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COVID-19 in Europe, the Central Eurasian Region, and Turkey

What are some of your biggest concerns about the coronavirus moving through Europe and Central Asia? Europe is one of the world’s epicenters of COVID-19 cases. There’s an awful death toll in Italy and Spain with the numbers of dead going up…
Military police officers patrol at a market in Budapest, Hungary, March 31, 2020.
News
How has the situation on Lesbos changed since your last visit? When I was here in 2016, I couldn’t imagine things being worse. We saw a lawless situation in Moria refugee camp. There were around 6,000 people in the camp,…
Migrants who arrived yesterday to Greece from Turkey eat bread as they try to warm themselves at the village of Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday, March 6, 2020.
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According to the recent UN refugee agency Global Trends report, Brazil received about 80,000 new requests for asylum in 2018,  more than double the  2017 requests. More than three-quarters -- 61,000 —came from Venezuelans. But between…
Weberson Santiago/VEJA
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The killing of 33 inmates in the Brazilian state of Roraima is another sign that the country's prisons are disgracefully out of control. Many of the bodies were decapitated, a practice widely used by gangs to terrorize their enemies. …
A relative of a prisoner holds a local newspaper, which shows a headline about a deadly prison riot, in front of Anisio Jobim prison in Manaus, Brazil, on January 3, 2017.
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During his late April visit with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Turkey, European Council President Donald Tusk lavished praise on his hosts, saying, “Turkey is the best example for the whole world on how we should treat refugees.” Turkey,…
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The European Union’s current plan to stop the irregular flow of migrants and refugees to Europe, which came into effect on March 20, involves an agreement with Turkey to take back all people arriving on the Greek islands and all those intercepted in…
News
EU leaders claim that the March 18 agreement to return “all new irregular migrants crossing from Turkey into Greek islands” back to Turkey, writes Bill Frelick, will take place “in full accordance with EU and international law.” They cited the Procedures…
Asylum seekers and migrants at a makeshift camp at the port of Piraeus, queuing for distribution of survival kits by the Hellenic Red Cross. In the absence of any visible government support or personnel the day to day operation of the camp is dependent on
News

By Kenneth Roth, Salil Shetty & Catherine Woollard

Let’s not confuse desperation for legality when it comes to Europe’s proposed refugee deal with Turkey. No one should be under any illusion - the very principle of international protection for those fleeing war and persecution is at stake. …
Stranded refugees and migrants walk inside a relocation camp as they wait to cross the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni, March 1, 2016.
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European policymakers have been burning the midnight oil looking for ways to keep Syrian and other refugees and migrants from reaching Greece and swelling the ranks of asylum seekers in the European Union. The Nato operation announced on 11…
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I talked to “Nabeel,” a 52-year-old man from Syria a few days ago in the resort town of Cesme on Turkeys’ Aegean coast. He told me how the overcrowded boat he’d boarded with his wife and four children a few days earlier sank. Turkish coastguards saved…
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On November 21, after some United States governors announced that they didn’t want to accept Syrian refugees writes Gerry Simpson, the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America called on Americans “not [to] be guided by fear or bigotry,…
News
The United States is providing early release this weekend for 6,000 inmates who have been serving federal sentences for non-violent drug crimes -- the biggest one-time release of inmates in US history. It's a sign of a tectonic shift occurring in the…
U.S. President Barack Obama and Brazil President Dilma Rousseff depart a joint news conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on June 30, 2015.
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Pernambuco’s prisons have become a haven of private enterprise. Imagine, if you can, what it is like to be imprisoned there. For 2,000 reais (USD530), you could buy a place to sleep, a narrow wooden cubicle where you can throw a mattress and prop a fan.…
Makeshift “barracos,” or cubicles, inside Pavilion 7 at Presídio Juiz Antônio Luiz L. de Barros (PJALLB), in Recife.
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While EU leaders at the 23 September emergency summit on the refugee crisis struggled to reach agreement on how to cooperate, they all seemed to agree with German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s observation that “solving problems of [the EU] external borders…
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Amid an influx of Iraqis and Syrians into Europe, the West is neglecting another group of refugees also in desperate need of help.

TOVARNIK, Croatia — Rajab Ali, a 16-year-old Hazara boy from Afghanistan’s Bamyan province, was silently weeping when we found him standing at the last remaining opening in the 12-foot-high razor-wire border fence Hungary has constructed on its…
Afghan Refugees
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It's easy to see why Iraqis overwhelmingly sought asylum in Sweden last year. The country had granted 91 percent of their asylum requests the year before. But why would the next-largest number apply in Greece, which had a zero approval rate for Iraqis?…
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