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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.
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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic underlines the urgent need for safety nets for domestic workers.

Few workers have cause to celebrate May 1, International Workers' Day, this year. COVID-19 has been accompanied by another pandemic - of job loss and economic insecurity. Domestic workers, primarily women, have particularly precarious jobs and often do…
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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
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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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Mallorca is set to host an international conference beginning May 28 that will focus on protecting students, teachers, and schools during wartime. Spain offered to host the Third International Conference on Safe Schools to show its…
Children look through a destroyed classroom window at Yerwa Primary School, Maiduguri, Borno state, damaged by Boko Haram during attacks in 2010 and 2013. The school, established in 1915, was the first primary school in northeast Nigeria. © 2015 Bede Shep
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Spain’s Foreign Minister Josep Borrell is scheduled to open an international conference tomorrow on protecting schools during wartime on the island of Mallorca, Spain. The occasion has me thinking about two schools at almost opposite ends of Europe…
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A new treaty to deepen the link between environmental protection and human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean has the potential to reduce the conflicts that lead to the murders of so many environmental defenders in the region.  The…
Bernardo, a man in his 30s, was born in a quilombo (Afro-Brazilian) community of around 60, men, women, and children in Minas Gerais State, southeast Brazil. Bernardo told Human Rights Watch that he feels powerless against aerial spraying of pesticides. “
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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

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.
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“We had to get up at 4 in the morning to avoid the police. They caught me five or six times. They beat me with their batons. If you fall, they beat you. Each time, they sent me to Tangiers, Casablanca or somewhere else far away.” …
migrants sitting outside tent by morocco border
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

With rising tensions and attacks toward refugees in Greece, what can be done?

The situation on the Greek eastern Aegean islands housing the so-called refugee “hotspots” has taken a dangerous turn, with racially motivated attacks on the rise. The European Union needs to act to head off a full-blown…
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Democracy must be grounded in human rights. To many, that is obvious, but increasingly, we see some in Europe suggesting that democracy is about merely winning elections and then doing whatever the voters are deemed to want.  Democracy, for them, becomes…
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A new report reveals the shocking conditions endured by unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Europe. Wasim is a 16-year-old Kurdish boy who fled Mosul, Iraq, seeking a safe haven after Islamic State (IS) executed his father. Unfortunately…
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On April 20, more than 160 asylum seekers and migrants reached Lesbos and Chios from Turkey. The police detained them in the closed facilities on those islands, Moria and VIAL, as they do everyone who has arrived on the islands since the ill-conceived EU-…
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By Kenneth Roth, Salil Shetty & Catherine Woollard

Let’s not confuse desperation for legality when it comes to Europe’s proposed refugee deal with Turkey. No one should be under any illusion - the very principle of international protection for those fleeing war and persecution is at stake. …
Stranded refugees and migrants walk inside a relocation camp as they wait to cross the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni, March 1, 2016.