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How Ten Years of Advocacy and Incremental Changes Add Up

In Greece, a recent high-profile court ruling and policy change mark momentous human rights victories for migrants and children. On October 7, an Athens court ruled that the country’s far-right xenophobic political party, Golden Dawn, whose members…
A woman sits with her children in Victoria Square in Athens, Greece, awaiting transfer after being evicted from their place of residence, July 20, 2020.
News

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.
News
"I get depressed here. I want to go to a good school to study," said a bright, 12-year-old girl from Afghanistan, who's been stuck for six months in the grim Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. "If we don't study we won't have a future and…
Children seeking asylum attend an art class at the volunteer-run Refugee Education Chios center on the Greek island of Chios on September 29, 2016.
News

There is little prospect of the majority of asylum seekers trapped on the islands being sent back to Turkey any time soon

“Why do I deserve to be treated that way?” Issa, a 25-year-old Syrian asylum seeker told me in mid-May on the island of Lesbos. “We are here, forgotten. Totally forgotten…. There is no dignity at all here.” Issa is among the scores of…
Asylum seekers from Algeria at a refugee squat on Lesbos. People of certain nationalities presumptively considered “economic migrants,” such as Algerians, are treated as having manifestly unfounded claims, and are often detained on that basis.
News

With rising tensions and attacks toward refugees in Greece, what can be done?

The situation on the Greek eastern Aegean islands housing the so-called refugee “hotspots” has taken a dangerous turn, with racially motivated attacks on the rise. The European Union needs to act to head off a full-blown…
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A new report reveals the shocking conditions endured by unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Europe. Wasim is a 16-year-old Kurdish boy who fled Mosul, Iraq, seeking a safe haven after Islamic State (IS) executed his father. Unfortunately…
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On April 20, more than 160 asylum seekers and migrants reached Lesbos and Chios from Turkey. The police detained them in the closed facilities on those islands, Moria and VIAL, as they do everyone who has arrived on the islands since the ill-conceived EU-…
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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.
News
After a year in which Europe’s response to a surge in boat migration went from deeply flawed to truly awful, the situation in 2016 has only deteriorated. EU leaders are becoming increasingly shrill, policy proposals ever more unhinged,…
Asylum seekers and migrants descend from a large fishing vessel used to transport them from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos. October 11, 2015.
News
(Athens) - Is Greece at risk of being kicked out of the free-movement Schengen area because of its failings on the refugee crisis? Several European ministers and senior EU officials have been quoted as accusing Greece of not doing its job of…
Members of the Hellenic Coast Guard rescue migrants and asylum seekers from an overcrowded rubber dinghy found drifting in the sea off Lesbos island in Greece.  October 4, 2015.
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On Wednesday, there was yet another tragedy off the Greek island of Lesbos, when a large Turkish fishing boat carrying some 300 people trying to reach Europe sank, causing at least seven to drown, including four children, with at least 34  still missing.…
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Calls for Europe to Help Fund Mare Nostrum Have Been Largely Ignored

The Italian Navy’s twitter feed contained joyous news last week: a pregnant mother among the 90 people rescued from the sea by a Navy frigate had given birth on board to a little girl, Yambambi. Over that weekend more than 1,600 people were rescued. While…
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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.…
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“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…
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“I realized it is so easy to die here. We came from so far away and it is so easy to get killed here,” Ali Rahimi, an Afghan asylum seeker, told us after he was stabbed five times in the torso in September 2011.  Ali is just one of many victims of…
News
A Senegalese asylum-seeker attacked in Athens by a gang of thugs spoke for many when he told me: “We take Europe as an example for democracy and solidarity. Now, if we, who live here among you, if we get killed on the street like chickens ...I think it's…