Here are this week’s top human rights headlines:


Human Rights Watch released a report stating that United Nations peacekeepers raped at least eight young women last fall while deployed to the Central African Republic. Humans rights groups are calling for the prosecution of these peacekeepers.

The Zimbabwean government has declared a state of disaster after months of devastating drought. The Zimbabwe Peace Project claims the issuance of food is being utilized as a tool to punish political opponents.


A 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan, leaving at least two people dead and many more unaccounted for. The earthquake demolished an apartment building, destroying the homes of about 240 people.

The Indian Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider laws related to the criminalization of homosexuality. The Court last examined the issue in 2013.


German law enforcement agencies claim that ISIS is using the refugee crisis to infiltrate Germany. Germany has seen increased scrutiny of refugees following the New Year’s attacks on women in Cologne.

Latin America

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein is requesting Latin American countries affected by the Zika virus ease their restrictions on reproductive health counseling and uphold the right to an abortion. The Zika virus has been linked to birth defects such as microcephaly.

The Wayuu people, the largest indigenous tribe in Colombia, are facing a humanitarian crisis as a result of the exploitation of their land due to a government-built dam. The dam has deprived the Wayuu people of water and resulted in the deaths of thousands of children.

Middle East/North Africa

The aftermath of Russian air strikes in Aleppo has worsened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. The Russian-backed offensive has strained humanitarian supplies, particularly medical supplies and medication, and resulted in many deaths.

On February 4, two Israelis were sentenced to long jail terms for the July 2014 abduction and murder of a Palestinian teenager. Muhammad Abu Khdeir, who was sixteen-years-old at the time of his death, was killed in a “revenge killing” during a period of tension between Israel and Palestine.

United States

Investigations shows that Flint, Michigan officials may have suspected a relationship between the Flint water crisis and the rise in Legionnaires disease as early as March 2015. The Flint crisis has been a major concern due to the lack of immediate care for those affected by the tainted water.

This week, the Pentagon released 198 photos capturing torture of detainees during the Iraq and Afghanistan war. The military, however, refuses to release about 1,800 more similar photos.

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