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Tens of thousands of workers trapped in highly abusive conditions

Lebanon’s restrictive and exploitative kafala (sponsorship) system traps tens of thousands of migrant domestic workers in highly abusive conditions amounting, at worst, to modern slavery. The law fails to protect the workers, and the establishment…
Protestors holding banners calling for the abolishment of Lebanon's controversial kafala sponsorship system.
Report
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…
News

Adopt Rights-Respecting Contract for Migrant Domestic Workers

(Beirut) – Lebanon’s Labor Ministry should urgently adopt a new standard unified contract that respects and protects the rights of migrant domestic workers as a first step toward abolishing the abusive kafala (sponsorship) system, Human Rights Watch…
Protestors holding banners calling for the abolishment of Lebanon's controversial kafala sponsorship system.
News

Longtime Residents Facing Deportation, Separation

(Beirut) – Lebanon’s General Security has detained a Sudanese-Sri Lankan family of seven, including four children under age 18, threatening to deport the parents to different countries for lacking residency papers, the Anti-…
People wave a Lebanese national flag during a protest in Central Beirut December 11, 2006.
News

Coerced Deportees at Risk of Arrest, Torture in Iraq

(Beirut) – The United States government has deported at least 30 of a planned 1,400 people originally from Iraq back to their country, in some cases threatening long imprisonment if they don’t consent, Human Rights Watch said today. In…
Protesters rally outside the federal court just before a hearing to consider a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of Iraqi nationals facing deportation, in Detroit, Michigan, US, June 21, 2017. © 2017 Reuters/Rebecca Cook
News

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.
News
  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.
News

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
News
(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
News

The Stories From People With Disabilities Who Have Endured Humanitarian crises

Simplice – Central African Republic The frustration burned in Simplice Lenguy’s eyes as he spoke about the situation faced by people with disabilities since conflict erupted in the Central African Republic. In…
Ali, a 22-year-old Afghan asylum seeker with a disability, living in Moria camp, on the beach in Lesbos, Greece. He told Human Rights Watch he can’t access showers in the camp and sometimes tries to wash himself in the sea.
News

Asylum Seekers Denied Access to Protection; Subject to Violence

(Budapest) – Croatian police are forcing asylum seekers back to Serbia from inside Croatia, in some cases using violence, without giving them an opportunity to lodge claims for protection, Human Rights Watch said today. Human…
Migrants wait in line to receive free food during a snowfall outside a derelict customs warehouse in Belgrade, Serbia January 9, 2017.
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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…
News

Serbia, Hungary Leave People Without Adequate Shelter as Winter Hits Hard

While many in Serbia prepare for Orthodox Christmas, others in the country and neighboring Hungary are bedding down in freezing cold weather hoping to survive. Temperatures in Hungary and Serbia have dropped to minus 20 degrees centigrade at night.…
Asylum seekers and migrants living in appalling conditions in abandoned warehouses behind Belgrade train station, Serbia. November 22, 2016.
News

Ensure Asylum Access; Investigate Cruel, Violent Pushbacks

(Budapest) – Migrants at Hungary’s border are being summarily forced back to Serbia, in some cases with cruel and violent treatment, without consideration of their claims for protection, Human Rights Watch said today. New…
Asylum seekers in Roszke waiting for days and weeks to be admitted to the transit zone, Hungary, March 31, 2016.
News

Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Emergencies

 The Seleka [an armed rebel group] came and started killing people. I was fast asleep when I heard gunshots and woke up to find myself alone at home. My parents had fled without me. I started shouting and crawled to the entrance of my house but…
Safi, 30, (right) a Syrian refugee from Aleppo, walks on highway M1 near Budapest, Hungary in an attempt to reach Vienna, Austria by foot.