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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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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

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.
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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
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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

Border Patrol Agency has a Duty to Protect Human Rights

Mounting evidence suggests the Greek government has been secretly expelling thousands of migrants trying to reach its shores. An EUObserver article published on November 18 also suggests the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) is aware of…
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

Historic Conviction Against Neo-Nazi Golden Dawn Party

In a momentous ruling today, an Athens appeals court found that the far-right neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party was operating as a criminal organization. The court also found that members of the group orchestrated or colluded in the 2013 murder of 34-year-…
Magda Fyssa, the mother of late Greek rap singer Pavlos Fyssas, who was stabbed and killed by a supporter of the extreme right Golden Dawn party in 2013, celebrates immediately after the delivery of the verdict in Athens, October 7, 2020. 
News

Groups File Complaint Against Abusive Migrant Pushbacks, Asylum Law in Greece

What will it take for the European Commission, as the guardian of European Union law, to use its enforcement powers against Greece over its treatment of migrants and asylum seekers? That’s the question at the heart of Oxfam and WeMove Europe’s…
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

20 Years On, UN Should Compensate Victims

Today, the United Nations human rights expert on hazardous waste called out the UN for consistently failing the victims of widespread lead poisoning in refugee camps it ran in Kosovo. The UN leadership should listen and take long-overdue action in…
Roma children play in the Cesmin Lug refugee camp in Mitrovica city, northern Kosovo. Cesmin Lug is one of several camps that the UN established in what was known to be a heavily contaminated area near a defunct lead mine. December 12, 2007.
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

Ensure Transparency, End Institutional Care

Serbia has taken a positive step to better protect people from Covid-19 by agreeing to release data on the total number of Covid-19 infections and deaths inside social care institutions. People inside institutions are some of the most at-risk during…
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
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Prime Minister Denies Growing Evidence of Abuses by Coast Guard and Border Police

There is mounting evidence that the Greek government has in recent months secretly expelled thousands of migrants trying to reach its shores. But in a recent interview with CNN, Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, denied the allegations once…
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

Refugees Live Rough on the Streets of Central Athens

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Greek government announced that it was throwing more than 11,000 refugees out on the street, including families with children, pregnant women, and women who are alone in Greece, as well as people with…
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.
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

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…
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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

Greece Extends Covid-19 Lockdown at Refugee Camps

The Greek government has begun easing lockdown measures, given the country’s success in keeping Covid-19 under control. Starting last week, people could leave their homes without authorization, most shops have re-opened, and older…
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Dutch Government Should Welcome Unaccompanied Children from Greek Islands

Last week, Luxembourg became the first European country to welcome migrant children, twelve girls and boys, from the Greek Aegean Islands. And on April 16, 47 others arrived in Germany, the first to benefit from a plan to relocate…
Migrant children board a plane for Luxembourg