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Health Risks and International Law Require Safer Alternatives

(Brussels) – People in immigration detention in European countries pending deportation should be given alternatives to detention amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today. “While entire societies learn to live under…
Women in the Ponte Galeria immigration detention center near Rome, Italy May 6, 2017.
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Automatic Detention, Obstacles to Seeking Asylum

(Milan) – Asylum seekers and other migrants arriving by sea to Spanish shores are held in poor conditions and face obstacles in applying for asylum. They are held for days in dark, dank cells in police stations and almost certainly will…
A migrant rescued off the Spanish coast arriving at the port in Malaga, southern Spain, December 3, 2016.
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Introduction Unprecedented numbers of people are taking dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean to reach countries of the European Union. Migrants and asylum seekers have been crossing the Mediterranean for decades. The numbers have…
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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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(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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Falls Far Short of Human Rights Standards

(Milan) – The Spanish Senate should scrap a flawed draft law on public security that would undermine rights protections, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, approved by the lower house of Parliament, includes provisions that infringe on the rights to…
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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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EU Should Press to End Summary Returns to Morocco

(Milan) – There has been little progress toward justice for the drowning deaths of 15 migrants in waters off a Spanish enclave in North Africa on February 6, 2014, Human Rights Watch said today. The Spanish Guardia Civil fired rubber bullets and teargas…
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Vote Against Proposed Changes to Spanish Immigration Law

On November 4, 2014, Human Rights Watch and ten other human rights organizations sent letters to all political parties represented in the Spanish Congress calling on them to reject a proposed legislative change that would facilitate summary returns of…
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Withdraw Proposed Changes to Spanish Immigration Law

On November 4, 2014, Human Rights Watch and ten other human rights organizations sent letters to all political parties represented in the Spanish Congress calling on them to reject a proposed legislative change that would facilitate summary returns of…
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(Madrid) – The Spanish government should immediately drop its plans to provide a legal basis for summary returns from its enclaves in North Africa, 13 human rights groups said today. The Spanish and international organizations wrote to the United Nations…
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Concerns Regarding Proposed Changes to Spanish Immigration Law

Dear Mr. Muižnieks, The undersigned organizations are writing to urge you to use your mandate to make an urgent appeal to the Spanish government to withdraw proposed changes to Spanish immigration law that would facilitate summary returns from Spain’s…
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Concerns Regarding Proposed Changes to Spanish Immigration Law

Dear Mr. Crépeau, The undersigned organizations are writing to urge you to use your mandate to make an urgent appeal to the Spanish government to withdraw proposed changes to Spanish immigration law that would facilitate summary returns from Spain’s…
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Investigate Beatings of Migrants at Enclave’s Border

(Berlin) – Spain should immediately halt summary returns of migrants to Morocco from its North African enclave, Melilla, Human Rights Watch said today. Spain should also investigate evidence that Guardia Civil officers beat migrants at the border fence. “…
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Ill-Treatment Persists in Moroccan, Spanish Border Operations Despite Rabat’s Reforms

Moroccan security forces commonly beat, otherwise abuse, and sometimes steal from sub-Saharan migrants in the northeastern part of the country, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. These abuses persist despite some improvements in the…
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Summit Needs Rights-Based Approach to Boat Migration, Syria Refugees

(Brussels) – European Union heads of state meeting in Brussels on October 24 and 25, 2013, should urgently adopt measures to improve sea rescues of migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Europe, Human Rights Watch said today. The summit should also…
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Fewer migrants may be dying at sea, but they still face arbitrary treatment onshore. On 9 July, the Maltese authorities decided to put about 45 Somali men on a plane to Libya, where migrants are often arbitrarily arrested, ill-treated and exploited. The…
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Abolish Emergency Regime for Unaccompanied Children in Canary Islands

(Geneva) - The Canary Islands government's decision to keep more than 250 unaccompanied migrant children in unregulated emergency shelters puts the children at risk and threatens their well-being, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The…