Defending the Human Rights of Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Western Europe
The documents on this web page reflect the research, advocacy, law and policy work undertaken in Greece, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It also includes analyses of select European Union laws and policies with respect to the human rights of migrants, both generally and with regard to the impact of counter-terrorism measures on non-nationals in Western Europe since the September 11 attacks in the United States:
European UnionClosed-door Immigration Policy Is Shameful Vision
European immigration policy has to do more than simply try to bar the door to migrants and asylum-seekers, HRWs Ken Roth and Julia Hall argue in European Voice.
Commentary, September 16, 2004
European Union: Asylum Proposal Violates Basic Rights
The European Union’s proposal on asylum procedures violates international human rights and refugee law and should be withdrawn, a group of leading nongovernmental organizations said today. In an unprecedented move, refugee and human rights organizations across Europe are jointly calling on the European Union to scrap one of the key elements leading to the proposed Common European Asylum System.
Press Release, March 29, 2004
European Union: Letter Calling for the Withdrawal of the Asylum Procedures Directive
In an unprecedented move, Human Rights Watch and other human rights and refugee organizations across Europe call on the European Union to withdraw proposals for new asylum procedures. The groups contend that the proposals violate member states' obligations under international law.
Joint Letter, March 22, 2004
E.U. Network of Independent Experts in Fundamental Rights
Human Rights Watch Submission to the E.U. Network of Independent Experts in Fundamental Rights, on the occasion of its hearing on October 16, 2003
OSCE meeting on Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination
Joint statement by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Vienna, 4-5 September 2003
OSCE Conference on Anti-Semitism
Statement by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, Vienna, 19-20 June, 2003
Counter-Terrorism Measures and the Prohibition against Torture and Ill-treatment
Submission by Human Rights Watch to a European Parliament Hearing on Human Rights in the European Union, April 24, 2003 PDF, 5 pages
Human Rights Watch is concerned about four areas in which safeguards against torture appear to be vulnerable in the European Union: the promulgation and implementation of anti-terrorism laws that can facilitate acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (CID); conditions of detention for suspected terrorists that can amount to torture/CID; the repatriation/refoulement of terrorist suspects to countries where they could be subject to torture; and the use of E.U. member states' territory for interrogations that could subject detainees to torture/CID.
Submission by Human Rights Watch, April 24, 2003 PDF, 5 pages
Fix It First: A Human Rights Agenda for Extending E.U. Asylum and Migration Policy
Statement of Elizabeth Andersen, Human Rights Watch, on the Occasion of the CEPS/ERA/Sitra/Transcrime Conference: "Extending the Area of Freedom, Justice and Security through Enlargement: Challenges for the European Union"
Statement, August 20, 2002
Treating "Illegals" Legally: Commentary regarding the European Commission Green Paper on a Community Return Policy on Illegal Residents PDF, 11 pages
Briefing Paper, August, 2002
Commentary on the European Commission Proposal for a Council Directive "on the short-term residence permit issued to victims of action to facilitate illegal immigration or trafficking in human beings who cooperate with the competent authorities" PDF, 11 pages
Briefing Paper, July 1, 2002
Seville Summit: Serious Abuses Against Migrants and Asylum Seekers Detailed
Press Release, June 13, 2002
E.U.: Protect the Rights of Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Seville Policy Proposals
Letter to E.U. Heads of State, June 13, 2002
Seville Summit: European Union Must Protect Migrants' Rights
Press Release, June 6, 2002
European Union: Human Rights Watch Statement, “The Human Rights Dimension of E.U. Immigration Policy: Lessons from Member States,” on the Occasion of the Academy of European Law Conference: “State of Play on European Immigration and Asylum Policy: Patching Up Tampere,” Trier, Germany
European Union: Security Proposals Threaten Human Rights
SpainSpain: Immigration Laws Applied Unfairly Español Rapport en français July 5, 2002 Response to Issues Raised by the Canaries' Government on the Rights of Migrants and Asylum Seekers
June 19, 2002
To request these documents in Greek please contact Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia division at firstname.lastname@example.org Rights Groups from 21 Euro-Mediterranean Countries Decry Frequent and Grave Violations of Foreign Detainees' Rights in Greece
15 June 2002
Greece: Recommendations Regarding the Draft Law for the “Fight against Trafficking of Human Beings and the Provision of Aid to the Victims of Crimes related to the Financial Exploitation of Sexual Life”
Safety of Failed Asylum Seekers at Risk
February 13, 2004
Dutch Asylum Policies Breach Rights
April 2003 (Dutch)
Fleeting Refuge: The Triumph of Efficiency over Protection in Dutch Asylum Policy
United KingdomNew Approaches to Asylum in the U.K. Must Respect Rights
September 22, 2003
New Approaches to the Asylum Process
Human Rights Watch's submission to the UK House of Lords, September 22, 2003
United Kingdom: New Anti-Terror Law Rolls Back Rights
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Human Rights Protection in the Field: Current Concerns
Submitted by Human Rights Watch during IOM Governing Council Meeting 86th Session, November 18-21, 2003, Geneva
Human Rights Watch's engagement with IOM arises from our concern that IOM has no formal mandate to monitor human rights abuses or to protect the rights of migrants and other persons, even though literally millions of people worldwide participate in IOM-sponsored programs and projects. We began to monitor and document IOM operations in the field in the early 1990s. In 1993, we documented IOM's role in the asylum determination system imposed on Haitian asylum seekers by the United States and concluded that the determination procedure violated the right to seek asylum. Ten years later, we continue to find IOM complicit in situations that threaten people’s human rights in many countries, as detailed in this paper.
World Report 2002: Refugees, Asylum Seekers, Migrants, and Internally Displaced Persons
UNHCR Global Consultations on International Protection: NGO Background Paper on the Refugee and Migration Interface, Co-authored by Human Rights Watch, International Catholic Migration Committee, and the World Council of Churches, and in consultation with other Nongovernmental Organizations, Geneva
For more information on the migrants' rights project or to obtain any of the documents listed above, please contact Human Rights Watch's Europe and Central Asia division at email@example.com.
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