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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
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

Struggle to Survive Amid Devastation, Property Destruction

(Beirut) – Syrian refugees who returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan faced grave human rights abuses and persecution at the hands of the Syrian government and affiliated militias, Human Rights Watch said in a report released…
A streetview of destroyed buildings in a city
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

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
News

Others Face Deportation Decisions

(Amman) – Jordanian authorities have deported at least four Yemeni asylum seekers registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and have issued deportation orders against others who made asylum claims, Human Rights Watch…
A Yemeni asylum seeker who arrived in Jordan in 2014, overlooks the city in the neighborhood of Abu Nseir, North of Amman, Jordan on March 25, 2021.
News

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

Brussels Friends of Syria Conference Should Address Massive Dropouts

(Brussels) – The majority of Syrian refugee children in Jordan don’t have the chance to go to secondary school, close to a decade after Syrian refugees began arriving, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. International donors and…
An illustration of a schoolchild staring at a wall, with a burning city behind them
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…
202003ref_greece_lesbos_siamadis_1
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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
News

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.
News

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.
News

Enforcement of Local Practice Outside Rule of Law

  (Amman) – Jordanian authorities have forced about 200 people to leave their home governorate because of their extended family ties to an accused murderer, Human Rights Watch said…
Madaba governorate on Jordan's map
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Authorities Detain, Coerce Syrians to Sign “Voluntary Return” Forms

(Beirut) – Turkish authorities are detaining and coercing Syrians into signing forms saying they want to return to Syria and then forcibly returning them there, Human Rights Watch said today. On July 24, 2019, Interior Minister Süleyman…
A wall along the border between Turkey and Syria is seen in Kilis province, Turkey.
News

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