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1. Online Jokes Are No Laughing Matter in Russia

This was the most-read story on our site in 2018. A 19-year-old Russian film student was arrested and is standing trial under the country's vague anti-extremism legislation; all for posting an online meme. 

 

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2. India Sex Offenders’ Registry Not the Answer

The Indian government is under pressure to respond to a spate of sexual violence. One step it has decided to adopt is a sex offenders’ database, which will store the profile and personal details of convicted offenders and those accused of such offenses. Children accused of such crimes may also be included in the database. But the rationale behind this is not born out by facts...

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3. "All We Want is Equality": Religious Exemptions and Discrimination against LGBT People in the United States

The rash of new “religious exemption” laws passed by state legislatures around the United States represent a thinly-veiled assault against the rights of LGBT people, failing to balance moral and religious objections to LGBT relationships and identities with the rights of LGBT people themselves.

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4. Philippine President Duterte’s ‘Drug War’ Claims 12,000+ Lives

President Duterte has not only resisted calls to end his brutal ‘drug war,’ but has used populist rhetoric to disparage the brave activists who have been investigating and denouncing his cruel campaign.

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5. In the Freezer: Abusive Conditions for Women and Children in US Immigration Holding Cells

The Trump administration's separation of migrant families at the US border over the summer resulted in dreadful conditions for children detained by immigration authorities. This report detailed some of the harm that families faced while being held in the US.

 

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6. Russia's Sweeping Arrests of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Earlier this year, law enforcement authorities across Russia carried out a sweeping campaign against Jehovah’s Witnesses, including dozens of home searches, raids, interrogations, and other acts of harassment and persecution. The raids and arrests stem from a 2017 Russian Supreme Court ruling that banned all Jehovah’s Witnesses organizations throughout Russia, labeling it an "extremist" organization. 

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7. UAE: Reveal Status of Dubai Ruler’s Daughter

Earlier this year, Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammad al-Maktoum, the 32-year-old daughter of the ruler of Dubai was reportedly detained by UAE authorities, which Human Rights Watch and others signaled could amount to enforced disappearance. 

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8. China's Massive Crackdown in Muslim Region

Our September report on Chinese government abuses against Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang detailed, among other things, mass arbitrary detention, religious repression, and surveillance.

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9. Philippine Supreme Court Considers Same-Sex Marriage

Earlier this year, the Philippine Supreme Court heard a long-awaited argument that could open the door to same-sex marriage in the overwhelmingly Catholic country.

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10. Gaza Killings Unlawful, Calculated

In March, we reported that Israeli soldiers were not merely using excessive force against Palestinian protesters in Gaza, but were apparently acting on orders that all but ensured a bloody military response to the demonstrations.