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Mass Accommodations Put People at Risk During Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted risks to asylum seekers living in large-scale, shared accommodations. In Germany, where asylum seekers are obliged by law to live in reception centers while their application is considered, it’s an urgent…
Members of a security service stand in protective gear inside a reception center for asylum seekers in North Rhine-Westphalia where 70 people tested positive for the virus that causes Covid-19, May 17, 2020. 
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States Should Allow Rescue Boats to Land, While Protecting Health

(Milan) – European governments’ actions to close their ports to people rescued at sea puts lives at risk and cannot be justified on public health grounds, Human Rights Watch said today. The imperative to protect the right to health in a…
Crew work seen on the Alan Kurdi rescue ship, operated by German charity Sea Eye.
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Following his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he wanted “to make the Mediterranean a chance and not a fear.” But does he mean Europeans’ fears of foreigners,…
Migrants are seen onboard the charity ship Lifeline at Boiler Wharf in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Malta June 27, 2018.
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Last week, the European People's Party (EPP) had a chance to stand up for its values and those of the European Union. But instead, it ducked the issue. The umbrella group of center-right and Christian democrat parties in European…
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban before a photo at the European Union Tallinn Digital Summit in Tallinn, Estonia, September 29, 2017.
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Tough Responses Needed to All Perpetrators

The murder of a 14-year-old girl in Wiesbaden, near Frankfurt, in late May shocked many in Germany. According to police, a 20-year-old man from Iraq, who failed in his bid to claim asylum in Germany, confessed to the crime at the…
Messages of mourning, candles and flowers are placed by people for Susanna F., the teenager who was found dead two days ago, in Wiesbaden-Erbenheim, Germany, June 8, 2018.
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Refugees are one of the most debated topics in the campaign before Germany’s election on September 24. The political programs of the seven parties most likely to be elected do all reflect this. According to its party platform, the right-…
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Putting Lives at Risk in Kabul

This week, the German government deported to Kabul another 26 rejected Afghan asylum seekers – the second such wave of deportations in as many months. They come home to a city that is both divided and insecure. There is the Kabul of the embassies:…
Protesters hold a placard reading "Afghanistan is not secure" during a demonstration against the deportation of Afghan asylum seekers from Germany back to Afghanistan, at Frankfurt Airport, Germany, December 14, 2016.Afghans, whose asylum applications hav
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They survived treacherous boat journeys between Turkey and Greece, barbed wire in Hungary, and cascading border closures across the Balkans – a journey, mainly on foot, that took months. Now, safe in Germany, with the most dangerous part of their trek…
Hassan fled Damascus and after arriving in Berlin began volunteering at a refugee center, handing out clothes, food and baby carriages.
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Germany’s generous and humane response to Europe’s refugee crisis is under threat. While most EU governments have sought to shirk their responsibilities, Berlin has done the right thing, welcoming people from refugee-producing countries…
Cologne Central Station
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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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The list of attacks against centers for asylum seekers in Germany is alarming. During the first six months of this year alone, the German Interior Ministry registered 173 such offences, the majority of which were arson attacks. And the list is getting…
 Caption: Right wing protesters who are against bringing asylum seekers to an accommodation facility run down a street in Heidenau, Germany August 22, 2015
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Politicians are not well known for going out of their way to change their attitudes. Yet the  plight of refugees is spurring them to do just that. Politicians need to convince voters that refugees are not a burden, but people in need of protection, with…
On Kos, children and adults alike sleep in tents provided by Doctors without Borders, while waiting for processing, which can take three weeks or more.
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The EU is responsible for correcting the irrational, irresponsible debate about migration to Europe. So far, it’s failed.

Imagine the Hollywood blockbuster about one boat’s perilous journey in the Mediterranean. The Eritrean mother with her five-year-old son, the 16-year-old Afghan boy traveling on his own, and the Syrian patriarch with his entire family — they would be the…
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Augmented Search and Rescue, but Focus Still on Preventing Departure

(Brussels) – The commitment by European Union heads of state to triple the capacity of Frontex operations in the Mediterranean is an important step towards preventing migrant deaths at sea, Human Rights Watch said today. But the EU, at its extraordinary…
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Dear European Union Heads of State and Government, Human Rights Watch welcomes your decision to hold an extraordinary Council Summit to address the crisis in the Mediterranean Sea. At least 1,600 migrants and asylum seekers have died attempting…
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(Milan) - The European Union (EU) should act immediately to prevent further deaths at sea, Human Rights Watch said. As many as 700 migrants and asylum seekers are feared dead in a single shipwreck in the Mediterranean north of Libya on April 19, 2015,…
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On the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa stands a graveyard filled with simple wooden crosses. We don’t know the names and stories of those buried there, except that they perished at sea trying to reach Europe, fleeing conflict in Syria, human-rights…
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“Aman.” a 29-year-old Eritrean, had just described his arduous journey to Europe when I heard the news about hundreds of deaths in the Mediterranean. He, like many others I spoke with last week in Dresden, risked their lives last summer crossing from war-…
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Questions and Answers Before Bundestag Elections

(Berlin) – The political parties of the German Bundestag have markedly different priorities regarding human rights protections, Human Rights Watch said today. The differences are especially marked on issues of EU asylum policy, relations with Russia, and…