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Effective Mechanism Needed: Independent, Broad Mandate, Adequate Resources

(Brussels) – Croatia’s recently announced border monitoring mechanism, meant to provide for independent human rights monitoring of border operations, appears to fall short of the standards needed to ensure its effectiveness and success, eight human…
European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 28, 2015.
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20-Point Action Plan to Protect People at Sea and on the Move

(Milan) – European Union governments have a collective responsibility to protect the lives and rights of people on the move along the central Mediterranean route, Human Rights Watch said today. EU heads of state will discuss migration policy at the…
Migrants and refugees on an overcrowded rubber boat during a rescue by the Spanish NGO Open Arms in the Mediterranean Sea, Feb. 12, 2021
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Parliamentary Committee Should Endorse Key Amendments

(Milan) – The Italian parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee should endorse certain key amendments to draft immigration legislation, Human Rights Watch said today. The amendments would abolish sanctions on rescue ships, reject the concept of “…
Men aboard the Sea-Watch 4, a nongovernmental rescue ship, rejoice on September 1, 2020, as they learn that they have permission to disembark in Palermo, Sicily, the next day.
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Groups Press Parliament to Open Inquiry

(Athens) – Members of Greece’s parliament should urgently establish an inquiry into all allegations of unlawful returns of migrants to Turkey by law enforcement officers and others, 29 human rights and humanitarian aid organizations said in an open…
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
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Μore than 160 Greek and international organizations, academics, and other actors from all over Europe urge the Greek authorities to revoke decision to close dignified alternatives in accommodating refugees οn Lesvos

(Athens) – We, the undersigned, call on the Minister of Migration and Asylum, Notis Mitarakis, and the local authorities of Lesvos to repeal their decision to terminate the operations of PIKPA and Kara Tepe facilities for vulnerable asylum seekers on…
Mural painting welcoming asylum seekers and migrants at PIKPA, a volunteer-run camp on Lesbos island, Greece. Since 2012 thousands of people fleeing war and persecution who have reached the island have found shelter at PIKPA.
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After a short lull during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic, migrants and refugees are once again boarding flimsy boats, mainly in Libya, in a desperate effort to cross the Mediterranean for European shores. Hundreds are drowning. Others are…
Migrants and refugees sit in a boat alongside the Maersk Etienne tanker off the coast of Malta, in this handout image provided 19 August, 2020.
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Europe has turned a blind eye to deaths in the Mediterranean.

An estimated 20,000 people died on the overcrowded, brutal slave ships owned by Edward Colston, the 17th century slave trader whose statue protesters toppled and threw into harbor in Bristol, England, earlier this week. That tragic figure finds a…
A man is rescued from the Mediterranean Sea by a member of Proactiva Open Arms NGO some 20 nautical miles north of Libya on October 3, 2016.  © 2016 Getty Images
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Dutch Government Should Welcome Unaccompanied Children from Greek Islands

Last week, Luxembourg became the first European country to welcome migrant children, twelve girls and boys, from the Greek Aegean Islands. And on April 16, 47 others arrived in Germany, the first to benefit from a plan to relocate…
Migrant children board a plane for Luxembourg
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Racial Profiling, Beatings in Detention

(Berlin) – Russian police rounded up and arbitrarily detained scores of Central Asian migrant workers, beating many of them, in a series of raids in mid-December 2019, Human Rights Watch said today. The raids, which were…
Shadows of people detained by Russian police, suspected of violating immigration rules during an action seen on containers at a street market in Moscow, Russia, August 7, 2013. © AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko
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Abuses Should Rule Out Schengen Accession

 (Budapest) – The European Commission’s October 22, 2019 conclusion that Croatia is ready to join the Schengen Area wilfully brushes over evidence of violent pushbacks of migrants at its borders, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing a video…
A migrant who claims he was beaten by Croatian police while attempting to cross the border to Croatia shows his injury at a factory hall turned migrants facility in Bihac, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
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Mr. Fabrice Leggeri  Executive Director European Border and Coast Guard Agency Re: Frontex Operation on Croatia-Bosnia Herzegovina Border Dear Mr. Leggeri, I am writing in relation to a July 9 statement made by…
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Release, Evacuate Detained Refugees and Migrants

(Brussels) –  European Union foreign ministers gathering in Brussels on July 15, 2019, should issue a clear call to Libyan authorities to close their migrant detention centers, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the European…
Debris covers the ground after an airstrike on the Tajoura migrant detention center in Tajoura east of Tripoli in Libya where 53 migrants were killed, Wednesday, July 3, 2019.
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Athens Fails to Act on European Court Ruling Against Detaining Migrant Kids

The European Court of Human Rights recently confirmed what many have long known: that Greece’s practice of locking up unaccompanied migrant and asylum-seeking children in police cells and detention centers leads to serious rights abuses…
Unaccompanied children line up for an evening meal at a detention facility run by the Greek police.