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France Complicit as Magomed Gadaev at Risk of Torture in Chechnya

Magomed Gadaev, 37, an asylum seeker from Chechnya and key witness in a high-profile torture case against Chechnya’s leadership, was abducted by Chechen security officials on April 11, two days after his deportation from France to Russia. France…
Magomed Gadaev pictured in Paris, France.
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

Libya Could Have Used Ships to Commit Abuses Against Migrants and Asylum Seekers

France’s decision last week to withdraw its offer of six boats to the Libyan Coast Guard is good news, as Libya could have used this “gift” to subject even more migrants and refugees to serious abuses in Libya. In February,…
Migrants on a boat that they tried to take to Italy, after being detained at a Libyan Navy base in Tripoli on September 20, 2015.
News

French Assistance Could Lead to Gross Rights Violations

People shackled, beaten, burned, crushed, hung upside down, threatened, and detained in horrendous conditions: the images broadcast recently by Channel 4 News apparently showing the torture and inhumane conditions suffered by some…
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News
Following his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he wanted “to make the Mediterranean a chance and not a fear.” But does he mean Europeans’ fears of foreigners,…
Migrants are seen onboard the charity ship Lifeline at Boiler Wharf in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Malta June 27, 2018.
News

New provisions risk undermining asylum seekers’ rights while not solving ongoing issues

In France, asylum seekers are sleeping rough, and flawed procedures often leave unaccompanied migrant children adrift, homeless, and excluded from the care they need. But instead of addressing these challenges or correcting…
Tents are seen at a makeshift migrant camp on a street near the metro stations of Jaures and Stalingrad in Paris, France, October 28, 2016
News

‘Fraternity’ Ruling Offers Wider Lessons for Europe

France’s highest court has just ruled that helping others in need, including undocumented migrants, is protected by the country’s constitution. The decision comes at a time when people and groups trying to help undocumented migrants – in…
Migrants rest after having crossed part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Nevache in southeastern France, December 21, 2017.
News

New Bill Could Open Door to Wrongful Asylum Rejections

Proposed changes by France’s Senate Law Commission to a controversial and widely criticized asylum and immigration bill could make things worse and open the door to improper and unlawful exclusion of refugees. The commission’s amendments would…
Migrants queue for a free meal distributed by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International (ADRA) humanitarian agency on a street near Stalingrad metro station in Paris, France, October 28, 2016
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

Amend Draft to Safeguard Access to Protection

(Paris) – A bill before the French Parliament on immigration and asylum could jeopardize access to protection and should be revised, Human Rights Watch said today. The National Assembly will examine the bill in the week of April 16, 2018, and the Senate…
Tents are seen at a makeshift migrant camp on a street near the metro stations of Jaures and Stalingrad in Paris, France, October 28, 2016
News
It’s the middle of winter and six hundred or more asylum seekers and migrants, including more than 100 unaccompanied children, remain camped out in Calais in increasingly dire conditions, exposed to the elements and faced with routine police…
Migrants in Calais gather in the rain for a clothing distribution in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Calais, France. © Futuro Berg/Help Refugees, October 2017
News

29th session

Summary Discrimination on grounds of origin or religion remains a significant problem in France. Abusive police identity checks disproportionally affect minorities, which France has failed to address despite a commitment to do so at its last…
News

Authorities Should End Abuse of Migrants, Open Shelters for Winter

Shortly after he became president of France last year, Emmanuel Macron had a hopeful vision for humanely addressing the country’s asylum crisis. “By the end of the year, I do not want to have men and women on the streets, in the woods. I want…
A migrant walks past the slogans which read "refugees welcome" written on a wall near the former "jungle" in Calais, France, August 23, 2017.
News

Police Abuse, Freezing Conditions Threaten Their Safety

(Paris) – Migrants and asylum seekers in Calais are facing desperate living conditions, especially as temperatures drop, Human Rights Watch said today. Many child and adult migrants described an increase in the police destruction and…
Asylum seekers and other migrants sleep outside in the snow, Calais, France, December 11, 2017.
News
It was mid-morning in late June, but the warehouse in Calais was dark, cold, and drafty. I sat on the ground with “Marie,” a tall, slim French woman in her early twenties. Bent forward with a look of concentration, she described how the…
Migrants in Calais gather in the rain for a clothing distribution in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Calais, France. © Futuro Berg/Help Refugees, October 2017
News
In Calais at the end of June, I spoke to a 17-year-old Ethiopian boy (I’ll call him Biniam T.). He said French riot police (the Compagnies républicaines de sécurité, CRS) had sprayed him with a chemical substance as he was walking with…
After police halted an evening distribution of food and clothing, three officers stop and question a boy who had paused to change his shoes before returning to the wooded area where he and other migrants spend the night, May 2017. © 2017 Help Refugees
Report
Summary Since they destroyed [the Calais camp] last year, there is no place to sleep or eat. It’s like living in hell. —Yeakob S., 29-year-old Ethiopian man, Calais, June 30, 2017 [T]he women and the men who first were coming from Syria,…
News

Government Ignores Widespread Reports of Ill-Treatment

(Paris) – French police in Calais routinely abuse asylum seekers and other migrants, Human Rights Watch said today. The French authorities turn a blind eye to the widespread reports of the abuse. The 40-page report, “‘Like Living…
French police detain two migrants, one a 14-year-old boy, before dispersing a late-night food distribution in Calais on June 29, 2017.
News

In times of populist and xenophobic election rhetoric, protecting the rights of young migrants can be an uphill battle

I recently met “Birhan” in a shelter for unaccompanied migrant children in southern France. Birhan is a friendly 17-year-old boy from Eritrea —he was open to speaking to me and offering to make me tea, which I accepted gratefully on a cold day. …
Unaccompanied children in the Calais migrant camp await interviews with the UK Home Office, October 22, 2016.