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Ensure Independent and Effective Investigation

(Brussels) – The top governing body of the European Union Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) should urgently establish an independent inquiry into allegations of its involvement in unlawful operations to stop migrants from reaching the European…
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

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

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…
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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
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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
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

End Containment Policy, Organize Transfers Now

 (Athens) – The Greek government and its European Union partners should urgently ensure that all asylum seekers on the Aegean islands are transferred to suitable accommodation on the mainland or relocated to other EU countries as winter approaches…
Asylum seekers outside their tent in the "Olive Grove", a makeshift camp outside Moria camp on the island of Lesbos on October 31, 2018.
News

12 Groups Open Campaign to End Containment Policy

  (Athens) – The Greek government, with the support of European Union leaders, should act now before the onset of winter to end Greece’s “containment policy,” 12 human rights and humanitarian organizations said in a campaign that began today…
A migrant walks after receiving food during snowfall at the Moria hotspot on the Greek island of Lesbos, on January 9, 2017.
News

Greece has a responsibility to protect the human rights of people arriving on its islands

“There is no peace, no safety, no dignity in Moria. It’s worse than jail. We are not treated as belonging to society, as human beings,” Roula, a Syrian mother of two small children told me. She was among dozens of people I interviewed in late…
Moria hotspot on the island of Lesbos. Poor living conditions in the camp and overcrowded hotspots, with little to no access to basic services, such as sanitation and proper shelter, are key factors that contribute to psychological distress.
News

Groups Press Greek Officials, EU States for Mainland Transfers, Improved Conditions

  (Athens) – The Greek government, with the support of EU member states, should act now to end Greece’s “containment policy,” 20 human rights and aid groups said today. The policy forces asylum seekers arriving on the Greek islands to remain…
Migrants and asylum seekers gathering around a fire, inside the Moria hotspot on Lesbos island, Greece.
News

Would Exacerbate Dire Conditions for Asylum Seekers

(Athens) – Plans to resume returns of asylum seekers to Greece put the rights of thousands of people at risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The move demonstrates once again the European Union’s failure to uphold its human rights obligations and share…
Families waiting for a bottle of water and a sandwich per person at a camp in Idomeni, Greece, March 2016.
News

End Unjustified Detention of Vulnerable Unaccompanied Kids

(Athens) Greek police routinely lock up unaccompanied children in small, overcrowded, and unhygienic cells for weeks and months, Human Rights Watch said in a new report released today. The 27-page report, “‘Why Are You…
Unaccompanied children line up for an evening meal at a detention facility run by the Greek police.
News

Would Harm Refugees, Undermine EU’s Principles

(Brussels) – The European Union’s proposed deal with Turkey, announced on March 8, 2016, represents “a disturbing disregard for international law covering the rights of refugees, asylum seekers, and migrants,” Human Rights Watch…
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End Political Squabbling, Focus on Rights

(Athens) – Calls to quarantine Greece and to prevent the onward movement of asylum seekers put their rights at risk, Human Rights Watch said today. Asylum seekers and migrants in Greece face chaotic registration procedures, serious…
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Lack of Consensus on Mandatory Relocation; Shift Focus to Countries Outside EU

(Brussels) – The response to the refugee crisis agreed by the European Union interior ministers on September 14, 2015, is largely focused on shifting responsibility to countries outside the EU, Human Rights Watch said today. …
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How to Save Lives and Protect People

(Brussels) – The European Union and its 28 member states should act immediately to address the human rights crisis resulting from years of mismanaging migration and asylum, Human Rights Watch said today. With a humanitarian crisis on the Greek islands, a…
A view of Budapest's Keleti train station in Hungary where refugees and asylum seekers wait to be let on trains to Germany. September 2, 2015.
News

Increase Refugee Resettlement, Asylum Seeker Relocation

  Update, June 26, 2015 At the European Council meeting June 25, EU leaders agreed to “in principle” to resettle 20,000 refugees from abroad and relocate 40,000 asylum seekers from Italy and Greece. Leaders…
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(Milan) - The European Union (EU) should act immediately to prevent further deaths at sea, Human Rights Watch said. As many as 700 migrants and asylum seekers are feared dead in a single shipwreck in the Mediterranean north of Libya on April 19, 2015,…