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Summary Greek authorities, including through proxies they use, are assaulting, robbing, and stripping Afghan asylum seekers and migrants, including children, before summarily pushing them back to Turkey via the Evros River. They are employing men who…
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Back in 2008, when I wrote a 121-page report documenting that Greek border authorities were violently pushing back migrants and asylum seekers at its borders with Turkey, I thought such revelations would shock the Greek public and people throughout the…
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Stripped, Robbed, and Forced Back to Turkey; No Chance to Seek Asylum

(Athens) – Greek security forces are employing third country nationals, men who appear to be of Middle Eastern or South Asian origin, to push asylum seekers back at the Greece-Turkey land border, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.…
A woman at a protest holds a sign that reads "#StopPushbacks"
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Human Rights Court Warns Against Summary Removal of Asylum Seeker

Those of us working to defend the rights of asylum seekers and migrants in the European Union know how hard it is to fight against abuses taking place at external borders. We also know that small victories can make a real difference. A recent…
People seated on a boat
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Solidarity for Ukraine Ignores Greece’s Harsh Treatment of Others in Need

Ukrainians are the “real refugees,” Greece's migration minister, Notis Mitarachi, declared on March 1 before the Hellenic Parliament. What he was trying to say was that the people fleeing devastating conflict and persecution in Afghanistan, Syria, and…
A dinghy with migrants, left, with Turkish ships in the background, in the narrow stretch of water between the eastern Greek island of Lesbos and the Turkish coast on April 2, 2021.
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HRW Submission to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

December 6, 2021 1. Introduction This submission is based on Human Rights Watch’s research on human rights issues impacting older people, with a focus on rights in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies, the right to live independently and…
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89th Session

This update submission relates to articles 22, 24, 28, 31 and 37 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and focuses on the ill-treatment and summary returns of children seeking asylum, detention of unaccompanied migrant children, access to education…
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Stop Criminalizing Humanitarian Rescuers

(Athens) – Two humanitarian activists who provided life-saving aid to migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Greece will face charges in a trial scheduled for November 18, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. The trial at the Mytilene Misdemeanor…
Humanitarian activists Sarah Mardini and Sean Binder
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Action Needed to End Lost Learning for Refugee, Asylum-Seeking Children

The first day of school in Greece, September 13, signals the return to in-person schooling for children after a year of Covid-19 related disruptions and learning loss. Today will be especially important for refugee and asylum-seeking children, most of…
Children play in a playground in the Ritsona refugee camp, north of Athens, Greece on October 22, 2019.
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Ensure All Asylum-Seeking Children Are Enrolled in Coming School Year

(Athens) – The Greek government should urgently reform discriminatory policies so that children seeking asylum can go to school when the new year begins on September 13, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. Only 1 in 7 children living in camps was…
A refugee girl living in a camp near Athens.
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Criminal Investigations Risk Chilling Civil Society

Greek authorities are using criminal investigations to harass and intimidate groups that investigate abuses against migrants at Greece’s border. At a July 19 press conference, Greek police on the island of Lesbos announced a criminal case against…
A dinghy with migrants, left, with Turkish ships in the background, in the narrow stretch of water between the eastern Greek island of Lesbos and the Turkish coast on April 2, 2021.
News

Flout Child Protection, Immigration Rules

(Paris) – French police summarily expel dozens of unaccompanied children to Italy each month in violation of French and international law, Human Rights Watch said today. To enable the returns, the police frequently record on official documents…
A member of the French border police checks identity documents in March 2021 at the Menton-Garavan station, the first French train station for those travelling between Genoa, in Italy, and Nice, in France.
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France Complicit as Magomed Gadaev at Risk of Torture in Chechnya

Magomed Gadaev, 37, an asylum seeker from Chechnya and key witness in a high-profile torture case against Chechnya’s leadership, was abducted by Chechen security officials on April 11, two days after his deportation from France to Russia. France…
Magomed Gadaev pictured in Paris, France.
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People Still Accommodated in Camp’s Contaminated Area

Dozens of families are still accommodated in areas of a migrant camp in Lesbos where soil testing showed elevated lead levels two months after the Greek government confirmed that the areas were contaminated, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Authorities removing soil
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Internal Inquiry Only Exposed Tip of the Iceberg

An internal probe looking into allegations that the EU border patrol agency, Frontex, is involved in, among other abuses, pushbacks of asylum seekers and migrants at Greece’s sea border with Turkey, raises questions about its willingness or…
An officer from the European Union’s border protection agency, Frontex, holds the arm of a migrant as they board a ferry in the port of Mytilini, Lesbos island, Greece, on Friday, April 8, 2016.
News

How Ten Years of Advocacy and Incremental Changes Add Up

In Greece, a recent high-profile court ruling and policy change mark momentous human rights victories for migrants and children. On October 7, an Athens court ruled that the country’s far-right xenophobic political party, Golden Dawn, whose members…
A woman sits with her children in Victoria Square in Athens, Greece, awaiting transfer after being evicted from their place of residence, July 20, 2020.
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Opportunity to Learn Lessons for Future

(Milan) – An Italian program to provide undocumented migrants with a pathway to residency adopted amid the Covid-19 pandemic did not live up to its promise, Human Rights Watch said today. It is too early to know how many people will ultimately…
An immigrant worker picks clementines in Corgiliano-Rossano, Calabria, southern Italy, December 12, 2020. ©
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