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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.
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

Authorities Should Free Jailed Workers, Investigate Claims Of Unsafe Practices

On recent Turkish Airlines flights, after passengers watch the usual safety video they are also shown a short film lauding the virtues of Istanbul’s gigantic new third airport, expected to open in October. But, according to accounts by…
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News

Iranian Asylum Seeker’s Case Shows Flaws of EU-Turkey Deal

Yesterday I woke up to an alarming text message: “Hi, call me please. My brother today [will be] deported [to] Turkey.” The text was from Arash, a 30-year-old Iranian asylum seeker stuck on the Greek island of Lesbos, who was desperate…
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News
With little fanfare or media attention, the European Union and Greece yesterday quietly resumed deporting “irregular migrants” from Greece to Turkey. After a two-week pause, boats reportedly took 31 people from Kos, 13 from Lesbos…
A Frontex officer (L) escorts a deportee onto a boat on the Greek island of Lesbos, April 4, 2016.
News
Things are bad when Syrian government barrel bombs rain down on your home and force you to flee to a displaced persons camp. Things are really bad when ISIS comes to your camp and orders you to leave. But when Turkish border troops – working with the…
Ikdah camp in Syria near Turkish border
News
The first returns of migrants - including perhaps some asylum seekers - from Greece to Turkey seem as dodgy as the EU-Turkey deal itself. And it will likely get worse. On the island of Lesbos, the EU and Greece staged a show…
Migrants look through a fence from inside the Moria registration centre for refugees and migrants on the Greek island of Lesbos, Greece April 4, 2016.
News
Yesterday, the European Union and Turkey reached an agreement designed to curb the flow of migrants to Europe and to Turkey. But the deal carries huge risks for Turkey, the EU, and above all refugees and asylum seekers. …
Turkish Gendarmes lead a group of refugees to buses to prevent them from sailing off for the Greek island of Chios by dinghies, at a beach in the western Turkish coastal town of Cesme.
News
I thought long and hard before I retweeted the photo of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi. It shows the lifeless toddler, lying face down on a popular Turkish beach, one of eleven Syrians who have almost certainly died as they tried to reach safety in Europe by…
A man carries the body of a dead Syrian boy who died at sea.