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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
News
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.
News
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
News

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

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.
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
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…
News
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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After a year in which Europe’s response to a surge in boat migration went from deeply flawed to truly awful, the situation in 2016 has only deteriorated. EU leaders are becoming increasingly shrill, policy proposals ever more unhinged,…
Asylum seekers and migrants descend from a large fishing vessel used to transport them from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos. October 11, 2015.
News
On Wednesday, there was yet another tragedy off the Greek island of Lesbos, when a large Turkish fishing boat carrying some 300 people trying to reach Europe sank, causing at least seven to drown, including four children, with at least 34  still missing.…
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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…
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…
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Greece has become anything but hospitable to migrants and asylum seekers over the years, as anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobic violence spread. In July, we documented dozens of attacks on foreigners, who had been beaten, kicked, and chased down the…
News
Greece’s appalling treatment of asylum seekers and migrants was, until recently, a blot on its reputation alone. But in November, the European Union and its member states became complicit in Greece’s shameful conduct when Frontex, which manages migration…
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"We were one group of twelve persons they took out from the detention centre. They drove us in a car, for maybe one and a half hours. We arrived in the forest around 9 PM. They kept us there until midnight, they told us not to move, otherwise the…
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WASHINGTON - The Greek government has come up with a novel solution to a growing backlog of asylum appeals: Abolish appeals. No backlog. No Problem. But the problem can't be dismissed so easily. Greece has a backlog of about 30,000 cases. A part-time…
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When I met 14-year-old Hussein in Greece, he was clinging to a torn doll that he had named after his best friend back in Iraq. Hussein is one of approximately 1,000 unaccompanied children who entered Greece in 2008 without a parent or caregiver. Hussein…