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Stripped, Robbed, and Forced Back to Turkey; No Chance to Seek Asylum

(Athens) – Greek security forces are employing third country nationals, men who appear to be of Middle Eastern or South Asian origin, to push asylum seekers back at the Greece-Turkey land border, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.…
A woman at a protest holds a sign that reads "#StopPushbacks"
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

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

States Should Allow Rescue Boats to Land, While Protecting Health

(Milan) – European governments’ actions to close their ports to people rescued at sea puts lives at risk and cannot be justified on public health grounds, Human Rights Watch said today. The imperative to protect the right to health in a pandemic…
Crew work seen on the Alan Kurdi rescue ship, operated by German charity Sea Eye.
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

Health Risks and International Law Require Safer Alternatives

  (Brussels) – People in immigration detention in European countries pending deportation should be given alternatives to detention amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today. “While entire societies learn to live under…
Women in the Ponte Galeria immigration detention center near Rome, Italy May 6, 2017.
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
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

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

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

As Abuse Is Known, Material Assistance Makes Rome Complicit

(Milan) – The Italian government should suspend all support to the Libyan Coast Guard until Libya commits to a clear plan to fully respect migrants’ safety and rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The plan should include closing…
Photo released by the Libyan Coast Guard showing people disembarking in Libya after being intercepted offshore, June 24, 2018.
News

Draconian Migration Measures Put Lives, Rights at Risk

  (Milan) – Italy’s Democratic Party-Five Star Movement coalition government should revoke anti-asylum and anti-rescue measures held over from the previous government, Human Rights Watch said today. The government is expected to propose…
Migrants are crowded together on deck of the rescue ship "Eleonore" as it seaches for a safe port in the Mediterranean.
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

Criminal Penalties Could Deter Saving Lives at Sea

(Milan) –The Italian government should firmly reject a proposal to fine shipmasters up to €5,500 for every person they rescue and take to Italy, Human Rights Watch said today. Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has proposed…
The migrant rescue ship Sea-Watch 3, carrying 47 migrants, comes into dock at the Sicilian port of Catania, southern Italy, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.
News

Misrata Security Forces Use Force After Rescued People Refuse to Land

(Milan) – Libyan security forces forcibly removed 79 migrants and asylum seekers on November 20, 2018 from the Panama-flagged cargo ship Nivin in the port of Misrata in Libya, after they refused to leave the ship for 10 days, Human…
map of Libya
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
News

Reinstates Containment Policy That Keeps People Trapped on Islands

  (Athens) – The Greek government’s move on April 20, 2018, overturning a binding court ruling ordering it to end its abusive policy of trapping asylum seekers on Greece’s islands raises rule of law concerns, 21…
201712eca_greece_refugees
News

Don’t Criminalize Saving Lives

(Milan) – Italy has impounded a rescue ship and threatened criminal charges against two members of its crew and the coordinator of the organization after they refused to turn migrants over to Libyan forces, fearing that they would be abused. On…
Proactiva’s rescue ship Open Arms on mission in November 2017.
News

As EU-Turkey Anniversary Nears, Move Asylum Seekers to Mainland Safety

(Athens) – Thousands of asylum seekers are trapped on the Aegean islands in deplorable conditions and without access to adequate protection and basic services, nine human rights and humanitarian organizations said today as part…
Ali, a 22-year-old Afghan asylum seeker with a disability, living in Moria camp, on the beach in Lesbos, Greece. He told Human Rights Watch he can’t access showers in the camp and sometimes tries to wash himself in the sea.
News

As Winter Begins, Accelerate Transfers, End Containment Policy

(Athens) – More than 13,500 asylum seekers remain trapped on the Greek islands in deplorable conditions as winter begins on December 21, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. Greece, with support from its European Union partners, should…
Ali, a 22-year-old Afghan asylum seeker with a disability, living in Moria camp, on the beach in Lesbos, Greece. He told Human Rights Watch he can’t access showers in the camp and sometimes tries to wash himself in the sea.
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