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Parliamentary Committee Should Endorse Key Amendments

(Milan) – The Italian parliament’s Constitutional Affairs Committee should endorse certain key amendments to draft immigration legislation, Human Rights Watch said today. The amendments would abolish sanctions on rescue ships, reject the concept of “…
Men aboard the Sea-Watch 4, a nongovernmental rescue ship, rejoice on September 1, 2020, as they learn that they have permission to disembark in Palermo, Sicily, the next day.
News

States Should Allow Rescue Boats to Land, While Protecting Health

(Milan) – European governments’ actions to close their ports to people rescued at sea puts lives at risk and cannot be justified on public health grounds, Human Rights Watch said today. The imperative to protect the right to health in a pandemic…
Crew work seen on the Alan Kurdi rescue ship, operated by German charity Sea Eye.
News

COVID-19 in Europe, the Central Eurasian Region, and Turkey

What are some of your biggest concerns about the coronavirus moving through Europe and Central Asia? Europe is one of the world’s epicenters of COVID-19 cases. There’s an awful death toll in Italy and Spain with the numbers of dead going up…
Military police officers patrol at a market in Budapest, Hungary, March 31, 2020.
News

Health Risks and International Law Require Safer Alternatives

  (Brussels) – People in immigration detention in European countries pending deportation should be given alternatives to detention amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today. “While entire societies learn to live under…
Women in the Ponte Galeria immigration detention center near Rome, Italy May 6, 2017.
News

As Abuse Is Known, Material Assistance Makes Rome Complicit

(Milan) – The Italian government should suspend all support to the Libyan Coast Guard until Libya commits to a clear plan to fully respect migrants’ safety and rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The plan should include closing…
Photo released by the Libyan Coast Guard showing people disembarking in Libya after being intercepted offshore, June 24, 2018.
News

Draconian Migration Measures Put Lives, Rights at Risk

  (Milan) – Italy’s Democratic Party-Five Star Movement coalition government should revoke anti-asylum and anti-rescue measures held over from the previous government, Human Rights Watch said today. The government is expected to propose…
Migrants are crowded together on deck of the rescue ship "Eleonore" as it seaches for a safe port in the Mediterranean.
News

Rome Should Not Prosecute NGO Ship Captain

Update: (June 27, 2019) – As of 5:30pm local time, Italian authorities were still blocking the Sea Watch 3 from docking at the Lampedusa port, over 24 hours after they entered Italian waters. A tweet from the organization at 5:37pm…
Italian Finance Police board the rescue ship Sea-Watch 3 after it disembarked 47 migrants at the Sicilian port of Catania, southern Italy, January 31, 2019.
News

Criminal Penalties Could Deter Saving Lives at Sea

(Milan) –The Italian government should firmly reject a proposal to fine shipmasters up to €5,500 for every person they rescue and take to Italy, Human Rights Watch said today. Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has proposed…
The migrant rescue ship Sea-Watch 3, carrying 47 migrants, comes into dock at the Sicilian port of Catania, southern Italy, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019.
News

Misrata Security Forces Use Force After Rescued People Refuse to Land

(Milan) – Libyan security forces forcibly removed 79 migrants and asylum seekers on November 20, 2018 from the Panama-flagged cargo ship Nivin in the port of Misrata in Libya, after they refused to leave the ship for 10 days, Human…
map of Libya
News

Aquarius Has Saved Thousands of Lives

(Brussels) – European leaders should act quickly to help the Aquarius, the last nongovernmental search and rescue ship operating in the Mediterranean, register after its flag was withdrawn by Panamanian authorities, five…
A wooden boat carrying 29 people, mainly Syrians, just before their rescue and transfer to the Aquarius. October 10, 2017
News

Dire Conditions for Thousands Fleeing Fighting

(Beirut) – Jordanian and Israeli authorities should allow Syrians fleeing fighting in Daraa governorate to claim asylum and protect them, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 16, 2018, the Syrian-Russian military alliance opened an…
An Internally displaced girl from Daraa province carries a stuffed toy and holds the hand of child near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights in Quneitra, Syria June 29, 2018. © 2018 Reuters/Alaa Al-Faqir
News

Don’t Criminalize Saving Lives

(Milan) – Italy has impounded a rescue ship and threatened criminal charges against two members of its crew and the coordinator of the organization after they refused to turn migrants over to Libyan forces, fearing that they would be abused. On…
Proactiva’s rescue ship Open Arms on mission in November 2017.
News

Provide Adequate Housing for Homeless Refugees

(Milan) – Police used violence and water cannons to evict a group of squatters, predominantly refugees, in Rome on August 24, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. The Italian authorities should conduct a serious and transparent investigation into…
refugees water cannons
News

Risk of Torture, Ill-Treatment

  UPDATE: On August 4, the European Court of Human Rights issued a preliminary injunction ordering Russia not to deport Khodoberdi Nurmatov to Uzbekistan, until the court can review his case.   (Moscow) – An Uzbek…
Ali Feruz at Basmanny district court in Moscow waiting for his hearing in the evening of August 1, 2017.
News

Help for Libyan Coast Guard Risks Complicity in Abuse

(Milan) – Italy’s deployment of Navy ships to assist Libyan authorities intercept migrant boats in Libyan waters could implicate Italy in human rights abuses against migrants subsequently detained in Libya, Human Rights Watch said today…
Migrants on a boat that they tried to take to Italy, after being detained at a Libyan Navy base in Tripoli on September 20, 2015.
News

Leaked Document Would Tie Nongovernmental Groups’ Hands

(Brussels) – Thousands more refugees and migrants could be at risk of dying at sea if a flawed code of conduct for nongovernmental groups conducting search and rescue in the central Mediterranean is put into practice, Amnesty…
Migrants look at south Italy's coast as they approach on the Vos Hestia ship after being rescued by " Save the Children" crew on the Mediterranean sea off the Libya coast, June 20, 2017.
News

Make Concrete Commitments During Summit

(Nairobi) – Kenya should protect and assist Somali refugees and asylum seekers facing ongoing conflict and a humanitarian crisis in Somalia, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said today. In line with a recent High Court decision, the…
Photo of Somali refugees getting on buses to leave Dadaab refugee camp.
News

Calls for Safe Zones Raise Concerns

(Beirut) – Human Rights Watch today released a question-and-answer document on “safe zones” and the armed conflict in Syria. A number of leaders and governments have suggested that creating safe zones in Syria near the Turkish or other borders could…
An internally displaced Syrian woman walks in the Bab Al-Salam refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, northern Aleppo province, Syria, December 26, 2016.
News

At Summit, Embrace Shared Responsibility, Not Outsourcing

(Brussels) – European Union leaders should signal a change in course and affirm strong human rights principles in EU asylum policy and foreign relations, Human Rights Watch said today. Heads of state from the 28 EU countries meeting in…
Families waiting for a bottle of water and a sandwich per person at a camp in Idomeni, Greece, March 2016.
News
I started working to help refugees in 1975 after watching TV images of Vietnamese refugees hanging from the landing skids of helicopters that took off from the roof of the US Embassy in Saigon. As an American, I was acutely aware these refugees…
US Secretary of State Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov, and UN Envoy for Syria de Mistura address the media in Vienna.