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What are the risks of lead poisoning? Who is most at risk? Why is Human Rights Watch concerned about lead contamination at the Mavrovouni migrant camp, on Lesbos? What were the results of the testing? Is the testing that the government…
The area on the hill from where authorities are removing soil
News
While eyes were fixed on elections in the United States last week, a president in Europe resigned to face trial for atrocity crimes committed more than 20 years ago. Kosovo’s Specialist Prosecutor’s Office formally charged President…
Then-President of Kosovo Hashim Thaçi during a press conference in Kosovo capital Pristina on Monday, Jan. 21, 2019.  ©2019 Visar Kryeziu/AP Photo
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
At the peak of the Covid-19 infections, on April 30, the Serbian government published data that 574 people living in residential care institutions, including those for people with disabilities, had been infected with the virus. More recent numbers…
A room in the Veternik Institution for children and adults with disabilities where 540 persons, including children with disabilities live. Up to eight people live in one room. © 2015 Emina Ćerimović for Human Rights Watch
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
The Greek islands are under the spotlight again, as a new wave of tragic events has hit asylum seekers trapped there. On 29 September, a big fire broke out in Moria - the notorious camp on the island of Lesbos - killing one woman, and injuring at…
A Syrian man reads inside his tent at a makeshift camp outside Moria on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece.
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Greek Prime Minister Alex Tsipras will “debate the future of Europe” today with the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Parliament members, part of a debate series about how to improve the EU. Appropriately…
A child in the Moria “hotspot” camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, December 2017.
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"I get depressed here. I want to go to a good school to study," said a bright, 12-year-old girl from Afghanistan, who's been stuck for six months in the grim Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos. "If we don't study we won't have a future and…
Children seeking asylum attend an art class at the volunteer-run Refugee Education Chios center on the Greek island of Chios on September 29, 2016.
News
As children across Serbia enjoy their summer break, for some children the next school year can’t start soon enough. It may be their first chance to get an education. The Serbian government formally pledged in June that all children with…
Marina  [pseudonym], a 4-year-old girl with developmental disabilities who spent ten months of her life in an institution, with her foster sister. © 2015 Jasenko Rasol for Human Rights Watch
News

The London summit this week could kick-start the revival of the stalled reform process in the region – but won’t if human rights and the rule of law stay off the agenda

  Western Balkan and European Union leaders meet in London this week for a summit that could be a chance to revive stalled reforms and focus attention on critical issues. Unfortunately, there is every chance it will turn out to be full of hot…
Migrants are seen in front of a dorm destroyed during Bosnian 1992-1995 war, in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina May 11, 2018.
News

There is little prospect of the majority of asylum seekers trapped on the islands being sent back to Turkey any time soon

“Why do I deserve to be treated that way?” Issa, a 25-year-old Syrian asylum seeker told me in mid-May on the island of Lesbos. “We are here, forgotten. Totally forgotten…. There is no dignity at all here.” Issa is among the scores of…
Asylum seekers from Algeria at a refugee squat on Lesbos. People of certain nationalities presumptively considered “economic migrants,” such as Algerians, are treated as having manifestly unfounded claims, and are often detained on that basis.
News
Thousands of asylum seekers are trapped in crowded and filthy processing centers on the Greek islands, with many spending the winter in lightweight tents or even sleeping outside on the ground. Greece contends it has to keep the…
201710eca_greece_hotspots
News
On February 6, the European Commission will present its new strategy for the enlargement of the EU. People in the Western Balkans may greet the news with scepticism. But if the EU institutions and states are really willing to end the EU…
Roma refugees from Kosovo drink water at the Vrela Ribnicka camp in Podgorica, Montenegro on October 13, 2012
News

The groundbreaking court brought many of the war's worst criminals to justice, but more is needed to heal the region's deep divisions.

Hundreds of men buried alive, men and women mutilated and slaughtered, children killed before their mothers’ eyes, a grandfather forced to eat the liver of his own grandson. These are truly scenes from hell, written on the darkest pages of human…
A woman writes in a book inside a traveling monument called 'Prijedor 92' outside the Yugoslav War Crimes Tribunal (ICTY)
News

A Window of Opportunity For Few Refugees

  This is the second of a two-part commentary on family reunification by Bethany Brown of Human Rights Watch and photojournalist Anna Pantelia that documents a Syrian family’s final days in Greece before heading to Germany to…
Mohammed finally spends time with his children and wife in their new home in Germany. © 2017 Anna Pantelia
News
  This is the first of a two-part commentary on family reunification by Bethany Brown of Human Rights Watch and photojournalist Anna Pantelia that documents a Syrian family’s final days in Greece before heading to Germany to…
On Boxing Day in the Osanas’ house in Greece, Dominique called Falak’s husband, Mohammed, on Skype and introduced his family. © 2017 Anna Pantelia
News
The day I met Julija she was playing cheerfully with her baby sister on the floor inside their room in Kragujevac, a small town in southern Serbia. When she saw me – a stranger — on the doorstep, she smiled widely and stretched out her hands, offering a…
Julija Čuković, who spent ten months of her life in an institution, at home in Kragujevac with her parents, where she enjoys to play with her younger sister, also in the photo. © 2016 Zoran Stamenković
News
Hungary’s governing party is cranking up the heat on nongovernmental organizations.  With its tight grip on parliament, and having undermined the courts and the media, the Fidesz government doesn’t like being held to account by pesky independent…
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks during his state-of-the-nation address in Budapest, Hungary, February 10, 2017.