; deputy editor, Zaher al- Abri; and another journalist Yousef al-Haj, following the publication of an article that alleged corruption within the judiciary. Al-Ma’mari and al-Haj were charged with “disturbing public order,” “misusing the internet,” “publishing details of a civil case,” and “undermining the prestige of the state,” and al-Abri with using “an information network [the internet] for the dissemination of material that might be prejudicial to public order.” A Mus- cat court convicted them and sentenced them to prison terms and fines. On ap- peal, al-Ma’mari and al-Haj had their sentences reduced and al-Abri was acquitted. On October 23, al-Haj was released from Muscat prison after serving one year in prison. Omani authorities have also closed down other publications that have been criti- cal of the government. The Gulf Centre for Human Rights (GCHR) reported that on Mowaten May 3, the ISS ordered the website of the local independent magazine to be blocked throughout the country. Human Rights Watch reported in February Mowaten’s that Omani authorities had barred the family of editor-in-chief and founder, Mohammad al-Fazari, who currently lives in the United Kingdom, from traveling outside Oman. In February, the Omani Center for Human Rights reported that the management of Muscat’s annual International Book Fair withdrew two books that were critical articles and the other an of the government. One was a compilation of Mowaten anthology by the poet Ahmed al-Raimi titled, “To You No Loyalty.” On May 23, the Court of First Instance in Muscat sentenced a writer and re- searcher, Mansour Bin Nasser al-Mahrazi, to three years in prison for his 2016 . The court issued the sentence despite book, Oman in the Square of Corruption the fact that the writer himself removed the book from the Omani book market, according to the Omani Center for Human Rights. On the same day, the court or- dered the release of al-Mahrazi on bail, the human rights group reported. Freedom of Assembly and Association All public gatherings require official approval in advance; authorities arrest and prosecute participants in unapproved gatherings. Some private gatherings are also prohibited under article 137 of the penal code, which prescribes a punish-   

419 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H ment of up to three years in prison and a fine for anyone who “participates in a private gathering, including at least 10 individuals with a view to commit a riot or a breach of public order.” Authorities sharply increased the penalties under arti- cle 137 after the pro-reform demonstrations of 2011. On May 4, 2016, Dr. Talib al-Maamari, a former Shura Council member from Liwa, in Al Batinah Region, northern Oman, was released from prison three months prior to the end of his prison sentence, reportedly by a royal decree from Sultan Qaboos. In August 2014, a court of appeals in Muscat had sentenced him to four years in prison on charges of “illegal gathering” and calling for anti-government demonstrations. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in December 2014 had characterized Dr. Talib al-Maamari’s detention as arbitrary and stated that the government should release him immediately and compensate him. Women’s Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity Article 17 of the Basic Law states that all citizens are equal and bans gender- based discrimination. In practice, however, women continue to face discrimina- tion. The Personal Status Law discriminates against women on matters such as divorce, inheritance, child custody, and legal guardianship. For instance, women can lose child custody if they re-marry, and men continue to hold guardianship of the child regardless of whether they have custody. Oman has no laws prohibiting domestic violence and marital rape. Cases can only be brought under general provisions that criminalize assault. Oman’s penal code explicitly excludes marital rape, and does not criminalize sexual harass- ment. Oman’s penal code criminalizes sexual relations outside marriage and provides three months to one-year imprisonment when the person is unmarried, and one to three years’ imprisonment when the person is married. Criminalization of such offenses apply disproportionately to women whose pregnancy can serve as evidence of the offense. Oman’s penal code provides for six months to three years in prison for consensual sex between two people of the same sex. In October, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women concluded its review of Oman, finding that it had made “very little   

420 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 progress in removing discrimination from marriage and family related law and practice.” Migrant Workers Migrant workers remained vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, due in part to the kafala (visa sponsorship) system that ties migrant workers to their employers and precludes them from changing employers without their current employer’s consent. Human Rights Watch found female domestic workers in particular at high risk of abuse, since Oman’s labor law currently excludes domestic workers from its pro- tections, and those who flee abuse have little avenue for redress. Human Rights Watch documented abuse and exploitation of domestic workers, including employers frequently confiscating workers’ passports despite a legal prohibition; not paying workers their salaries, in full or at all; forcing them to work excessively long hours without breaks or days off; and denying them ade- quate food and living conditions. In some cases, workers reported physical and sexual abuse. Migrant domestic workers who fled abusive employers reported facing “ab- sconding” charges that can lead to fines, imprisonment and deportation, trumped-up criminal charges by employers to force them to drop their cases, and lengthy delays when pursuing cases against employers. Workers reported that police at times returned them to their employers despite complaints of abuse, and Ministry of Manpower officials sided with employers during dispute-resolu- tion processes despite workers’ complaints of severe abuse. Key International Actors In March 2016, Oman accepted 144 out of the 233 recommendations it received during its second Universal Periodic Review cycle in November 2015, including that it ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. However, authorities only noted 93 recommendations, including those on free- dom of expression, assembly, allowing women to pass their nationality on to their children, and ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.   

421 N H C T A W S T H U M A H R I G Both the US and UK provide significant economic and military aid to Oman. Oman’s Western allies offered muted, if any criticism, of its human rights abuses in 2016, except in annual reports. In 2017, the US Trafficking in Persons Report maintained Oman’s Tier 2 Watch List category, stating that “the Government of Oman does not fully meet the minimum standards of the elimination of traffick- ing, but is making significant efforts to do so.”   

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423 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Pakistan Political turmoil and instability engulfed Pakistan after Nawaz Sharif stepped down as prime minister in July after a five-member Supreme Court bench dis- qualified him based on investigations into corruption allegations. Although Pakistan witnessed fewer attacks by Islamist militants than in previous years, scores of people were killed in attacks primarily targeting law enforcement officials and religious minorities. Security forces remained unaccountable for human rights violations and exer- cised disproportionate political influence over civilian authorities, especially in matters of national security and counterterrorism. In March, parliament passed a constitutional amendment reinstating secret military courts to try terrorism sus- pects for another two years. Security forces were implicated in enforced disap- pearances and extrajudicial killings throughout the country. The government muzzled dissenting voices in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and media on the pretext of national security. Militants and interest groups also threatened freedom of expression. Women, religious minorities, and transgender people faced violent attacks, dis- crimination, and government persecution, with authorities failing to provide ad- equate protection or hold perpetrators accountable. The inclusion of the transgender population in the 2017 census and the first-ever proposed transgen- der law were positive developments. The human rights crisis in Balochistan continued with reports of enforced disap- pearances and extrajudicial killings of suspected Baloch militants. Baloch na- tionalists and other militant groups continued attacking non-Baloch civilians. Afghan refugees in Pakistan continued to face pressure from government author- ities to return, although the number of repatriations decreased significantly from 2016. Freedom of Expression and Attacks on Civil Society Journalists increasingly practiced self-censorship after numerous attacks by se- curity forces and militant groups in retaliation for critical articles. Media outlets   

424 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 remained under pressure to avoid reporting on or criticizing human rights viola- tions during counterterrorism operations. The Taliban and other armed groups threatened media outlets and attacked journalists and activists because of their work. In January, security forces abducted five men—Salman Haider, Waqas Goraya, Aasim Saeed, Ahmed Raza Naseer, and Samar Abbas—who were vocal critics of militant religious groups and Pakistan’s security establishment. Four were re- leased after three weeks of public protests. Samar Abbas remained forcibly dis- appeared at time of writing. In May, the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) counterterrorism wing sum- moned Taha Siddiqui, a journalist and the bureau chief for World Is One News (WION), for questioning about opinions expressed in his journalism. The same month, the FIA arrested six people for making “blasphemous” comments on the internet, and the interior minister announced new rules that can severely restrict online anonymity. According to media reports, the FIA interrogated at least 40 people for making comments criticizing the military on the internet, and seized their computers and phones for forensic evaluation. In August, plainclothes men accompanied by police officials picked up Punhal Sario, a human rights activist and campaigner for victims of enforced disappear- ances; Partab Shivani, a teacher and activist; Naseer Kumbhar, a writer; and Muhammad Umar, a political party worker, from different cities in Sindh province. The same month, security forces raided the home of Amar Sindhu, a well-known poet in Sindh province. Sario returned home in October. Human Rights Watch received several credible reports of intimidation, harass- ment, and surveillance of various NGOs by government authorities. The govern- ment used the “Regulation of INGOs in Pakistan” policy to impede the registration and functioning of international humanitarian and human rights groups. In July, after its review of Pakistan, the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights said it is “deeply concerned at repeated reports of ab- duction, killings and intimidation of human rights defenders, particularly those fighting for economic, social and cultural rights, allegedly committed in some cases by State agents, including members of military intelligence services.”   

425 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Freedom of Religion and Belief At least 19 people remained on death row in 2017 after being convicted under Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy law, and hundreds awaited trial. Most of those facing blasphemy are members of religious minorities—including Aasia Bibi, the first woman to face a potential death sentence for blasphemy—and are often vic- timized by these charges due to personal disputes. In 2017, Pakistan witnessed an increase in blasphemy-related violence while the government continued to encourage discriminatory prosecutions and other forms of discrimination against vulnerable groups by failing to repeal discrimina- tory laws and using religious rhetoric inciting hatred against minority groups. In March, the interior minister described blasphemers as “enemies of humanity,” and stated he would take the issue to its “logical conclusion” in taking action against them. In April, a mob dragged Mashal Khan, a 23-year-old student at a university in Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, from his dormitory and shot him dead over accusations that he made blasphemous remarks against Islamic injunc- tions. In May, a 10-year-old boy was killed when a mob tried to storm a police station in Balochistan to attack a man held on blasphemy charges. The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) sent out a mass text message in May to millions of users informing them that uploading and sharing blasphe- mous content is a punishable offense, and asking them to report such content. In June, an counterterrorism court in Punjab province sentenced Taimoor Raza to death for committing blasphemy on Facebook. He was arrested in 2016 after a debate over Islam on Facebook with a man who later turned out to be a countert- errorism agent. Provisions of Pakistan’s penal code that perpetuate discrimination against mem- bers of the Ahmadi religious community remained unchanged: the code explic- itly prohibits Ahmadis from “indirectly or directly posing as a Muslim,” declaring or propagating their faith publicly, building mosques or referring to them as such, or making public calls to prayer. Militant groups targeted Shia and followers of Sufi Islam. In February, a suicide attack on the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Sindh, claimed by the   

426 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS), killed at least 88 people and injured hundreds. In a positive development, parliament in March passed the Hindu Marriage Act, the country’s first ever federal law recognizing and regulating marriages of the members of the minority Hindu community by allowing Hindu marriages to be registered. Women’s and Children’s Rights Violence against women and girls—including rape, “honor” killings, acid at- tacks, domestic violence, and forced marriage—remained a serious problem. Pakistani activists estimate that there are about a 1,000 “honor” killings every year. In June, a tribal council (jirga) in Khyber agency ordered the “honor” killing of Naghma, a 13-year-old girl, for “running away with men.” Parliament had passed in February a controversial bill giving legal cover to tribal and village councils. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa draft domestic violence bill received wide public criti- cism for exempting parents and spouses when they use “corrective measures” against female family members, raising the concern that it will legitimize some forms of domestic violence. At least 180 cases of domestic violence were re- ported in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in 2017, including 94 women murdered by close family members. Women from religious minority communities were particularly vulnerable. A re- port by the Movement for Solidarity and Peace in Pakistan found that at least 1,000 girls belonging to Christian and Hindu communities are forced to marry Muslim men every year. The government failed to act to stop such forced mar- riages. Child marriage remained a serious concern, with 21 percent of girls in Pakistan marrying before the age of 18, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Attacks on schools and the use of children in suicide bombings by the Taliban and affiliated armed extremist groups continued during the year.   

427 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Over 5 million primary-school-age children are out of school, most of them girls. Human Rights Watch research found girls miss school for reasons including lack of schools, costs associated with studying, child bearing, and gender discrimi- nation. In June, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights invited Pak- istan to endorse the Safe Schools Declaration, which proposes steps to protect schools from attacks and military use during wartime. Pakistan has not yet en- dorsed the declaration. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Violent attacks on transgender and intersex women in Pakistan continued in 2017, with unidentified assailants frequently targeting those involved in ac- tivism. In August, unknown gunmen shot dead a transgender woman in Karachi. In a series of steps toward legally recognizing gender identity, the first bill safe- guarding the rights of transgender persons was introduced in parliament in Au- gust. The 2017 national census included for the first time a category for Khawaja Siras, or transgender women. However, many transgender rights activists dis- puted the government figures claiming it underrepresented the transgender pop- ulation. In June, the Pakistan government issued the first passport with a transgender category. Pakistan’s penal code continued to criminalize same-sex conduct, placing men who have sex with men and transgender women at risk of police abuse and other violence and discrimination. Terrorism and Counterterrorism In its efforts to tackle security threats from armed extremists, security forces committed serious violations during counterterrorism operations, including tor- ture, enforced disappearances, and extrajudicial killings. Suspects were fre- quently detained without charge or tried without proper judicial process. Counterterrorism laws also continued to be misused as an instrument of political coercion and to silence dissenting voices. In March, parliament reinstated secret military courts empowered to try civilians after the term for military courts ended in January 2017. Pakistan human rights   

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429 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H groups said that many defendants facing military courts were secretly detained and tortured to coerce confessions. Several remain forcibly disappeared. Author- ities do not allow independent monitoring of military court trials. The Pakistan government failed to sufficiently investigate and prosecute allegations of human rights violations by security forces. In 2017, the practice of enforced disappearances targeting suspected militants— previously restricted to the conflict areas of Balochistan, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa—became a nationwide policy with the targeting of bloggers and activists all over Pakistan. Refugees Some of the 80,000 Afghans returning from Pakistan in the first eight months of the year reported that Pakistani police continue to extort money from registered and undocumented Afghans in Pakistan. In July, the authorities began to register some of the estimated 1 million unregistered Afghans in Pakistan, although the purpose was not clear, leading to fears authorities might deport them. The uncertain residency status of Afghan refugees in Pakistan encouraged police harassment, threats, and extortion, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which hosts the majority of the Afghan population in the country. According to the In- ternational Organization for Migration (IOM), 82,019 refugees and undocu- mented Afghans returned or were deported to Afghanistan between January and August 2017. Death Penalty At least 44 people on death row were executed in 2017, of whom 37 were exe- cuted after convictions by military courts. Key International Actors In June, the Committee against Torture (CAT), in its concluding observations on Pakistan’s compliance with commitments made under the Convention against Torture, called on the Pakistani government to prohibit the use of torture by law enforcement agencies and impartially investigate allegations of widespread tor- ture.   

430 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 In July, the UN Human Rights Committee, in its concluding observations on Pak- istan’s compliance and implementation of commitments made under the Inter- national Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), called on the Pakistani government to “review its legal provisions relating to freedom of expression ... with a view to putting in place effective oversight mechanisms and procedural safeguards and bringing them in line with Article 19 of the Covenant.” The committee recommended, among other things, criminalizing enforced dis- appearances, reinstating the moratorium on death penalty, reviewing and re- forming legislation governing military courts, prohibiting torture, and reviewing the vague legislation and policies governing the functioning of NGOs in Pak- istan. Pakistan’s volatile relationship with United States, its largest development and military donor, deteriorated amid signs of mistrust. In August, US President Don- ald Trump accused Pakistan of failing to counter terrorist threats, and even ac- tively fostering militant groups involved in attacks on civilian and military targets in Afghanistan. Pakistan denied the accusations. Later in August, the US admin- istration notified Congress of its decision to provide US$255 million in military assistance to Pakistan, contingent on the government cracking down on internal terror networks. Pakistan and China deepened extensive economic and political ties, and work continued on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a long-term project consist- ing of construction of roads, railways, and energy pipelines. In July, the European Union Foreign Affairs Council welcomed several positive measures taken by Pakistan, but also raised several concerns, including the death penalty; trial of civilians by military courts; inadequate protection for juve- niles in the criminal justice system; the discrimination faced by minorities; mis- use of blasphemy laws; lack of freedom of religion or belief; and restrictions on freedom of speech, particularly for journalists and activists, and related to NGO registration. Historically tense relations between Pakistan and India showed no signs of im- provement in 2017, with both countries accusing each other of facilitating unrest and militancy.   

431 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Papua New Guinea Almost 40 percent of the population in Papua New Guinea (PNG) lives in poverty. The government has not taken sufficient steps to address gender inequality, vio- lence, excessive use of force by police, or corruption and relies heavily on reli- gious groups and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) to provide services on a charitable basis to meet the economic and social rights of the population. Rates of family and sexual violence are among the highest in the world, and perpetra- tors are rarely prosecuted. In August, Peter O’Neill was reappointed as prime minister following an election marred by widespread electoral irregularities and violence. Soldiers and extra police were sent to the Highlands in response to fighting triggered by the elec- tion, where dozens of people, including police, had been killed in election-re- lated violence. Women’s and Girls’ Rights More than three years after the 2013 Family Protection Act was adopted, parlia- ment in May finally passed regulations to implement the law, which criminalizes domestic violence and allows victims to obtain protection orders. Police and prosecutors rarely pursue investigations or criminal charges against people who commit family violence—even in cases of attempted murder, serious injury, or repeated rape—and instead prefer to resolve such cases through medi- ation and/or payment of compensation. Police often demand money (“for fuel”) from victims before acting, or simply ig- nore cases that occur in rural areas. There is also a severe lack of services for people requiring assistance after having suffered family violence, such as safe houses, qualified counselors, case management, financial support, or legal aid. Violent mobs attacked individuals accused of sorcery or witchcraft, particularly women and girls. In March, a trial involving 122 defendants began in Madang. The defendants were charged in connection with the killing of five men and two children suspected of sorcery in 2014. The prosecution alleged that the men raided a village in search of sorcerers to kill, armed with “bush knives, bows and   

432 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 arrows, hunting spears, [and] home-made and factory-made shotguns.” No fur- ther details were available at time of writing regarding the trial’s progress. PNG has one of the highest rates of maternal death in the world. Just over 50 per- cent of women and girls give birth in a health facility or with the help of a skilled birth attendant. Although the PNG government supports universal access to con- traception, two out of three women still cannot access contraception due to geo- graphic, cultural, and economic barriers. Abortion remains illegal in PNG, except when the mother’s life is at risk. Security Force Abuses Police abuse remained rampant in PNG. In May, police detained and assaulted a doctor at a police roadblock on his way home in Port Moresby. The case triggered a public outcry, but no one had been charged for the offence at time of writing. Few police are ever held to account for beating or torturing criminal suspects, but in December 2016, a mobile squad commander was charged with the murder of a street vendor, six months after the alleged offence occurred. A court granted him bail in January 2017. In September, police charged a former police officer with the 2013 murder of two people in Central Province. Despite the ombudsman and police announcing investigations into the 2016 po- lice shooting of eight university students during a protest in Port Moresby, at time of writing no police had been charged or disciplined and neither body had issued a report. In May, prison officers shot and killed 17 men who escaped from Buimo prison in Lae. Corrective Services ordered an inquiry, but no investigation had com- menced by November 2017 due to lack of funding. Corruption Corruption in PNG is widespread. Individuals in positions of power and govern- ment agencies lack accountability and transparency. In August, the National Court authorized the arrest of Prime Minister O’Neill in relation to a 2014 warrant obtained by anti-corruption police for corruption charges. But in August, the Supreme Court granted a stay against police executing the warrant pending ap- peal.   

433 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Asylum Seekers and Refugees About 770 male asylum seekers and refugees from countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, and Iran, live on Manus Island. Another 35 or so have signed settlement papers to remain in PNG, although only four of these are working and financially independent. About 70 are temporarily living in Port Moresby. All were forcibly transferred to PNG by Australia since 2013. Australia pays for their upkeep but refuses to resettle them, insisting refugees must settle in PNG or third countries, such as the United States. Refugees and asylum seekers do not feel safe on Manus due to a spate of violent attacks by locals in the town of Lorengau. Local youths attacked refugees and asylum seekers with bush knives, sticks, and rocks and robbed them of mobile phones and possessions. Police failed to hold perpetrators to account. In April, soldiers fired shots at the main regional processing center, injuring nine people including refugees and center staff. In June, locals carrying knives at- tacked and robbed a Bangladeshi man, seriously injuring his arm with a ma- chete. He was transferred to Port Moresby for medical treatment. In July, locals attacked and robbed three refugees on Manus Island in three separate inci- dents; two of the men were seriously injured in knife attacks and one had to be transferred to Port Moresby for medical treatment. In August, an Iranian with a mental health condition was found dead near the transit center on Manus. Police ruled his death a suicide, though an inquest was pending at time of writing. In October, a Sri Lankan refugee with a mental health condition was found dead at the hospital in Lorengau from a reported suicide, the sixth asylum seeker or refugee to die on Manus Island since 2013. In 2016, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, surveyed 181 refugees and asylum seekers on Manus and found that 88 percent had anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In October, the Australian government ordered the main center closed, following a 2016 PNG Supreme Court ruling that detaining people there is unconstitu- tional. Hundreds of refugees refused to leave and remained in the squalid un- guarded center without power, food, or water. PNG and Australian officials pressed refugees and asylum seekers to move to other facilities on the island that are less secure, and offered financial incentives   

434 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 for both refugees and asylum seekers to return home “voluntarily.” Approxi- mately 200 men whose claims for asylum were rejected were told they must leave PNG, and will be moved to a separate accommodation facility on Manus pending deportation. In November, the PNG Supreme Court rejected an applica- tion by the refugees and asylum seekers to restore services to the main center. Children’s Rights Police often beat children in lock-ups and house them with adults, despite a ju- venile justice law that states children should be kept separate from adults dur- ing all stages of the criminal justice process. A juvenile reception center in Port Moresby closed in 2016 due to a land dispute, so police refer children to Bo- mana adult prison which has separate accommodation for children. While there have been efforts at reform and a new child reception facility estab- lished in Boroko, police abuse of children continues, and police target young people for “snake bails,” where children are not charged but must pay a bribe for their release. Disability Rights Despite the existence of a national disability policy, people with disabilities are often unable to participate in community life, go to school, or work because of lack of accessibility, stigma, and other barriers. Access to mental health support and services is limited, and traditional healers are the only option for many peo- ple with psychosocial disabilities. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity The PNG criminal code outlaws sex “against the order of nature,” which has been interpreted to apply to consensual same-sex acts, and is punishable by up to 14 years’ imprisonment. Gay asylum seekers on Manus Island have reported being harassed and sexually assaulted by other asylum seekers. Key International Actors Australia remains PNG’s most important international partner, providing over 70 percent of the country’s total overseas development aid. The Australian govern-   

435 R H C T A W H U M A N I G H T S ment’s aid to PNG for 2017-18 amounts to A$546.3 million (approximately US$438.7 million). In November 2018, PNG will host the annual Asia-Pacific Eco- nomic Cooperation forum.   

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437 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Peru In recent years, security forces have repeatedly wounded and killed civilians when responding to occasional violent protests over mining and other large- scale development projects. These killings have steeply decreased since 2016. Efforts to prosecute grave human rights abuses committed during the 20-year armed conflict that ended in 2000 have had mixed results. Since May, new evi- dence became public implicating former President Ollanta Humala Tasso (2011- 2016) in egregious human rights violations that security forces committed in the early 1990s. Confronting Past Abuses Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission estimated that almost 70,000 peo- ple died or were subject to enforced disappearance during the country’s armed conflict between 1980 and 2000. Many were victims of atrocities by the Shining Path and other insurgent groups; others were victims of human rights violations by state agents. Authorities have achieved limited progress in prosecuting wartime abuses by government forces, in part due to lack of collaboration from the Defense Min- istry. According to Peruvian human rights groups, prosecutors had only achieved rulings in 78 cases related to abuses committed during the armed conflict, as of May 2017, and only 17 convictions. Since May, new evidence has become public corroborating longstanding allega- tions that former President Humala ordered egregious human rights violations committed by security forces in the early 1990s in the Madre Mía military base in — including testimony from victims, wit- the Alto Huallaga region. The evidence strongly implicates Humala in crimes — ness, and soldiers involved in the abuses including torture, enforced disappearances, killings, and an attempt to conceal incriminating evidence when he ran for president in 2006. At time of writing, Hu- mala remained under investigation for the abuses, and in pretrial detention on corruption charges. Efforts to secure the early release of former President Alberto Fujimori gained strength during 2017. Fujimori was sentenced in a landmark trial in 2009 to 25   

438 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 years in prison for killings, enforced disappearances, and kidnappings commit- ted in 1991 and 1992. In May, Keiko Fujimori, his daughter and the runner-up in the 2016 tight presidential elections won by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, filed a mo- tion seeking to overturn her father’s conviction for kidnappings. A Lima court re- jected the motion, but her appeal remained pending at time of writing. In June, President Kuczynski told The Economist that the time to secure Fuji- mori’s release from prison was “about now.” Although the president denies it, his announcement seemed to be a reaction to growing pressure from Fujimori supporters who control the country’s Congress under the lead of Keiko Fujimori. In 2016, prosecutors decided to close the investigation of Alberto Fujimori in connection with forced sterilizations of mostly poor and indigenous women com- mitted during his administration. An appeal brought by victims’ lawyers re- mained pending at time of writing. A national registry of victims of forced sterilizations committed between 1995 and 2001, was created in 2015 and more than 4,700 victims had been registered at time of writing. Fujimori’s intelligence advisor, Vladimiro Montesinos, three former army gener- als, and members of the Colina group—a state-sponsored death squad—are also serving sentences ranging from 15 to 25 years for the 1991 assassination of 15 people in the Lima district of Barrios Altos, and for six “disappearances.” Courts have made much less progress in addressing violations, including extra- judicial killings, disappearances, and torture, committed during the earlier ad- ministrations of Fernando Belaúnde (1980-1985) and Alan García (1985-1990). Police Abuse In recent years, security forces have repeatedly wounded and killed civilians when responding to occasional violent protests over mining and other large- scale development projects. These killings have declined since 2016. Between July 2016, when President Kuczynski took office, and July 2017, security forces shot dead three protesters, according to human rights groups. Since 2006, secu- rity forces have reportedly killed more than 130 people during protests through- out Peru. In August 2015, then-President Humala issued a decree that limited the use of force by police. Under the decree, police are permitted to employ lethal force   

439 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H only when it is “strictly necessary” in the face of a “serious and imminent risk” of grave harm. However, Law 30151, passed in January 2014, still grants legal im- munity to “armed forces and police personnel who in fulfillment of their duty and using their weapons or other means of defense, cause injury or death.” This amendment to the criminal code eliminated language that made immunity con- ditional on police using lethal force in compliance with regulations. The law may make it impossible to hold accountable police officers who use lethal force un- lawfully. In 2016, the Interior Ministry announced an investigation into a group of 28 po- licemen, including a general, who had allegedly carried out at least 20 extrajudi- cial killings between 2009 and 2015, and falsely reported the victims as criminals killed in combat, in order to receive promotions and awards. At least 11 policemen were awaiting trial for these crimes at time of writing. Freedom of Expression Journalists investigating the corruption of regional government officials, mayors, and business people are frequent targets of physical attack, threats, and crimi- nal defamation suits. In November 2016, according to media reports, gunmen broke into the Camaná radio station in the southern state of Arequipa where Hernán David Choquepata Ordoñez was hosting his regular show, and shot him dead while he was on the air. In February 2017, unknown men attacked journalist Marco Bonifacio Sánchez in the northern state of Cajamarca. The Institute of Press and Society (IPYS) in Peru, a respected nongovernmental organization (NGO) that monitors press freedoms, reported that the men beat him, forced him to get into a vehicle, and tried to cut out his tongue. In March, a court in Lima convicted human rights lawyer and former prosecutor Ronald Gamarra of defamation and sentenced him to a suspended year in prison and ordered him to pay more than US$3,000 in compensation to Luz Guzmán. Gamarra had written a magazine piece in 2015 in which he alleged that Guzmán, a member of the National Council of Magistrates, had voted in favor of naming   

440 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Mirtha Chenguayén as a prosecutor, and that Chenguayén then dropped a pend- ing investigation against Guzmán for forging documents. Women’s and Girls’ Rights Gender-based violence is a significant problem in Peru. More than 382 women were victims of “femicides” (the killing of a woman in certain contexts, including domestic violence and gender-based discrimination) or attempted “femicide” in 2016, according to official statistics. Courts in Peru convicted 54 people for “femicide” between January 2015 and March 2016. In August 2017, thousands demonstrated in Lima and other cities as part of the massive movement to call on authorities to do more to curb gender-based vio- lence. Women and girls in Peru have the right to access abortions only in cases of risk to their health or lives. In August, the human rights ombudsman’s office asked the government to ensure an “integral attention and accompaniment” to a 10- year old girl in the city of Jaén who was pregnant and facing a risk to her life as a result of rape. A bill introduced in October 2016 to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape and if the fetus suffers severe conditions not compatible with life outside the womb remained pending in Congress at time of writing. But also pending in Congress remained a bill that would recognize the “right” of the fetus conceived as a result of rape to receive “protection from the state” until it is “adopted.” Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Same-sex couples in Peru are not allowed to marry or engage in civil unions. In February, a group of lawmakers introduced a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. It remained pending in Congress at time of writing. People in Peru are required to appear before a judge in order to revise the gen- der marker noted on their identification documents. In an August 2016 report, the human rights ombudsman noted that courts had rejected most of these re- quests, often applying inconsistent criteria. A bill allowing people to revise the gender noted on their identification documents without prior judicial approval remained pending in Congress at time of writing.   

441 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In May, opposition lawmakers in Congress abrogated a penal code reform sup- ported by President Kuczynski that specifically sanctioned discrimination and crimes committed on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Key International Actors In July 2017, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights visited Peru. The experts noted that the high number of social conflicts in the country “sug- gests a failure of existing strategies to prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts related to foreign direct investment.” In November, the UN Human Rights Council released its draft report on the third cycle of Peru’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). Its recommendations included guaranteeing proportionate use of force by security forces, decriminalizing abor- tion, and ensuring justice for serious abuses committed during the armed con- flict. In October, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein visited Peru and recommended calling international experts to examine alleged health problems suffered by Fujimori. President Kuczynski said the rec- ommendation was an “unnecessary interference in Peru’s affairs.” President Kuczynski has played a leading role in regional efforts to help address the human rights crisis in Venezuela. In August, his government convoked a meeting at which foreign affairs ministers of 12 nations signed the Lima Declara- tion—a comprehensive statement that condemns the rupture of democratic order and the systematic violation of human rights in Venezuela. Between January and March, more than 10,000 Venezuelans requested permis- sion to stay in Peru. In January, President Kuczynski adopted a decree that lays out a special permission for Venezuelans to stay in the country. Under the de- cree, Venezuelans who arrived in the country before February 2—the date it en- tered into force—who do not have a criminal record, and whose legal permission to stay in the country had expired, may request a year-long temporary residency permit. Those who obtain the permit are allowed to work, enroll their children in school, and access health care.   

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443 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has plunged the Philippines into its worst human rights crisis since the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in the 1970s and 1980s. His “war on drugs,” launched after he took office in June 2016, has claimed an estimated 12,000 lives of primarily poor urban dwellers, including children. Duterte has vowed to continue the abusive anti-drug campaign until his term ends in 2022. Throughout 2017 and the latter part of 2016, he engaged in ha- rassment and intimidation of individuals and agencies tasked with accountabil- ity—including United Nations officials. Duterte’s most prominent critic, Senator Leila de Lima, remained in detention on politically motivated drug charges. Pro-Duterte lawmakers in 2017 sought to eliminate budgetary funding for the official Commission on Human Rights as ap- parent retaliation for its efforts to probe the anti-drug campaign. In the face of mounting international criticism, the Duterte government has adopted a tactic of denying as “alternative facts” well-substantiated reports by human rights and media organizations of high death tolls linked to the “drug war.” Violation of children’s rights, attacks on journalists and media, and government policy failures contributing to the country’s worsening HIV epidemic persisted in 2017. Extrajudicial Killings The Duterte administration’s “war on drugs” has resulted in the deaths of thou- sands of mostly poor Filipinos. Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) data indicates that police operations resulted in the deaths of 3,906 suspected drug users and dealers from July 1, 2016, to September 26, 2017. But unidentified gun- men have killed thousands more, bringing the total death toll to more than 12,000, according to credible media reports. The government has frustrated efforts by media and other independent ob- servers to maintain a verifiable and transparent tally of such deaths by issuing contradictory data. In August, the official Commission on Human Rights stated that the “[a]ctual number [of drug war killings] is certainly higher than what is suggested” by police.   

444 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 A Human Rights Watch investigation found that the Philippine National Police and its agents have repeatedly carried out extrajudicial killings of drug suspects, and then falsely claimed self-defense. Police have planted guns, spent ammuni- tion, and drug packets on victims’ bodies to implicate them in drug activities. Masked gunmen taking part in killings appeared to be working closely with po- lice, casting doubt on government claims that most killings have been commit- ted by vigilantes or rival drug gangs. No one has been meaningfully investigated, let alone prosecuted, for any of the “drug war” killings. Instead, Duterte has pledged to pardon policemen impli- cated in killings. In October, responding to a public outcry against killings no- tably committed against children, Duterte removed police from anti-drug operations, assigning the PDEA as the main agency to carry out the drug war. However, journalists who closely cover the anti-drug campaign say that although the killings by uniformed police personnel have declined since that time, sum- mary killings by “vigilantes” have continued uninterrupted. On November 22, Duterte warned of an imminent lifting of the suspension of police anti-drug oper- ations, raising the likelihood of more extrajudicial executions by police and their agents. Human Rights Defenders The Duterte administration has widened its “war on drugs” to include critics and political foes. Since February 2017, Senator Leila de Lima has been behind bars on politically motivated drug charges filed against her in apparent retaliation for leading a Senate inquiry into the drug war killings. In August, Duterte encouraged police attacks against human rights groups and advocates, instructing police, “If they are obstructing justice, you shoot them.” Duterte has publicly condemned the Commission on Human Rights and threat- ened to abolish it. He also repeatedly subjected United Nations Special Rappor- teur on Extrajudicial Killings Agnes Callamard to profanity-laced ridicule for her repeated efforts to secure an official visit to the Philippines. In August, he re- sponded to Callamard’s criticism of police extrajudicial killings of children by calling her a “son of a bitch” and a “fool.”   

445 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Children’s Rights In July, a Philippine children’s rights group published data indicating that police have killed 56 children since the start of the “drug war.” Most were killed while in the company of adults who were the apparent target of the shooting. Both Duterte and Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II have dismissed those child killings as “collateral damage.” In February, public opposition prompted Congress to reject a bill that would have lowered the age of criminal responsibility to nine from the current 15 years. In August, the government approved mandatory drug testing for high school and college students and applicants. This will effectively allow the police to extend their abusive anti-drug operations to high schools and university campuses. Child labor in small-scale gold mines remains a serious problem. Attacks on Journalists In March, unidentified gunmen killed newspaper columnist Joaquin Briones in the Masbate province town of Milagros. In August, an unidentified gunman killed radio journalists Rudy Alicaway and Leo Diaz in separate incidents on the south- ern island of Mindanao. The National Union of Journalists estimates that 177 Fil- ipino reporters and media workers have been killed since 1986. Duterte has publicly vilified media outlets whose reporters have exposed police culpability in extrajudicial killings. In April, he threatened to block the renewal of the broadcasting franchise of ABS-CBN network. In July, Duterte publicly threat- ened the Philippine Daily Inquirer with tax evasion charges and falsely accused of being US-owned in an apparent effort to under- the media platform Rappler mine its credibility. Journalists who report critically on the Duterte administration are also subjected to harassment and threats online. In December 2016, the Foreign Correspon- dents Association of the Philippines issued a statement denouncing such at- tacks.   

446 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 HIV Epidemic The Philippines is facing the fastest-growing epidemic of HIV in the Asia-Pacific region. According to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the number of new HIV cases jumped from 4,300 to 10,000 between 2010 and 2016. Most new infections—up to 83 percent—are among men and transgender women who have sex with men. In August, the government declared the situa- tion a “national emergency.” Despite recognition of the problem, the government is responsible for a legal and policy environment hostile to evidence-based policies and interventions have proven to help prevent HIV transmission, including the use of condoms and comprehensive sexuality education targeting the young. Human Rights Watch research shows that many sexually active young Filipinos have little or no knowledge about the role of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases because the government fails to provide adequate school programs on safe-sex practices. A bill amending the country’s main law on HIV/AIDS to boost the government’s response to the crisis remained pending in Congress at the time of writing. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Students across the Philippines experience bullying and discrimination in school because of their sexual orientation and gender identity. In late 2016, Human Rights Watch documented a range of abuses against lesbian, gay, bisex- ual, and transgender (LGBT) students in secondary school. They include bullying, harassment, discriminatory policies and practices, and an absence of supportive resources that undermine the right to education under international law and put LGBT youth at risk. These students often face ridicule and even violence, includ- ing by teachers and administrators. In September, the House of Representatives passed House Bill 4982, a proposed law against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE).   

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448 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Terrorism and Counterterrorism On May 23, after Islamist rebels took over the predominantly Muslim city of Marawi, Mindanao, the Philippine government launched a counterattack. The fighting destroyed the city and left at least 1,112 people dead, mostly alleged rebels but also civilians and government soldiers, the government said. The gov- ernment’s figures could not be independently verified. The fighting has displaced more than 400,000 residents of the city and nearby towns, many of whom were living in overcrowded evacuation camps. Duterte de- clared martial law across the entire Mindanao region in response to the fighting. The rebels, known as the Maute group, are residents of Marawi and nearby provinces who linked with elements of the Abu Sayyaf armed group, which had earlier pledged support for the extremist group Islamic State (ISIS). Key International Actors The escalation in unlawful killings associated with the “war on drugs,” and Presi- dent Duterte’s open defiance of international human rights standards and con- frontational stance towards critics, have roiled the Philippines’ relationships with its closest Western allies. Duterte has repeatedly threatened to seek stronger ties with countries such as China and Russia, which have not been critical of his drug-campaign abuses. Historically, the Philippines has had close relationships with the United States and European Union countries. In March, European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström warned that unless the Philippine government addressed EU concerns about human rights abuses, the Philippines risks losing tariff-free export of up to 6,000 products under the EU’s human rights benchmarks linked to the Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) trade scheme. In April, US President Donald Trump signaled a break with the Obama adminis- tration’s criticism of Duterte’s drug war killing campaign by praising it as a “great job” and inviting Duterte to the White House. In May, US senators introduced a bill, the Philippines Human Rights Accountability and Counternarcotics Act of 2017, which aims to restrict arms exports to the Philippines, support human rights groups, and assist the Philippines in dealing with the drug problem. The   

449 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H bill had been referred to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee at time of writing. The US remains a key source of military financial assistance, with the Trump ad- ministration allotting US$180 million for 2017. Australia, whose officials have criticized the “drug war” killings, has nevertheless promised to extend military aid to the Philippines, mainly for counterterrorism. In January 2017, Japan pledged to the Philippines a five-year, $800 million Japan- ese government Overseas Development Assistance package to “promote eco- nomic and infrastructure development.” Tokyo also promised financial support for drug rehabilitation projects in the Philippines. China has pledged assistance to the Philippines of as much as US$24 billion-worth of projects under Beijing’s “One Belt, One Road” program. In August, the education secretary expressed her commitment to see the Philip- pines join the Safe Schools Declaration, an intergovernmental political commit- ment to protect students, teachers, and schools from attack during armed conflict, but did not give a timeframe for doing so. In May, the Philippines underwent its Universal Periodic Review, which focuses attention on the human rights record of each UN member state every four years. In its September response, the Philippines rejected nearly every recommenda- tion to bring an end to extrajudicial killings and to ensure an independent inves- tigation into the deaths. The High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed grave concern at Duterte’s open support for a “shoot-to-kill” policy and the “ap- parent absence of credible investigations.” Iceland led a joint statement on behalf of 32 states at the June session of the Human Rights Council, and another on behalf of 39 states at the council’s Sep- tember session, condemning the extrajudicial killings and calling for credible in- dependent investigations into these deaths.   

450 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Qatar Qatar faced a diplomatic crisis in 2017, as some of its neighbors cut diplomatic ties with it over its alleged support of terrorism and its closeness with Iran— claims that Qatar rejects. The move in early June by Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates— and their subsequent issuance with Egypt of a list of 13 demands for ending the crisis, which Qatar rejected—isolated the Gulf state and precipitated serious human rights violations of individuals living in Qatar, infringing on their right to free expression, separating families, and interrupting medical care and educa- tion. At time of writing, travel to and from Qatar was restricted, and its border with Saudi Arabia remained closed. Gulf Crisis On June 5, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE cut diplomatic relations with Qatar over its alleged support of terrorism and its closeness with Iran and or- dered the expulsion of Qatari citizens and the return of their citizens from Qatar within 14 days. On June 23, the three countries and Egypt issued a list of 13 demands for ending the crisis that included shutting down Al Jazeera and other media they claim are Qatar- funded; downgrading diplomatic ties with Iran; severing ties with “terror- ist organizations,” including the Muslim Brotherhood, and expelling people as- sociated with such organizations from Qatar; and paying reparations to other Gulf countries for “loss of life” and “other financial losses” resulting from Qatar’s policies. Qatar rejected the demands. Residency Reforms On August 3, 2017, the Qatari cabinet approved a draft law that will allow perma- nent residence for children of Qatari women married to non-Qataris, as well as expatriates who “provide outstanding services to Qatar.” Qatar does not allow dual nationality and discriminates against women by not allowing them to pass nationality to their children on the same basis as men.   

451 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Qatar allows men to pass citizenship to their children, whereas children of Qatari women and non-citizen men can only apply for citizenship under narrow condi- tions. Under the 2005 law on acquisition of Qatari nationality, people who have lived in Qatar for more than 25 years may apply for nationality, with priority for those with Qatari mothers, under specific conditions. However, the government has not consistently approved such applications. If enacted, the draft law would help people whose mothers are Qatari nationals to secure resident status in Qatar even if they do not have valid passports from another country. However, it still falls short of granting women the same rights as Qatari men to pass citizen- ship to their children. The Qatari draft law’s provision of permanent residence to migrants who “pro- vide outstanding services to Qatar” also could help Emirati, Egyptian, Bahraini, and Saudi nationals affected by the diplomatic crisis. Many have chosen to re- main in Qatar for family or work reasons or because they fear persecution in their home countries. Under the law, the Interior Ministry is to establish a committee to review re- quests for permanent residency IDs. But it was not clear at time of writing whether the committee would grant residency to those who fear persecution or harm in their countries of origin. Qatar does not have a law on asylum and has not ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention. Migrant Domestic Workers On August 22, 2017, the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, ratified Law No.15 on service workers in the home. The cabinet adopted the law in Febru- ary, which will grant labor protections for the first time to Qatar’s 173,742 domes- tic workers. The new law guarantees domestic workers a maximum 10-hour workday, a weekly rest day, three weeks of annual leave, an end-of-service pay- ment of at least three weeks per year, and healthcare benefits. However, the new law is still weaker than the Labor Law and does not fully con- form to the International Labour Organization (ILO) Domestic Workers Conven- tion, the global treaty on domestic workers’ rights. The new law establishes fines for violations, but lacks provisions for enforcement, such as workplace inspec-   

452 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 tions, including in homes where domestic workers are employed. The law does not state how workers can claim their rights if they have been breached except in cases of compensation for work injuries. Workers in Qatar are not allowed to form a union or entitled to a minimum wage established by law. Construction Workers Qatar has a migrant labor force of nearly 2 million people, who comprise approx- imately 95 percent of its total labor force. Approximately 40 percent, or 800,000, of these workers are employed in construction. Current heat protection regula- tions for most workers in Qatar only prohibit outdoor work from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. from June 15 to August 31. But climate data shows that weather conditions in Qatar outside those hours and dates frequently reach levels that can result in potentially fatal heat-related illnesses without rest. In 2013, health authorities reported 520 deaths of workers of whom 385, or 74 percent, died from unexplained causes. Qatari public health officials have not responded to requests for information about the overall number and causes of deaths of migrant workers since 2012. A 2014 report that the Qatari government commissioned from the international law firm DLA Piper noted that the number of worker deaths in Qatar attributed to cardiac arrest, a general term that does not specify cause of death, was “seem- ingly high.” Authorities have failed to implement two of the report’s key recom- mendations: reforming its laws to allow autopsies or post-mortem examinations in cases of “unexpected or sudden deaths” and commissioning an independent study into the seemingly high number of deaths vaguely attributed to cardiac ar- rest. On October 26, the International Trade Union Confederation announced Qatar’s (sponsorship) system, to in- agreement to extensive reforms of the current kafala stitute a nondiscriminatory minimum wage, to improve payment of wages, to end document confiscation, to enhance labor inspections and occupational safety and health systems including by developing a heat mitigation strategy, to refine the contractual system to improve labor recruitment procedures, and to step up efforts to prevent forced labor.   

453 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H These measures would be pathbreaking for Gulf countries where migrants make up most of the labor force, but the announcement gives little detail on how laws will be amended, how the changes will be carried out, or the timeframe for their implementation. Women’s Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity Qatar’s Law No. 22 of 2006 on Family and Personal Status continues to discrimi- nate against women. Under article 36, a marriage contract is valid when a woman’s male guardian concludes the contract and two male witnesses are pre- sent. Article 58 states that it is a wife’s responsibility to look after the household and to obey her husband. Other than article 57 of the family law forbidding husbands from hurting their wives physically or morally, and general provisions on assault, the penal code does not criminalize domestic violence or marital rape. Qatar’s penal code punishes “sodomy” with one to three years in prison. Mus- lims convicted of zina (sex outside of marriage) can be sentenced to flogging (if unmarried) or the death penalty (if married). Non-Muslims can be sentenced to imprisonment. Key International Actors Qatar was a member of the Saudi-led coalition that began a military campaign in Yemen in March 2015 but Qatar withdrew its forces from the operation in June 2017. The coalition has conducted thousands of airstrikes in Yemen, including scores that appear to violate the laws of war, some of which may be war crimes. However, coalition members, including Qatar, have provided insufficient or no information about the role that particular countries’ forces are playing in alleged unlawful attacks. Qatar purchased at least US$18 billion in weapons during 2017, of which at least $12 billion was from the United States. In June, reacting to the isolation of Qatar by neighboring states, Turkey’s parliament fast-tracked the approval of an April 2016 agreement with Qatar on the implementation of Turkish troops’ deployment to a military base in Qatar, and the two countries began carrying out joint mili- tary exercises.   

454 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Russia As the March 2018 presidential election approached, the government increased its crackdown against political opposition and peaceful protesters and took new steps to stifle independent voices online. In Chechnya, local authorities carried out a large-scale anti-gay purge, rounding up and torturing dozens of men be- cause of their presumed homosexuality. Parliament decriminalized acts of do- mestic violence not involving serious bodily harm. The government continued to support “separatists” in eastern Ukraine, who committed abuses in areas under their control, and it aimed to silence Crimean Tatars and other critics in occupied Crimea, including through criminal prosecution. Freedom of Assembly In the first six months of 2017 alone, the number of people administratively pun- ished by Russian authorities for supposedly violating the country’s regulations on public gatherings was two-and-a-half times higher than throughout 2016. In spring and summer, government critics in numerous cities across Russia held peaceful anti-corruption protests that authorities refused to authorize. Officials harassed and intimidated protesters, including schoolchildren and university students, and also parents whose children participated. University administra- tors directly or indirectly threatened students with expulsion for involvement. In July, a university in Kaliningrad expelled a law student, apparently for his active role in the protests. Police arbitrarily detained hundreds of peaceful protesters on June 12 in Moscow and St. Petersburg. If protesters questioned their detentions, riot police handled them roughly, and in some cases beat them with truncheons and kicked and punched them. One protester in Moscow spent a week in a hospital with a con- cussion after a police officer hit her. Police apprehended people who were not causing a disturbance, and in many cases were not even chanting slogans or carrying posters, and charged them groundlessly with various administrative violations. Most were fined or handed 10 to 15 days’ jail time, following flawed, pro-forma court hearings. Protesters de- tained in St. Petersburg spent up to two nights sleeping on the floor or in chairs   

455 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H at overcrowded precincts, and had to rely on activists to bring food and drinking water. Police at some precincts denied detainees access to lawyers. In February, the Constitutional Court ruled that criminal penalties for repeated breaches of public assembly regulations should not be applied in cases where protesters did not constitute a threat. Later in February, the Supreme Court quashed the two-and-a-half-year criminal sentence of Ildar Dadin, the first per- son convicted under that provision, and ordered his immediate release. Dadin’s prior allegations of torture by penitentiary officials have seen no effective inves- tigation. Suppression of Political Opposition Campaigning Activity From spring 2017 onward, authorities systematically interfered with the presi- dential campaign of a leading opposition politician, Alexei Navalny. Formally dis- qualified from the race due to an outstanding criminal conviction resulting from a politicized, unfair trial, Navalny opened campaign offices in most of Russia’s regions. Police across Russia searched Navalny’s offices and seized campaign materials. Authorities frequently refused to authorize campaign sidewalk displays, and de- tained campaigners on groundless charges. Police also raided the homes of local campaigners and their relatives. Navalny campaigners and offices also faced increasing attacks by ultra-national- ist groups and pro-Kremlin activists. Attackers vandalized campaign offices or campaigners’ homes, stormed into meetings, stole campaign materials, and damaged office equipment and campaigners’ vehicles. They also physically as- saulted campaigners, beating and throwing eggs and other objects at them. In some cases, police merely stood by or arrived too late to catch the attackers. Au- thorities registered complaints filed by campaigners, but typically failed to carry out effective investigations. Freedom of Association Authorities used a 2015 law on “undesirable organizations” to ban four more for- eign organizations, bringing the total to 11, and to intimidate protesters and in- dependent groups.   

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457 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Russians maintaining ties with “undesirables” face penalties ranging from fines to up to six years in prison. In June, a Krasnodar court fined an activist 15,000 rubles (US$260) for supposed involvement with the UK-based pro-democracy group Open Russia, banned in 2017, and in August, a Tula court fined another ac- tivist 1,000 rubles ($17) for the same. Also, between June and November, the government filed charges against at least eight Russian groups for their supposed “participation in the activities of unde- sirable organizations.” In September, the Moscow city prosecutor’s office charged SOVA Center, an independent think tank, and its director, Alexander Verkhovsky, with involvement with “undesirable organizations.” The charges stemmed from hyperlinks on SOVA’s website to two US foundations, which had funded some of SOVA’s projects until they were banned as “undesirable” in 2015. In November, a court in Moscow found the Andrei Rylkov Foundation, a prominent Russian group dedicated to responsible drug policy, in violation of the law on “undesirable organizations” and fined it 50,000 rubles (US$862). The charges stemmed from a hyperlink to the website of a banned US organization in an article published on the foundation’s website. Authorities also continued demonizing as “foreign agents” advocacy groups that accept foreign funding. The number of organizations on the government’s “for- eign agent” register dropped from almost 150 to 88 as some of the designated groups either abandoned foreign funding or closed. Over 30 groups, including several rights organizations and environmental groups, have closed since the foreign agents’ law was adopted in 2012. In June, authorities in Rostov region brought criminal proceedings against Valentina Cherevatenko, a prominent rights activist, for “malicious evasion” of the foreign agents law, but dropped the case several weeks later. Freedom of Expression Online and Freedom of Information Legislation adopted in July banned anonymous use of online messenger applica- tions and software designed to circumvent internet censorship. By February 2017, the number of people imprisoned for extremist speech spiked to 94, from 54 in 2015.   

458 2 T R O P E R D L R O W 0 1 8 In December 2016, a court in Tyumen sentenced Alexey Kungurov, a journalist and blogger, to two-and-a-half years in prison for “publicly justifying terrorism.” The charges had stemmed from his blog post criticizing Russia’s actions in Syria. In May, a court convicted video blogger Ruslan Sokolovsky for inciting hatred and insulting the feelings of religious believers, and handed down a three-and-a- half-year suspended sentence. The charges stemmed from a prank video mock- ing the Russian Orthodox Church, which Sokolovsky shared on social media. The sentence was reduced to two years and three months on appeal. In June, a Moscow court convicted the director of the Moscow Library of Ukrain- ian Literature, Natalia Sharina, for “inciting hatred” for books in the library that authorities said were “extremist,” and handed down a four-year suspended sen- tence. Sharina had spent one year and seven months under house arrest. In November, the parliament amended Russia’s media legislation to enable the government to designate any media organization or information distributor of foreign origin as “foreign media performing the functions of a foreign agent.” Those designated must comply with the requirements for nongovernmental or- ganizations (NGOs) set out in the 2012 “foreign agents” law. Freedom of Religion In April, the Supreme Court banned as extremist the Jehovah’s Witnesses organi- zation, which has more than 100,000 worshippers across Russia. Since July 2016, when the “Yarovaya Law” entered into force, authorities fined over 100 religious activists, mainly evangelist Christians, for either preaching without special authorization or distributing religious literature without the reli- gious distributor’s name on the cover. In June, authorities stated that the Interior Ministry for Dagestan, in the south of Russia, was no longer placing “adherents of non-traditional Islam” on police watchlists. However, persecution of Salafi Muslims, including arbitrary deten- tions and harassment, continued.   

459 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Chechnya Early in 2017, Chechen security officials illegally detained and tortured presumed jihadists. Novaya Gazeta reported that in December 2016 and January 2017, Chechen police extrajudicially killed 27 detainees; Human Rights Center Memo- rial stated that, based on their investigation, 23 of the people on Novaya Gazeta ’s list disappeared and two died following abduction-style detentions by local security officials. From late February and through early April, security officials unlawfully rounded up dozens of men they believed were gay, searched their cell phones for con- tacts of other presumably gay men, and tried to coerce them, including through torture, into naming their gay acquaintances. They kept the men in several unof- ficial facilities, where Chechen authorities have for years held and tortured indi- viduals suspected of dissent or sabotage. They exposed some of the captives to their families as gay and encouraged honor killings. At least two high-level local officials watched police humiliate and torture the detainees. Chechen authorities responded to the allegations by denying the existence of gay people in Chechnya, suggesting obliquely that families kill their gay rela- tives, and accusing journalists and human rights defenders of seeking to desta- bilize the republic. Chechen officials and public figures made serious threats against , the newspaper that broke the story. Novaya Gazeta The Russian LGBT Network opened a special hotline for those in immediate dan- ger and provided evacuation-related assistance to 79 people. Most of them eventually found safe sanctuary abroad. Chechen police allegedly harassed rela- tives of those who fled, attempting to pressure them into disclosing the men’s whereabouts, and forcing them to sign documents with false statements that the men were traveling outside Chechnya at the time the purge was ongoing. The Kremlin initially dismissed reports about the violence but, faced with consol- idated international pressure, federal authorities eventually investigated. By summer, the investigation apparently stalled. In September, Russian investiga- tive authorities received an official complaint by one of the victims of the purge, Maxim Lapunov, detailing his abduction-style detention and torture by Chechen security officials in March. At time of writing, authorities had not carried out an effective investigation into Lapunov’s complaint.   

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461 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Chechen authorities also stepped up their “women’s virtue campaign” aimed at ensuring that women wear headscarves in public and adhere to traditional fam- ily roles. With apparent approval by local authorities, Carthage, a Chechen on- line group published photos of numerous women and called for their punishment. In September, federal authorities blocked the website for “extrem- ist” content. In June, Chechnya’s leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, launched a “family reunification” program, creating local councils of public officials and religious authorities, who draw up lists of divorced couples and approach the spouses separately, suggest- ing reconciliation. In September, Chechen media reported that the program led to the reuniting of over 1,000 divorced couples. Some of those reluctant to coop- erate, including women who had fled abusive marriages, alleged pressure from the councils. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Authorities continued to enforce discriminatory policies and laws against les- bian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. In May, St. Petersburg authorities refused to approve a flashmob on Interna- tional Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, citing the “gay prop- aganda” ban. In June, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that the “gay propa- ganda” law violated freedom of expression, was discriminatory, and encouraged homophobia. In October, a court in Samara fined a local activist 50,000 rubles (US$865) for vi- olating the “gay propaganda” ban. In a positive development in August, a court in Omsk ruled in favor of a man who sued a shop for denying him a job because of his apparent sexual orientation. The court found the refusal to hire him “unlawful” and awarded him 30,000 rubles ($505) in damages.   

462 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Abuses Linked to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2018 World Cup Workers on stadiums being built for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2018 World Cup reported exploitation, including non-provision of contracts, non-pay- ment of wages, and retaliation for reporting abuses. The Building and Wood- workers International trade union reported at least 17 deaths on stadiums since construction began. In April, authorities arbitrarily detained a Human Rights Watch researcher seek- ing to interview workers near the Volgograd stadium; he was released without charge after three hours. In June and July, police detained at least 33 people, cit- ing a May presidential order unduly restricting peaceful assemblies in confedera- tions and World Cup host cities. Women’s Rights Despite persistently high rates of domestic violence, in February the Russian government enacted a law decriminalizing acts of domestic violence that do not cause serious harm leading to hospital treatment, or which aren’t reported more than once a year. The law leaves domestic violence victims more vulnerable to escalation of abuse. Moscow’s mayor denied activists authorization to protest the law. A comprehensive domestic violence law has been stalled in parliament since 2014. Disability Rights Reports persisted of discrimination against people with disabilities and abuse of children and adults with disabilities in state institutions. In July, a psychiatrist published videos showing several residents in an adult institution in Trubchevsk chained to beds, radiators, and other objects. Former staff publicly confirmed this practice. A criminal investigation is ongoing. In March, the Prosecutor General’s Office noted that violations of the rights of people with disabilities persist at high rates, including lack of physical accessi- bility, employment discrimination, and denial of medical treatment.   

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464 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, authorities in some regions have taken steps to move children out of institutions and promote family-based care; education reforms for children with disabilities to study in mainstream schools with proper supports are ongoing. Russia and Ukraine (see also Ukraine chapter) The government continued to provide political and material support to armed “separatists” in eastern Ukraine but took no measures to rein in their abuses, such as arbitrary detentions and torture. Russian authorities also continued re- pression against critics, primarily Crimean Tatars, in occupied Crimea. (See Ukraine chapter). In September 2016, Russian authorities arrested Roman Sushchenko, a Ukrain- ian journalist with the state news service, Ukrinform, on dubious espionage charges. At time of writing, he remained in custody pending investigation. Oleg Sentsov, a Ukrainian filmmaker, continued to serve a 20-year prison sen- tence resulting from his 2015 conviction on trumped-up charges of running “ter- rorist organizations” in Crimea. Russia and Syria (see also Syria chapter) Between April and August, Russia conducted at least 13,000 air strikes. While the number of civilian casualties appeared to decrease, partially as a result of local ceasefires, monitoring groups reported hundreds of civilian deaths each month, including from unlawful aerial attacks. Syrian and Russian forces carried out unlawful attacks, including airstrikes on schools and hospitals, and air- dropped cluster munitions and incendiary weapons in populated areas. Russian ground forces became more active in Syria. Russia also played a role in negotiating local ceasefires and evacuations and participated in the evacuation of fighters and civilians from opposition-controlled areas. Some evacuations could amount to forced displacement, where civilians may have been transferred to other areas without their informed consent and beyond the exceptions of im- perative military or protection reasons. Russia continued to protect Syria from repercussions for violating the laws of war. At the United Nations Security Council, Russia, along with China, vetoed a   

465 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H February 2017 resolution proposing sanctions on those responsible for chemical attacks. Russia was also the only member to veto an April 2017 resolution con- demning a chemical attack in northern Syria and calling for an international in- vestigation. Russia continued its efforts to shield the Syrian government from accountability by lobbying against the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism (IIIM), established by the General Assembly in December 2016 to investigate se- rious crimes committed in Syria and prepare and preserve evidence. Moscow has openly criticized the IIIM as illegitimate and suggested that the as- sembly had no authority to establish a quasi-special prosecutor’s office. At the Security Council in November, Russia twice vetoed a proposed renewal of the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) of the UN and Organization for the Prohibi- tion of Chemical Weapons after JIM issued a report blaming the Syrian govern- ment for a sarin gas attack in April 2017. The vetoes brought to 11 the number of times Russia has cast its veto at the council since 2011. Key International Actors Russia’s role in the Syria conflict, sanctions against Russia for occupying Crimea, and engagement with Russian authorities to end hostilities in eastern Ukraine continued to dominate the agenda of key international actors. But many spoke out strongly against abuses. In January, the European Union and the secretary general of the Council of Eu- rope, Thorbjørn Jagland, spoke out against Russia’s decriminalization of domes- tic violence. In February, the EU called the repeated conviction of Alexei Navalny on embez- zlement charges “an attempt to silence another independent political voice.” The UK, French, and German governments raised similar concerns. Also in February, Jagland welcomed the overturning of Ildar Dadin’s verdict and his release from prison. He also called on Russia to amend its law on public gatherings. Numerous international actors, both institutional and individual such as the EU, Jagland, UN human rights experts, and governments of the US, UK, France, and   

466 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 Germany spoke out against the mass detentions of peaceful protesters at the March 26 and June 12 rallies. In April, key international actors including the EU, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and UN human rights experts responded vo- cally and publicly to news of the anti-gay purge in Chechnya. The governments of Canada, the US, France, Germany, and the UK deplored the purge, and the for- eign ministers of France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and Sweden sent a joint letter to Russia’s foreign minister urging the Russian government to investi- gate. In a joint press conference with President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor An- gela Merkel raised the issue and asked him “to utilize his influence to protect these minority rights.” French President Emmanuel Macron also raised the issue at his May summit with Putin. Canada and several EU member states provided refuge to some of the men who fled. In April, UN human rights experts, officials of the OSCE, the UK human rights minister, the US State Department, and the EU expressed concern over Russia’s Jehovah’s Witnesses ban. In June, the EU criticized Russia for labeling NGOs “foreign agents” and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights called the “foreign agents” law incompatible with international human rights standards. In August, Russia was reviewed before the UN Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which raised concerns, including lack of pro- tection from discrimination, vague and overly broad counter-extremism legisla- tion, flawed laws on “foreign agents” and “undesirable organizations”, hate crimes and hate speech. It also called on Russia to allow the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) full access to Crimea, and ad- dress alleged violations against Crimean Tartars, Roma, indigenous peoples, mi- grant workers, and other vulnerable groups. In September, Russia was reviewed before the UN Committee on Economic, So- cial and Cultural Rights, which raised concerns about a broad range of issues, in- cluding “foreign agent” restrictions on NGOs, harassment of human rights defenders, corruption, and discrimination. In 2017, Russia-US relations hit a new low over the allegations of Russia’s inter- ference in the 2016 US presidential election.   

467 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Rwanda In a context of very limited free speech or open political space, President Paul Kagame overwhelmingly won a third term in August with a reported 98.8 percent of the vote, after a 2015 referendum allowed him to run for a seven-year term and two additional five-year terms thereafter. Before and after the August election, the Rwandan government continued to limit the ability of civil society groups, the media, international human rights organizations, and political opponents to function freely and independently or to criticize the government’s policies and practices. State security forces in the Western Province summarily killed at least 37 sus- pected petty offenders between April 2016 and March 2017, in what appeared to be part of a broader strategy to spread fear, enforce order, and deter any resist- ance to government orders or policies. Rwandan authorities continued to arrest and detain people in unofficial military detention centers, where scores of de- tainees have been tortured in recent years. Freedom of Expression Civil society in Rwanda is very weak, due to many years of state intimidation and interference, leaving Rwandan human rights organizations largely unable to pub- licly document violations by state agents. While some private radio stations oc- casionally broadcast programs on politically sensitive issues, such as proposed changes to the penal code that would criminalize defamation, official govern- ment views dominated the domestic media and almost all election coverage. Government actors also intimidated international journalists. The BBC Kin- yarwanda service remains suspended since 2014. Sana Radio journalist John Ndabarasa, who had gone missing on August 8, 2016, resurfaced in the capital, Kigali, on March 6. Ndabarasa is a family mem- ber of Joel Mutabazi, a former presidential bodyguard sentenced to life imprison- ment in 2014 for security-related offenses. In a story that raised suspicions for many, Ndabarasa told journalists that he had fled the country and later decided voluntarily to come back.   

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469 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Political Pluralism Three candidates contested the August presidential election: Kagame (Rwandan Patriotic Front, RPF); Frank Habineza (Democratic Green Party of Rwanda, DGPR); and an independent candidate, Philippe Mpayimana. Both Habineza and Mpayi- mana said they experienced harassment, threats, and intimidation ahead of the election. Neither posed a serious challenge to President Kagame. Two other would-be independent candidates, Diana Rwigara and Gilbert Mwene- data, said that they had fulfilled all eligibility requirements, but the National Electoral Commission did not register them, claiming that many of the signatures supporting their candidacy were invalid. Another potential candidate, Thomas Nahimana, was denied access to Rwanda in January, when he tried to enter the country from France. In the days after the vote, Human Rights Watch interviewed local activists and private citizens who spoke of intimidation and irregularities during the campaign and voting period. Despite Kagame’s overwhelming win, government authorities took no chances and arrested, forcibly disappeared, or threatened political opponents in the weeks following the August vote. On August 29, police showed up at Rwigara’s office in Kigali and took her to her home, where they interrogated her and her family members and barred them from leaving their house. After several weeks of intimidation, questioning, and restrictions on their movements, Rwigara and her sister Anne and mother were arrested on September 23. At time of writing they were being held in police custody in Kigali. In the days before her arrest, Rwigara spoke with international media outlets and criticized police actions and the accusations against her. Hours before her ar- rest, Rwigara told one outlet that her family was being “persecuted for critizing the government.” The FDU-Inkingi, an unregistered opposition party, also continued to face seri- ous challenges, preventing the party from functioning effectively. Victoire Ingabire, president of the FDU-Inkingi, remained in prison since 2010. On Sep- tember 6, seven FDU-Inkingi members were arrested, including four of the party’s leaders: Boniface Twagirimana, first vice-president; Fabien Twagirayezu,   

470 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 head of party mobilization; Léonille Gasengayire, assistant treasurer; and Gra- tien Nsabiyaremye, assistant commissioner. Théophile Ntirutwa, Kigali representative of the party, was arrested on Septem- ber 6. He was held incommunicado for 17 days, before a family member was al- lowed to visit him at the Remera police station on September 23. Ntirutwa had previously been detained on September 18, 2016, allegedly by the military, in Nyarutarama, a Kigali suburb, where he said he was beaten, and questioned about his membership in the FDU-Inkingi, then released two days later. Eight FDU-Inkingi members, including Ntirutwa, were charged in September with crimes linked to state security, including forming an irregular armed group and offenses against the president. The police previously arrested Gasengayire after she visited Ingabire in prison in March 2016. She was detained for three days, beaten, questioned, and denied access to a lawyer. The police released her without charge, but rearrested her in August 2016, and charged her with inciting insurrection or disorder among the population. They also accused her of stirring-up local opposition to the expropri- ation of land belonging to residents in her home district and of promoting the FDU-Inkingi. Residents who tried to testify on her behalf at her trial were intimi- dated. A court acquitted and released her on March 23, 2017. Violette Uwamahoro, a Rwandan-British woman married to a member of the Rwanda National Congress (RNC), an opposition group in exile, was reported missing on February 14. She was in Rwanda to attend her father’s funeral. On March 3, the police announced that she was in government detention. She had been held incommunicado for more than two weeks. On March 13, Uwamahoro and a co-defendant were charged with revealing state secrets and offenses against the established government or the president. She was released on bail in late March because of insufficient evidence to warrant her detention, and on April 12 she returned to the United Kingdom. Extrajudicial Executions of Petty Offenders State security forces in Rwanda summarily killed at least 37 suspected petty of- fenders and forcibly disappeared four others in Rwanda’s Western Province be- tween April 2016 and March 2017. Most victims were accused of stealing items   

471 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H such as bananas, a cow, or a motorcycle. Others were suspected of smuggling marijuana, illegally crossing the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo, or using illegal fishing nets. Authorities used the extrajudicial executions to serve as a warning. In most of the cases, local military and civilian authorities told residents, often during pub- lic meetings, that the suspected petty offender had been killed and that all other thieves and criminals in the region would be arrested and executed. Government officials said the reports of the killings were “fake news.” Arbitrary Detention, Ill-Treatment, and Torture People accused of crimes against state security continued to be arrested and held unlawfully in military camps. Many people held in these camps were tor- tured in an attempt to force them to confess or accuse others. Authorities contin- ued to round up street vendors, sex workers, street children, and other poor people and detained them in so-called transit centers across the country. Condi- tions in these centers are harsh and inhumane, and beatings are common. Justice for the Genocide On September 15, the French constitutional court rejected a researcher access to the archives of Francois Mitterrand, president of France during the Rwanda geno- cide. The court cited a law protecting presidential archives for 25 years after the death of a head of state. Jean Twagiramungu, the first genocide suspect extradited from Germany, arrived in Kigali on August 18. The former teacher who was arrested in 2015 in Frankfurt is alleged to have organized the killing of ethnic Tutsi during the genocide. His trial was ongoing at time of writing. A UK High Court denied the extradition of five genocide suspects in July, citing concerns about a lack of judicial independence in Rwanda. Genocide suspect Wenceslas Twagirayezu was arrested in May in Denmark. He had not been extra- dited at time of writing. In June 2014, Rwandan authorities sent an international arrest warrant for Twagirayezu to Denmark.   

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473 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Key International Actors The United States voiced concern about irregularities and the lack of trans- parency in determining the eligibility of prospective candidates around the elec- tion. The European Union also expressed concern about a lack of transparency around the registration of candidates and the tabulation of results. The UK said it was concerned about “irregularities with the counting of ballots and vote tabulation” and “by the arrests” and “targeting of opposition figures” after the vote. The US and UK embassies and the EU delegation commended the fact that the vote was peaceful. A report by the United Nations secretary-general, released in September, identi- fied Rwanda as one of 29 countries where human rights defenders face reprisals for cooperating with the UN on human rights. In October, the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture, which oversees en- forcement of the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT), ratified by Rwanda in 2015, conducted a state visit to Rwanda. It had to suspend their visit and leave sooner than planned, however, citing obstruction by Rwanda’s government. Rwanda has yet to set up a national preventive mecha- nism for the prevention of torture at the domestic level, required by the OPCAT, despite a deadline to do so one year after ratification. In November, Rwanda appeared before the Committee against Torture (CAT), a UN body that monitors implementation of the Convention against Torture by state parties. On December 6, CAT in its concluding observations, called for in- voluntary detention in transit centers to be abolished; an end to intimidation of political opponents, journalists, and human rights defenders; and prompt, im- partial, and effective investigations into allegations of torture.   

474 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Saudi Arabia On June 21, King Salman removed Mohammed bin Nayef as interior minister and crown prince, and appointed his son, Mohammed bin Salman, as the new crown prince. Mohammed bin Salman also serves as minister of defense. The succes- sion move followed the removal of the country’s notorious prosecution service from the Interior Ministry and its transformation into an agency reporting directly to the royal court. In addition, in July, King Salman removed the domestic intelligence agency and counterterrorism powers from the Interior Ministry and merged them into the newly created Presidency of State Security, which reports directly to the royal court. In September, the king decreed that women will be allowed to drive from June 2018, ending a long-standing ban. Through 2017, the Saudi-led coalition continued a military campaign against the Houthi rebel group and their former allies, forces loyal to now-deceased former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen, which included scores of unlawful airstrikes that killed and wounded thousands of civilians. On June 5, Saudi Ara- bia, Bahrain, and the UAE cut off diplomatic relations with Qatar and ordered the expulsion of Qatari citizens and the return of their citizens from Qatar. Saudi authorities continued their arbitrary arrests, trials, and convictions of peaceful dissidents. Dozens of human rights defenders and activists continued to serve long prison sentences for criticizing authorities or advocating political and rights reforms. Authorities continued to discriminate against women and re- ligious minorities. Yemen Airstrikes and Blockade As the leader of the nine-nation coalition that began military operations against Houthi-Saleh forces in Yemen on March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabia has committed numerous violations of international humanitarian law. As of November, at least 5,295 civilians had been killed and 8,873 wounded, according to the UN human rights office, although the actual civilian casualty count is likely much higher. In 2017, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) re- ported that airstrikes remained the single largest cause of civilian casualties.   

475 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Since March 2015, Human Rights Watch has documented 87 apparently unlawful attacks by the coalition, some of which may amount to war crimes, killing nearly 1,000 civilians and hitting homes, markets, hospitals, schools, and mosques. The coalition carried out six apparently unlawful airstrikes in Yemen between June and September 2017, that killed 33 children among 55 civilian deaths. Human Rights Watch also documented how the Saudi-led coalition repeatedly attacked civilian factories, warehouses, and other protected sites, in violation of the laws of war. Human Rights Watch documented at least 18 coalition attacks using cluster mu- nitions, which killed or wounded dozens of civilians. Saudi Arabia is not a party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, which bans the weapon. In December 2016, the coalition announced it would stop using a British-made cluster muni- tion, but in 2017 Human Rights watch documented the coalition’s use of Brazil- ian-made cluster munitions. The conflict exacerbated an existing humanitarian crisis. By 2017, an estimated 17 million Yemenis were unable to meet their food needs, according to the United Nations. The conflict also precipitated an unprecedented cholera out- break, which by September had killed 2,000 people and was suspected to have infected up to 700,000. The war has largely destroyed Yemen’s heath system. By December, the Saudi-led coalition had announced findings of preliminary in- vestigations into some 40 widely publicized coalition airstrikes causing civilian casualties. The coalition-appointed panel of investigators found that in almost every case the coalition was pursuing a legitimate military target and recom- mended compensation for victims in only a few attacks. Human Rights Watch is unaware of any steps to pay compensation to victims of these attacks or prose- cute individuals who committed war crimes. In September, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) established an interna- tional, independent body to carry out comprehensive investigations into abuses in Yemen. Freedoms of Expression, Association, and Belief Beginning on September 10, Saudi authorities carried out a wave of arrests of clerics and others in what appeared to be a coordinated crackdown on dissent.   

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477 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Saudi Arabia continued to repress pro-reform activists and peaceful dissidents. In early 2017, authorities arrested human rights activists Essam Koshak, Issa al- Nukheifi, Ali Shaban, and Ahmed al-Musheikhis. Authorities eventually referred Koshak and al-Nukheifi for trial in the country’s notorious Specialized Criminal Court, the country’s counterterrorism tribunal, on charges solely related to their human rights work. Saudi Arabia continues to use 2014 counterterrorism regula- tions to suppress political expression and dissent. Over a dozen prominent activists convicted on charges arising from their peace- ful activities were serving long prison sentences. Prominent activist Waleed Abu al-Khair continued to serve a 15-year sentence imposed by Saudi Arabia’s Spe- cialized Criminal Court that convicted him in 2014 on charges stemming solely from his peaceful criticism in media interviews and on social media of human rights abuses. Prominent blogger Raif Badawi served the fourth year of his 10- year sentence, but authorities did not flog him in 2016 and 2017, as they previ- ously did in January 2015. On January 18, Saudi Arabia’s Specialized Criminal Court sentenced Nadhir al- Majid to seven years in prison and a seven-year ban on travel abroad. The con- viction was based on his participation in protests in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province in 2011 against discrimination against the country’s minority Shia com- munity, communication with international media and human rights organiza- tions, and articles calling for an end to discrimination against the Shia. By 2017 Saudi Arabia had jailed nearly all the founders of the banned Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association (ACPRA). In August, an appeals court upheld an eight-year sentence against ACPRA activist Abd al-Aziz al-Shubaily based solely on his peaceful pro-reform advocacy. Saudi Arabia does not tolerate public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam and systematically discriminates against Muslim religious minorities, notably Twelver Shia and Ismailis, including in public education, the justice sys- tem, religious freedom, and employment. Government-affiliated religious au- thorities continued to disparage Shia and Sufi interpretations, versions, and understandings of Islam in public statements and documents. Saudi Arabia has no written laws concerning sexual orientation or gender iden- tity, but judges use principles of uncodified Islamic law to sanction people sus-   

478 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 pected of committing sexual relations outside marriage, including adultery, and extramarital and homosexual sex. If individuals are engaging in such relation- ships online, judges and prosecutors utilize vague provisions of the country’s anti-cybercrime law that criminalize online activity impinging on “public order, religious values, public morals, and privacy.” In February 2017, Saudi police arrested 35 Pakistani citizens, some of whom were transgender women. One of them died in detention. Her family said her body bore signs of torture, while the Saudi authorities said she had died of a heart at- tack. Criminal Justice Saudi Arabia applies Sharia (Islamic law) as its national law. There is no formal penal code, but the government has passed some laws and regulations that sub- ject certain broadly-defined offenses to criminal penalties. In the absence of a written penal code or narrowly-worded regulations, however, judges and prose- cutors can convict people on a wide range of offenses under broad, catch-all charges such as “breaking allegiance with the ruler” or “trying to distort the rep- utation of the kingdom.” Detainees, including children, commonly face systematic violations of due process and fair trial rights, including arbitrary arrest. Authorities do not always inform suspects of the crime with which they are charged, or allow them access to supporting evidence, sometimes even after trial sessions have begun. Author- ities generally do not allow lawyers to assist suspects during interrogation and sometimes impede them from examining witnesses and presenting evidence at trial. Judges routinely sentence defendants to floggings of hundreds of lashes. Chil- dren can be tried for capital crimes and sentenced as adults if there are physical signs of puberty. During 2017, authorities continued to detain arrested suspects for months, even years, without judicial review or prosecution. In mid-September, Saudi authori- ties arrested dozens of people, including prominent clerics and intellectuals, in what appeared to be a coordinated crackdown on dissent. On November 4, Saudi authorities initiated a mass arrest of princes, current and former govern-   

479 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H ment officials, and prominent businessmen over corruption allegations, some of whom are reportedly held in a five-star hotel in Riyadh. As of November, Ali al-Nimr, Dawoud al-Marhoun, Abdullah al-Zaher and Ab- dulkareem al-Hawaj remained on death row for allegedly committing protest-re- lated crimes while they were children in 2011 and 2012. Saudi judges based the capital convictions primarily on confessions that the defendants retracted in court and said had been coerced, and the courts did not investigate the allega- tions that the confessions were obtained by torture. In mid-July, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court upheld death sentences against four- teen members of the Saudi Shia community following an unfair trial for protest- related crimes. Courts convicted the 14 based on confessions they had repudiated in court, saying that they were coerced. In July, an appeals court up- held death sentences against another 15 men accused of spying for Iran. The ver- dict now requires approval by the Supreme Court and the king’s signature. In late July, Saudi security forces surrounded and sealed off the predominantly Shia town of Awamiya as they confronted an armed group hiding in a historic neighborhood slated for demolition. The violence in Awamiya, which began in May, resulted in deaths and injuries among the residents and caused significant damage to the town. Residents and activists said that security forces had fired at civilians in areas far from the clashes, and residents that remained in Awamiya lacked essential services such as medical care. Most residents fled the clashes. According to Interior Ministry statements, Saudi Arabia executed 138 people be- tween January and early December, mostly for murder and drug crimes. Fifty- seven of those executed were convicted for non-violent drug crimes. Most executions are carried out by beheading, sometimes in public. Women’s and Girls’ Rights Women in Saudi Arabia face formal and informal barriers when attempting to make decisions or take action without the presence or consent of a male rela- tive. In April, King Salman issued an order stipulating that government agencies can- not deny women access to government services simply because they do not have a male guardian’s consent unless existing regulations require it. If ade-   

480 O O E R D L R P W R T 2 0 1 8 quately enforced, the order could end arbitrary guardian consent requirements that government bureaucracies impose on women. Under the order, all govern- ment agencies were required to provide a list by mid-July of procedures that re- quire male guardian approval, suggesting that authorities might review these rules and regulations and even eliminate some. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia’s discriminatory male guardianship system remains intact despite government pledges to abolish it. Under this system, adult women must obtain permission from a male guardian—usually a husband, father, brother, or son—to travel abroad, obtain a passport, marry, or be discharged from prison. They may be required to provide guardian consent to work or access healthcare. Women regularly face difficulty conducting a range of transactions without a male relative, from renting an apartment to filing legal claims. In July, authorities briefly detained a woman named “Khulood” after a Snapchat video appeared showing her wearing a short skirt and top, which revealed her partial midriff as she walked through the Heritage Village of Ushayqir, 100 miles north of Riyadh. Saudi Arabia maintains a strict public dress code—women must wear a loose black garment called an abaya and headscarf. In September, the King decreed that women will be allowed to drive from June 2018. However, a ministerial committee is to make “the necessary arrangements to implement it” in 30 days. Reuters reported that the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Prince Khalid bin Salman, stated that women would not require their guardian’s permission to obtain a license and would be permitted to drive without their guardian present. However, it is unclear if other restrictive rules will apply. Previous proposals to end the driving ban have included restrictions such as limiting driving licenses to women age 30 and over or allowing driving only during daylight hours. Saudi Arabia continues to discriminate against women and girls by denying them the same opportunities to exercise and play sports as men and boys. In a positive step forward, however, Saudi Arabia’s Education Ministry announced in July that Saudi girls’ schools will offer a physical education program beginning in the fall 2017 school term “in accordance with Islamic law standards” and would scale up “according to the possibilities available in each school,” including sports halls and competent women instructors. No public girls’ schools currently have sports facilities, and the statement did not say whether physical education   

481 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H will be mandatory for girls, or if schools will require girls to get parental permis- sion to enroll in physical education classes. In October, authorities announced that they would permit women to attend public sporting events for the first time. Migrant Workers Over 9 million migrant workers fill manual, clerical, and service jobs, constitut- ing more than half the workforce. Some suffer abuses and exploitation, some- times amounting to conditions of forced labor. (visa sponsorship) system ties migrant workers’ residency permits to kafala The “sponsoring” employers, whose written consent is required for workers to change employers or leave the country under normal circumstances. Some em- ployers confiscate passports, withhold wages, and force migrants to work against their will. Saudi Arabia also imposes an exit visa requirement, forcing migrant workers to obtain permission from their employer to leave the country. Workers who leave their employer without their consent can be charged with “absconding” and face imprisonment and deportation. Such a system traps many workers in abusive conditions and punishes victims who flee abuse. In March, Saudi Arabia announced plans to deport foreign workers found in vio- lation of existing labor laws, including those without valid residency or work per- mits, or those found working for an employer other than their legal sponsor. Authorities ordered that undocumented migrants must register their intention to leave with the Saudi authorities by August 24 or face detention, fines, and even- tual deportation. Of the estimated 10 million migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, up to 500,000 are Ethiopian, a significant number of whom arrived after fleeing se- rious Ethiopian government abuses. Saudi Arabia is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention and has not estab- lished an asylum system whereby people who fear being returned to places where their lives or freedom would be threatened may apply for asylum or to pre- vent their forced return. Domestic workers, predominantly women, faced a range of abuses including overwork, forced confinement, non-payment of wages, food deprivation, and psychological, physical, and sexual abuse without the authorities holding their employers to account. Workers who attempted to report employer abuses some-   

482 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 times faced prosecution based on counterclaims of theft, “black magic,” or “sor- cery.” Key International Actors The United States offered only muted criticism of Saudi human rights violations. Meanwhile, as a party to the armed conflict in Yemen, the US provided logistical and intelligence support to Saudi-led coalition forces, including refueling coali- tion planes on missions in Yemen. During a visit to Riyadh in May, President Trump announced US$110 billion worth of arms deals to Saudi Arabia, despite significant opposition from members of Congress concerned about Saudi con- duct in Yemen. In June, a US Senate vote over the sale of about $500 million in precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia passed by a narrow margin, 53-47. In April, United Nations member states elected Saudi Arabia to serve on the UN Commission on the Status of Women, a body “dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women,” despite its record of long- term, systematic discrimination against women. In May, UNESCO, the UN’s edu- th cational, scientific, and cultural agency, held its 7 International Forum of NGOs in Riyadh, even though Saudi Arabia does not allow independent nongovern- mental organizations (NGOs) or activists to function and puts advocates of human rights in jail. In June, Saudi Arabia was elected as a deputy member of the governing body of the International Labour Organization (ILO), even though unions are not permitted in Saudi Arabia and abuses against migrant workers re- main widespread. Despite its bad human rights record at home and abroad, Saudi Arabia is currently serving its second term as a member of the UNHRC. In September, the UNHRC set up by consensus a Group of Eminent Experts to conduct international investigations into violations and abuses in Yemen. In Oc- tober, the UN secretary-general placed the Saudi-led coalition on his “list of shame” for violations against children in Yemen.   

483 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Serbia There was limited progress in closing the gap between Serbia’s human rights ob- ligations and its practice. Reception conditions for asylum seekers remained poor and the asylum system flawed, even though numbers of persons seeking protection fell. Journalists continued to work in a hostile environment. Progress on war crimes prosecutions remained slow. Migrants, including Asylum Seekers, and Displaced Persons The number of new arrivals of asylum seekers to Serbia decreased again in 2017, reflecting ongoing restrictions along the Western Balkan migration route. Be- tween January and October, Serbia registered 5,153 asylum seekers, compared to 10,201 during the same period in 2016. Afghans comprised the largest na- tional group in 2017, followed by Iraqis and Syrians. By the end of August, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that there were approximately 4,700 asylum seekers and migrants present in Serbia. As of November, Serbia had granted refugee status to only one asylum seeker, a Syrian, and subsidiary protection to none. Since 2008, Serbia has granted refugee status to a total of 42 people and subsidiary protection to 49. The asy- lum procedure not only results in low recognition rates, but also in long delays before decisions are rendered. By the end of October, the Ministry of Interior registered 132 unaccompanied children in Serbia, the majority from Afghanistan, compared to 127 during the same period in 2016. By November, there were a total of 250 unaccompanied children in Serbia. Serbia lacks formal age assessment procedures for unaccom- panied children, putting older children at risk of being treated as adults instead of receiving special protection. Only three institutions exist in Serbia for unac- companied children, with a total of 43 places. Other unaccompanied children stay in open asylum centers, such as reception and transit centers, often with unrelated adults, making them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. Progress was slow in finding durable solutions for refugees and internally dis- placed persons (IDPs) from the Balkan wars living in Serbia. According to the Serbian commissioner for refugees and migration, as of November, there were   

484 P E D L R O W R O R T 2 0 1 8 27,802 such displaced persons in Serbia, compared to 35,300 during the same period in 2016, mostly from Croatia. There were 201,047 registered IDPs, majority from Kosovo, as of November, compared to 203,140 the previous year. Freedom of Media Attacks and threats against journalists continued. The authorities’ response was inadequate. Between January and mid-November, the Independent Journalists’ Association of Serbia (NUNS) registered 75 incidents of violence, threats or in- timidation against journalists, including six physical attacks. Pro-government media outlets continued to engage in smear campaigns against independent outlets and journalists. In May, daily Danas journalist Lidija Valtner was covering the inauguration of Ser- bian President Aleksandar Vucic when two people dragged her away by the neck and tried to take her mobile phone. According to Valtner, two plain clothes po- lice officers watched the assault without helping. Police were investigating the incident at time of writing. At the same event, journalists working for Vice , Radio claimed unidentified persons used physical Belgrade, and the daily Insajder force and threats to prevent them from reporting during the event. for allegedly In January, the High Court of Belgrade fined political weekly NIN damaging the reputation of the Minister of Interior of Serbia in a June 2016 arti- cle concerning property demolitions in Belgrade’s Savamala district. A commission established to investigate the murders of three prominent journal- ists, Dada Vujasinovic in 1994, Slavko Curuvija in 1999, and Milan Pantic in 2001, made slow progress in its work. Two of the four state security officials charged with involvement in Curuvija’s killing were released from custody to house arrest in July. A third defendant is serving a 40-year sentence for unrelated crimes, while the fourth is on the run. The other two killings remain unsolved. Accountability for War Crimes War crimes prosecutions were hampered due to lack of political support, insuffi- cient staff, and other resources at the Office of the War Crimes Prosecutor, and weak witness support mechanisms. The Serbian parliament finally appointed a new war crimes prosecutor in May, after an 18-month-long vacancy.   

485 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Few high ranking officials implicated in serious wartime abuses have been held to account in Serbian courts. Between January and August, 17 war crimes trials were pending before Serbian courts. The war crimes prosecutor issued two new indictments during the same period. Between January and August, first instance courts delivered no judgments. The appeals court overturned convictions of three people. Between January and August, 11 cases were still at investigation stage. Since the establishment of the War Crimes Prosecution Office in 2003, 124 judgments have been issued, 82 people convicted and 42 acquitted. The first trials in Serbia for war crimes in Srebrenica started in February. Eight Bosnian Serb former police officers are charged with the killing in a warehouse of more than 1,300 Bosniak civilians from Srebrenica in July 1995. In July, the Bel- grade Appeals Court dismissed the charges, stating that the prosecutor who filed the charges was not authorized to do so. The new war crimes prosecutor has yet to file new charges needed to schedule a trial. In May, the Appeals Court in Belgrade confirmed charges against five Bosnian Serb former fighters indicted in 2015 for abducting and killing 20 civilians on a train in Strpci in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1993. Also in May, the Appeals Court acquitted two Bosnian Serb ex-fighters of all charges related to the killing of a Bosniak civilian in 1992. In April, the war crimes prosecutor brought charges against a Bosnian-Serb ex- police reservist for war crimes against civilians in Sanski Most in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992. Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) urged Serbia in June to officially acknowledge the crimes committed in Srebrenica in 1995 as genocide. Following the January arrest in France of former Kosovo Prime Minister and Kosovo Liberation Army fighter Ramush Haradinaj based on a Serbian arrest war- rant, a French court in April rejected Serbia’s extradition request. Haradinaj is wanted in Serbia on war crimes charges. He has been twice acquitted by the ICTY of war crimes during the 1998-1999 Kosovo conflict.   

486 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Human Rights Defenders Human rights defenders operate in a hostile environment. Online threats against human rights activists are commonplace and rarely investigated by authorities. Pro-government media smear human rights defenders as “traitors” and “foreign mercenaries.” In January, in the town of Beska, party members from the ruling Serbian Progres- sive Party attacked and ejected nine activists from the nongovernmental organi- zation (NGO) Youth Initiative for Human Rights, who organized a protest during a pre-election campaign debate. Two of the human rights activists required hospi- talization, and one activist’s car was vandalized. Authorities were investigating at time of writing. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Attacks on and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and activists occurred regularly. Serbian LGBT rights organization DA SE ZNA!, between August 2016 and August 2017, recorded 79 incidents against LGBT people, including nine physical attacks, 12 threats and 56 cases of hate speech, mainly on social media. Investigations are often slow and prosecutions rare. The Pride parade in September took place without major incidents and was attended by the first female and openly lesbian prime minister of Serbia. Treatment of Minorities Roma face discrimination, particularly in relation to housing. Police in Belgrade detained and abused a Romani couple in May after they reported their car was stolen, according to the European Roma Rights Centre. Key International Actors Throughout the year, several visits by Federica Mogherini, high representative for foreign affairs and security policy; European Council President Donald Tusk; and Commissioner on European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Johannes Hahn, focused on Serbia’s European Union accession and the Belgrade-Pristina process, but failed to publicly address the need for improvements in human   

487 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H rights. In June, the European Parliament stressed the need for further reforms in the areas of human rights and the rule of law. The 2016 US Department of State Human Rights report, published in June, identi- fied discrimination and violence against Roma, harassment of journalists, over- crowding in prisons, and threats against members of the LGBT community as particularly serious human rights concerns. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child in its March concluding observations expressed concerns that children with disabilities continue to be over-represented in residential care institutions, and recommended authorities reduce the placement of children under three years in residential care. In July, Serbia endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, committing to do more to protect education during times of armed conflict. In its April concluding observations, the UN Human Rights Committee expressed concern over the treatment of journalists, particularly through prosecutions, and recommended stronger protection for media workers. It also expressed concern about hate crimes, particularly against Roma, and recommended proper investi- gation and prosecution. The committee also called on Serbia to tackle delays in the asylum procedure, poor conditions in receptions centers, and inadequate age assessment procedures. In February, Council of Europe Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muižnieks ex- pressed concerns with regards to forced evictions of Roma, the lack of legal safe- guards in the process of such evictions, and failure by authorities to provide alternative accommodation.   

488 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Kosovo Slow progress on human rights was marred by a political deadlock following snap elections in June, with a government only formed in September. The special court to try serious war crimes committed during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war was made operational and is expected to file its first indictments. Journalists faced threats and intimidation, and prosecutions of crimes against journalists were slow. Tensions between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians continued, particularly in the north. Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities continue to face discrimi- nation. The process of normalizing relations with Belgrade made limited progress. Accountability for War Crimes In July, after months of delay, Kosovo’s Constitutional Court approved the revised rules of procedure and evidence for the Specialist Chambers and Specialist Pros- ecutor’s Office, the Hague-based court tasked with trying serious war crimes committed during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war. This allows the court to issue first indictments. The court is set to adjudicate cases investigated by the Special In- vestigative Task Force, prompted by a 2011 Council of Europe report accusing some Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) members of abductions, beatings, summary executions, and the forced removal of human organs in Kosovo and Albania dur- ing and after the Kosovo war. Senior KLA fighters are expected to be indicted and stand trial. The court will operate under Kosovo laws, with 19 international judges, appointed by the European Union in February. The EU in June approved a one-year budget for the court. In January 2017, Kosovo’s special prosecutor charged an ex-paramilitary Serbian man with war crimes in Kosovo Polje in 1999. The suspect is charged with tortur- ing civilian ethnic Albanians. In February, the prosecutor issued 57 warrants of arrest of Serbian citizens sus- pected of war crimes, without providing further details of those wanted. By early September, mixed panels consisting of the European Rule of Law Mis- sion (EULEX) and local judges handed down five decisions related to war crimes. Formal investigations were underway in 34 cases, and 374 cases were pending at   

489 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H a preliminary investigation stage. EULEX has been involved in a total of 43 ver- dicts since established in 2008. The Human Rights Review Panel, an independent body set up in 2009 to review allegations of human rights violations by EULEX staff, ruled in eight cases be- tween January and October, four of which were follow-up decisions in earlier cases where violations had been found by the panel. Thirty cases were pending before the panel at time of writing. Accountability of International Institutions The United Nations failed to follow recommendations made in 2016 by the Human Rights Advisory Panel (HRAP), an independent body set up in 2006 to ex- amine complaints of abuses by the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), that the UN apologize and pay individual compensation to lead poison victims forced to live in UNMIK-run camps in northern Kosovo after the 1998- 1999 war. Victims are displaced members of the Roma, Ashkali, and Balkan Egyptian communites. In May, UN Secretary-General António Guterres proposed a watered-down plan to create a voluntary trust fund for community assistance projects not specifically targeting those affected by lead poisoning. At time of writing, no states have contributed to the trust fund. Treatment of Minorities Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptians continue to face problems acquiring personal doc- uments, affecting their ability to access health care, social assistance, and edu- cation. There was slow implementation of a new strategy for the integration of Roma, Ashkali, and Egyptian communities. The strategy was adopted in 2016 and fo- cused on improving civil registration, access to housing, education, health care, and employment. Public funds to finance the strategy’s programs were lacking. Inter-ethnic tensions continued during 2017 particularly in Kosovo’s divided north. Kosovo police registered 15 cases of inter-ethnic violence between January and August 2017, involving disruption of public order, defamatory graffiti, incite- ment of religious, ethnic and racial hatred, and light bodily injury, without speci-   

490 2 T R O P E R D L R O W 0 1 8 fying the total number per category, making effective scrutiny of police response to inter-ethnic violence difficult. Kosovo police in August stated that cases were under investigation. Women’s Rights Domestic violence remained widespread in Kosovo. Inadequate police response, few prosecutions and failure by judges to issue restraining orders against abu- sive spouses contributed to the problem. The government in April adopted a new National Strategy and Action Plan against Domestic Violence, replacing a 2011- 2014 strategy, and in May launched the Crime Victim Compensation Program. As a result victims are now able to seek compensation from the state for their in- juries. Asylum Seekers and Displaced Persons During the first nine months of the year, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) registered 333 voluntary returns of members of ethnic mi- norities to Kosovo, up from 276 during that period in 2016. The Kosovo Ministry of Internal Affairs registered 2,480 forced returns to Kosovo between January and October, including 159 Roma, 138 Ashkali, and 17 Egyp- tians. Ethnic data was missing for the month of June. Among those forcibly de- ported to Kosovo, 646 were children. Most of these forced returns were from Germany and returnees received limited assistance upon return. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Gay rights activists reported an increase of hate speech online against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in October, in connection with Gay Pride in Pristina. The October Pride event was the first of its kind ever held in Kosovo. In July, gay rights activists issued a call to challenge marriage laws in Kosovo, which define marriage as strictly between two people of different sexes, as being contrary to the constitution.   

491 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Freedom of Media Threats and attacks against journalists continued in 2017, while investigations and prosecutions were slow. Between January and August, the Association of Journalists of Kosovo registered nine cases of threats and violence against jour- nalists, including one physical attack, two cases of intimidation, one of property damage, and five threats. Police were investigating at time of writing. In August, Parim Olluri, an investigative journalist and director of online publica- Insajderi , was physically attacked by unknown assailants outside his home tion in Pristina. Olluri received medical treatment for minor bodily injuries. He stated that he believes the assault was connected to his work as a journalist. Police were investigating at time of writing. The Organization for Security and Co-opera- tion in Europe (OSCE) representative on freedom of the media, Harlem Desir, in August condemned the attack. In April, Arbana Xharra, editor-in-chief of daily paper Zeri , was subjected to in- timidation when an unknown assailant, or assailants, painted a cross in blood- red paint next to the apartment where she lives with her husband and child. The case remained unresolved at time of writing. Insajderi , Vehbi Kajtazi, In October, the editor-in-chief of the online newspaper was physically attacked in a cafe in Pristina. Police were investigating the attack at time of writing. Kajtazi has been physically attacked and threatened in the past, and cases remained unresolved. Key International Actors In his quarterly report on the situation in Kosovo, UN Secretary-General Guterres in May expressed concern about ethno-nationalist sentiments, and called on parties to act responsibly to diminish inter-ethnic tensions. Guterres also ad- dressed the concerns of families whose relatives are still missing since the con- flict, and urged authorities to do more to investigate what happened to them. The US State Department Human Rights Report on Kosovo, published in March, raised concerns about violent obstructions of the parliament by opposition par- ties resulting in the blocking of free debate and passage of legislation, and the lack of accountability for government corruption. The report also noted societal violence and discrimination against members of religious and LGBT communi-   

492 O D 1 0 2 T R 8 P W O R L E R ties, intimidation of media, violence against displaced persons seeking to return to their homes, domestic violence and discrimination against women, and dis- crimination against ethnic minorities, particularly Ashkalis, Egyptians and Roma. At the invitation of Kosovo, the EU deployed an Election Observation Mission, whose report highlighted some shortcomings including a disturbing pattern of intimidation within Serb-majority areas. In June, the European Parliament called on Kosovo to strengthen the role of the ombudsman and to increase efforts to protect minorities. Over the year, EU leaders repeatedly met with their Kosovar counterparts but failed to raise human rights concerns, often focusing on the normalization of Kosovo’s relations with Serbia.   

493 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Singapore Singapore’s draconian restrictions on public assemblies tightened during 2017, with new limitations on the ability of foreigners in the country to organize, partic- ipate in, or even financially support, public gatherings. Event organizers and sometimes participants are subjected to investigations, home searches, and seizure of electronic devices. Critics of the judiciary continue to be targeted for “scandalizing the judiciary.” The government lashed out at online media during the year, and threatened to pass new laws to deal with “misinformation” and “fake news.” Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Expression The government maintains strict restrictions on the right to freedom of peaceful assembly through the Public Order Act, which requires a police permit for any “cause-related” assembly if it is held in a public place, or if members of the gen- eral public are invited. Permits are routinely denied for events addressing politi- cal topics. The law was amended in 2017 to tighten the restrictions, and now provides the police commissioner with specific authorization to reject any permit application for an assembly or procession “directed towards a political end” if any foreigner is involved. The definition of what is treated as an assembly is extremely broad, and includes one person acting alone. In August, a man who held repeated solo protests in Singapore’s central financial district calling for the resignation of the prime min- ister was sentenced to three weeks in prison and a fine of S$20,000 (US$14,850). In early September, the police summoned for questioning the participants in a July 2017 vigil outside Changi prison to support the family of a man scheduled to hang, and banned them from leaving the country. In November, the police filed criminal charges against one of the participants in this event, Jolovan Wham, and indicated that the others involved remained under investigation. Wham was also charged with two other counts of violating the Public Order Act—one relat- ing to an indoor forum at which Joshua Wong spoke from Hong Kong via Skype, and the other a silent protest to commemorate the 1987 arrests of activists under the Internal Security Act (ISA).   

494 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 An area of Hong Lim Park known as “Speakers’ Corner” is the only place in Singa- pore where an assembly can be held without a police permit, but only citizens are allowed to speak there, and only citizens or permanent residents may partici- pate in assemblies there. Under tightened restrictions put in place in October 2016, the government now considers the mere presence of a foreigner during an assembly to be unlawful participation that can result in criminal penalties for both the foreigner and the event organizer. To comply with the new rules, organizers of the annual Pink Dot festival in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights had to put barricades around the park and check identity cards, quadrupling the cost of holding the event. Although the government passed new legislation codifying the law of contempt in August 2016, the legislation had not gone into effect at time of writing, and the government continued to use common law contempt proceedings against those who criticize the judiciary. Persons facing contempt proceedings in 2017 included a lawyer who posted a critical poem on his Facebook page after the execution of a client, an activist who asserted that her conviction for unlawful assembly and public nuisance was “political,” and a relative of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who referred in a private Facebook post to the judiciary as “pliant.” The Board of Film Censors must pre-approve all films and videos shown in Singa- pore. Theater productions must submit their scripts for government approval to obtain a mandatory license under the Public Entertainments and Meetings Act. In September 2017, 18-year-old activist and blogger Amos Yee was granted politi- cal asylum in the United States on the grounds that Singapore had persecuted him for exercising his right to peaceful expression. Criminal Justice System In January 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced that, starting in April 2017, all suspects below the age of 16 must be accompanied by an inde- pendent volunteer during police interviews. The government made the change in response to the case of Benjamin Lim, a 14-year-old who committed suicide in January 2016 after being released from the Ang Mo Kio police division headquar-   

495 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H ters after three hours of police questioning alone under suspicion of committing a crime. Singapore uses the ISA and Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act (CLTPA) to arrest and administratively detain persons for virtually unlimited periods without charge or judicial review. There is little publicly available information about the number of persons detained, their identities, or the basis for their detentions. Singapore retains the death penalty, which is mandated for many drug offenses and certain other crimes. However, under provisions introduced in 2012, judges have some discretion to bypass the mandatory penalty and sentence low-level offenders to life in prison and caning. There is little transparency on the timing of executions, which often take place with short notice. Singapore executed Malaysian national S. Prabagaran in July for drug offenses despite a pending ap- plication to refer the case to the International Court of Justice. Use of corporal punishment is common in Singapore. For medically fit males ages 16 to 50, caning is mandatory as an additional punishment for a range of crimes, including drug trafficking, violent crimes (such as armed robbery), and even some immigration offenses. Sentencing officials may also order caning for some 30 additional violent and non-violent crimes. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity The rights of Singapore’s LGBT community are severely restricted. Sexual rela- tions between two male persons remains a criminal offense, and there are no legal protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Media Development Authority effectively prohibits all positive depictions of LGBT lives on television or radio. In June 2017, the Advertising Standards Agency asked a shopping center to remove the phrase “Supporting the Freedom to Love” from a promotional ad for this year’s annual Pink Dot festival on the grounds it “may affect public sensitivities.” The 8th annual Pink Dot festival took place at Hong Lim Park in June 2017. Under new rules passed in October 2016, any entity not incorporated in Singapore that does not have a majority of Singapore citizens on its board must apply for a per- mit to sponsor an event in Hong Lim Park. The 10 multinational corporations that   

496 R 0 T R O P E 2 D L R O W 1 8 applied for a permit to sponsor this year’s Pink Dot festival were denied. How- ever, over 100 Singaporean companies stepped forward to fill the funding gap, and Pink Dot exceeded its annual fundraising target. T Project, which supports the transgender community in Singapore, has been de- nied the ability to register as a not-for-profit entity on grounds that doing so would be “against national security or interest.” The group’s appeal against the Registrar of Companies’ rejection of their application was rejected in November 2017. Migrant Workers and Labor Exploitation Foreign migrant workers are subject to labor abuse and exploitation through debts owed to recruitment agents, non-payment of wages, restrictions on move- ment, confiscation of passports, and sometimes physical and sexual abuse. For- eign women employed as domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to abuse. The work permits of migrant workers in Singapore are tied to a particular em- ployer, leaving workers vulnerable to exploitation. Foreign domestic workers are still excluded from the Employment Act and many key labor protections, such as limits on daily work hours. Labor laws also discriminate against foreign workers by barring them from organizing and registering a union or serving as union leaders without explicit government permission. Key International Actors Singapore is a regional hub for international business, and maintains good polit- ical and economic relations with both the United States, which considers it a key security ally, and China. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong visited the White House in October. Neither the US nor any other government publicly criticized Singa- pore’s poor human rights record.   

497 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Somalia Somalia’s armed conflict, abuses by all warring parties, and a new humanitarian crisis continue to take a devastating toll on civilians. Hundreds of civilians were killed in indiscriminate attacks by the Islamist armed group Al-Shabab, particularly in Mogadishu. Military operations against Al- Shabab, at times in violation of the laws of war, by Somali government forces and militia, African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troops, and other for- eign forces resulted in deaths, injuries and displacement of civilians—as did inter-clan violence—across the country. On October 14, a bomb-laden truck in central Mogadishu killed at least 358 people, the deadliest single attack in the country’s history; no group claimed responsibility. The United Nations Assis- tance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) reported 1,228 civilian casualties between January and September 2017, about half by Al-Shabab. In February, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmajo” was selected as the coun- try’s president following a protracted and controversial electoral process. Politi- cal infighting, including within federal member states, delayed greatly needed justice and security sector reforms and on occasion led to violence affecting civilians. With parts of the country on the brink of famine, hundreds of thousands of So- malis were displaced bringing the total to over 2 million; while the new adminis- tration made addressing the humanitarian crisis a priority, many civilians faced serious abuses and very limited access to basic services. The year saw little progress in holding security forces to account for attacks on journalists and arbitrary detentions, or improving protection for the internally displaced populations. Positively, the government took steps to establish a na- tional human rights commission. Abuses by Government and Allied Forces Security forces unlawfully killed and wounded civilians during infighting over land, control of roadblocks, disarmament operations, and aid distribution. On June 9, at least 13 civilians were killed and 20 injured when fighting broke out between government forces at an aid distribution site in Baidoa.   

498 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Civilians were targeted or faced indiscriminate attack during fighting over re- sources and political positions and control between clan militia and regional forces, particularly in Lower Shabelle, Hiraan, and Galguduud. The National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) and the Puntland Intelli- gence Service (PIS), which operate without legal authority, arbitrarily arrested and detained individuals without charge or access to legal counsel and family visits. On several occasions, intelligence agents tortured and ill-treated alleged terrorism suspects to extract confessions or provide information. Military courts continue to try a broad range of cases, including for terrorism-re- lated offenses, in proceedings falling far short of international fair trial stan- dards. By the third quarter of 2017 at least 23 individuals were executed following military court convictions, the majority on terrorism-related charges. Seven defendants, including a child, were sentenced to death for murder on Feb- ruary 13 in Puntland based largely on confessions obtained under coercion by PIS; five were executed in April. According to UNSOM, AMISOM and other foreign forces were responsible for a significant number of civilian casualties during ground operations against Al- Shabab and in airstrikes. On September 26, an alleged Kenyan air force jet struck the village of Taraka in Somalia’s Gedo region recently recaptured by Al- Shabab, wounding 4 civilians and killing 20 camels. Accountability for abuses by security forces was almost nonexistent. Measures at the disposal of troop-contributing countries to improve accountabil- ity have not been sufficiently used. AMISOM investigated the unlawful killings of 14 civilians by Ethiopian forces in July 2016 in a village in the Bay region, but never released the findings nor offered compensation to the affected families. Somalia’s penal code, currently being revised, classifies sexual violence as an “offense against modesty and sexual honor” rather than as a violation of bodily integrity, punishes same-sex intercourse, and imposes criminal penalties for speech considered insulting to authorities. Abuses by Al-Shabab The Islamist armed group Al-Shabab committed serious abuses such as arbitrary executions, including those accused of spying, collaborating with the govern-   

499 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H ment, and at times adultery; forcibly recruiting adults and children; and extort- ing “taxes” through threats. On October 27, in Sakoow, a woman was stoned to death for allegedly committing adultery. Attacks against civilians and civilian objects using vehicle-borne improvised ex- plosive devices in Mogadishu resulted in a sharp rise in civilian casualties. The group also claimed responsibility for several targeted assassinations, particu- larly of government officials and electoral delegates. In late May, Al-Shabab fighters abducted civilians, stole livestock, and commit- ted arson in attacks that caused more than 15,000 people to flee their homes in the highly contested region of Lower Shabelle. Displaced Persons and Access to Humanitarian Assistance By the year’s end, the risk of famine persisted, with over half of the country’s 12.4 million population still in need of emergency humanitarian assistance. According to the UN, 1 million people were newly displaced in 2017, bringing the total internally displaced persons (IDP) population to 2.1 million. Many faced dire living conditions, with limited assistance, and faced a range of abuses, in- cluding indiscriminate killings, forced evictions, and sexual violence. Between November and May, at least 60,000 people were forcibly evicted, including by government forces. Hundreds of refugees returning from Kenya due to restric- tions on asylum space became IDPs. Humanitarian agencies faced serious challenges in accessing vulnerable popula- tions due to insecurity, restrictions imposed by parties to the conflict, and tar- geted attacks on aid workers. Foreign counterterrorism legislation, notably US law that could interpret forms of aid as material support for terrorism, also hin- dered foreign assistance. Al-Shabab banned most nongovernmental organizations and all UN agencies from areas under its control. It also imposed blockades on government-con- trolled towns and on occasion attacked civilians who broke them. Government forces and clan militia also extorted civilians and aid convoys at checkpoints.   

500 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Abuses against Children Armed groups continued to kill and maim children and target schools. On April 18, unidentified rebel forces fired mortar rounds into a populated area of Mo- gadishu, hit a school and a home, killing at least two civilians, including an 8- year-old girl, and injuring eight others. They have also recruited and used children in military operations. Al-Shabab in- duksis (Quranic schools) to indoctrinate children, particu- creasingly focused on larly in communities where it sought to assert control such as in Mudug, Galgadud, and Bay regions. The federal government committed to rehabilitate children linked to Al-Shabab. However, military courts have prosecuted and sentenced children to heavy penalties for terrorism-related offenses in trials that do not meet international ju- venile justice standards. In Puntland, at least 11 children were sentenced to death for terrorism-related offenses and murder by first instance military courts although all later had their sentences commuted. Sexual Violence Internally displaced women and girls remain at particular risk of sexual and gen- der-based violence by armed men, including government soldiers and militia members, and civilians. According to the UN, incidents of reported sexual vio- lence around displacement settlements increased in 2017. While authorities adopted some measures to improve the capacity of govern- ment institutions to tackle impunity for sexual violence, including establishing a sexual violence unit within the Attorney General’s Office, and passing a sexual offenses law in Puntland, implementation was limited. In early 2017, authorities in Puntland condoned a Sharia court-hearing of a group of young men accused of gang-raping two girls in Goldogob town instead of prosecutors pushing for the case to be transferred to criminal justice proceedings under its newly passed sexual offenses act.   

501 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Freedom of Expression and Association Targeted attacks on media, including harassment, and intimidation by federal and regional authorities and Al-Shabab, continued. On March 12, Abdihamid Mohamed Osman, a technician and editor at Universal TV network, survived a bomb that exploded while he was in his vehicle. In Puntland, authorities arbitrarily detained journalists and other civilians for criticizing the region’s leadership and judicial decisions. On July 2, journalist Ahmed Ali Kilwe was detained by counterterrorism police and held for two weeks without charge, reportedly for criticizing the president. Positively, the federal minister for information committed to reviewing the coun- try’s 2016 media law; proposed revisions failed to bring the law in line with inter- national standards. Somaliland Authorities in Somaliland continued to restrict free speech and expression, par- ticularly on issues deemed sensitive, notably the construction of a port and mili- tary base by the United Arab Emirates in Berbera town and the relationship with Somalia. Authorities shut down social media for four days during Somaliland’s electoral process, at the request of the national electoral commission. Authori- ties regularly temporarily detain journalists; on three occasions journalists were criminally charged. Key International Actors International support focused on building Somalia’s security sector, including regional forces, with limited attention to ensuring fair accountability for abuses. At a London conference on Somalia in May, partners endorsed a plan clarifying the structure of the security forces at national and regional levels. International donors financially supported the federal government’s controver- sial amnesty program for former Al-Shabab combatants. In August, one of Al- Shabab’s former leaders, Sheikh Mukhtar Robow, was transferred to Mogadishu; foreign governments did not call for investigations into the serious abuses com- mitted under his leadership.   

502 O L 1 0 2 T R 8 P E R W O R D In March, US President Donald Trump granted the US Defense Department greater authority to conduct operations in Somalia, declaring parts of the coun- try an “area of active hostilities.” The Pentagon acknowledged 30 strikes, 13 in November, and its involvement in at least four joint operations. The Pentagon said it was reviewing reports of civilian casualties in two operations conducted in August in Bariire and Jilib; despite media reports of civilian casualties its as- sessment found that those killed and wounded in Bariire were all “armed enemy combatants”. Gulf states, primarily the UAE, increased bilateral military and political support to Somalia’s regional states. They used pressure and financial inducements to challenge the federal government’s “neutral” stance on the diplomatic crisis be- tween Qatar and other Gulf states, exacerbating regional tensions within Soma- lia.   

503 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H South Africa South Africa has, over the years, built a robust and independent judiciary essential for respect for the rule of law; but in 2017, the government’s record on human rights and respect for the rule of law was poor. Corruption, poverty, including high unemployment, and crime significantly restricted South Africans’ enjoyment of their rights. On October 13, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) upheld a High Court decision to prosecute President Jacob Zuma on 18 charges and 783 counts of fraud, rack- eteering, and money laundering. Zuma and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) had asked the SCA to overturn the High Court decision, which found that the NPA’s 2009 decision to drop corruption charges against Zuma was “irra- tional.” Zuma called the SCA decision disappointing, and the NPA, due to proce- dural delay, has yet to reinstate the fraud and corruption charges against him at time of writing. The government failed to realize the right to education for many children and young adults with disabilities. The absence of a national strategy to combat the high rate of violence against women, and the continued under-reporting of rape, remained a concern. In 2017, the government continued to send mixed signals on its support for the International Criminal Court (ICC), following a decision by domestic courts that the government’s notice of withdrawal from the court was unconstitutional and invalid. At the end of the year, the government indicated it would pursue the withdrawal through a future bill to be presented to parliament. In August, South Africa took over as chairperson of the Southern African Devel- opment Community (SADC) for a year, but during 2017 did not use the leadership role to promote and support human rights improvements in the region. Disability Rights In October, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) highlighted estimates that half-a-million children with disabilities still do not have access to education, with 11,461 children with disabilities on waiting lists for school placements (up from over 5,500 in 2015). The SAHRC expressed concern that   

504 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 children with disabilities constantly experience barriers to the enjoyment of basic human rights, including the right to education, healthcare, and family care. Despite the government’s international and domestic obligations, many children with disabilities do not have equal access to primary or secondary education, and face multiple forms of discrimination and barriers when they do access schools. They are turned away from mainstream schools, denied access to inclusive education, and referred instead to special schools by school officials or medical staff simply because they have a disability. The referrals system needlessly forces children to wait up to four years at care centers or at home for placement in a special school. While education in public schools is free, children with disabilities who attend government special schools are required to pay school fees, and many who attend mainstream schools are asked to pay for their own class assistants as a condition for admission. In mainstream schools, many children with disabilities do not have access to the same curriculum as children without disabilities. In addition, many children with disabilities are exposed to high levels of violence and abuse by teachers and students. In 2017, the government did not complete its efforts to publish accurate data on how many children and young people with disabilities are out of school across the country. It also failed to implement key aspects of the 2001 national policy, which calls for the provision of inclusive education for all children with disabilities, and is yet to adopt legislation that guarantees the right of children with disabilities to inclusive education. However, the government continued to implement the Screening, Identification, Assessment, and Support (SIAS) policy designed to ensure that children with disabilities are provided full support when accessing education. The majority of the government’s limited budget for students with disabilities continued to be allocated to special schools rather than to inclusive education. In October 2017, an arbitration process, presided over by retired deputy chief jus- tice Dikgang Moseneke, began between the state and families of former hospital patients who died following the Gauteng provincial government shut down of the   

505 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Life Esidimeni psychiatric hospice complex in Johannesburg, where more than 2,000 people with psychosocial disabilities lived. Between March 2016 and October 2017, 141 former patients of the hospice died after about 1,700 patients were transferred to smaller institutions while others were discharged, sometimes without their families being notified. The Gauteng government, which terminated its contract with Life Esidimeni in October 2015 citing financial reasons, had a responsibility to ensure the hospice had ade- quate resources to support the patients. Accountability for Xenophobic Attacks on Foreign Nationals Despite recurring waves of xenophobic attacks on businesses and the homes of refugees, asylum-seekers, and migrants, authorities appeared reluctant to even publicly acknowledge xenophobia and take decisive action to combat it, includ- ing ensuring proper police investigations. Virtually no one has been convicted over past outbreaks of xenophobic violence, including for the Durban violence of April 2015 that displaced thousands of foreign nationals, or the 2008 attacks, which resulted in the deaths of more than 60 people across the country. In February, a group calling itself “The Mamelodi Concerned Residents” marched in Pretoria to protest against African immigrants in South Africa, blaming them for crime and stealing jobs meant for South Africans. The march triggered a wave of violent clashes and looting of shops owned by foreign nationals. In December 2016, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba made reckless public statements blaming illegal immigrants for crime and calling on them to leave the city. In July 2017, the SAHRC condemned Deputy Minister of Police Bongani Mkongi’s July 14, 2017 statement saying of Johannesburg: “How can a city in South Africa be 80 percent foreign national? That is dangerous. South Africans have surrendered their own city to the foreigners.” The commission said the statement was inaccurate and could fuel xenophobia. The government took no action against Mkongi. At time of writing, the government had yet to finalize the draft national action plan to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intoler- ance, or provide a mechanism for justice and accountability for xenophobic crimes.   

506 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Women’s Rights Violence against women, including rape and domestic violence, remain widespread and underreported. According to research findings published in August 2017 by the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation and Oxfam South Africa, one in five women older than 18 has experienced physical violence, and three women die at the hands of their partner every day. The government has yet to introduce a national strategy to combat violence against women. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity In September, the Western Cape High Court ruled that individuals have the right to amend their gender description even if they were married as heterosexuals. Three women and their spouses had taken the Department of Home Affairs to court after it refused to change their gender description. Local rights group, the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), filed the case on behalf a client who had their marriage deleted from the National Population Register‚ and two others whom the department advised to get a divorce in order to give effect to their gender rights. South Africa has a progressive constitution that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and protects the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisex- ual, and transgender (LGBT) people. The Department of Justice and Constitu- tional Development has taken significant steps to improve coordination between government and civil society in combatting violence (including rape and murder) against lesbians and transgender men. In a historic victory for transgender students, in May 2017 the Seshego Magis- trate’s Court in Limpopo ordered the Limpopo Department of Education to pay R60 000 (approximately US$4,500) in personal compensation for discrimination to Nare Mphela, a transgender woman from Ga-Matlala village. The case was lodged by the SAHRC in November 2016 under the Promotion of Equality and Pre- vention of Unfair Discrimination Act (The Equality Act).   

507 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Foreign Policy In 2017, South Africa missed key opportunities to consistently place human rights at the center of its foreign policy. In August, the country took over the SADC for a year, but has refrained from criticizing Zimbabwe’s poor human rights situation. Although South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress, called for Swaziland to be referred to SADC for abuse of human rights and suppression of dissent in July, the government did not use the SADC chair to press for human rights respect in Swaziland. In October, President Zuma, during a visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo, did not publicly raise human rights concerns with President Joseph Kabila. In his address to the United Nations General Assembly in September, President Zuma called on the UN to support the African Union (AU) to resolve conflicts on the continent through promoting “African solutions to African problems and challenges.” He said South Africa stands ready to work with the UN to promote peace, human rights and sustainable development. In February, South Africa’s North Gauteng High Court ruled that the government’s attempt to withdraw from the ICC was unconstitutional and invalid, as the government issued its withdrawal notice without consulting parliament. The court ordered President Zuma and the Ministries of Justice and Foreign Affairs to revoke the notice of withdrawal. The ICC debacle further dented South Africa’s international image as a champion of human rights and international justice. The government proposed legislation to parliament on withdrawal, but removed it from consideration in March. In December, the government indicated at the ICC’s Assembly of States Parties in New York that it would indeed pursue its intent to withdraw. In July, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC ruled that South Africa violated its legal obligations to the court in failing to arrest Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir in June 2015, when he attended the AU Summit in the country. Al-Bashir is the subject of two ICC arrest warrants on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes allegedly committed in Darfur. South African courts had previously confirmed the government had a duty to arrest al-Bashir. The chairperson of the ANC International Relations subcommittee, Edna Molema, in   

508 W 1 0 2 T R 8 O R L D O R E P an op-ed published a week later, said the domestic court rulings on al-Bashir’s arrest vindicated the ANC’s initial decision to withdraw from the ICC. In May 2017, UN member states recommended the implementation of measures to ensure inclusive education for all children with disabilities during South Africa’s Universal Periodic Review before the UN Human Rights Council. Some of South Africa’s votes at the UN were inconsistent with the country’s stated human rights principles, including the vote against a resolution at the Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.   

509 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H South Korea The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is a democracy that generally respects basic civil and political liberties. However, it maintains unreasonable restrictions on freedom of expression, association, and assembly. Discrimination against les- bian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons, women, racial and ethnic minorities, foreigners—especially refugees and migrants—and people with HIV remains a major problem. South Korea faced one of its most tumultuous political years in recent memory when on December 9, 2016, the National Assembly voted to impeach President Park Geun-Hye. Charges against her included abuse of power, bribery, and extor- tion, and leaking classified government information. The action followed mas- sive public protests. On March 10, 2017, the Constitutional Court upheld the impeachment. Park was arrested on March 30 and was awaiting trial at time of writing. Moon Jae-In, a for- mer human rights lawyer and the leader of the left-leaning Democratic Party of Korea, won the presidency on May 9, 2017, with 41 percent of the vote. In May, South Korea was reviewed by the United Nations Committee against Tor- ture, which expressed concern about detention conditions and excessive use of force. Freedom of Expression Although South Korea has a free press and a lively civil society, successive South Korean governments and large corporations have at various times used dracon- ian criminal defamation laws, the national security law, and restrictive interpre- tations of other laws to create a chilling effect that limits critical scrutiny of the government and corporations. Criminal defamation law allows for up to seven years’ imprisonment and a fine. The law focuses solely on whether what was said or written was in the public in- terest and does not allow for truth as a complete defense. Repeal of the criminal defamation law will be one of key tests of the new Moon administration’s com- mitment to freedom of expression.   

510 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 The National Security Law criminalizes any positive comments about North Korea or the dissemination of anything that the government classifies as North Korean “propaganda.” The two Koreas are technically still at war, as the Korean War ended with only a ceasefire in 1953. The law imposes significant restrictions on the freedom of South Koreans to cre- ate and join political associations by imposing severe criminal penalties on any- one who joins or induces others to join an “anti-government organization,” a term not clearly defined in law. The law also imposes criminal penalties on any- one who “constitutes or joins an organization aimed at propagating, inciting, praising, or acting in concert with” an anti-government organization. Lee Jin-Young, owner of the online library “Labour Books,” was detained on Janu- ary 5, 2017, for violating the National Security Law after distributing materials that authorities claimed, “benefit the enemy [referring to North Korea].” Seoul District Court declared him not guilty on July 20 and ordered him released from detention. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Education ministry officials in Seoul stated in February 2017 that South Korea’s new national sex education curriculum would not mention homosexuality. This follows the development in 2015 of a plan to train district education officials around the country on new sex education guidelines that do not mention sexual minorities. A campaign by the military to identify and oust gay and bisexual male soldiers and officers started in April 2017. After a video of two servicemen having sex was posted on the internet by one of the men, the army investigated, interrogated, and compelled suspected gay and bisexual soldiers to admit their activities. Mil- itary investigators seized the mobile phones of more than 50 soldiers to identify other gay and bisexual servicemen. The 1962 Military Criminal Act (Article 92-6) punishes sexual acts between sol- diers with up to two years in prison under a “disgraceful conduct” clause, re- gardless of consent and whether they have sex in or outside military facilities. On May 24, a military court sentenced an army captain to six months in prison for having consensual sex with another man. In October, the UN Committee on   

511 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) expressed concern at the criminal- ization of same-sex acts in the Military Criminal Act and recommended that the government abrogate the relevant provision in the law. During a presidential debate in April, current president, Moon Jae-In, stated that he “opposed” homosexuality and marriage equality. However, he also later said he opposed “discrimination based on homosexuality.” Freedom of Association for Workers The government has not ratified the International Labour Organization’s funda- mental conventions on freedom of association (C.87), and on the right to organ- ize and collectively bargain (C.98). Government officials are prohibited by law from exercising their right to form a union. The South Korean government refuses to legally recognize the Korean Teachers and Education Workers’ Union (KTU) and the Korean Government Employees Union (KGEU). The KTU was stripped of its legal status in October 2013 because it allows fired teachers to remain as members, while the KGEU has been repeatedly denied the ability to legally register as a union. The Trade Union and Labour Relations Adjustment Act interferes with freedom of association by requiring a union to expel workers from membership if they are dismissed, even in cases where workers are fired for undertaking legal trade union activity. The law also interferes with freedom of association by barring those who are not members from standing for trade union office. In October, the CESCR committee raised concerns about lack of protections for workers, including sub-contracted and dispatched labor, and those considered independent contractors, like truck drivers or construction equipment operators. Women’s and Girls’ Rights Discrimination against women is widespread in South Korea. Gender-based stereotypes concerning the role of women in the family and society are com- mon—including widespread social stigma and discrimination against unmarried mothers—and are often unchallenged or even encouraged by the government.   

512 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 A relatively small proportion of women occupy decision-making positions in the business, political and public sectors, and there is a 37 percent wage gap be- tween men and women. magazine’s “Glass Ceiling Index,” which The Economist evaluates women’s higher education, women in managerial positions, and num- ber of female members in parliament, gives ROK the lowest score among coun- tries that belong to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with 25 points out of 100. South Korea’s laws on abortion are punitive and harmful to women and girls. Abortion is considered a crime punishably by up to one year in prison or fines up to 2 million won (US$1,820). Healthcare workers who provide abortions can face up to two years in prison. Exceptions are permitted only in cases of rape or in- cest, if the parents are blood or matrimonial relatives that cannot marry legally, if continuing the pregnancy is likely to jeopardize the pregnant woman’s health, or when the pregnant woman or her spouse has one of several hereditary disorders or communicable diseases that are designated by government decree. Married women must have their spouse’s permission to get an abortion. All abortions are prohibited after 24 weeks of pregnancy. In October, over 200,000 South Koreans signed a petition calling for legalization of abortion, which the government had pledged to respond to within a month. In November, the gov- ernment’s response ducked the issue by saying more research was needed. Refugees South Korea is one of the few countries in Asia to be a party to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol. However, it continues to reject the vast majority of non-North Korean asylum seekers entering the country. Since 1994, the government granted refugee status to approximately 2.5 percent of non-North Korean asylum applicants it screened. Between January and Octo- ber 2017, 7,291 applied for refugee status; the government accepted just 96 cases, or approximately 1.31 percent of applications. North Koreans do not apply for asylum through this process, they are granted South Koran citizenship through the Promotion and Resettlement Support Act for North Korean Refugees. While humanitarian visas are provided to some failed non-North Korean asylum seekers, most applicants are rejected outright. In 2017, the government gave 290   

513 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H humanitarian visas. Asylum seekers complained about widespread discrimina- tion and lack of basic social assistance. HIV Testing and Foreigners In an important victory, on July 3, 2017, President Moon’s new government abol- ished mandatory HIV testing for foreign teachers and overseas students seeking to study in South Korea—a policy that had contradicted guidance from the World Health Organization and other United Nations agencies. Policy on North Korean Human Rights South Korea’s “North Korean Human Rights Act” came into effect on September 4, 2016. The law requires that the government establish a foundation to support research on the rights situation in North Korea, develop a strategy to promote rights in the North, fund groups working on issues of North Korean human rights, and create the Center for North Korean Human Rights Records under the Ministry of Unification (MOU) to do research and act as an archive of North Korean human rights violations for possible use in future prosecutions. The MOU created the database center and developed a required three-year plan of action that “consistently seeks to offer humanitarian assistance regardless of political situations and will simultaneously make efforts to improve North Korea’s human rights record.” However, at time of writing, the foundation had not yet been established.   

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515 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H South Sudan In 2017, South Sudan’s civil war entered its fourth year, spreading across the country with new fighting in Greater Upper Nile, Western Bahr al Ghazal, and the Equatorias, featuring highly abusive government counterinsurgency operations. The government continued to restrict media, suppress critics, and unlawfully de- tain people for perceived opposition. Since the start of the conflict, almost 2 million people have been internally dis- placed, and another 2 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries, with 1 million in Uganda alone. More than 230,000 people are sheltering in six United Nations bases in towns across the country. Famine was declared in conflict-af- fected areas in the former Unity state in the first half of the year. The war began as a political conflict between President Salva Kiir and his then Vice President Riek Machar in December 2013. A power sharing agreement, signed between the two parties in August 2015, did not end the fighting; follow- ing clashes in Juba in July 2016, Machar went into exile, where he remains. Both sides have committed abuses that qualify as war crimes, including looting, indiscriminate attacks on civilians and the destruction of civilian property, arbi- trary arrests and detention, beatings and torture, enforced disappearances, rape including gang rape, and extrajudicial executions. Some abuses may also consti- tute crimes against humanity. Lack of accountability continued to fuel the violence, while progress on estab- lishing the hybrid court envisioned in the 2015 peace agreement was slow. The United States imposed sanctions on three government officials in September. Attacks on Civilians A range of human rights abuses took place during fighting in the former states of Upper Nile, Jonglei, Western Bahr el Ghazal, and in the Equatorias. Starting in January, government forces conducted a series of offensives in Upper Nile, with soldiers attacking ethnic Shilluk villages and towns, killing civilians, burning and looting homes, and forcing tens of thousands to flee the areas to opposition areas or to Sudan. Many were stranded at Aburoc, a town north of   

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517 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Kodok. Fighting in and around Pagak, in Jonglei, forced thousands to flee to Ethiopia. In April, following clashes near Wau town and ambushes by opposition fighters, government forces attacked ethnic Fertit and Luo civilians in Wau town, killing at least 16 and forcing thousands to seek shelter at a displaced persons camp ad- jacent to the UN peacekeeping mission’s base. The same month, government soldiers killed at least 14 civilians during an attack against the town of Pajok, in Eastern Equatoria. Throughout the year, govern- ment forces also conducted highly abusive counter-insurgency operations across the Equatorias, causing hundreds of thousands of people to flee to Uganda. The UN described South Sudan as one of the world’s most dangerous places for aid workers—at least 83 killed since the conflict started in December 2013, with 16 in 2017 alone. In March, six aid workers were killed during an ambush on a convoy destined for Pibor. In September, a driver for the International Committee for the Red Cross was killed in the former state of Western Equatoria, prompting the organization to suspend operations there. Both sides obstructed delivery of aid—notably in famine affected areas of Unity and in Upper Nile—and attacked and looted humanitarian supplies and valuables in dozens of locations. Sexual Violence Both government troops and opposition fighters were implicated in sexual vio- lence against civilians in several locations, especially in and around Yei and Kajo Keji in the former state of Central Equatoria. In April, the UN secretary general’s report on conflict-related sexual violence noted a marked rise in cases of sexual violence by men in uniforms in South Sudan over the last two years, suggesting an increase in frequency as the con- flict persists. Little was done to hold soldiers accountable for sexual violence. Charges of rape of foreign aid workers are included in the ongoing trial of government soldiers for crimes committed during a July 2016 attack on an international humanitarian compound.   

518 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 Arbitrary Detentions and Enforced Disappearances In August, South Sudanese authorities announced they had released 30 political prisoners since May; but during operations in the Equatorias, security forces ar- rested and detained individuals because of their perceived opposition to the government. Human Rights Watch documented clear patterns of arbitrary deten- tion, abuse and torture by government forces since the conflict began. In January 2017, a prominent lawyer, rights activist and civil society leader, Dong Samuel, and opposition humanitarian affairs officer, Aggrey Idri, were abducted and detained in Nairobi, Kenya, and forcibly deported to South Sudan. Kenyan authorities and South Sudanese authorities have denied knowledge of their fate, but credible sources told Human Rights Watch the men were detained in South Sudan. Their case amounts to an enforced disappearance, prohibited in all circumstances under international law. The government brought charges against James Gadet Dak, a former spokesman for Machar’s rebel group who had refugee status, for his public criticism of the government. He was forcibly deported from Kenya in late 2016 in violation of in- ternational refugee protections and detained in Juba. Freedom of Expression Authorities harassed, detained, and interrogated journalists and editors. In July, the head of the state television was arrested for not broadcasting a presidential speech. The same month, authorities blocked at least four websites for publish- ing “subversive” information. In September, former newspaper editor Nial Bol told media that he narrowly escaped an attack by two government soldiers who raided his home in Juba. South Sudanese authorities restricted international journalists from covering the conflict, including by refusing to grant them visas or accreditation, and accusing them of publishing articles critical of the government. The government blocked numerous independent online news sites, including Sudan Tribune. In August, an American journalist was killed in fighting while embedded with op- position rebels in the town of Kaya, bordering Uganda. The government initially accused him of fighting with the rebels.   

519 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Political and Legislative Developments Implementation of the 2015 peace agreement effectively stalled, and the govern- ment used repressive tactics to silence opponents. In January, a year after a con- troversial decree created 28 states, President Kiir created four more states, bringing the number to 32. The creation of new states has contributed to inter- communal tensions in several locations. In March, Kiir replaced legislators aligned with former Vice President Riek Machar with those aligned with Taban Deng Gai, whom Kiir appointed as first vice-president in the transitional unity government in July 2016. Riek Machar re- mained in exile at time of writing. In May, Kiir sacked Paul Malong, the army chief of staff, and placed him under house arrest in Juba. Malong was allowed to leave the country in November, fol- lowing a standoff between the army and his guards. A former deputy chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Thomas Cirillo, resigned in February, accusing the government of “ethnic cleansing,” and started a new armed rebel movement, the National Sal- vation Front, which fought against Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-in-Op- position forces in Central Equatoria. Kiir launched a national dialogue process in May over objections from key oppo- sition figures who declined to join. Kiir also announced plans to hold elections in 2018, originally slated for 2017 despite UN and Africa Union (AU) warnings that the country’s conflict and conditions are not conducive to holding a free and fair election. Accountability and Justice The government did little to end widespread abuses against civilians, or investi- gate and hold accountable individuals and commanders. Government investiga- tions into violent episodes since the beginning of the conflict rarely led to credible prosecutions for human rights abuses. The army established a court martial to try 13 soldiers for gang rape and other crimes committed during an attack on an international humanitarian compound in Juba in July 2016. The trial is a test of the government’s commitment to ac- countability for human rights violations.   

520 L T O P E R D R R O W 2 0 1 8 In July, a meeting of South Sudanese and AU officials in Juba to plan for the hy- brid court was a step toward ensuring justice for the most serious crimes com- mitted during the country’s conflict, but much remains to be done. The government adopted a memorandum of understanding with the AU, but it had not endorsed the court’s statute at time of writing. Key International Actors In June, the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development, IGAD, em- barked on efforts to “revitalize” the 2015 Agreement on Resolution of Conflict in South Sudan, ARCSS, which it had brokered with support from the US, United Kingdom, Norway, and the European Union. Simultaneously, Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni pursued efforts to unify the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, although several opposition fig- ures did not participate. In March, the UN Human Rights Council renewed and strengthened the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, tasking it with gathering evidence and determining responsibility for violations with a view to providing accountability. The UN Mission in South Sudan, UNMISS, sheltered over 230,000 civilians in six sites, the highest number since the crisis started. A UN “Regional Protection Force,” mandated in the summer of 2016 by the UN Security Council, to protect Juba, began to deploy in August. In September, the US imposed sanctions on three government officials: the for- mer chief of staff, the army’s deputy chief of staff, and the minister of informa- tion. The US also sanctioned three companies owned or controlled by former vice president Machar, and warned of UN sanctions and a UN arms embargo. How- ever, Russia and China opposed the idea, along with other members of the Secu- rity Council, including from Africa. In November, Canada imposed sanctions on the same three government officials. On May 18, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on South Sudan con- demning abuses, including sexual violence and use of child soldiers, calling for accountability and supporting the establishment of a hybrid court. The European Parliament called on the EU to pursue an international arms embargo. The Troika and EU condemned government abuses.   

521 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Sri Lanka The general openness for media and civil society groups that emerged after the electoral defeat of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government in 2015 continued in 2017 under the administration of President Maithripala Sirisena. However, action stalled in 2017 on Sri Lanka’s October 2015 pledges to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to address accountability and political reconcili- ation emerging from the country’s 26-year civil war with the secessionist Libera- tion Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Despite a presidential pledge to release names of people in government cus- tody, particularly those forcibly disappeared since the war’s final months in 2009, the list was not produced. The government enacted a law to give effect to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Dis- appearance, but made clear that the law would not be retroactive. Religious minorities remained at risk. In June 2017, then Justice Minister Wi- jeyadasa Rajapakshe publicly threatened a lawyer who criticized the govern- ment’s failure to protect minorities. In September, authorities took 31 Rohingya Muslim refugees into protective custody following threats by Buddhist extrem- ists. There were further flares of violence in Galle and Vavuniya in November be- tween Muslim and other communities, with allegations of mobs attacking Muslim homes and businesses. Truth, Reconciliation, and Accountability for Past Abuses In October 2015, the UNHRC adopted a consensus resolution in which Sri Lanka pledged to undertake several human rights reforms, including transitional justice demands arising from the civil war, and to establish four transitional justice mechanisms, including a judicial mechanism with “participation of international judges, prosecutors, lawyers and investigators” with an independent investigative and prosecutorial body. Civil society leaders, appointed by the government, conducted nationwide consultations in 2016, and handed a comprehensive report to the government in January 2017. It contained strong recommendations, including for a hybrid justice mechanism, acknowledging the need for independent international   

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523 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H participation to ensure justice for victims of war crimes and other grave human rights abuses by all sides. The report included the need for justice for all victims of the long conflict, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or political persuasion. Neither the president nor the prime minister received the report publicly and it has since languished, with scant government attention. The government’s response to the report since January 2017 has also been disappointing. Senior cabinet ministers explictly rejected the recommendation that foreign nationals particpate in the special court. Both the president and the prime minister publicly reiterated the point, and further emphasized that the government would not allow “war heroes” to be prosecuted. Enforced Disappearances One of the four pillars of the 2015 resolution was to create an Office of Missing Persons (OMP). Although the government enacted a law in August 2016, efforts operationalize it remained stalled until September 2017. The OMP had yet to be formally set up at time of writing, and as of November, commissioners to the OMP had not been appointed. Families of the disappeared said that the OMP was decided without proper consultation with affected groups, particularly as it was passed before the national consultation was finished. The act therefore does not address some of its central recommendations, including the need for psychosocial support, victim and witness protection measures, a minority rights commision, and symbolic gestures to allow public grieving, such as commemorating their dead. The government failed to properly implement promised security sector reforms to ensure human rights protections. It failed to repeal or revise the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and reform the Witness and Victim Protection Law. At least two separate drafts of the PTA were floated throughout the year, both of which could facilitate serious human rights abuses. Troubling provisions included overly broad definitions of terrorist offenses to possibly include peaceful political protesters. The government received feedback on the drafts from various UN offices specializing in counterterrorism, but at time of writing the drafts continued to fail international standards.   

524 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 Lack of Accountability With a few exceptions, particularly in cases that generated considerable publicity, Sri Lankan police were not held accountable for routine torture and ill- treatment in custody. In April-May 2016, the UN special rapporteur on torture visited Sri Lanka. The report, presented to the March 2017 Human Rights Council session expressed “extreme alarm” at the failure to investigate credible allegations of torture, and corroborated accounts of ongoing torture, including sexual abuse. The UN special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, following a visit in July 2017, similarly reported that use of torture by Sri Lankan security forces is routine, and continues despite government claims of security sector reforms. The National Human Rights Commission, although limited in resources, actively visited and monitored prisons and places of detention throughout 2017; despite occasional difficulties, the commission experienced no obstacles securing access to detainees. Constitutional Reform The government issued an interim report in September 2017, but it did not properly reflect recommendations from a 2016 national consultation. Nonetheless, its publication was welcomed by many political parties keen to see progress on constitutional reforms. However, the efforts stalled and parliament had yet to debate the report at time of writing, nor had the government issued timelines for when a final report on constitutional reform could be expected. Migrant Workers The government took some steps to protect the rights of more than 1 million mi- grant workers in the Middle East and other parts of Asia, but many continued to face long working hours with little rest, delayed or unpaid wages, confinement in the workplace, and verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. In June, the government announced the appointment of a committee to study strategies to reduce the number of domestic workers abroad and to end the   

525 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H kafala sponsorship system that operates in many Middle Eastern countries, re- stricting employment and transfer opportunities for migrant workers. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity The government failed to make progress during the year toward implementing a 2016 plan forwarded by the Ministry of Health to establish a clear procedure for transgender people to change their identity documents. State and non-state dis- crimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) population persisted. Sections 365 and 365A of the penal code prohibit “carnal knowledge against the order of nature” and “gross indecency,” commonly un- derstood in Sri Lanka to criminalize same-sex relations between consenting adults. At a UN review in November, Sri Lanka rejected recommendations to re- peal sections 365 and 365A. Women’s Rights The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) reviewed Sri Lanka in February 2017, noting in its concluding observations that the government had yet to fully implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, although it did note some progress on policies and plans designed to protect women against trafficking, and sexual and other violence. Key International Actors Sri Lanka continued its engagement with the international community. UN spe- cial mandate holders made several visits to the country during the year. Sri Lanka appeared before the UN Universal Periodic Review Working Group in No- vember. The government engaged with the Human Rights Council and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights regularly throughout the year. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called on Sri Lanka for speedier and more meaningful implementation of its promises during the September 2017 council sessions.   

526 L E 1 0 2 W O R 8 D R P O R T The Sri Lankan government, in responding to the CEDAW in February, seemed unable or unwilling to answer questions of concern that committee members put to the government delegation. The United Nations expressed an interest in vetting Sri Lankan forces before sending them abroad for peacekeeping duties in light of the numerous wartime abuses attributed to the armed forces.   

527 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Sudan Sudan’s human rights record continued to be defined by government repression and violations of basic civil and political rights, restriction of religious freedoms, and disregard for obligations on civilian protection under international humani- tarian law. In Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and other government-aligned forces attacked civilians. Sudan failed to provide accountability for serious crimes committed during the conflicts, or other serious human rights violations. The national security agency detained student activists, human rights defend- ers, members of opposition parties and journalists. Authorities prosecuted ac- tivists and journalists for their reports and confiscated newspapers. In January, then-United States President Barack Obama issued an executive order promising to lift broad economic sanctions if Sudan met certain condi- tions; these did not require measurable improvements in human rights. Conflict and Abuses in Darfur, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile Despite the government’s unilateral ceasefire and reduced fighting in all three war zones, government forces and allied militia attacked civilians including in displaced persons camps throughout the year. In May and June, the RSF attacked villages in North and Central Darfur, forcing tens of thousands to flee. RSF fighters were responsible for large-scale attacks on villages during counterinsurgency campaigns from 2014 to 2016. In Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, the six-year conflict continued, with spo- radic government attacks on civilians. In Blue Nile and in refugee camps in neighboring South Sudan, displaced communities fought along ethnic lines fol- lowing a split within the leadership of the armed opposition, Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North.   

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529 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H In the rebel held areas of both states, hundreds of thousands lacked sufficient food and basic supplies because the government and rebels failed to agree on modalities for the delivery of essential items. Human Rights Defenders In December 2016 and January 2017, national security agents detained Dr. Mu- dawi Ibrahim Adam, a prominent rights defender, along with several other ac- tivists and held them for up to eight months. Mudawi and two others were charged with undermining the constitutional system and crimes against the state, which carry the death penalty. At least two detainees were badly beaten and one was forced to confess under torture. They were released by presidential pardon in August. In March, authorities released three human rights defenders associated with the civil society organization Tracks for Training and Human Development, after nine months in detention. The men were convicted of trumped-up charges of espi- onage and dissemination of false information. National security agents arrested the men along with other Tracks staff in May 2016. In August 2016, the United Nations Working Group of Arbitrary Detention found the detentions violated fair trial standards. Arbitrary Detentions, Ill-Treatment, and Torture Security officials detained opposition members, journalists, and labor leaders throughout the year, often for long periods without charge or access to lawyers. They routinely beat detainees during interrogations. Following the “civil disobedience” campaign to protest economic austerity measures in November and December 2016, agents detained dozens of opposi- tion members. One Sudan Congress Party (SCP) member was held for 50 days without charge, and beaten so badly that he required surgery upon his release. In December 2016, a British journalist and his Sudanese-American colleague were detained first in Darfur then transferred to Khartoum for almost two months without charge and said they were subjected to beatings, electric shocks, and mock execution. The two entered Darfur to investigate Amnesty International’s allegations of chemical weapons use by the government.   

530 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 In April, security officials detained for several days three doctors involved in a doctor’s strike that began in late 2016 over work conditions. Several SCP mem- bers were detained in June from a sit-in about a cholera outbreak. In September, security officials detained a diaspora SCP member for seven weeks. In August, security officials detained Nasreddin Mukhtar, former head of a Darfur Student Union, and held him without charge in solitary confinement. Freedom of Association, Assembly, and Expression Government security forces used excessive force to break up protests across the country. In September, government forces opened fire on protesters in the Kalma displaced persons camp in South Darfur, killing more than five and wounding two dozen. The residents were protesting President al-Bashir’s visit to the camp. Authorities also used excessive force on several occasions to disperse protests on university campuses. In May, following clashes over disputed elections at Bakht al-Rida university in White Nile state, police and security forces raided a dormitory, beat and shot students, wounding several, and arrested dozens. In response to the arrests, more than 1,000 Darfuri students withdrew from the uni- versity, alleging discrimination against Darfuri students. Nine students remained in detention by year’s end. In August and September, security officials detained dozens of members of the United Popular Front, a student branch of a Darfur rebel group, while protesting on the streets of Khartoum and Omdurman. Officials arrested many other stu- dent activists throughout the year. By the end of 2017, there had been no justice for the killings of more than 170 people during violent government crackdowns on popular anti-austerity protests in September and October 2013. Freedom of Media Security officials continued to restrict media by harassing and detaining journal- ists, charging them with crimes, and confiscating editions of newspapers that published articles deemed too sensitive. to pay a fine or spend six al-Tayyar In October, a court ordered the editor of months in prison for publishing an article about alleged abuse of power in the   

531 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H president’s family. Other journalists, including Hanadi el-Siddig, editor-in-chief of Akhbar El Watan, were interrogated or detained for content deemed too criti- cal, such as allegations of abuse by security forces and an interview with an op- position leader. Marwa Tijani was detained for three days after publishing a piece of creative writing critiquing religion. Three online activists were deported from Saudi Arabia to Sudan and detained there in July, allegedly for their writings in support of the 2016 “civil disobedi- ence” campaign to protest austerity measures. Authorities confiscated both in- dependent and pro-government newspapers, including , El Tayar, El Jareeda Akhar Lahza , El Wifag, and El Sayha, often without giving reason. Freedom of Religion In early 2017, officials in Khartoum announced they would demolish at least 27 churches within Khartoum; the decision was being challenged by a church or- ganization. In May, police and other security demolished a church in Soba area of Khartoum following a dispute over land ownership. Officials have prohibited construction of new churches. In 2013, the minister of guidance and endowments claimed there was no need for new churches as South Sudanese Christians would have returned to South Sudan following its in- dependence in 2011. In October, police arrested five members of the Sudan Church of Christ, charging them with public nuisance for praying at a church that authorities closed, in a case that illustrates disputes over the administration of churches. In February and May, al-Bashir pardoned two clerics—a Czech missionary and Sudanese pastor—and a Darfuri activist who had been detained since December 2015. The men were among five arrested in December 2015 and accused of links to armed opposition, and charged with espionage and other crimes. Refugees and Migrants Sudan continued to receive large numbers of South Sudanese refugees. Approxi- mately 183,500 arrived in 2017, bringing the total to more than 461,000 since war in South Sudan began in December 2013. Sudan agreed to open humanitar- ian aid corridors to South Sudan.   

532 D R O P E R T L R O W 2 0 1 8 In August, Sudanese authorities deported 104 Eritrean refugees, including 30 minors. In September, the government reportedly deported another 36. None of the deportees appear to have had an opportunity to apply for asylum. The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, called on Sudan to refrain from further removals of po- tential refugees. The head of the notoriously abusive Rapid Support Forces, Mohamed Hamdan “Hemeti,” publicly claimed that his forces were assisting the European Union, raising concerns that the EU is funding the abusive forces as part of its migration assistance package. Law Reform Following the conclusion of the national dialogue, a government initiative to ad- dress political grievances, President al-Bashir appointed a prime minister to im- plement recommendations and form a new government. Many opposition parties rejected the dialogue process. In January, Sudan’s parliament passed the Rapid Support Forces Act to regulate the force, but forces continued to operate under the same commander inde- pendently of the army. Sudan has not reformed laws governing its security agency. The National Secu- rity Act of 2010 gave broad powers of arrest, detention, search, and seizure and violates accepted international standards, to which Sudan is bound. Sudan also retains the death penalty, despite international consensus to ban it. Sudanese law discriminates against women and girls in various ways, including through application of Sharia (Islamic) law penalties for “morality crimes,” such as adultery or dress code violations. Sudan also criminalizes same-sex sexual activity with harsh penalties such as life in prison or death. Key International Actors In January, former US President Obama issued an executive order promising to lift broad economic sanctions on Sudan if Sudan made progress in five areas, which did not explicitly include human rights reforms. This step was welcomed by the EU. In October, the US permanently lifted the sanctions.   

533 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H The EU has pledged hundreds of millions of euros to Sudan in support of the re- gional Khartoum Process, to manage migration. The aid programs have been widely criticized on grounds that they encourage or assist the RSF to carry out abusive operations. In March, President al-Bashir attended a League of Arab States’ summit in Amman, Jordan. Jordan did not comply with its obligation, as a party to the Rome Statute, to arrest and surrender him to the International Criminal Court (ICC). EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini also attended the summit but did not publicly call on Jordanian authorities to comply with their ob- ligation. In July, the UN Security Council renewed the peacekeeping mission in Darfur through June 2018, agreeing to dramatic reductions as part of an exit plan lob- bied for by Sudan, and extended the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei. In September, the UN Human Rights Council renewed the mandate of the Inde- pendent Expert to monitor and advise on human rights for another year, but used language foreshadowing the end of the mandate if there is “continued and sustained improvement” to the situation in the country, risking prematurely end- ing the mandate in coming years. The Security Council did not press Sudan to cooperate with the ICC in its investi- gation into crimes committed in Darfur, despite having referred the situation to the ICC in 2005. The ICC first announced charges in 2007. It currently has out- standing arrest warrants against five individuals, including President al-Bashir, for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide allegedly committed in Darfur between 2003 and 2008.   

534 2 T R O P E R D L R O W 0 1 8 Swaziland Ruled by absolute monarch King Mswati III since 1986, Swaziland continued to repress political dissent and disregard human rights and rule of law in 2017. Po- litical parties remained banned, as they have been since 1973; the independence of the judiciary is severely compromised and repressive laws continued to be used to target critics of the government and the king, despite basic rights guarantees in Swaziland’s 2005 constitution. In 2017, Swaziland struggled to fulfil the rights of its estimated 1.4 million popu- lation amid numerous political and socio-economic challenges, including the highest HIV infection rate in the world at 26 percent according to the United Na- tions Children’s Fund (UNICEF). In September, King Mswati told the United Nations General Assembly in New York that Swaziland is committed to peace and a decent life for all. He said his government grants every citizen an opportunity to voice their views in order to constructively contribute to the social, economic, cultural, and political development of the country. He failed to mention, however, the recently passed amendments to the Public Order Act, which allow critics of the king or the Swazi government to be prosecuted, and upon conviction be fined E10,0000 (US$770), imprisoned for two years, or both for inciting “hatred or contempt” against cultural and traditional heritage. The amendments to the Public Order Act grant sweeping powers to the national commissioner of police to arbitrarily halt pro-democracy meetings and protests, and crush any criticism of the government. In the same month, the Swazi government approved a Ministry of Education and Training decision to introduce fees in schools, effectively ending free primary ed- ucation, which had been available in the country since 2005. The Swaziland Na- tional Association of Teachers has criticized the decision as a violation of the right to primary education guaranteed in the country’s constitution.   

535 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Freedom of Association and Assembly Restrictions on freedom of association and assembly continued. The government took no action to revoke the King’s Proclamation of 1973, which prohibits forma- tion and operations of political parties in the country. The police used the Urban Act, which requires protesters to give two weeks’ notice before a public protest, to stop protests and harass protesters. Human Rights Defenders Security legislation that severely curtails basic rights remained in force in 2017 despite calls for its amendment or repeal. The Suppression of Terrorism Act of 2008 placed severe restrictions on civil society organizations, religious groups, and media. Under the legislation, a “terrorist act” includes a wide range of legitimate conduct such as criticism of the government. The legislation was used by state officials to target perceived opponents through abusive surveillance, and unlawful searches of homes and offices. Two leaders of a banned political party, the People’s United Democratic Move- ment (PUDEMO), Mario Masuku and Maxwell Dlamini, remained on bail in 2017 pending the finalization of their trial on charges under the Suppression of Terrorism Act for allegedly criticizing the government by singing a pro-democracy song and shouting “viva PUDEMO” during a May Day rally in 2014. After more than a year in custody, they were granted bail in July 2015 by the Swaziland High Court. The trial continued at time of writing. If convicted, they could serve up to 15 years in prison. Both men attended the May Day rally of TUCOSWA in 2016, but their bail conditions prohibited them from addressing the workers. Rule of Law Although the constitution provides for three separate organs of government—the executive, legislature, and judiciary—under Swaziland’s law and custom, the powers of all three organs are vested in the king. The prime minister should exer- cise executive authority, but in reality, King Mswati holds supreme executive power and also controls the judiciary. The king appoints 20 members of the 30- member senate, 10 members of the house of assembly, and approves all legislation passed by parliament.   

536 R R P E R D L O O W T 2 0 1 8 The constitution provides for equality before the law, but also places the king above the law. A 2011 directive, which protects the king from any civil law suits, issued by then-Swaziland Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi after Swazi villagers claimed police had seized their cattle to add to the king’s herd, remained in force in 2017. The Sedition and Subversive Activities Act also remained in force in 2017. The act restricts freedom of expression by criminalizing alleged seditious publications and use of alleged seditious words, such as those which “may excite disaffec- tion” against the king. Published criticism of the ruling party is also banned. Many journalists told Human Rights Watch that they practice self-censorship, es- pecially with regards to reports involving the king, to avoid harassment by au- thorities. Women’s and Girls’ Rights Article 20 of the Swazi Constitution provides for equality before the law and non- discrimination, but does not prevent discrimination on the grounds of sex, lan- guage, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Swaziland’s dual legal system, where both Roman Dutch common law and Swazi customary law operate side by side, has resulted in conflicts leading to numerous violations of women’s rights. For example, under both Swazi customary law and the Marriage Act (1964), mar- ried women are assigned a disadvantaged status, granting men more privileges and rights. The act provides that married women require the consent of their husbands to enter into certain contracts, including accessing credit from finan- cial institutions. The Marriage Act imposes on African spouses the customary consequences of marriage while granting to non-African spouses the common law consequences of marriage. This violates the right of married women to be free from racial discrimination under the constitution and international human rights treaties. In August 2017, human rights groups Southern African Litigation Centre and Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA) Swaziland challenged these discrimi- natory laws in court on behalf of a married Swazi woman who, upon being de- serted by her husband, was unable to sell any of the livestock she purchased with her own money because she did not have her husband’s consent. At time of writing the matter had not been finalized in court.   

537 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H The government has yet to pass into law the amended Marriage Act, which crimi- nalizes marital rape, or the Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Bill. The gov- ernment developed the latter in 2009 to protect women’s and girls’ rights, and to outlaw child marriage. On May 24, local trade unions, civil society groups, and the Swaziland Council of Churches held a protest march to raise awareness on the endemic gender-based violence. Survivors of gender-based violence have few avenues for help as both formal and customary justice processes discriminate against them. Key International Actors In August, at the end of its one-year term, Swaziland handed over the leadership of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the 15-nation regional economic institution, to South Africa. With a poor and deteriorating human rights record of its own, Swaziland failed to use its leadership of SADC to strengthen the regional body’s ability to call for improved human rights stan- dards across southern Africa. Both SADC and the African Union (AU) have done little to press Swaziland to improve respect for human rights. At its national policy conference in July, South Africa’s governing party, the African National Congress, called for Swaziland to be referred to SADC for abuse of human rights, suppression of dissent, and political activity. The ANC also pressed Swaziland to lift the ban on opposition political parties. Swaziland ignored calls by the European Union to take steps to respect and pro- mote freedom of expression, guarantee democracy and plurality, and establish a legislative framework allowing the registration, operation, and full participation of political parties. Swaziland ratified the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) in 2004, but has since failed to submit reports in fulfilment of its obligations under the covenant. The Human Rights Committee, the treaty body overseeing the ICCPR’s implementation, reviewed Swaziland’s implementation of the treaty in the absence of a report in July 2017. The committee highlighted the issues of discrimination against HIV positive persons, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans- gender and intersex (LGBTI) people; inequality of women in marital status; and women’s participation in political life.   

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539 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H Syria The fight against the extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) emerged as the top priority for Syria’s multiple warring parties in 2017. The government, with the assistance of Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah, retook large parts of central and eastern Syria from ISIS, while US-backed Syria Democratic Forces controlled Raqqa. The race to secure territory and consolidate gains was accompanied by grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law that have come to charac- terize the Syria conflict. More than 400,000 have died because of the Syrian conflict since 2011, accord- ing to the World Bank, with 5 million people seeking refuge abroad and over 6 million displaced internally, according to United Nations agencies. By June 2017, the UN also estimated that 540,000 people were still living in besieged areas. The Syrian government has launched numerous chemical weapons attacks on civilians in opposition-held areas. With Russia and Iran’s support, the Syrian government has conducted deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civil- ians and civilian infrastructure, withheld humanitarian aid, employed starvation as war tactic, and forcibly displaced Syrians in contravention of international law. The Syrian government’s practices of torture and ill-treatment in detention and enforced disappearances continue. Non-state armed groups have also committed a host of violations. The groups have launched deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilians, abducted, and arbitrarily detained activists, used excessive force to stifle protests and in- terfered with humanitarian aid delivery. ISIS has reportedly used civilians as human shields, and employed landmines and other IEDs causing significant harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure. Civilian casualties from airstrikes by the US-led coalition fighting ISIS increased. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, a local group, 2,286 civilians had died since the beginning of the campaign until September 2017. A number of these strikes raise concerns that the coalition failed to take necessary precau- tions to avoid and minimize civilian casualties. While accountability efforts remained blocked at the Security Council, the UN General Assembly established in December 2016 a mechanism to assist in the   

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541 G H T A W S T H C I R N A M U H investigation of serious crimes, preserve evidence, and prepare cases for future criminal proceedings. Targeting Civilians, Indiscriminate Attacks, Continued Use of Cluster Munitions and Incendiary Weapons Unlawful attacks against civilians and civilian structures in Syria persisted, with attacks on medical facilities, schools, and mosques. The Syrian government regained control over opposition-held parts of Aleppo at the end of 2016. In its operation, the Russian-Syrian military coalition conducted indiscriminate air attacks, including strikes on several medical facilities, and used incendiary weapons and cluster munitions. The Violations Documentation Center (VDC), a local monitoring group, documented the killing of 446 civilians, including 91 children, in aerial attacks in eastern Aleppo between September 19 and October 18. While the number of civilian deaths in Southern Syria decreased after local ceasefire agreements, unlawful attacks persisted. In June, for example, Russian- Syrian airstrikes and artillery attacks targeted the town of Tafas, south of Daraa, killing 10 civilians in and near a school. In September, the Russian-Syrian Joint Military Operation launched an offensive on Idlib province. Airstrikes targeted several towns and surrounding areas in the province, destroying at least six hospitals and five civil defense centers, result- ing in the death of over 150 civilians, according to the Syrian Civil Defense. Cluster munition attacks by Syrian government forces on opposition-held areas continued unabated. At least 238 separate attacks using cluster munitions in Syria between August 2016 and July 2017 were reported by local activists, first re- sponde