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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.
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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.
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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.
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Denying Access to Education on Lack of Residency Status is Illegal

Every child in Russia has the right to an education. Russia’s Constitution says so, the federal law on education says so, and Russia’s obligations under international law say so. Despite this, children of asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, and…
The Ministry of Education and Science of the Russian Federation, Moscow.
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Discriminatory Actions Causing Chaos, Crisis

(Brussels) – The chaos and violence unfolding on the Greece-Macedonia border are a direct result of discriminatory border closures and Austria’s unilateral cap on asylum seekers, Human Rights Watch said today. Thousands of asylum…
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Blocked Access to Asylum; Beatings by Soldiers; Poor Conditions

(Brussels) – Nationality-based restrictions at the border between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are preventing asylum seekers from reaching countries where they want to lodge protection claims. Human Rights…
Two young Iranian sisters at the Idomeni border crossing between Greece and Macedonia. The border crossing is closed to all except those from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan who intend to seek asylum in Germany or Austria, stranding other asylum seekers and
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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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Detained Without Proper Safeguards

(Brussels) - The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has resumed the practice of arbitrarily detaining migrants and asylum seekers. The detentions are ostensibly to secure their testimony as witnesses in criminal proceedings against people suspected of…
window in the male section
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Over the last year, reporting about FIFA, football’s scandal-plagued governing body, has focused on arrests, corruption, and worker rights abuses in the upcoming World Cup host countries, Russia and Qatar. So today’s news that…
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Beaten, Insulted at Border and in Detention

(Brussels) – The Macedonian police have verbally and physically abused migrants and asylum seekers at the border and in detention, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Macedonia is a key transit country along the Western Balkans…
Gazi Baba
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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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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.…
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Containment Plan Bulgaria’s Pushbacks and Detention of Syrian and Other Asylum Seekers and Migrants Map A Pushback …
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Earlier this month, Russian State Radio’s Vesti FM published on its website a map with the title “Illegal Aliens,” marking neighborhoods with supposedly dense populations of undocumented migrants in Moscow. For nearly two weeks, the station has been…
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Racial Profiling, Arbitrary Detention, Harsh Detention Conditions

(Moscow) – Moscow police have detained thousands of suspected irregular migrants since late July 2013, for alleged violation of migration and employment regulations. Hundreds are in custody, including in a makeshift tent camp in inhuman conditions. Russia…
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Protection of Migrants’ Rights in 2009

SummaryKey RecommendationsWomen Migrant Domestic WorkersMigrant Construction WorkersRight to HealthDiscriminatory Treatment of MigrantsTreatment of Migrants Crossing Borders2009 Human Rights Watch Reports on Migrants Summary Migrants drowning at sea…
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Deaths, Labor Exploitation, Violence, and Poor Treatment in Detention

(New York) - Many governments' policies toward migrants worldwide expose them to human rights abuses including labor exploitation, inadequate access to health care, and prolonged detention in poor, overcrowded conditions, Human Rights Watch said today in…