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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
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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
It’s the middle of winter and six hundred or more asylum seekers and migrants, including more than 100 unaccompanied children, remain camped out in Calais in increasingly dire conditions, exposed to the elements and faced with routine police…
Migrants in Calais gather in the rain for a clothing distribution in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Calais, France. © Futuro Berg/Help Refugees, October 2017
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It was mid-morning in late June, but the warehouse in Calais was dark, cold, and drafty. I sat on the ground with “Marie,” a tall, slim French woman in her early twenties. Bent forward with a look of concentration, she described how the…
Migrants in Calais gather in the rain for a clothing distribution in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Calais, France. © Futuro Berg/Help Refugees, October 2017
News
(London/Washington D.C.)  -- “I never come here, just because of boys,” Atifa says, pointing at the door of the stall. “They’re opening the door.” Atifa, a sixth grader in Kabul, Afghanistan, attends a school of 650 girls. Since they study in tents…
Girls in Afghanistan -- And everywhere else -- Need toilets
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“My sister finished the first year at school, but then she got tired and decided to leave. She walked four hours each way every day, so that made her tired,” Sabina, 12, who grew up in rural Balkh province, said. Sabina was able to study starting at age…
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In Calais at the end of June, I spoke to a 17-year-old Ethiopian boy (I’ll call him Biniam T.). He said French riot police (the Compagnies républicaines de sécurité, CRS) had sprayed him with a chemical substance as he was walking with…
After police halted an evening distribution of food and clothing, three officers stop and question a boy who had paused to change his shoes before returning to the wooded area where he and other migrants spend the night, May 2017. © 2017 Help Refugees
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.
News

Urge to Press the Government for Action Is Long Gone

“This is not a side event. This is the main event,” several speakers said at the – yes – side event on women’s empowerment the day before the October 5 donor conference on Afghanistan in Brussels. The donor session, for all its warm glow, highlighted the…
DATE IMPORTED:October 05, 2016(Front Row L-R) Afghanistan's Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, President Ashraf Ghani, European Council President Donald Tusk, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, U.S.
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Gales of laughter greeted my question: “So, which is worse, ISIS or the Taliban?” I was speaking to a room full of women who had recently fled areas in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar province controlled by groups claiming allegiance to the…
An Afghan woman in Chaghchran capital of Ghor province June 2, 2014.
News
As planting season started in the northern Afghan province of Baghlan this spring, so did the fighting. One farmer, Ibrahim (he uses only one name), and his family had barely tilled their land when they had to leave. Fighting had been close by for most of…
Afghan boys look out from behind a damaged wall after a Taliban attack in Kabul, Afghanistan October 6, 2015.
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Since the 2001 U.S.-led military intervention in Afghanistan, Western countries have invested heavily in education there. But as security across the country deteriorates, schools in many places are under threat, not only from resurgent…
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The Aksaray neighborhood of Istanbul is a veritable smugglers’ den, where you can watch asylum seekers and migrants huddling and planning their next moves. But when I spoke with people there several days ago, I also saw many people with blank stares, the…
News

By Alice Farmer and Lilana Keith

When Human Rights Watch first saw Yemi, the 17-year-old boy was huddled on a concrete bench in the corner of a windowless, graffitied holding cell run by the French border police. Clad in a stiff new leather jacket but otherwise without clothing warm…
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Oped on cnn.com

This week kicks off one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Millions will set out for Thanksgiving, a holiday that celebrates how refugees from religious persecution found freedom in a new land. I’ll be one of those traveling. And while I’m looking…
News
This week, reality struck home for Afghanistan over the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Ratified by Afghanistan in 2003 during the early heady post-Taliban days when it seemed like a bright future for…
News
Here’s a story to break your heart – thousands of Afghan refugee boys who roam Europe alone, without parents, without enough help from European governments, and at risk of destitution, detention, and death. This sounds like a version of the “Hunger…
News
European immigration policy has to do more than simply try to bar the door to migrants and asylum-seekers. Instead, Buttiglione offered his support for a German proposal that resurrects the discredited idea of establishing centres to process asylum-…