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Stop Criminalizing Humanitarian Rescuers

(Athens) – Two humanitarian activists who provided life-saving aid to migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Greece will face charges in a trial scheduled for November 18, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. The trial at the Mytilene Misdemeanor…
Humanitarian activists Sarah Mardini and Sean Binder
News

Pilot Programs Point Way to Rights-Respecting Models

(New York) – Pilot programs testing alternatives to immigration detention in several countries, including the United States, offer governments models for more humane and rights-respecting approaches, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today…
Illustration of a man hugging his family outside of a detention center
News

Lack of Protections Puts Women, Children at Risk

(Athens) – A law scheduled to take effect on September 16, 2021, that amends child custody provisions in Greece’s civil code places women and children survivors of domestic violence at risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The Greek government should…
Protesters in Athens, Greece on March 27, 2021 stand outside the Greek Parliament displaying a banner that reads “your sexism is harming both mother and child” against a new law that introduces presumptive co-custody of children, even in cases of domestic violence.
News

Ensure All Asylum-Seeking Children Are Enrolled in Coming School Year

(Athens) – The Greek government should urgently reform discriminatory policies so that children seeking asylum can go to school when the new year begins on September 13, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. Only 1 in 7 children living in camps was…
A refugee girl living in a camp near Athens.
News

Concrete Plans Needed to Address Climate Crisis, Protect Rights

(London) – G7 member countries should take immediate and concrete action to end fossil fuel subsidies, Human Rights Watch said in a question-and-answer document released today. Ending these subsidies is key to countries meeting their human rights…
A Uniper coal-fired power plant and a BP refinery steam beside a wind generator in Gelsenkirchen, Germany on Jan. 16, 2020. © 2020 Martin Meissner/AP Photo
News

Reject Proposed Legal Changes; Improve Protections for Abuse Victims

(Athens) – A bill to amend child custody provisions in Greece’s civil code disregards risks for domestic violence victims that would put women and children in jeopardy, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, "Reforms regarding parent-child…
Protest outside the Greek Parliament in Athens on March 27, 2021 against a bill that would introduce compulsory equal joint custody of children in cases of separation or divorce. 
News

People Still Accommodated in Camp’s Contaminated Area

Dozens of families are still accommodated in areas of a migrant camp in Lesbos where soil testing showed elevated lead levels two months after the Greek government confirmed that the areas were contaminated, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Authorities removing soil
News

After Pledging Reforms, UK Development Bank Should Implement Them

A United Kingdom development bank, CDC Group, has taken another step toward addressing human rights abuses at oil palm plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In May, the bank committed to reforming its complaints mechanism and adopting a…
201911ENV_DRC_reportphotos
News

Groups Press Parliament to Open Inquiry

(Athens) – Members of Greece’s parliament should urgently establish an inquiry into all allegations of unlawful returns of migrants to Turkey by law enforcement officers and others, 29 human rights and humanitarian aid organizations said in an open…
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

Enact Legislation Protecting Those Most At Risk

(London) – The government of the United Kingdom is stalling on establishing a robust legal framework to address violence against women and girls even as reported domestic abuse spikes during the pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today.  …
People walk past a graffiti reading ‘End abuse against women’ on Euston Road, in London, Friday March 6, 2020.
News

New Campaign to Shelter Children, End Detention Amid COVID-19

  (Athens) – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis should free hundreds of unaccompanied migrant children detained in unhygienic police cells and detention centers in Greece, Human Rights Watch said today in opening a campaign to…
A child places his hands on a fence as Greek police officers stand guard at a makeshift camp for migrants and refugees in Greece.
News

Immediate Hotspot Decongestion Needed to Address COVID-19

(Athens) – Greece’s government should immediately reduce congestion in the islands’ Reception and Identification Centers (RICs) for asylum seekers and migrants to avert a public health crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic, 24 human rights and…
Asylum seekers and migrants in the Reception and Identification Center of Moria, Lesbos after a fire broke out, on March 16, 2020.
News

Authorities Prevent Access to Services, Plan Transfers to Mainland Detention

(Athens) – Greek authorities have denied at least 625 people who arrived on the island of Lesbos between March 1 and 18, 2020 the right to seek asylum, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities are detaining 189 new…
202003ref_greece_lesbos_siamadis_1
News

More Than 450 Held on Navy Boat

(Athens) – Greece’s decision to detain more than 450 people on a naval vessel and refuse to allow them to lodge asylum claims flagrantly violates international and European law, Human Rights Watch said today. The action may amount to an…
Women, men, and children inside the hull of a Greek Navy ship in Mytilene harbor, Lesbos, Greece. March 2020. © Private
News

UK Court Concludes They Were Abducted, Forced Back to Dubai

(Beirut) – United Arab Emirates (UAE) authorities should secure the freedom of two daughters of the ruler of Dubai, who a United Kingdom court found are being confined against their will, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 5, 2020, a UK family…
Shaikha Latifa Bint Mohammed
News

Refugee Camps Have Reached Breaking Point

(Athens) – European Union (EU) Member States should urgently relocate unaccompanied children from the Greek islands to safety in their territory, while ensuring that the children’s best interests are taken into account, 64 human…
A boy stands next to a hole in the fence of the Moria camp following rainfall, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, November 22, 2019. REUTERS/Elias Marcou
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Provide Humane Collective Response to Migration Challenges

(Brussels) – Greece and its European Union (EU) partners should deliver a collective response to Turkey’s new policy of not stopping migrants and asylum seekers trying to leave for Greece, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
A boy from Afghanistan arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
News

Focus on Mainland Transfers, Not Detention

(Athens) – Greece’s recently announced border control plans for the Aegean islands should not come at the expense of asylum seeker and migrant rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The government has said it will relocate 20,000 asylum…
A Syrian man reads inside his tent at a makeshift camp outside Moria on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece.
News

Athens Fails to Act on European Court Ruling Against Detaining Migrant Kids

The European Court of Human Rights recently confirmed what many have long known: that Greece’s practice of locking up unaccompanied migrant and asylum-seeking children in police cells and detention centers leads to serious rights abuses…
Unaccompanied children line up for an evening meal at a detention facility run by the Greek police.
News

Few Classes in Government Camps on the Aegean Islands

(Athens) – Greece is denying thousands of asylum-seeking children their right to an education because of an European Union-backed migration policy that traps them on the Aegean islands, Human Rights Watch said today. The 51-…
Children decorate a wall at PIKPA