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Action Needed to End Lost Learning for Refugee, Asylum-Seeking Children

The first day of school in Greece, September 13, signals the return to in-person schooling for children after a year of Covid-19 related disruptions and learning loss. Today will be especially important for refugee and asylum-seeking children, most of…
Children play in a playground in the Ritsona refugee camp, north of Athens, Greece on October 22, 2019.
News

Criminal Investigations Risk Chilling Civil Society

Greek authorities are using criminal investigations to harass and intimidate groups that investigate abuses against migrants at Greece’s border. At a July 19 press conference, Greek police on the island of Lesbos announced a criminal case against…
A dinghy with migrants, left, with Turkish ships in the background, in the narrow stretch of water between the eastern Greek island of Lesbos and the Turkish coast on April 2, 2021.
News

Internal Inquiry Only Exposed Tip of the Iceberg

An internal probe looking into allegations that the EU border patrol agency, Frontex, is involved in, among other abuses, pushbacks of asylum seekers and migrants at Greece’s sea border with Turkey, raises questions about its willingness or…
An officer from the European Union’s border protection agency, Frontex, holds the arm of a migrant as they board a ferry in the port of Mytilini, Lesbos island, Greece, on Friday, April 8, 2016.
News

Border Patrol Agency has a Duty to Protect Human Rights

Mounting evidence suggests the Greek government has been secretly expelling thousands of migrants trying to reach its shores. An EUObserver article published on November 18 also suggests the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) is aware of…
An officer from the European Union’s border protection agency, Frontex, holds the arm of a migrant as they board a ferry in the port of Mytilini, Lesbos island, Greece, on Friday, April 8, 2016.
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

Refugees Now Sleeping on the Streets Need Protection and Assistance

Fires that consumed Europe’s largest refugee camp, Moria, on the Greek island of Lesbos earlier this week have left nearly 13,000 men, women, and children without shelter or access to basic services.  Prior to the fires, security in the…
Moria camp on Lesbos island following a fire that started on the evening of September 8, 2020, destroying most of the camp and leaving 12,000 asylum seekers and refugees without shelter.
News

Over a Thousand Still Stranded in Hellish Conditions on Greek Islands

In recent days, France has welcomed 49 children flown in from the nightmarish situation in the camps on Greece’s Aegean islands, where thousands of asylum seekers and migrants are stranded in horrendous conditions. On August 20, France relocated to…
Two boys walk in a makeshift camp next to the Moria camp for refugees and migrants on the island of Lesbos, Greece, September 17, 2018.
News

Prime Minister Denies Growing Evidence of Abuses by Coast Guard and Border Police

There is mounting evidence that the Greek government has in recent months secretly expelled thousands of migrants trying to reach its shores. But in a recent interview with CNN, Greece’s prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, denied the allegations once…
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

Refugees Live Rough on the Streets of Central Athens

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Greek government announced that it was throwing more than 11,000 refugees out on the street, including families with children, pregnant women, and women who are alone in Greece, as well as people with…
A woman sits with her children in Victoria Square in Athens, Greece, awaiting transfer after being evicted from their place of residence, July 20, 2020.
News

Alternatives, More Shelter Spaces Needed

“I was afraid because I knew I was going to be in jail, but I had no choice.” Mohammad H., a 17-year-old boy from Afghanistan, is one of hundreds of unaccompanied children who have ended up in Greece’s “protective custody” regime, a system that…
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

Education Not Prioritized at Annual Donor Conference

June 30 was possibly the most important day of 2020 for Syrian refugee children. At the annual pledging conference for the “Future of Syria and the Region,” dozens of governments and multilateral donors pledged US$7.7 billion in humanitarian aid for…
Hanan, a Syrian refugee in Jordan, created learning ‘blocks’ for her children from discarded cigarette cases.
News

Plight of Unaccompanied Migrant Children Is Focus of New Campaign

Ibrahim, a 14-year-old boy from Somalia, was detained by Greek police for almost three months at a detention center in Amygdaleza, a police-run detention facility on the outskirts of Athens, which houses adults but has a dedicated section for…
Drawing by "Ibrahim," age 14, detained for 11 weeks. Drawing titled, "Life in and After Detention"
News

Greece Extends Covid-19 Lockdown at Refugee Camps

The Greek government has begun easing lockdown measures, given the country’s success in keeping Covid-19 under control. Starting last week, people could leave their homes without authorization, most shops have re-opened, and older…
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News

Basic Hygiene Not Only for Public Health But a Human Right

Soap, now more than ever, is a central part of our daily lives. But not for many refugees. I’ve been in refugee camps worldwide. This they all have in common: refugees make great efforts to keep clean, but often lack these…
People in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos wait to use one of the few overcrowded water stations in the camp.
News

Authorities State Intention to Bar from Asylum, Deport New Arrivals to Turkey

On Saturday, I sat feeling helpless as I tracked a Greek naval vessel leaving Mytilene harbor on the island of Lesbos to an unknown destination. A Syrian asylum seeker who I have been in touch with for the past two weeks was on that…
Greek naval vessel holding newly arrived asylum seekers and migrants, shortly after departing Mytilene harbor, March 14, 2020.
News

Neglect Exposes Asylum Seekers to Abuse

With national elections coming up in less than a week in Greece, the widespread public debate about the country’s economy and future is not surprising. Unfortunately, other important issues are not getting the same attention. …
A Syrian man reads inside his tent at a makeshift camp outside Moria on the northeastern Aegean island of Lesbos, Greece.
News

Fresh Ruling Calls for End to Harmful Detention of Lone Migrant Children

This week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled for the second time in four months against Greece’s abusive practice of locking up unaccompanied migrant and asylum-seeking children in police cells under the so-called “protective custody”…
Unaccompanied children line up for an evening meal at a detention facility run by the Greek police.
News

Long Past Time to Put an End to Brutal Treatment of Migrants, Asylum Seekers

Ten years ago, I documented a systematic pattern of brutal Greek border police pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers at the Evros River border that divides Greece and Turkey. Last week, as I edited a new Human Rights Watch report, I…
Migrants that crossed the land border between Greece and Turkey are seen at the Pre-Removal Detention Center in the village of Fylakio, Northern Greece, February 24, 2017.
News

Saving Lives at Sea Should Not Earn Time in Jail

Four humanitarian activists who had been imprisoned on baseless charges in Greece were released on bail today by an investigative judge. The authorities should now drop the ridiculous charges against them. Among those bailed…
Greece Refugee Activist
News

All Warring Parties Need to Protect Civilians

An eerie calm has descended on Syria’s Idlib governorate, the largest remaining part of the country where numerous armed groups face the Syrian government and its Russian ally. Gone are the Syrian and Russian fighter jets that were…
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