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Summary Syria is a death country, a kidnapping country. Anyone coming back will lose their money or their life. — Salam, 26, from al-Jeza in Daraa Syrian refugees who voluntarily returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan…
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(Beirut) – Syrian refugees who returned to Syria between 2017 and 2021 from Lebanon and Jordan faced grave human rights abuses and persecution at the hands of the Syrian government and affiliated militias, Human Rights Watch…
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Central European University Suspends Program for Asylum Seekers

An education program aimed at giving asylum seekers and refugees in Hungary a new start is the first casualty of the government’s most recent anti-immigrant measures. This week, the Central European University (CEU) suspended…
People in Budapest protest a draft law targeting Central European University, Hungary, April 4, 2017.
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With independent media largely silenced or taken over, the courts increasingly curbed, and a parliament firmly under the control of the newly re-elected Fidesz ruling party, Hungary’s nongovernmental groups are the most effective…
Protesters attend a rally against Hungarian government's clampdown on a top foreign university and non-government organisations in Budapest, Hungary, May 21, 2017.
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Law Could Jail People Who Provide Services, Advice to Migrants

Hungary’s Parliament passed a law that not only makes it almost impossible to seek asylum in Hungary, but also makes it a crime to help migrants and refugees. If signed into law by Hungarian President Janos Ader, starting…
Members of the Hungarian government vote on the 'Stop Soros' package of bills that criminalises some help given to illegal immigrants, at the Parliament in Budapest, Hungary, June 20, 2018.
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A bill passed by the Hungarian Parliament would criminalize efforts to help migrants and asylum seekers and curb their access to protection. The law amends nine existing laws related to asylum, the national border, and the police. It creates a…
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Last week, the European People's Party (EPP) had a chance to stand up for its values and those of the European Union. But instead, it ducked the issue. The umbrella group of center-right and Christian democrat parties in European…
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel talks with Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban before a photo at the European Union Tallinn Digital Summit in Tallinn, Estonia, September 29, 2017.
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Proposed Constitutional Amendment Limits Asylum Access

(Budapest) – A revised draft bill published by the Hungarian government on May 29, 2018, would criminalize efforts to help migrants and asylum seekers and curb their access to protection, Human Rights Watch said today. The bill the…
An anti-immigration poster by Viktor Orban's Fidesz party during Hungary's April 2018 elections, April 8, 2018, Gyongyos, Hungary.
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  Some politicians in Lebanon, host to the world’s largest per capita refugee population, are looking for signs that it may be safe for Syrian refugees to go home, even as the violence there continues.  Seven years into the Syria…
Bar Elias, a town in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley, has become home to Syrian refugees who were evicted from the Rayak air base, and have settled here in informal encampments.
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Expulsions by Municipalities Appear Discriminatory, Lack Due Process

  (Beirut) – At least 13 municipalities in Lebanon have forcibly evicted at least 3,664 Syrian refugees from their homes and expelled them from the municipalities, apparently because of their nationality or religion, while another 42,000…
A clothesline in an informal tent settlement in Bar Elias, Bekaa Governorate, Lebanon. Refugees evicted from the Rayak air base area settled here in January 2018. The refugees say there was no procedure, no written notice, no opportunity to discuss or cha
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Withdraw ‘Stop Soros’ Measures; Halt Curbs on Rights Groups

(Budapest) – The Hungarian government submitted three bills to parliament on February 13, 2018 that would penalize and restrict groups working on asylum and migration issues, Human Rights Watch said today. The bills cast helping a person…
People protest in Heroes’ square against a new law that would undermine Central European University, a liberal graduate school of social sciences founded by U.S. financier George Soros in Budapest, Hungary, April 12, 2017.
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(Beirut) – Lawless armed conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) morphed into disastrous trends for the region in 2017, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its 2018 World Report. “Failed leadership, failed…
Smoke billows behind a building in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on December 3, 2017, during clashes between Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemeni ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh. © 2017 Getty Images
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EU Commission’s Silence Undermining the Rights of Migrants

Migration was high on the agenda when the EU’s migration commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos, visited Budapest last week. But, after lengthy discussions with Hungary’s justice and interior ministers, his public remarks after the meeting on 28 March…
Migrants walk along Hungary's border fence on the Serbian side of the border near Morahalom, Hungary, February 22, 2016
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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.
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Recent statements by leaders and governments in the United States, Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Jordan indicate an interest in creating so-called safe zones in Syria. While no detailed plans for creating and managing such…
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.
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EU Should Seek To Halt Plan to Hold Asylum Seekers in Transit Zones

Update: On March 7, 2017, the Hungarian parliament approved the law, 138 to 6 with 22 abstentions. The law will come into force 8 days after it is signed by the Hungarian president. (Budapest) – A draft bill proposed by the Hungarian government…
A refugee washes clothes on the Hungary-Serbia border, on the Serbian side of a transit zone set up by Hungarian authorities to filter refugees at Roszke, Hungary, September 2, 2016.
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Dimitris Avramopoulos Commissioner Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship European Commission Rue de La Roi 200 1049 1049 Brussels Belgium dimitris.avramopoulos@ec.europa.eu…
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Consider this alternative history: Shortly after the 1980 change in presidential administrations, President Reagan issues an order to suspend resettlement of Cambodian refugees who fled mass murder at the hands of the Khmer Rouge. The reason for doing so…
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The European Union has provided significant funding to the Greek government, and to United Nations and nongovernmental agencies, to operate the centers on the Greek eastern Aegean islands, known as “hotspots,” and camps on the mainland. But asylum seekers…