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Visit Puts Orban Government’s Cruel Migration Policies Under Spotlight

On September 12, Budapest will welcome the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, a Pope whose message constantly called for welcoming migrants and refugees. But Hungary’s treatment of people seeking protection is a far cry from Pope Francis’…
Pope Francis unveils the sculpture on the theme of refugees and migration ' Angels Unawares ' by Canadian sculptor Timothy P. Schmalz, on Migrant and Refugee World Day, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019.
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Joint Statement

We, the undersigned analysts, researchers, and other experts on the Syrian context, strongly condemn the Danish government’s decision to remove “temporary protection” for Syrian refugees from Damascus. This decision used our testimonies to the Danish…
Syrian refugees hold banners outside the Swedish Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, protesting Denmark's asylum policies towards those who fled Syria's civil war, September 26, 2012.
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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.
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Failing Diplomatic Talks Show Need for a Different Path

(Geneva) – Almost three in every four people responding to a new poll in 10 European countries want their governments to work for an international treaty prohibiting lethal autonomous weapons systems, Human Rights Watch said today. At…
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New Policy Forcibly Returns Thousands, No Due Process

(Beirut) – At least three Syrians deported by Lebanon’s General Security back to Syria have been detained by the authorities upon their return. General Security said it deported 2,731 Syrians between May 21 and August 28, 2019, following its May 13…
Members of the Lebanese General Security Directorate oversee Syrian refugees boarding a bus to take them home to Syria, in the northern Beirut suburb of Burj Hammoud, Lebanon, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019. © 2019 AP Photo/Bilal Hussein
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Cease Inhumane Treatment, Resume Distribution Immediately

(Budapest) – Hungarian authorities have stopped food distribution since early August 2018 to some rejected asylum seekers held in transit zones on the Hungarian-Serbian border, Human Rights Watch said today. They should immediately ensure that all…
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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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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New Arrivals Deported, Coerced Back to Syria

(Istanbul) – Turkish authorities in Istanbul and nine provinces on or near the Syrian border have stopped registering all but a handful of recently arrived Syrian asylum seekers. The suspension is leading to unlawful deportations, coerced returns…
Two Syrians walk along a fence near the Turkish-Syrian border in Gaziantep province, Turkey on November 30, 2016.
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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
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Russian Supreme Court Says There is No War in Syria, Nothing to Flee From

Despite eight years of civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands and ravaged Syria, Russia’s Supreme Court incredulously declared that Zakria Timbut has nothing to fear in returning to his homeland. Fearing for his life…
A woman walks with a child amid rubble at Bustan al-Qasr neighbourhood in Aleppo, Syria July 16, 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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Focus on Justice, Refugees, Education

(Brussels) - The Friends of Syria Group meeting in Brussels on April 24-25, 2018, should address the war crimes and impunity that characterize the Syria conflict and meet urgent protection and humanitarian needs, Human Rights Watch said…
People walk with their belongings as they flee the rebel-held town of Hammouriyeh, in the village of Beit Sawa, eastern Ghouta, Syria March 15, 2018. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki
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At a border crossing between Syria and Turkey, a smuggler preparing  a group of seven Syrian asylum seekers to enter Turkey told a 13-year-old boy  to cross. He pointed toward the other side of a wide street, and said, ”See there? Run…
Syrians run as they flee from the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain to Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar, Sanliurfa province
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EU Should Raise Issue, Pledge Aid at Conference

(Brussels) – Turkish security forces have routinely intercepted hundreds, and at times thousands, of asylum seekers at the Turkey-Syria border since at least December 2017 and summarily deported them to the war-ravaged Idlib governorate in Syria,…
A Turkish soldier surveys the border line between Turkey and Syria near the city of Kilis, March 2, 2017.