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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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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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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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By Alice Farmer and Lilana Keith

When Human Rights Watch first saw Yemi, the 17-year-old boy was huddled on a concrete bench in the corner of a windowless, graffitied holding cell run by the French border police. Clad in a stiff new leather jacket but otherwise without clothing warm…
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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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Washington Daily and a Former US Ambassador Launch Misguided Attack on the UN War Crimes Tribunal

This month, the Hague tribunal’s many opponents in Belgrade believed they had a reason to be jubilant. In the space of ten days, a former United States ambassador and a newspaper supposedly close to the current administration criticised the UN court and…
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(New York) - The global spread and rampant misuse of small arms and light weapons requires a reinvigorated international response, Human Rights Watch said today. More than 100 governments will gather in New York July 7-11 to assess progress in stemming…