• Jul 18, 2012
  • Aug 18, 2014
    Spain should immediately halt summary returns of migrants to Morocco from its North African enclave, Melilla. Spain should also investigate evidence that Guardia Civil officers beat migrants at the border fence.
  • Jul 31, 2014

    Human Rights Watch welcomes the upcoming review of Spain by the Human Rights Committee. This briefing provides an overview of our main concerns with regard to Spain’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). We hope it will inform the Committee’s pre-sessional review of Spain and that the areas of concern highlighted here will be reflected in the list of issues submitted to the Spanish government ahead of the review.

  • Jul 31, 2014

    Human Rights Watch welcomes the upcoming review of the United Kingdom (UK) by the Human Rights Committee. This briefing provides an overview of our main concerns with regard to the UK’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). We hope it will inform the Committee’s pre-sessional review of the UK and that the areas of concern highlighted here will be reflected in the list of issues submitted to the UK government ahead of the review.

  • Jul 17, 2014
    Governments around the world should heed the findings of the UN’s human rights commissioner on mass surveillance. Governments should rein in mass surveillance and respect the privacy of all Internet users, no matter where they are located.
  • Jul 14, 2014
    Emergency legislation announced by the UK government on July 10, 2014, that would grant the British intelligence and law enforcement agencies access to data about millions of people’s communications is a blow to the right to privacy.
  • Jul 8, 2014
    An Italian naval vessel made a grim discovery in the Mediterranean Sea last month. Alerted that a 20-meter fishing vessel was in distress, the crew located and began evacuating the 600 or so migrants on board. The Italian navy captain told the BBC that his crew had also found dead bodies packed in a hold on the ship.
  • Jul 4, 2014
    The undersigned organizations are writing to urge your mandates to address an appeal to the Spanish government regarding the draft bill “[for the protection of the life of the fetus and of the rights of pregnant women]” approved by the Council of Ministers in Spain in December 2013.
  • Jul 3, 2014
    The European Court of Human Rights’ ruling approving France’s blanket ban on full-face veils undermines Muslim women’s rights. The ban interferes with women’s rights to express their religion and beliefs freely and to personal autonomy.
  • Jun 25, 2014
    A 16 year-old boy is fighting for his life in a Paris hospital. On June 13, Darius was found by a neighbor in a supermarket cart, unconscious, on the side of a road.
  • Jun 24, 2014
    Four months before general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, minorities are still denied the right to run for election, despite a 2009 European court ruling. Human rights organizations have now made submissions in a new case before the court to seek urgent constitutional reform and to press for equal political participation for minorities.
  • Jun 24, 2014
    The Netherlands, Denmark, and Ireland have moved to improve the rights of transgender people. However, each country retains some requirements that undermine the right of transgender people to have their identity reflected in law.
  • Jun 19, 2014
    Europe is in a grumpy mood these days. The scale of voter disenchantment with the EU was manifest in May’s European Parliament election results, with Eurosceptic parties topping the polls in France, the UK and Denmark and winning seats in Italy, Germany, Austria, Hungary, the Netherlands, Greece, Sweden and elsewhere.
  • Jun 16, 2014
  • Jun 13, 2014
    It’s been a bad month for media freedom in Hungary. It started with a May 25 Constitutional Court decision that website operators are responsible for any comments to blog posts or news commentary that may violate the media law.
  • Jun 5, 2014
    Human Rights Watch welcomes the upcoming review of France by the Human Rights Committee. This briefing provides an overview of our main concerns with regard to France’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). We hope it will inform the Committee’s pre-sessional review of France and that the areas of concern highlighted here will be reflected in the list of issues submitted to the French government ahead of the review.
  • Jun 5, 2014
    European Union ministers meeting in Luxembourg on June 5, 2014, should back stronger action to save migrant and refugee lives at sea.
  • Jun 4, 2014
    The US has taken some modest steps toward reform. But the initial steps taken across the Atlantic only serve to highlight the deafening silence and lack of public debate here in the UK.
  • Jun 3, 2014
    Political analysts, the media, political parties and even Prime Minister Antonis Samaras have been trying to figure out the shocking rise of the far-right, anti-immigrant Golden Dawn party in Greece. Golden Dawn became Greece's third most important political party, with nearly 10 percent of the vote in the European elections.
  • May 27, 2014
    The Spanish government has taken insufficient action to alleviate the impact of the housing and debt crisis in Spain on vulnerable groups, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Tens of thousands of families have faced, or are currently facing, foreclosure on homes they bought at the height of Spain’s economic boom, when irresponsible lending made mortgages easy to come by.
  • May 19, 2014
    The announcement on 13 May by the International Criminal Court prosecutor that she is reopening a 'preliminary examination' into alleged British war crimes in Iraq seems to have taken many in the UK by surprise. But it's less surprising to anyone who has followed the obstructive way UK authorities have handled numerous allegations of detainee abuse in Iraq.
  • May 16, 2014
  • May 15, 2014
    My twitter feed on Monday was full of the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean. At least 17 people died when an overcrowded boat sank on the crossing from Libya to Italy, with many more still unaccounted for. We don’t know their names or their stories. They join the grim toll of perhaps 20,000 people over the last decade whose lives have ended trying to reach Europe for protection or a better life.
  • May 14, 2014
    Law 1/2013, enacted a year ago, was meant to be the government’s definitive response to the mortgage crisis. The law came after two royal-decrees, a condemnation by the EU Court of Justice and significant social pressure from the Platform of Mortgage Victims (PAH) and other groups.
  • May 12, 2014
  • May 12, 2014
    The Spanish government should protect women’s access to safe and legal abortion by scrapping draft legislation that would ban abortion with only severely limited exceptions, according to a letter sent today to Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón by six national and international groups. The bill, endorsed by the government in December 2013 but not yet introduced in parliament, would turn back the clock on women’s reproductive rights in Spain.
  • May 9, 2014
    An opinion survey released on May 9, 2014, highlights public discontent with discriminatory police identity checks in France. The survey was carried out on behalf of Graines de France, a Paris-based research organization focused on poor neighborhoods, together with Human Rights Watch and the Open Society Justice Initiative.
  • Apr 29, 2014
    The new Hungarian government should ensure that its laws and practices match its international and regional human rights obligations, Human Rights Watch said in a letter today to Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Orban’s party, which heads the governing coalition, retained power after winning elections on April 6, 2014.
  • Apr 29, 2014
  • Apr 29, 2014
    Bulgaria has embarked on a “Containment Plan” to reduce the number of asylum seekers in the country, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The plan has been carried out in part by summarily pushing back Syrians, Afghans, and others as they irregularly cross the border from Turkey.
  • Apr 8, 2014
    We are writing in response to the government’s announcement on 19 December 2013 that the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) has been tasked with examining allegations of UK complicity in torture and other ill-treatment of detainees held overseas; allegations that previously had been the subject of the Detainee Inquiry, chaired by Sir Peter Gibson.
  • Apr 8, 2014
    France detains as many as 500 children who arrive in the country alone each year in transit zones at the borders, where they are denied the protection and due process rights afforded other unaccompanied children on French territory. Any unaccompanied child who arrives in France should be admitted to the country and provided with shelter and care while their immigration claims are decided.
  • Apr 7, 2014
    The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has committed to abolish what she calls "modern day slavery", and within weeks will present a bill to parliament making it easier to prosecute and punish those responsible for human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude and slavery. But one highly vulnerable group - migrant domestic workers - are currently omitted from the scope of the proposed legislation. The government is doing far too little to protect them, and through changes to immigration rules, has actually made it harder for them to access help.
  • Mar 31, 2014
    The European Union (EU)-Africa summit provides an important opportunity to highlight crucial human rights developments in both Africa and Europe. Progress is being made on many human rights issues in an array of countries, but daunting challenges remain. The summit agenda includes both democracy and governance and peace and security, two broad topics that include a range of human rights concerns.
  • Mar 31, 2014
    Migrant domestic workers accompanying their employers to the United Kingdom are being subjected to serious abuses including forced labor, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The UK government is doing far too little to protect vulnerable workers, and recent changes to UK immigration rules make it harder for workers to flee abuse, the report found.
  • Mar 26, 2014
    The Greek government should immediately drop plans that would deter migrant victims from reporting law enforcement abuse. The government should also reintroduce measures to protect undocumented victims and witnesses of crimes, including racist violence. Parliament is debating these issues as it examines a draft immigration code.
  • Mar 24, 2014
    Spanish and Moroccan authorities should affirm procedures to protect rights for migrants and reject summary returns at the border.
  • Mar 19, 2014
    The European Commission’s much-awaited “rule of law mechanism” will need some boosting if it is to bring about real results. The tool, announced on 11 March, is the commission’s response to calls by EU member states, the European Parliament, and civil society groups for an enhanced EU capacity to address threats to its founding values.
  • Mar 18, 2014
  • Mar 17, 2014
    On March 14, 2014, over 100 nongovernmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch, sent an open letter to leaders of EU institutions calling for concerted action to give refugees from Syria a safe way into Europe, protect refugees arriving at Europe’s borders, and reunite families torn apart by the crisis.
  • Mar 11, 2014
    Justice Minister Alberto Ruiz-Gallardón’s plan to turn back the clock on access to abortion has enraged women across Spain, exposed deep divisions within the ruling Popular Party, and threatens to put Spain out of step with the vast majority of EU member states. Restricting safe and legal abortions will also put Spain at odds with many of its obligations to respect rights under international law, and expose it to intense scrutiny by international human rights bodies.
  • Mar 10, 2014
    Human Rights Watch submits the following information to the Committee’s Privacy and Security Inquiry, based on public statements by Human Rights Watch following the publication by the Guardian of revelations on surveillance by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Firstly, we highlight the urgent need for clarity from the government as to the scope and magnitude of the alleged surveillance by GCHQ. Secondly, the law governing surveillance must be brought up to date in a way that protects the right to privacy and, thirdly, the government should create a more robust and transparent oversight authority to protect against breaches of that right.
  • Jan 30, 2014
    Members of Greece’s parliament should urgently establish an inquiry into all allegations of collective expulsions, pushbacks, and dangerous maneuvers by the Greek Coast Guard on Greece’s sea borders with Turkey. Twelve women and children died off the Greek island of Farmakonisi on January 20, 2014, in what survivors allege was a push-back operation in poor weather.
  • Jan 30, 2014
    When a newspaper began publishing a government minister’s schedule every day, it might have passed unobserved or even been seen as a public service. But this is Italy, the newspaper is the official organ of the xenophobic Northern League, and the public official is Integration Minister Cécile Kyenge, the country’s first black cabinet minister.
  • Jan 21, 2014
    European Union (EU) leaders in 2013 acknowledged problems of rising intolerance and persistent human rights violations across the EU, but failed to take concerted action, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2014.
  • Jan 20, 2014
    There have been repeated claims of UK complicity in the alleged torture of individuals detained abroad. The government’s latest move in the saga does not suggest a desire to get to the bottom of them.
  • Jan 9, 2014
    The French authorities should not extradite Mukhtar Ablyazov, a recognized refugee and an outspoken government critic, to Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan, he would be at serious risk of ill-treatment and would face a flagrant denial of his fair trial rights. The French authorities also should not send Ablyazov to any country that might return him to Kazakhstan.
  • Dec 26, 2013
    The French government has declared to the world its commitment to the right to privacy offline and online, supporting the United Nations (UN) General Assembly resolution passed on December 18 on the right to privacy in the digital age.
  • Dec 23, 2013
    Over the last five years, grievances over austerity measures and a sense of economic injustice have made raucous, disruptive, but peaceful protest a part of life in Spain. The country’s vibrant social movements have set up protest camps in city plazas, mobilized huge demonstrations, organized flash mobs in front of politicians’ homes, and blocked hundreds of evictions from foreclosed homes. It looks like Spain’s central government wants all that to stop.
  • Dec 21, 2013
    The report of an uncompleted inquiry into UK involvement in renditions and overseas torture underscores the need for a full accounting. The government, which received the report in June 2012, finally published it on December 19, 2013.
  • Dec 5, 2013
    Fear of detention and deportation prevent many undocumented migrants from reporting attacks. As Human Rights Watch has documented, many other victims don’t report attacks to the police because of lack of trust.
  • Nov 20, 2013
  • Nov 15, 2013
    The European Union should ensure that human rights are at the core of its relationships with the countries involved in the Eastern Partnership. On November 28 and 29, 2013, the EU will convene a summit of its eastern neighbors in Vilnius, at which it is expected to lay the foundation for deeper political and economic ties with several partnership countries.
  • Nov 11, 2013
    Is the UK a passionate defender of human rights? Given the way senior members of the government have attacked them in recent months, you wouldn’t think so. Yet this week the UK, alongside France, will be voted onto the UN Human Rights Council, tasked with addressing abuses around the world.
  • Nov 7, 2013
    I met Veronika, a 33-year-old woman from a small village in Hungary at a shelter for domestic violence survivors on a rainy day in March. She was initially terrified of talking to me, fearing that her partner would be able to identify and find her. She had visible knife wounds and cuts from lashes on her body, as well as scars she said were from sword cuts to her throat during years of violent abuse.
  • Nov 6, 2013
    Police inaction, ineffective restraining orders, insufficient shelter spaces, and legal and policy gaps leave women survivors of domestic violence in Hungary at risk of further abuse, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
  • Nov 6, 2013
  • Nov 5, 2013
    In many places around the world, Human Rights Watch exposes abuses of state power and the absence of effective accountability over the agencies of the state – both factors highly relevant to the issue we are discussing here tonight.
  • Nov 4, 2013
    When I was growing up in Greece, my grandparents often told me that if I didn’t eat my food, they would call the Gypsies to take me away. Sadly, the old myths about Roma snatching babies were revived after police took a little blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl named Maria into custody in a Roma settlement in Farsala, central Greece, on October 16.
  • Oct 29, 2013
  • Oct 24, 2013
    The tragedy in the southern Mediterranean Sea in the early hours of October 3 -- in which more than 350 Eritrean refugees drowned in a shipwreck off Lampedusa, near Sicily -- shook Europe, and rightfully so.
  • Oct 23, 2013
    European Union heads of state meeting in Brussels on October 24 and 25, 2013, should urgently adopt measures to improve sea rescues of migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Europe. The summit should also pledge more measures to facilitate access for refugees from Syria and protect their rights as they increasingly turn to dangerous boat migration.
  • Oct 9, 2013
    Hate crime reform in Greece should focus on tackling racist and xenophobic violence, not criminalizing speech or ideas. Justice Minister Haralambos Athanassiou announced on October 3, 2013 that he would introduce an anti-racism bill in Parliament in the coming days.
  • Oct 1, 2013
    A landmark ruling by a United Nations body found that Hungary’s voting laws are disenfranchising people with disabilities. The ruling applies to all 137 countries that have adopted the international disability rights treaty. These governments are required to review their laws and practices to eliminate any provisions that prevent people from voting due to their disabilities.
  • Sep 22, 2013
    The fatal stabbing of the 34-year-old anti-fascist activist and rapper Pavlos Fyssas in Athens early on September 18 is a stark reminder that extremist violence in Greece is an alarming problem. The news of the killing was saddening but not surprising.
  • Sep 18, 2013
    Recent changes to the Hungarian constitution do little to address concerns set out by the Council of Europe and the European Parliament. The changes leave in place provisions that undermine the rule of law and weaken human rights protection.
  • Sep 4, 2013
    The political parties of the German Bundestag have markedly different priorities regarding human rights protections. The differences are especially marked on issues of EU asylum policy, relations with Russia, and internet freedom. Prior to the September 22, 2013 Bundestag elections, Human Rights Watch asked the parties about their positions on a range of human rights issues.
  • Aug 14, 2013
    Dear Lord Chancellor, We write to ask that you delay your final decision on whether to implement the proposed changes to civil legal aid (including prison law) contained within the Transforming Legal Aid consultation paper until after the Joint Committee on Human Rights have completed their inquiry and reported back to Parliament.
  • Aug 6, 2013
    In recent weeks Human Rights Watch has expressed serious concerns about reports that intelligence agencies in the UK and the US have intercepted and collected vast amounts of phone and internet data from millions of people in breach of their right to privacy.
  • Aug 5, 2013
    The Treaties of the European Union state that the EU is founded on the value of respect for human rights. As outlined in the EU Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy – adopted by the Council of the EU in June 2012 – this means both ensuring that the Union’s relations with other countries are founded on respect for human rights, and securing rights for everyone within the Union itself.
  • Jul 25, 2013
    The Bulgarian government should open an investigation into police action during the violent clashes on the evening of July 23, 2013 outside the Bulgarian parliament that left 17 people injured.
  • Jul 25, 2013
    The Italian chamber of deputies should adopt the strongest possible measures against discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A bill to reform existing anti-discrimination legislation will be debated in the chamber on July 26, 2013.
  • Jul 20, 2013
    Italy should continue its efforts to obtain justice for abuses by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) despite Panama’s decision to free a former CIA Milan station chief wanted by Italy.
  • Jul 17, 2013
    Fewer migrants may be dying at sea, but they still face arbitrary treatment onshore.
  • Jul 16, 2013
    It is now a tradition. Every summer, migrant Roma in France are targets of forced eviction and removal from the country. It has become the norm ever since Nicolas Sarkozy announced in Grenoble, almost three years ago, that he would end the “wild establishments of Roma camps”.
  • Jul 11, 2013
    This week, two events, just hours apart, showed the level of confusion and derision some senior British ministers have sunk to in their approach to human rights. On Tuesday morning, the European Court of Human Rights published a carefully worded and moderate ruling on 'whole-life' sentences.
  • Jul 9, 2013
    “Police officers came to the door and said ‘All blacks out, all blacks out,’” Tupac told me as he recalled how police officers forced him and other black and Asian passengers out of a bus in central Athens for an identity check in early February. After pulling him off the bus, the police held Tupac, a Guinean registered asylum seeker, for approximately 10 hours to check his legal status in Greece.
  • Jul 4, 2013
    The Hungarian government should heed and act on the clear message from the European Parliament on July 3, 2013, about the urgent need for rights reform.
  • Jul 3, 2013
    The Greek government should repeal a regulation that has been used to justify forced HIV testing.
  • Jul 2, 2013
    Moving boxes were everywhere in the office of the EU delegation in Zagreb when I visited in early June. As Croatia joined the Union on July 1, the EU delegation in Zagreb is closing shop. But just because Croatia has been formally admitted to the Union doesn’t mean that it has met all its human rights obligations under EU law.
  • Jul 2, 2013
    We write to urge you to support the LIBE report on Hungary by Rui Tavares as an important contribution to the ongoing discussions on the appropriate response by European institutions to developments in Hungary.
  • Jun 28, 2013
    Reports that the United Kingdom’s intelligence agency has intercepted and collected vast amounts of Internet and phone data raise serious concerns that the government has breached the privacy rights of millions of people in the UK and elsewhere.
  • Jun 28, 2013
    Croatia’s European Union (EU) accession on July 1 is an opportunity for the government to show its commitment to safeguard human rights and to properly address outstanding abuses in the country, Human Rights Watch said today in an open letter to the Croatian prime minister, Zoran Milanović.
  • Jun 28, 2013
    Hungary’s troubling record on rights is putting Europe to the test. How to respond to Budapest’s continued refusal to heed repeated calls for reform following critical assessments by a growing number of expert bodies has turned into a major preoccupation for Europe’s policymakers and parliamentarians.
  • Jun 28, 2013
    Croatia’s accession to the EU includes assuming the obligation to respect the principles of human dignity, democracy, and human rights as enshrined in the EU Treaty and further outlined in the legally binding Charter of Fundamental Rights. The government should use the formal accession as an opportunity to further strengthen the protection of human rights in several areas of concern and implement necessary measures to improve legislation and practices.
  • Jun 25, 2013
    As Lithuania takes over the European Union’s rotating presidency it should lead by example, meet its legal obligations, and reopen its investigation into its own complicity in CIA secret prisons, US enforced disappearances, and alleged torture.
  • Jun 24, 2013
    Ahead of next week’s Assembly debate on the request to open a monitoring procedure in respect of Hungary, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urge PACE to support the Monitoring Committee’s recommendation to place Hungary under the Assembly’s monitoring procedure.
  • Jun 24, 2013
    On the occasion of the opening of Protocol 15 to the European Convention on Human Rights for signature by the Council of Europe member states, a coalition of 10 international NGOs stresses that the amendments to the Convention foreseen by this Protocol must not be allowed to result in a weakening of the Convention system and human rights protection in Europe.
  • Jun 18, 2013
    On Tuesday (18 June), the German chancellor and the US president will embrace each other. Eyes will be shining as both sides praise the German-American friendship. After all, this visit from Washington is an election campaign present for Angela Merkel, and the president can hope for symbolic pictures to build his own legend.
  • Jun 12, 2013
    Athens police are conducting abusive stops and searches and have detained tens of thousands of people in a crackdown on irregular migration, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
  • Jun 12, 2013
  • Jun 6, 2013
    When I heard the news about the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby in Woolwich on May 22, my first reaction was horror. My second was dread. Sadly, my fears that anger would be targeted at Muslim communities across the UK have been confirmed.
  • Jun 6, 2013
  • May 30, 2013
    Greece’s government should move quickly to adopt measures to combat hate crimes and protect victims. A bill on hate speech and racist violence has yet to be submitted in parliament because of disagreement among the three parties in the ruling coalition over its scope.
  • May 17, 2013
    The Spanish government's violent campaign against the grassroots Platform for Mortgage Victims is a dangerous turn against freedom of speech and association. These attacks must stop.
  • May 16, 2013
    The systemic changes to Hungary’s legal framework introduced by the government since 2010 weaken legal checks on its authority, interfere with media freedom, and undermine human rights protections, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
  • May 16, 2013
    The European Union has placed human rights, democracy and the rule of law firmly at the core of its structure, and so its willingness to defend those values is crucial to its credibility. Faced with a deteriorating situation on these three fronts in Hungary, Brussels has failed to show the necessary resolve.
  • May 16, 2013
  • May 13, 2013
    Last year was very tough for Greece, and there for few prospects that 2013 will be easier. Millions of people have been directly affected by the sweeping austerity measures arising from the economic crisis. The country is convulsed by political tensions, with the rise of the far-right Golden Dawn party the most worrying example. And there are severe social problems, linked in part to the huge influx in recent years of irregular migrants from outside the European Union.
  • May 6, 2013
    The United Nations Committee Against Torture will look at the United Kingdom’s record on May 7 for the first time since 2004.