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Customary International Law Prohibits Returning Rohingya to Burma

India’s home minister, Rajnath Singh, said in a tweet that his government is “not violating any international law” if it deports Rohingya refugees “as we are not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention.” Hold on. If India had not signed the…
A group of Rohingya refugees cross a canal after travelling over the Bangladesh-Burma border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 1, 2017.
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Deadly Experiences in Bosnia and Sri Lanka Should Serve as Warning

When Bangladesh’s prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, spoke at the United Nations General Assembly this week, she focused on the humanitarian challenges of hosting 400,000 Rohingya Muslims from northern Rakhine State in Burma. They have arrived destitute,…
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Casting about for ways to manage refugee flows, some European policymakers speak of emulating Australia’s use of offshore processing centers in neighboring countries. But Australia’s approach to asylum seekers is fiscally irresponsible, morally bankrupt,…
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Make Good on Commitment to Close Manus Detention Center

(Geneva) – The Papua New Guinea (PNG) government should present its plan and timeline for closing the Manus Island detention center at the upcoming Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Papua New Guinea on May 6, 2016, at the United Nations Human Rights…
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Halt Summary Returns, Beatings, Robbery of Asylum Seekers

(Budapest) – Bulgarian law enforcement officials summarily return asylum seekers and migrants to Turkey, often after stealing their belongings and subjecting them to violence. In research in six countries between October and…
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Amid an influx of Iraqis and Syrians into Europe, the West is neglecting another group of refugees also in desperate need of help.

TOVARNIK, Croatia — Rajab Ali, a 16-year-old Hazara boy from Afghanistan’s Bamyan province, was silently weeping when we found him standing at the last remaining opening in the 12-foot-high razor-wire border fence Hungary has constructed on its…
Afghan Refugees
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Across the world, unprecedented numbers of asylum seekers and migrants are turning to boat smugglers and risking or losing their lives in the world's oceans. So far this year at least 1,800 people have drowned in the Mediterranean. Instead of mustering…
Gerry Simpson - Expert
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Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia Should Act Urgently to Save Lives

(Bangkok) – Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia should end their pushbacks of boats with Rohingya and Bangladeshi migrants and asylum seekers, and instead bring them ashore and provide desperately needed aid, Human Rights Watch said today. As…
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There is much to be skeptical of in Burma’s plan for nationwide elections in October. But today one small, yet important, first step toward making Burma a genuine rights-respecting democracy took place. As part of a national process to update voter lists…
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EU Should Press Sofia to Investigate, Provide Protection

(Brussels) – Bulgarian border police have in the past month forced Syrian asylum seekers back to Turkey and beaten some of them, Human Rights Watch said today based on accounts by victims.   Human Rights Watch documented three separate incidents of…
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Calls for Europe to Help Fund Mare Nostrum Have Been Largely Ignored

The Italian Navy’s twitter feed contained joyous news last week: a pregnant mother among the 90 people rescued from the sea by a Navy frigate had given birth on board to a little girl, Yambambi. Over that weekend more than 1,600 people were rescued. While…
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My twitter feed on Monday was full of the latest tragedy in the Mediterranean. At least 17 people died when an overcrowded boat sank on the crossing from Libya to Italy, with many more still unaccounted for. We don’t know their names or their stories.…
Report
Containment Plan Bulgaria’s Pushbacks and Detention of Syrian and Other Asylum Seekers and Migrants Map A Pushback …
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Detained, Beaten in Squalid Facilities, or Left to Fend for Themselves

(Jakarta) – Indonesia detains and neglects migrant and asylum-seeking children, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Each year, hundreds are detained in sordid conditions, without access to lawyers, and sometimes beaten. Others are…
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'We kept climbing higher and higher as the boat was sinking,'' Arif B. told me, describing how he spent three nights clinging to a sinking boat as he tried to reach Australia. Many of his fellow passengers died, he said.   Arif was only 15 when he fled…
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Summary Arif B. was just 15 years old in early 2011 when he left Afghanistan to travel to Indonesia by himself.He borrowed US$7,000 to pay smugglers to bring him to…
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Give UN Refugee Agency Access to Asylum Seekers

(New York) – The Thai government should immediately halt its plan to deport 73 ethnic Rohingya back to Burma, Human Rights Watch said today. Thai authorities should allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN refugee agency,…
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Thousands of Kachin at Risk From Conflict, Abuses, Aid Shortages

(New York) – China should stop its forced returns of thousands of ethnic Kachin refugees to northern Burma, where they are at risk from armed hostilities, Burmese army abuses, and lack of aid. During the week of August 19, 2012, Chinese authorities…