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French and British Governments Need New Approach to Irregular Migration

At least 27 people, including a young girl, died in the frigid waters off France this week while trying to cross to the United Kingdom in an inflatable dinghy. The tragedy has intensified a dispute between British and French officials over who bears…
Activists and members of associations defending migrants' rights light candles in front of a banner reading "309 dead on the France UK border since 1999", during a gathering outside the port of Calais, northern France, November 25, 2021.
News

Case Management Programs Cost Less and Are More Humane than Imprisoning Asylum Seekers

A door has cracked open to the possibility of a future in which people fleeing their home countries might not be subjected to the oppressive walls of detention centers. In August, the US Department of Homeland Security announced a Case Management Pilot…
Photo of person being released from immigration detention.
Report
Summary As the harmful effects of immigration detention become more widely known and the appropriateness of detaining migrants is increasingly questioned, governments are looking at alternatives to detention as more humane and rights-respecting…
News

Pilot Programs Point Way to Rights-Respecting Models

(New York) – Pilot programs testing alternatives to immigration detention in several countries, including the United States, offer governments models for more humane and rights-respecting approaches, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today…
Illustration of a man hugging his family outside of a detention center
News

Activists at Risk of Persecution, Torture if Returned Home

(Berlin) – The Turkish government should halt any plans to deport two detained Turkmen activists to Turkmenistan, where they will be at grave risk of arbitrary arrest and torture, Human Rights Watch said today. Turkish authorities…
A man walks near Fatih mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.
News

Authorities Deny Afghans Right to Seek Asylum

(New York) – Turkish authorities are summarily pushing Afghan asylum seekers crossing into the country from Iran back to Iran, in violation of international law, Human Rights Watch said today. Six Afghans, five of whom were pushed back, told Human…
A Turkish soldier stands at the Turkish border with Iran
News

Proposed Pushbacks Show Disregard for Life and Safety at Sea

The UK government’s reported plan to “turn around” boats of migrants and refugees in the English Channel is irresponsible, dangerous, and unlawful. But talking about “turn-arounds” almost makes these tactics sound gentle. Pushbacks at sea would…
A group of people thought to be migrants are brought into Dover, Kent, by Border Force officers on September 5, 2021.
News

Costly, Abusive Approach Fails to Address System’s Flaws

The United Kingdom government’s new borders bill is expected to include the option of detaining asylum seekers offshore, according to multiple news reports. The emerging details of the policy shift suggest an approach that would not only likely cause…
A group of people on the deck of HMC Seeker as they wait to be brought ashore by the UK Border Force in Kent. September 22, 2020.
News

Briefing on the Need for Urgent Amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill November 2, 2020

Human Rights Watch Submission to the House of the Lords Briefing on the Need for Urgent Amendments to the Domestic Abuse Bill November 2, 2020 Introduction: Human Rights Watch is pleased that the government of the United Kingdom has…
News
Open letter: Five years after the EU-Turkey Statement, European Civil Society demands an end to containment and deterrence at the EU’s External Borders The 18th of March 2021 will mark five years since the announcement of the “EU-Turkey…
News
To the attention of: Mr Josep Borrell Fontelles EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/ Vice-President European External Action Service (EEAS) Ministers of Foreign Affairs of EU Member States Brussels, 16 March 2021…
News

The Death Should Prompt Policy Change in London and Paris

It is almost five years since the body of Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy, washed up on a beach in Turkey. After fleeing the war in Syria with his family, Alan died when the family’s dinghy capsized as they tried to make the dangerous journey…
A group of people thought to be migrants crossing the Channel in a small boat headed in the direction of Dover, Kent, United Kingdom, August 10, 2020.
News

EU Should Press Athens to Halt Abuses

(Athens) – Greek law enforcement officers have summarily returned asylum seekers and migrants at the land and sea borders with Turkey during the Covid-19 lockdown, Human Rights Watch said today. The officers in some cases used violence against asylum…
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
News

COVID-19 in Europe, the Central Eurasian Region, and Turkey

What are some of your biggest concerns about the coronavirus moving through Europe and Central Asia? Europe is one of the world’s epicenters of COVID-19 cases. There’s an awful death toll in Italy and Spain with the numbers of dead going up…
Military police officers patrol at a market in Budapest, Hungary, March 31, 2020.
News

Detained, Assaulted, Stripped, Summarily Deported

(Athens) – Greek security forces and unidentified armed men at the Greece-Turkey land border have detained, assaulted, sexually assaulted, robbed, and stripped asylum seekers and migrants, then forced them back to Turkey, Human Rights Watch said…
An asylum seeker in northern Turkey at the Greek border on March 6 shows injuries he says Greek security forces inflicted after he had crossed the Evros River into Greece. Photo by Turkish Radio and Television Corporation/Handout/Anadolu Agency.
Video
Greece is detaining more than 450 people on a naval vessel docked in the Mytilene harbor in Lesbos and is refusing to allow them to lodge asylum claims in flagrant violation of international and European law, Human Rights Watch said today. Detention…
News
How has the situation on Lesbos changed since your last visit? When I was here in 2016, I couldn’t imagine things being worse. We saw a lawless situation in Moria refugee camp. There were around 6,000 people in the camp,…
Migrants who arrived yesterday to Greece from Turkey eat bread as they try to warm themselves at the village of Skala Sikaminias, on the Greek island of Lesbos on Friday, March 6, 2020.
News

The Reality for Refugees in the EU-Turkey Stand-Off

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s cynical move to open his western EU borders to allow refugees and migrants to leave - while keeping his southern border to Syria shut to asylum seekers desperate to escape the onslaught there - poses an enormous…
Refugee being taken away by Greek police
News

Parliament’s House of Lords Should Reject Plan to Block Family Reunification After Brexit

Eighty-one years ago last month, the first of the Kindertransport trains arrived in the United Kingdom, bearing children fleeing conflict and persecution ahead of the outbreak of World War II. In total, the Kindertransport rescue effort…
Kindertransport Statue