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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

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.
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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

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

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

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

Forced Return Would Violate Ban on Torture, Ill-Treatment

(Athens) – Greece should not extradite, deport, or otherwise facilitate the return of a Tajik opposition activist to Tajikistan, where he faces possible torture or ill-treatment, Human Rights Watch said today. Mirzorakhim Kuzov, a senior leader of the…
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OKs Deporting 2 Syrian Men to Turkey Without Hearing Refugee Claims

(Athens) – The September 22, 2017 decision by Greece’s highest administrative court that two Syrian asylum seekers can be deported to Turkey because it deems Turkey a safe third country for them puts people at risk. “Greece’s…
A Frontex officer (L) escorts a deportee onto a boat on the Greek island of Lesbos, April 4, 2016.
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Urgently Implement Plans for Children on Greek Islands

(Athens) – Greece’s Education Ministry should move quickly to implement positive new plans for the education of asylum-seeking children on the Aegean islands and make schools accessible to all of them, Human Rights Watch said today.…
"Majida" and her brother "Ziyat" from Iraq live in the camp of Vial on Chios island since May 2017. They do not go to school, but study English and Greek in courses offered by a nongovernmental group.
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Move Unaccompanied Kids from Cells to Open Facilities

  (Athens) – The number of unaccompanied migrant children held in unsuitable police cells and detention centers in Greece has increased alarmingly, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Migration Policy…
Unaccompanied children line up for an evening meal at a detention facility run by the Greek police.
News

Transfer Asylum Seekers to Mainland

(Athens) – Greek authorities, with the support of the European Union, should immediately transfer thousands of asylum seekers confined to appalling conditions on the Aegean islands to appropriate mainland accommodations, Human Rights Watch…
Snow lays next to tents provided by the UNHCR at the refugee camp of Moria on the Greek island of Lesbos, January 10, 2017.
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Bloc’s Multiple Challenges Require Rights-Based Response

(Brussels) – The European Union and its member states compromised core human rights values in responding to the multiple challenges facing the bloc in 2016, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2017. Human Rights…
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At Summit, Embrace Shared Responsibility, Not Outsourcing

(Brussels) – European Union leaders should signal a change in course and affirm strong human rights principles in EU asylum policy and foreign relations, Human Rights Watch said today. Heads of state from the 28 EU countries meeting in…
Families waiting for a bottle of water and a sandwich per person at a camp in Idomeni, Greece, March 2016.
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

An Agenda to Restore Protection

Summary A lack of leadership, vision, and solidarity based on human rights principles are at the core of the European Union’s dismal response to refugee and migration challenges. The mismanagement and politicization of a…
A migrant is rescued from the mediteranean sea by a member of Proactiva Open Arms NGO some 20 nautical miles north of Libya on October 3, 2016.
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Renounce Outsourcing, Increase Resettlement, Uphold High Asylum Standards

(Brussels) – European Union governments’ policy responses to migration undermine refugee protection and human rights and diminish the EU’s moral standing, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 24-page report, “EU Policies Put…
A migrant is rescued from the mediteranean sea by a member of Proactiva Open Arms NGO some 20 nautical miles north of Libya on October 3, 2016.
News

In Greece, Germany, Press to Correct Course on Refugees

(Brussels) — Barack Obama, on his final visit to Europe as US president, should call on EU leaders to defend universal human rights and show greater responsibility for refugees, Human Rights Watch said today. Obama is scheduled to visit…
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