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Tens of thousands of workers trapped in highly abusive conditions

Lebanon’s restrictive and exploitative kafala (sponsorship) system traps tens of thousands of migrant domestic workers in highly abusive conditions amounting, at worst, to modern slavery. The law fails to protect the workers, and the establishment…
Protestors holding banners calling for the abolishment of Lebanon's controversial kafala sponsorship system.
Report
Summary As the harmful effects of immigration detention become more widely known and the appropriateness of detaining migrants is increasingly questioned, governments are looking at alternatives to detention as more humane and rights-respecting…
Report
Summary Syria is a death country, a kidnapping country. Anyone coming back will lose their money or their life. — Salam, 26, from al-Jeza in Daraa Syrian refugees who voluntarily returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan…
Video
(Beirut) – Syrian refugees who returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan faced grave human rights abuses and persecution at the hands of the Syrian government and affiliated militias, Human Rights Watch…
News

Regarding Resettlement and Complementary Pathways for Afghans

October 1, 2021 Members of the European Union Justice and Home Affairs Council Re: Resettlement and Complementary Pathways for Afghans   Dear Minister, We write to urge your government to make concrete and meaningful pledges to assist…
News

Adopt Rights-Respecting Contract for Migrant Domestic Workers

(Beirut) – Lebanon’s Labor Ministry should urgently adopt a new standard unified contract that respects and protects the rights of migrant domestic workers as a first step toward abolishing the abusive kafala (sponsorship) system, Human Rights Watch…
Protestors holding banners calling for the abolishment of Lebanon's controversial kafala sponsorship system.
News

Longtime Residents Facing Deportation, Separation

(Beirut) – Lebanon’s General Security has detained a Sudanese-Sri Lankan family of seven, including four children under age 18, threatening to deport the parents to different countries for lacking residency papers, the Anti-…
People wave a Lebanese national flag during a protest in Central Beirut December 11, 2006.
News

The London summit this week could kick-start the revival of the stalled reform process in the region – but won’t if human rights and the rule of law stay off the agenda

  Western Balkan and European Union leaders meet in London this week for a summit that could be a chance to revive stalled reforms and focus attention on critical issues. Unfortunately, there is every chance it will turn out to be full of hot…
Migrants are seen in front of a dorm destroyed during Bosnian 1992-1995 war, in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina May 11, 2018.
News
  Some politicians in Lebanon, host to the world’s largest per capita refugee population, are looking for signs that it may be safe for Syrian refugees to go home, even as the violence there continues.  Seven years into the Syria…
Bar Elias, a town in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, has become home to Syrian refugees who were evicted from the Rayak air base, and have settled here in informal encampments.
News

Expulsions by Municipalities Appear Discriminatory, Lack Due Process

  (Beirut) – At least 13 municipalities in Lebanon have forcibly evicted at least 3,664 Syrian refugees from their homes and expelled them from the municipalities, apparently because of their nationality or religion, while another 42,000…
A clothesline in an informal tent settlement in Bar Elias, Bekaa Governorate, Lebanon. Refugees evicted from the Rayak air base area settled here in January 2018. The refugees say there was no procedure, no written notice, no opportunity to discuss or cha
News

Grant Access to Asylum Procedures; Hold Abusers Accountable

(New York) –Yemeni government officials have tortured, raped, and executed migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa in a detention center in the southern port city of Aden, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities have…
Buraika detention facility for migrants in Aden governorate, Yemen. © 2018 VICE News Tonight on HBO
News

Europe Should Help End Cycle of Detention, Violence in Libya

A young Eritrean man died on Tuesday in Sicily of tuberculosis compounded by severe malnutrition. His name was Segen.* He was 22. There is so much about Segen we may never know. Did he prefer to read books or play football?…
Segen, a 22-year-old Eritrean, stares into the camera before disembarking in Pozzallo, Sicily, from the Pro Activa Open Arms rescue ship on March 13, 2018. He died several hours later.
News
(Beirut) – Lawless armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) morphed into disastrous trends for the region in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its 2018 World Report. “Failed leadership, failed…
Smoke billows behind a building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 3, 2017, during clashes between Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. © 2017 Getty Images
News

The Stories From People With Disabilities Who Have Endured Humanitarian crises

Simplice – Central African Republic The frustration burned in Simplice Lenguy’s eyes as he spoke about the situation faced by people with disabilities since conflict erupted in the Central African Republic. In…
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

Calls for Safe Zones Raise Concerns

(Beirut) – Human Rights Watch today released a question-and-answer document on “safe zones” and the armed conflict in Syria. A number of leaders and governments have suggested that creating safe zones in Syria near the Turkish or other borders could…
An internally displaced Syrian woman walks in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, northern Aleppo province, Syria, December 26, 2016.
News
Recent statements by leaders and governments in the United States, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan indicate an interest in creating so-called safe zones in Syria. While no detailed plans for creating and managing such…
An internally displaced Syrian woman walks in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, northern Aleppo province, Syria, December 26, 2016.
News
Imagine that your parents fled their country with you 30 years ago, when you were a baby. The country where you live is the only place you have ever known and your own children were born there. But you wake up one day and…
Five returning Afghan refugee children wait for their parents to register at the UN refugee agency’s support center outside Kabul after being forced out of Pakistan in October 2016. Almost 600,000 Afghans, including 360,000 registered refugees, returned h
News

UN Refugee Agency Complicit in Government Coercion

(Kabul) – Pakistani authorities have carried out a campaign of abuses and threats to drive out nearly 600,000 Afghans since July 2016, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The returnees include 365,000 registered refugees, making it the…
An Afghan refugee family forced out of Pakistan stands by a hired truck laden with their possessions after an overnight journey, October 2016
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