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Dodging Responsibility with Hostile Rhetoric and Harmful Policies

Instead of showing leadership and compassion for people fleeing Taliban rule in Afghanistan, European Union leaders seem bent on a monstrous PR campaign to tell Afghans (and European voters) that those fleeing Afghanistan should not even think about…
Polish soldiers build a fence with concertina wire at the border with Belarus in Krynki, Poland, on August 27, 2021.
News

EU Parliament Investigation Condemns Agency Failure to Act on Border Abuses

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency, known as Frontex, has failed to protect the rights of people at European Union borders, a European Parliament investigation has found. The July 15 report highlights how Frontex – in particular its…
A Frontex vehicle patrols the Greek Turkish borders near Nea Vyssa village along Evros (Maritsa) river on June 18, 2021.
News

Commissioner’s Visit Underscores EU Responsibility to Find Solutions

European Union Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson’s visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina this week has highlighted the EU’s role in alleviating the suffering of migrants and asylum seekers in the country. During her visit, Johansson emphasized…
Migrants warm their hands above a fire at the Lipa camp, outside Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Monday, January 11, 2021. The camp was closed on December 23, 2020 and destroyed in a fire the same day. 
News

Groups File Complaint Against Abusive Migrant Pushbacks, Asylum Law in Greece

What will it take for the European Commission, as the guardian of European Union law, to use its enforcement powers against Greece over its treatment of migrants and asylum seekers? That’s the question at the heart of Oxfam and WeMove Europe’s…
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

New Naval Mission Designed to Avoid Sea Rescues

It is a craven, indefensible choice. Yesterday, European Union foreign ministers agreed to launch a mission in the Mediterranean Sea to enforce the United Nations-mandated Libyan arms embargo on the condition that it not focus on saving…
Migrants are transfered by Italian sailors from the German combat supply ship 'Frankfurt am Main' to the their ship 'Grecale' after being rescued during EUNAVFOR MED Operation Sophia in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Libya, March 29, 2016.
News

Preventing Rescue at Sea, Punishing Survivors on Land

The current Italian government’s inhumane approach to refugees and migrants has reached a new low. On September 23, news emerged that Italy had pressured Panama to revoke the use of its flag on the Aquarius, the only…
A wooden boat carrying 29 people, mainly Syrians, just before their rescue and transfer to the Aquarius. October 10, 2017
News

Court ruling should encourage EU countries to relocate more asylum seekers

Hold the champagne. It’s more of a sparkling water moment. On September 6, the European Union's Court of Justice upheld the EU’s 2015 emergency plan requiring all member countries to relocate asylum seekers out of Italy and…
The entrance of the European Court of Justice is pictured in Luxembourg, January 26, 2017. Picture taken January 26, 2017.
News

Iranian Asylum Seeker’s Case Shows Flaws of EU-Turkey Deal

Yesterday I woke up to an alarming text message: “Hi, call me please. My brother today [will be] deported [to] Turkey.” The text was from Arash, a 30-year-old Iranian asylum seeker stuck on the Greek island of Lesbos, who was desperate…
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Serbia, Hungary Leave People Without Adequate Shelter as Winter Hits Hard

While many in Serbia prepare for Orthodox Christmas, others in the country and neighboring Hungary are bedding down in freezing cold weather hoping to survive. Temperatures in Hungary and Serbia have dropped to minus 20 degrees centigrade at night.…
Asylum seekers and migrants living in appalling conditions in abandoned warehouses behind Belgrade train station, Serbia. November 22, 2016.
News

Funding Should End Unjustified Detention of Children in Deplorable Conditions

In his State of the Union address this morning, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker asked the EU and Greece to take strong and immediate action to help unaccompanied children: “without protection of these children, Europe is betraying its…
© 2016 Human Rights Watch
News

Government Should Implement Law Providing for Inclusive Education

Today, September 1st, will be an exciting first day of school for most Serbian children. But for many children with disabilities, it will be just one more day without a chance to learn, make friends, and interact with peers and teachers. Take for…
A living room in Veternik Institution where children and adults with disabilities spend most of their days. There are no toys, education materials, or carpets on the floor. The only available source of stimulation is a TV attached to the wall.
News
Over 880 women, men, and children are feared drowned in the Mediterranean last week. While smugglers bear direct responsibility for sending overcrowded and unseaworthy boats from the coast of Libya and elsewhere, European governments share moral and…
Migrants are seen on a capsizing boat before a rescue operation by Italian navy ships "Bettica" and "Bergamini" off the coast of Libya in this handout picture released by the Italian Marina Militare on May 25, 2016.
News
“I only read about LGBT people because I knew Human Rights Watch was coming to interview me,” a teacher in Tokyo told me last November while I was researching bullying of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students in Japan’s schools. …
A 20 year old Japanese woman who was bullied by her classmates in junior high school holds a notebook displaying the message...
News
The Hungarian government today dealt yet another blow to asylum seekers and migrants by declaring a state of emergency throughout the entire country due to “mass migration.” The decision follows a similar declaration on September 16, 2015, imposing a…
Migrants walk along Hungary's border fence on the Serbian side of the border near Morahalom, Hungary, February 22, 2016
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Two high-level figures have mischaracterized the European refugee crisis at a critical moment when the rights of asylum seekers are in great danger of being short-circuited. On March 1, NATO Supreme Commander Gen. Philip…
Refugees and migrants line up to receive aid in a makeshift camp at the Greek-Macedonian border, near the Greek village of Idomeni March 4, 2016.
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“I have been here for five days already, outside and without a roof over my head. I can’t sleep, it’s too cold, and I have to be awake in case they [police] call my number.” Ahmed, 21, was one of hundreds of single Afghan men…
Two Afghan asylum seekers sleeping on the ground outside a registration camp in Dimitrovgrad, Serbia.
News
Yesterday, the European Union and Turkey reached an agreement designed to curb the flow of migrants to Europe and to Turkey. But the deal carries huge risks for Turkey, the EU, and above all refugees and asylum seekers. …
Turkish Gendarmes lead a group of refugees to buses to prevent them from sailing off for the Greek island of Chios by dinghies, at a beach in the western Turkish coastal town of Cesme.
News
“I could choose between life and death. I chose to live.” I met Jahan from Iran (not his real name), a man in his 30s, at the Greek-Macedonian border this week. He told me he had been stuck on the Greek side for four days because of the border…
Asylum seekers and migrants protest in front of Macedonian police at Macedonia¹s refusal to allow people who are not Syrian, Afghan or Iraqi to enter the country from Greece. November 22, 2015