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Lack of Protections Puts Women, Children at Risk

(Athens) – A law scheduled to take effect on September 16, 2021, that amends child custody provisions in Greece’s civil code places women and children survivors of domestic violence at risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The Greek government should…
Protesters in Athens, Greece on March 27, 2021 stand outside the Greek Parliament displaying a banner that reads “your sexism is harming both mother and child” against a new law that introduces presumptive co-custody of children, even in cases of domestic violence.
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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.
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Ensure All Asylum-Seeking Children Are Enrolled in Coming School Year

(Athens) – The Greek government should urgently reform discriminatory policies so that children seeking asylum can go to school when the new year begins on September 13, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. Only 1 in 7 children living in camps was…
A refugee girl living in a camp near Athens.
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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.
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Leaders Show Little Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Last week, an appeals panel of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals (IRMCT) upheld the 2017 genocide conviction of Bosnian Serb wartime military commander Ratko Mladić. Chief prosecutor Serge Brammertz said of Mladić, “His name…
A woman among the graves of victims of the Srebrenica genocide, at the memorial cemetery in Potocari, near Srebrenica, Tuesday, June 8, 2021.
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Reject Proposed Legal Changes; Improve Protections for Abuse Victims

(Athens) – A bill to amend child custody provisions in Greece’s civil code disregards risks for domestic violence victims that would put women and children in jeopardy, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill, "Reforms regarding parent-child…
Protest outside the Greek Parliament in Athens on March 27, 2021 against a bill that would introduce compulsory equal joint custody of children in cases of separation or divorce. 
News

People Still Accommodated in Camp’s Contaminated Area

Dozens of families are still accommodated in areas of a migrant camp in Lesbos where soil testing showed elevated lead levels two months after the Greek government confirmed that the areas were contaminated, Human Rights Watch said today. The…
Authorities removing soil
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

Migrants Face Human Rights Abuses at EU Borders; Impunity Persists

Dawn was breaking when Akram and around 20 others dragged themselves up the banks of the Glina river, their bodies bruised from beatings by Croatian police officers. Some of them were barefoot and so badly injured they could barely walk. Akram was back…
Migrants warm their hands above a fire in Bosnia and Herzegovina, January 11, 2021.
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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. 
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What are the risks of lead poisoning? Who is most at risk? Why is Human Rights Watch concerned about lead contamination at the Mavrovouni migrant camp, on Lesbos? What were the results of the testing? Is the testing that the government…
The area on the hill from where authorities are removing soil
News

Results Highlight Urgent Need for Further Testing, Safety Measures

The Greek government is downplaying the risk of lead poisoning at a migrant camp built in part on top of a former firing range on Lesbos island to justify its own inadequate action, Human Rights Watch said in a question-and-answer document released…
The area on the hill from where authorities are removing soil
News

Arrests Focus Spotlight on Anti-Free Speech Laws

The arrests of three demonstrators in Singapore who were protesting the plight of transgender students highlights the extent of free speech restrictions in the city-state. Authorities arrested the trio on January 26 as they picketed outside…
201801wr_singapore_human_rights A woman wrapped in the rainbow flag is seen at the Pink Dot rally, Singapore's annual gay pride rally, at a park in Singapore July 1, 2017.
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Mandatory Order to Install Surveillance Software Infringes on Child Privacy, Expression

Singapore’s Education Ministry has made it mandatory for secondary school students to install tracking and remote access software on all laptops issued under a national digital literacy program, and on students’ personal devices that are used to…
A student uses a laptop for schoolwork while participating in remote learning, September 7, 2020.
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Inadequate Government Response; Lack of Transparency Put Health at Risk

Update January 28, 2021: On January 27, 2021 the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum’s press office shared by email with media outlets and with Human Rights Watch a 79-page document detailing the results from the soil sample testing conducted in…
child plays next to an earth digger
News

Long-Term Housing, Care Urgently Needed

(Brussels) – Bosnian authorities should immediately provide adequate, winterized accommodation for migrants and asylum seekers stranded in freezing temperatures in the northwestern part of the country, Human Rights Watch said today. After a fire…
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

How Ten Years of Advocacy and Incremental Changes Add Up

In Greece, a recent high-profile court ruling and policy change mark momentous human rights victories for migrants and children. On October 7, an Athens court ruled that the country’s far-right xenophobic political party, Golden Dawn, whose members…
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

Migrant Workers’ Rights Ignored During Covid-19 Pandemic

(Bangkok) – Singapore’s government further restricted free expression and peaceful assembly in the city-state in 2020, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2021. The authorities used harsh and overly broad laws to prosecute speech…
202012asia_singapore_wr
News

Test Soil, Clear Firing Range

(Athens) Thousands of asylum seekers, aid workers, United Nations, and Greek and European Union employees may be at risk of lead poisoning in a new migrant camp that Greek authorities have built on a repurposed military firing range on the island of…
A girl from Syria living in Mavrovouni camp watches the Greek military search for unexploded munitions