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Lack of Protections Puts Women, Children at Risk

(Athens) – A law scheduled to take effect on September 16, 2021, that amends child custody provisions in Greece’s civil code places women and children survivors of domestic violence at risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The Greek government should…
Protesters in Athens, Greece on March 27, 2021 stand outside the Greek Parliament displaying a banner that reads “your sexism is harming both mother and child” against a new law that introduces presumptive co-custody of children, even in cases of domestic violence.
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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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Reject Proposed Legal Changes; Improve Protections for Abuse Victims

(Athens) – A bill to amend child custody provisions in Greece’s civil code disregards risks for domestic violence victims that would put women and children in jeopardy, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, "Reforms regarding parent-child…
Protest outside the Greek Parliament in Athens on March 27, 2021 against a bill that would introduce compulsory equal joint custody of children in cases of separation or divorce. 
News

Test Soil, Clear Firing Range

(Athens) Thousands of asylum seekers, aid workers, United Nations, and Greek and European Union employees may be at risk of lead poisoning in a new migrant camp that Greek authorities have built on a repurposed military firing range on the island of…
A girl from Syria living in Mavrovouni camp watches the Greek military search for unexploded munitions
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European Support Needed for Unaccompanied Children

In a huge victory for children’s rights, the Greek government is ending the long-standing practice of detaining unaccompanied migrant children in jail cells. The announcement was made on November 18 by the Migration and Asylum Minister of Greece,…
Unaccompanied children line up for an evening meal at a detention facility run by the Greek police.
News

Ensure Independent and Effective Investigation

(Brussels) – The top governing body of the European Union Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) should urgently establish an independent inquiry into allegations of its involvement in unlawful operations to stop migrants from reaching the European…
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

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.
News

Refugees Now Sleeping on the Streets Need Protection and Assistance

Fires that consumed Europe’s largest refugee camp, Moria, on the Greek island of Lesbos earlier this week have left nearly 13,000 men, women, and children without shelter or access to basic services.  Prior to the fires, security in the…
Moria camp on Lesbos island following a fire that started on the evening of September 8, 2020, destroying most of the camp and leaving 12,000 asylum seekers and refugees without shelter.
News

Over a Thousand Still Stranded in Hellish Conditions on Greek Islands

In recent days, France has welcomed 49 children flown in from the nightmarish situation in the camps on Greece’s Aegean islands, where thousands of asylum seekers and migrants are stranded in horrendous conditions. On August 20, France relocated to…
Two boys walk in a makeshift camp next to the Moria camp for refugees and migrants on the island of Lesbos, Greece, September 17, 2018.
News

Alternatives, More Shelter Spaces Needed

“I was afraid because I knew I was going to be in jail, but I had no choice.” Mohammad H., a 17-year-old boy from Afghanistan, is one of hundreds of unaccompanied children who have ended up in Greece’s “protective custody” regime, a system that…
A child places his hands on a fence as Greek police officers stand guard at a makeshift camp for migrants and refugees in Greece.
News

Sweden should welcome and protect unaccompanied children

On April 15, Luxembourg became the first European country to welcome asylum-seeking children, 12 girls and boys, from the Greek islands. And on April 16, 47 children arrived in Germany. These children were the first to be covered by an EU plan to move…
A boy stands next to a hole in the fence of the Moria camp following rainfall, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, November 22, 2019.
News

HRW Letter to Prime Minister Mitsotakis

Dear Prime Minister Mitsotakis, I am writing to you to express Human Rights Watch’s deep concern at the high number of unaccompanied migrant children detained in “protective custody” in police station cells and pre-removal detention centers across…
News

Authorities Should End Discriminatory Restrictions

For many in Greece, life has returned to normal after the government last month lifted lockdown restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19. The country is gradually opening to tourism, and bars, restaurants, and beaches are filled with…
202004eca_greece_moria.jpg
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Plight of Unaccompanied Migrant Children Is Focus of New Campaign

Ibrahim, a 14-year-old boy from Somalia, was detained by Greek police for almost three months at a detention center in Amygdaleza, a police-run detention facility on the outskirts of Athens, which houses adults but has a dedicated section for…
Drawing by "Ibrahim," age 14, detained for 11 weeks. Drawing titled, "Life in and After Detention"
News

Rights Court’s Instructions Show Urgent Need for Better Health Care, Conditions

The Covid-19 pandemic has worsened already dire conditions for pregnant people in overcrowded reception centers for migrants and asylum seekers on Greek islands. Highlighting the situation’s urgency, the European Court of Human Rights has ordered…
A child plays in a temporary tent camp near the camp for migrants in Moria, Lesbos which is overcrowded and lacks adequate hygiene facilities and sanitation, putting migrants, including pregnant people, at particular risk amid Covid-19
News

276 Unaccompanied Children Behind Bars

(Athens) – Greek authorities should free the 276 unaccompanied migrant children currently detained in police cells and detention centers in Greece, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.…
A child places his hands on a fence as Greek police officers stand guard at a makeshift camp for migrants and refugees in Greece.