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In a world of human rights abuses, some 'extraordinary potential' too

The global snapshot that Human Rights Watch provides of the past year points to a "litany of human rights crises" but also a silver lining – some "cracks" emerged in authoritarian regimes where brave protesters took great risks demanding freedom.

Demonstrators for women's freedom and rights in Iran
Demonstrators for women's freedom and rights in Iran (AN/Craig Melville/Unsplash)

Russia's invasion of Ukraine elicited broad opposition that shows what can happen when leaders and citizens take a stand.

That's according to Human Rights Watch's global snapshot of 2022, which shows a "litany of human rights crises" but also a silver lining: "cracks" emerged in authoritarian regimes when protesters demanded freedom.

"Every government has the obligation to protect and promote respect for human rights," HRW's acting executive director, Tirana Hassan, said in the preface to a 712-page report.

It's been a tough year, the report notes, in places like Afghanistan, where the Taliban “walked back women’s rights," and Myanmar, where the military junta is implicated in mass killings and attacks on civilians in conflict areas, and China, where the mass detention of ethnic Muslim Uyghurs is remarkable for its “gravity, scale and cruelty."

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