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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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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. 
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When Pricila, a 32-year-old trans woman, fled El Salvador in February 2019, she had good reason to fear for her life. Police had beaten and sexually assaulted her, telling her they would make her a man. Gang members attempted to forcibly recruit her.…
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Summary Camila Díaz Córdova, a 29-year-old transgender woman, tried for years to escape the violence that had characterized her life in El Salvador. She made her way to the United States in 2017 to seek asylum, but after four months in immigration…
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The Trump administration has proposed a new federal regulation that would create insurmountable barriers to the vast majority of asylum claims, including by gutting the definition of refugee to the point where lesbian, gay, bisexual and…
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Abuses Should Rule Out Schengen Accession

 (Budapest) – The European Commission’s October 22, 2019 conclusion that Croatia is ready to join the Schengen Area wilfully brushes over evidence of violent pushbacks of migrants at its borders, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing a video…
A migrant who claims he was beaten by Croatian police while attempting to cross the border to Croatia shows his injury at a factory hall turned migrants facility in Bihac, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Wednesday, March 13, 2019.
News

Relocate Migrants to Decent Accommodation Elsewhere

Over a year after Human Rights Watch first criticized Bosnia’s failure to protect the basic rights of migrants and asylum seekers, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is warning of a fast-developing humanitarian emergency…
Migrants and asylum seekers in camp Vucjak where 2,500 people are now living in inhumane conditions without water, electricity, and medical care, Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina
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Proposed Secure and Protect Act Attempts to Block Asylum Claims

If you follow the twisted logic of Senator Lindsey Graham’s Secure and Protect Act to its ultimate conclusion, the US would all but shut its doors to Central American refugees – full stop. A vote on the bill in the US Senate Committee…
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Violence, Abuse; Denied Opportunity to Apply for Asylum

(Budapest) – Croatian police are pushing migrants and asylum seekers back to Bosnia and Herzegovina, in some cases violently, and without giving them the possibility to seek asylum, Human Rights Watch said. Human Rights Watch interviewed…
Migrants including asylum seekers in a dilapidated building in Borici camp, Bihac, Bosnia Herzegovina. November 19, 2018.
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The people in the Central American caravan making their way to the US border with Mexico are facing real life-and-death issues that need to be addressed. What they don’t need is to be overshadowed by posturing and threats, particularly from the…
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The London summit this week could kick-start the revival of the stalled reform process in the region – but won’t if human rights and the rule of law stay off the agenda

  Western Balkan and European Union leaders meet in London this week for a summit that could be a chance to revive stalled reforms and focus attention on critical issues. Unfortunately, there is every chance it will turn out to be full of hot…
Migrants are seen in front of a dorm destroyed during Bosnian 1992-1995 war, in Bihac, Bosnia and Herzegovina May 11, 2018.
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Gangs Threaten Children, Parents

Maria* and Carlos* never wanted to leave Honduras with their three children, they told me. But then gangs began threatening Carlos and their 13-year-old son Eddy*. The family moved houses, but one evening masked men came to their little…
A Honduran mother and her 3-year-old daughter wait with fellow asylum seekers on the Mexican side of the Brownsville-Matamoros International Bridge after being denied entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers near Brownsville, Texas, U.S., June
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Country Appears Ill-equipped to Manage Increase in Arrivals

When you think of refugees in connection with Bosnia and Herzegovina, you may think of people displaced by fighting in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. But today the country is facing a different kind of refugee crisis as it strains…
Asylum seekers and other migrants gather in a park in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s capital Sarajevo, where volunteers provide them with food, blankets, and medical care.
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Investigate Crimes against Journalists, Protect Independent Press

(Berlin) – Journalists across the Western Balkans face a hostile environment that impedes their ability to do critical reporting. More than a year after Human Rights Watch documented impediments to media freedom in Bosnia and…
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Major Obstacles for Central American Asylum Seekers

  Mexico City – Central American children fleeing serious threats face formidable obstacles in applying for asylum in Mexico, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 151-page report, “Closed Doors: Mexico’s Failure…
A 12-year-old Salvadoran boy rests as he waits to be deported, at the National Immigration Institute, in Comitan, Chiapas, Mexico on August 19, 2010. ©2010 Jose Cabezas/AFP/Getty Images
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Central American children fleeing serious threats face formidable obstacles in applying for asylum in Mexico. There are wide discrepancies between Mexican law and practise. By law, Mexico offers protection to those who face risks to their lives or safety…