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COVID-19 in Europe, the Central Eurasian Region, and Turkey

What are some of your biggest concerns about the coronavirus moving through Europe and Central Asia? Europe is one of the world’s epicenters of COVID-19 cases. There’s an awful death toll in Italy and Spain with the numbers of dead going up…
Military police officers patrol at a market in Budapest, Hungary, March 31, 2020.
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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.
News

Reopen Dubs Amendment; Improve Family Reunification Process

Tomorrow, UK parliamentarians will hold a much-needed debate on the situation of migrants and asylum seekers in Calais, one year after the demolition of the so-called “Jungle” camp. The discussion is critical, because conditions…
Unaccompanied children in the Calais migrant camp await interviews with the UK Home Office, October 22, 2016.
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Hungary’s governing party is cranking up the heat on nongovernmental organizations.  With its tight grip on parliament, and having undermined the courts and the media, the Fidesz government doesn’t like being held to account by pesky independent…
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks during his state-of-the-nation address in Budapest, Hungary, February 10, 2017.
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Asylum Seekers Denied Access to Protection; Subject to Violence

(Budapest) – Croatian police are forcing asylum seekers back to Serbia from inside Croatia, in some cases using violence, without giving them an opportunity to lodge claims for protection, Human Rights Watch said today. Human…
Migrants wait in line to receive free food during a snowfall outside a derelict customs warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia January 9, 2017.
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Serbia, Hungary Leave People Without Adequate Shelter as Winter Hits Hard

While many in Serbia prepare for Orthodox Christmas, others in the country and neighboring Hungary are bedding down in freezing cold weather hoping to survive. Temperatures in Hungary and Serbia have dropped to minus 20 degrees centigrade at night.…
Asylum seekers and migrants living in appalling conditions in abandoned warehouses behind Belgrade train station, Serbia. November 22, 2016.
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Before it was demolished at the end of October, the sprawling migrant camp in Calais had become a symbol of Europe’s shame, a visible reminder of the European Union’s failure to find a humane, fair, and coordinated approach to migration. But…
Former camp residents wave as they depart in buses for migrant centers elsewhere in France. 24 October 2016.
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UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had intended Monday’s UN summit on the global refugee and migration crisis to recast the world’s response into a broader protection framework with more equitable responsibility sharing. But many world…
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Ensure Asylum Access; Investigate Cruel, Violent Pushbacks

(Budapest) – Migrants at Hungary’s border are being summarily forced back to Serbia, in some cases with cruel and violent treatment, without consideration of their claims for protection, Human Rights Watch said today. New…
Asylum seekers in Roszke waiting for days and weeks to be admitted to the transit zone, Hungary, March 31, 2016.
News

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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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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(November 17, 2015) More than 800,000 asylum seekers and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea in 2015, with most traveling onward to northern and western EU countries. According to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency, 84 percent were from Syria,…
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Stranded in Misery by Delay, Lack of Coordination, Indifference

(Budapest) –The European Union and Western Balkans countries meeting on October 25, 2015, should focus on alleviating the suffering of migrants and asylum seekers stranded at various European borders, Human Rights Watch said today. Cascading border…
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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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Lack of Consensus on Mandatory Relocation; Shift Focus to Countries Outside EU

(Brussels) – The response to the refugee crisis agreed by the European Union interior ministers on September 14, 2015, is largely focused on shifting responsibility to countries outside the EU, Human Rights Watch said today. …
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David Cameron’s government has shown a shameful lack of leadership and compassion in the face of Europe’s refugee crisis. Until now, it’s not paid much of a political price for doing so. But the heart-wrenching image of Aylan Kurdi, washed up on a Turkish…
A Syrian family sit on the dock side after being escorted into the harbor by the Greek Coastguard who found them drifting offshore on June 4, 2015 in Kos, Greece.
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The Hungarian government’s problematic approach to asylum seekers and migrants has hit a new low. The changes to the Hungarian asylum law as of August 1, among other things, mean that asylum claims from anyone entering via a country on a safe “third”…
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