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Internal Inquiry Only Exposed Tip of the Iceberg

An internal probe looking into allegations that the EU border patrol agency, Frontex, is involved in, among other abuses, pushbacks of asylum seekers and migrants at Greece’s sea border with Turkey, raises questions about its willingness or…
An officer from the European Union’s border protection agency, Frontex, holds the arm of a migrant as they board a ferry in the port of Mytilini, Lesbos island, Greece, on Friday, April 8, 2016.
News

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

Border Patrol Agency has a Duty to Protect Human Rights

Mounting evidence suggests the Greek government has been secretly expelling thousands of migrants trying to reach its shores. An EUObserver article published on November 18 also suggests the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) is aware of…
An officer from the European Union’s border protection agency, Frontex, holds the arm of a migrant as they board a ferry in the port of Mytilini, Lesbos island, Greece, on Friday, April 8, 2016.
News

Groups File Complaint Against Abusive Migrant Pushbacks, Asylum Law in Greece

What will it take for the European Commission, as the guardian of European Union law, to use its enforcement powers against Greece over its treatment of migrants and asylum seekers? That’s the question at the heart of Oxfam and WeMove Europe’s…
The Greek Coast Guard has been accused of using rescue equipment - namely inflatable, motorless life rafts - to leave asylum seekers and migrants adrift in open water close to the Turkish sea border. May 25, 2020
News

Prime Minister Denies Growing Evidence of Abuses by Coast Guard and Border Police

There is mounting evidence that the Greek government has in recent months secretly expelled thousands of migrants trying to reach its shores. But in a recent interview with CNN, Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, denied the allegations once…
The Greek Coast Guard has been accused of using rescue equipment - namely inflatable, motorless life rafts - to leave asylum seekers and migrants adrift in open water close to the Turkish sea border. May 25, 2020
News

Refugees Live Rough on the Streets of Central Athens

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Greek government announced that it was throwing more than 11,000 refugees out on the street, including families with children, pregnant women, and women who are alone in Greece, as well as people with…
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

Plight of Unaccompanied Migrant Children Is Focus of New Campaign

Ibrahim, a 14-year-old boy from Somalia, was detained by Greek police for almost three months at a detention center in Amygdaleza, a police-run detention facility on the outskirts of Athens, which houses adults but has a dedicated section for…
Drawing by "Ibrahim," age 14, detained for 11 weeks. Drawing titled, "Life in and After Detention"
News

Greece Extends Covid-19 Lockdown at Refugee Camps

The Greek government has begun easing lockdown measures, given the country’s success in keeping Covid-19 under control. Starting last week, people could leave their homes without authorization, most shops have re-opened, and older…
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News

Basic Hygiene Not Only for Public Health But a Human Right

Soap, now more than ever, is a central part of our daily lives. But not for many refugees. I’ve been in refugee camps worldwide. This they all have in common: refugees make great efforts to keep clean, but often lack these…
People in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos wait to use one of the few overcrowded water stations in the camp.
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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

Authorities State Intention to Bar from Asylum, Deport New Arrivals to Turkey

On Saturday, I sat feeling helpless as I tracked a Greek naval vessel leaving Mytilene harbor on the island of Lesbos to an unknown destination. A Syrian asylum seeker who I have been in touch with for the past two weeks was on that…
Greek naval vessel holding newly arrived asylum seekers and migrants, shortly after departing Mytilene harbor, March 14, 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

Neglect Exposes Asylum Seekers to Abuse

With national elections coming up in less than a week in Greece, the widespread public debate about the country’s economy and future is not surprising. Unfortunately, other important issues are not getting the same attention. …
A Syrian man reads inside his tent at a makeshift camp outside Moria on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece.
News

Long Past Time to Put an End to Brutal Treatment of Migrants, Asylum Seekers

Ten years ago, I documented a systematic pattern of brutal Greek border police pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers at the Evros River border that divides Greece and Turkey. Last week, as I edited a new Human Rights Watch report, I…
Migrants that crossed the land border between Greece and Turkey are seen at the Pre-Removal Detention Center in the village of Fylakio, Northern Greece, February 24, 2017.
News

EU should stop backing policy that confines people to Aegean islands

Boat migration to Greece is no longer in the headlines but the crisis for asylum seekers on the Greek islands continues. More than 18,000 asylum seekers remain trapped in overcrowded camps on the Aegean islands. The largest,…
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New Arrivals Can No Longer Be Trapped in Abuse on Greek Islands

Greece’s highest administrative court, the Council of State, ordered the government to end its policy of trapping asylum seekers on its islands and refusing to move them to safer conditions on the mainland. This ruling,…
Greece refugee in wheel chair
News

On EU-Turkey Deal Anniversary, Greece Should End Containment Policy

Deadly, abysmal, dire, fear-inducing, insecure, cold, violent, humiliating, unfair… I’ve used these words often over the past two years to describe the situation for thousands of asylum-seeking women, men, and children…
Zahra Mosawi, 28, from Afghanistan is trapped on Lesbos, Greece. Despite being a survivor of gender-based violence and in need of psychosocial support, she’s been unable to find help in the camp.
News

Government Downplays Sexual Violence Risks in Migrant Hotspots

“Refugee women and children face heightened risk of sexual violence amid tensions and overcrowding at reception facilities on Greek islands.” This is the alarming title of the report published Friday by the United Nations…
A girl walks next to a self-made shower at a makeshift camp for refugees and migrants next to the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, November 30, 2017.
News

Government Should Transfer Children On Their Own From Cells to Safe Housing

Migrant and asylum-seeking children, traveling without parents or relatives far from their families and homes, are being locked up in police cells and detention centers in Greece. Last August, in response to an open letter…
Unaccompanied children line up for an evening meal at a detention facility run by the Greek police.
News

Greece, EU Should End its Containment Policy

Mariam’s home burned down last night. It was just a thin tent, big enough for two, the kind you would take on a summer camping trip. But it accommodated an Afghan family of four – Mariam and her husband, their 8-year-old…
Mariam, an Afghan asylum seeker and her children in their tent in the Moria hotspot on the Greek island of Lesbos, on December 4, 2017.