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HRW releases report on human rights issues worldwide

[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] on Wednesday released its annual report [text, PDF] discussing human rights issues in more than 90 countries throughout 2015. World Report 2016, the rights group's twenty-sixth edition of the report, which spans 659 pages, includes short summaries of important rights topics before breaking down rights concerns by country. One major theme of this report is the treatment of refugees worldwide, especially those driven out of Syria by the Islamic State (IS), calling Europe's approach to refugees counter productive. It calls on some countries, like Egypt, to create national asylum procedures and institutions in order to avoid the risk of arbitrary detentions and rights abuses, and on those with procedures already in place, like Greece, to improve those procedures in order to provide greater protections and fight discrimination. Another primary focus of the report is the threat to or limitations on freedom of expression throughout many countries worldwide, with autocratic governments placing limitations on journalists, social media and protest rights, and harshly prosecuting those who express dissent. The report covers a large number of other concerns as well, including the protecting the rights of children through the ending of child marriage and the overincarceration of juveniles, and protection of LGBT rights. The report is based on investigative work performed by HRW staff in 2015, often in partnership with human rights activists in the countries they were investigating.

The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issue around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. In November UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed [JURIST report] the UN General Assembly and cautioned the international community to avoid discrimination against Muslims, especially refugees and migrants entering Europe, as a result of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris a week earlier. Also that month Amnesty International analyzed [JURIST report] the EU's approach to the refugee crisis and recommends changes to ensure international law is followed and human rights are appropriately valued. In October HRW called on [JURIST report] the EU and Western Balkans states to focus on remedying what it characterized as deplorable conditions for asylum-seekers in Europe. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights gave the opening statement [JURIST report] at the thirtieth session of the Human Rights Council in September in which he addressed, among other pressing human rights issues, the migrant crisis. Germany announced [JURIST report] that month that it was invoking temporary border controls at the nation's southern border with Austria, after thousands of immigrants entered the country.

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