Cities in Europe lead by example, offering compassion and shelter for lone refugee children from Greece; mark International Women’s Day with moves to expedite progress on gender equality; a crucial moment for women’s rights in Afghanistan; interview with HRW's Libya researcher Hanan Salah on chaos in the country; imprisoned Emirati activist saluted at festival in Abu Dhabi; International Criminal Court greenlights Afghanistan investigation; and encouraging news from Uzbekistan.
While compassion seems absent at many national and European Union levels, mayors of cities in Germany and The Netherlands are offering to welcome unaccompanied children from the Greek islands. This week, 64 human rights and humanitarian organizations, among them Human Rights Watch, called on EU member states to urgently relocate these children to safety in their territory
This is a moment of both fear and hope for women and girls in Afghanistan, and an urgent time for the world to support their hard-won rights. The deal between the United States and the Taliban could pave the way for a peace that Afghans desperately seek. But there are huge risks for women’s rights in this process, writes HRW's Heather Barr.
At the recent inaugural Hay Literary Festival in Abu Dhabi, the prominent Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif courageously used her platform to highlight the plight of Ahmed Mansoor, one of many Emirati activists unjustly jailed simply for speaking their minds. Soueif’s words were all the more significant because hosting and sponsoring cultural events is exactly how the United Arab Emirates seeks to whitewash its terrible record on human rights.
The decision of the International Criminal Court to allow an investigation into alleged atrocities in Afghanistan despite US and other pressure "reaffirms the court’s essential role for victims when all other doors to justice are closed,” says Param-Preet Singh, associate international justice director. “The ruling sends a message to current and would-be rights abusers, no matter how powerful, that justice may one day catch up with them.”
And there's encouraging news from Uzbekistan that will hopefully have an effect in reducing forced labor there.