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Stop Criminalizing Humanitarian Rescuers

(Athens) – Two humanitarian activists who provided life-saving aid to migrants and asylum seekers trying to reach Greece will face charges in a trial scheduled for November 18, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. The trial at the Mytilene Misdemeanor…
Humanitarian activists Sarah Mardini and Sean Binder
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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.
News

People Still Accommodated in Camp’s Contaminated Area

Dozens of families are still accommodated in areas of a migrant camp in Lesbos where soil testing showed elevated lead levels two months after the Greek government confirmed that the areas were contaminated, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Authorities removing soil
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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
News

Asylum Policy Changes Threaten Eritreans’ Rights

(Nairobi) – The Ethiopian government’s changes to asylum procedures for Eritreans undermines their access to asylum and denies unaccompanied children necessary protection. The Ethiopian authorities should ensure that all Eritreans have…
Eritrean refugee children play within Hitsats refugee camp near the Eritrean boarder, Tigrai region, Ethiopia, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri
News

New Campaign to Shelter Children, End Detention Amid COVID-19

  (Athens) – Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis should free hundreds of unaccompanied migrant children detained in unhygienic police cells and detention centers in Greece, Human Rights Watch said today in opening a campaign to…
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

Immediate Hotspot Decongestion Needed to Address COVID-19

(Athens) – Greece’s government should immediately reduce congestion in the islands’ Reception and Identification Centers (RICs) for asylum seekers and migrants to avert a public health crisis amid the coronavirus pandemic, 24 human rights and…
Asylum seekers and migrants in the Reception and Identification Center of Moria, Lesbos after a fire broke out, on March 16, 2020.
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Authorities Prevent Access to Services, Plan Transfers to Mainland Detention

(Athens) – Greek authorities have denied at least 625 people who arrived on the island of Lesbos between March 1 and 18, 2020 the right to seek asylum, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities are detaining 189 new…
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More Than 450 Held on Navy Boat

(Athens) – Greece’s decision to detain more than 450 people on a naval vessel and refuse to allow them to lodge asylum claims flagrantly violates international and European law, Human Rights Watch said today. The action may amount to an…
Women, men, and children inside the hull of a Greek Navy ship in Mytilene harbor, Lesbos, Greece. March 2020. © Private
News

Refugee Camps Have Reached Breaking Point

(Athens) – European Union (EU) Member States should urgently relocate unaccompanied children from the Greek islands to safety in their territory, while ensuring that the children’s best interests are taken into account, 64 human…
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. REUTERS/Elias Marcou
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Provide Humane Collective Response to Migration Challenges

(Brussels) – Greece and its European Union (EU) partners should deliver a collective response to Turkey’s new policy of not stopping migrants and asylum seekers trying to leave for Greece, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
A boy from Afghanistan arriving on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020.
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Focus on Mainland Transfers, Not Detention

(Athens) – Greece’s recently announced border control plans for the Aegean islands should not come at the expense of asylum seeker and migrant rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The government has said it will relocate 20,000 asylum…
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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Athens Fails to Act on European Court Ruling Against Detaining Migrant Kids

The European Court of Human Rights recently confirmed what many have long known: that Greece’s practice of locking up unaccompanied migrant and asylum-seeking children in police cells and detention centers leads to serious rights abuses…
Unaccompanied children line up for an evening meal at a detention facility run by the Greek police.
News

Few Classes in Government Camps on the Aegean Islands

(Athens) – Greece is denying thousands of asylum-seeking children their right to an education because of an European Union-backed migration policy that traps them on the Aegean islands, Human Rights Watch said today. The 51-…
Children decorate a wall at PIKPA
News

Reinstates Containment Policy That Keeps People Trapped on Islands

  (Athens) – The Greek government’s move on April 20, 2018, overturning a binding court ruling ordering it to end its abusive policy of trapping asylum seekers on Greece’s islands raises rule of law concerns, 21…
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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
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As EU-Turkey Anniversary Nears, Move Asylum Seekers to Mainland Safety

(Athens) – Thousands of asylum seekers are trapped on the Aegean islands in deplorable conditions and without access to adequate protection and basic services, nine human rights and humanitarian organizations said today as part…
Ali, a 22-year-old Afghan asylum seeker with a disability, living in Moria camp, on the beach in Lesbos, Greece. He told Human Rights Watch he can’t access showers in the camp and sometimes tries to wash himself in the sea.
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As Winter Begins, Accelerate Transfers, End Containment Policy

(Athens) – More than 13,500 asylum seekers remain trapped on the Greek islands in deplorable conditions as winter begins on December 21, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. Greece, with support from its European Union partners, should…
Ali, a 22-year-old Afghan asylum seeker with a disability, living in Moria camp, on the beach in Lesbos, Greece. He told Human Rights Watch he can’t access showers in the camp and sometimes tries to wash himself in the sea.
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12 Groups Open Campaign to End Containment Policy

  (Athens) – The Greek government, with the support of European Union leaders, should act now before the onset of winter to end Greece’s “containment policy,” 12 human rights and humanitarian organizations said in a campaign that began today…
A migrant walks after receiving food during snowfall at the Moria hotspot on the Greek island of Lesbos, on January 9, 2017.
News

Greece has a responsibility to protect the human rights of people arriving on its islands

“There is no peace, no safety, no dignity in Moria. It’s worse than jail. We are not treated as belonging to society, as human beings,” Roula, a Syrian mother of two small children told me. She was among dozens of people I interviewed in late…
Moria hotspot on the island of Lesbos. Poor living conditions in the camp and overcrowded hotspots, with little to no access to basic services, such as sanitation and proper shelter, are key factors that contribute to psychological distress.