Italy is summarily returning unaccompanied migrant children and adult asylum seekers to Greece, where they face a dysfunctional asylum system and abusive detention conditions, Human Rights Watch said in a report published today. Stowaways on ferries from Greece, including children as young as 13, are sent back by Italian authorities within hours without adequate consideration of their particular needs as children or their desire to apply for asylum.
The public debate over the recent surge in child migrants across the US border with Mexico should spur Congress to reform US immigration policy, Human Rights Watch said today, releasing a multimedia feature jointly with Time magazine and Platon/The People’s Portfolio.
Ukrainian authorities have not provided adequate protection and assistance to tens of thousands of Ukrainians who were forced to flee their homes, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to President Petro Poroshenko. People have fled because of Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the ongoing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine.
“They would tie my hands behind my back and lay me down on the ground,” was what “Said” told me, describing the torture camp near Yemen’s coast where he spent seven days before the traffickers holding him sold him to another gang. “Then they would beat me with sticks,” he said as he showed me the scars across his back. “I saw the guards kick the face of one man who was on the floor, breaking his teeth.”
The United States government’s policy of detaining unaccompanied migrant children, some for long periods, and providing inadequate processing puts them in harm’s way. On June 24, 2014, the US House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security held a hearing on unaccompanied migrant children – children traveling without parents or guardians. Later today, the House Judiciary Committee will also hold a hearing on the issue.
There's no reliable evidence that putting families who enter the US illegally into detention centers actually deters unauthorized immigration. But there's plenty of evidence that it can cause children in those families severe harm – from anxiety and depression, to long-term cognitive damage. That's one big reason that family detention for immigration violations is banned under international law.
When Human Rights Watch first saw Yemi, the 17-year-old boy was huddled on a concrete bench in the corner of a windowless, graffitied holding cell run by the French border police. Clad in a stiff new leather jacket but otherwise without clothing warm enough to face Paris in January, Yemi had been in the cell for nine hours.