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Summary Since December 2020, the Bangladesh government has moved nearly 20,000 Rohingya refugees to Bhasan Char, a remote silt island in the Bay of Bengal. With the approaching monsoon season, refugees and humanitarian workers alike fear that…
News

People Still Accommodated in Camp’s Contaminated Area

Dozens of families are still accommodated in areas of a migrant camp in Lesbos where soil testing showed elevated lead levels two months after the Greek government confirmed that the areas were contaminated, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Authorities removing soil
News

Internal Inquiry Only Exposed Tip of the Iceberg

An internal probe looking into allegations that the EU border patrol agency, Frontex, is involved in, among other abuses, pushbacks of asylum seekers and migrants at Greece’s sea border with Turkey, raises questions about its willingness or…
An officer from the European Union’s border protection agency, Frontex, holds the arm of a migrant as they board a ferry in the port of Mytilini, Lesbos island, Greece, on Friday, April 8, 2016.
News

Results Highlight Urgent Need for Further Testing, Safety Measures

The Greek government is downplaying the risk of lead poisoning at a migrant camp built in part on top of a former firing range on Lesbos island to justify its own inadequate action, Human Rights Watch said in a question-and-answer document released…
The area on the hill from where authorities are removing soil
News

Inadequate Government Response; Lack of Transparency Put Health at Risk

Update January 28, 2021: On January 27, 2021 the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum’s press office shared by email with media outlets and with Human Rights Watch a 79-page document detailing the results from the soil sample testing conducted in…
child plays next to an earth digger
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

Test Soil, Clear Firing Range

(Athens) Thousands of asylum seekers, aid workers, United Nations, and Greek and European Union employees may be at risk of lead poisoning in a new migrant camp that Greek authorities have built on a repurposed military firing range on the island of…
A girl from Syria living in Mavrovouni camp watches the Greek military search for unexploded munitions
News

Border Patrol Agency has a Duty to Protect Human Rights

Mounting evidence suggests the Greek government has been secretly expelling thousands of migrants trying to reach its shores. An EUObserver article published on November 18 also suggests the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) is aware of…
An officer from the European Union’s border protection agency, Frontex, holds the arm of a migrant as they board a ferry in the port of Mytilini, Lesbos island, Greece, on Friday, April 8, 2016.
News

Authorities Prepare to Relocate Thousands to Dangerous Island

(New York) – Bangladesh authorities beat refugees protesting their detention on Bhasan Char Island with sticks and tree branches, Human Rights Watch said today. Naval officers allegedly beat the refugees, including children, in retribution for their…
A man walks past buildings on Bhasan Char, or floating island, in the Bay of Bengal, Bangladesh on December 19, 2019.
News

Groups File Complaint Against Abusive Migrant Pushbacks, Asylum Law in Greece

What will it take for the European Commission, as the guardian of European Union law, to use its enforcement powers against Greece over its treatment of migrants and asylum seekers? That’s the question at the heart of Oxfam and WeMove Europe’s…
The Greek Coast Guard has been accused of using rescue equipment - namely inflatable, motorless life rafts - to leave asylum seekers and migrants adrift in open water close to the Turkish sea border. May 25, 2020
News

Prime Minister Denies Growing Evidence of Abuses by Coast Guard and Border Police

There is mounting evidence that the Greek government has in recent months secretly expelled thousands of migrants trying to reach its shores. But in a recent interview with CNN, Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, denied the allegations once…
The Greek Coast Guard has been accused of using rescue equipment - namely inflatable, motorless life rafts - to leave asylum seekers and migrants adrift in open water close to the Turkish sea border. May 25, 2020
News

Refugees Live Rough on the Streets of Central Athens

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Greek government announced that it was throwing more than 11,000 refugees out on the street, including families with children, pregnant women, and women who are alone in Greece, as well as people with…
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

Important Coastal Barrier at Risk from Increased Pollution

Cyclone Amphan, the most powerful to strike in the Bay of Bengal in 20 years, made landfall on the India-Bangladesh coast last month. Amphan ripped off roofs, washed away homes, and flooded farms. Crucially, Bangladesh was able to mitigate impact and…
Men working in a coal mine in Bangladesh
News

Plight of Unaccompanied Migrant Children Is Focus of New Campaign

Ibrahim, a 14-year-old boy from Somalia, was detained by Greek police for almost three months at a detention center in Amygdaleza, a police-run detention facility on the outskirts of Athens, which houses adults but has a dedicated section for…
Drawing by "Ibrahim," age 14, detained for 11 weeks. Drawing titled, "Life in and After Detention"
News

Greece Extends Covid-19 Lockdown at Refugee Camps

The Greek government has begun easing lockdown measures, given the country’s success in keeping Covid-19 under control. Starting last week, people could leave their homes without authorization, most shops have re-opened, and older…
202004eca_greece_moria_2
News

Refugee Camp Restrictions Threaten ‘Critical Services’

(Bangkok) – The Bangladesh government’s new Covid-19 restrictions on access to aid put Rohingya refugees at greater risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The lockdown measures cut humanitarian workers in refugee camps by 80 percent and put the…
Rohingya refugees place empty jars in a line while waiting to collect water in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on April, 20, 2020.
News

Allow Ashore Hundreds at Risk of Starvation, Provide Health Care

(Bangkok) – The Bangladesh government should immediately allow hundreds of Rohingya refugees stranded in two trawlers in the Bay of Bengal to come ashore and receive necessary food, water, and health care, Human Rights Watch said today. The United…
Rohingya refugees gather after being rescued in Teknaf near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, April 16, 2020.
Video
A group of refugees in Moria camp formed the Moria Corona Awareness Team (MCAT) to spread awareness and protect the camp from Covid-19. Footage courtesy of ReFOCUS Media Labs FB/IG: @refocusmedialabs TW: @refocusmedialab
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 free the children.…
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

Basic Hygiene Not Only for Public Health But a Human Right

Soap, now more than ever, is a central part of our daily lives. But not for many refugees. I’ve been in refugee camps worldwide. This they all have in common: refugees make great efforts to keep clean, but often lack these…
People in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos wait to use one of the few overcrowded water stations in the camp.