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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.
News

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.
News
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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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.
News

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.
News
Hungary’s governing party is cranking up the heat on nongovernmental organizations.  With its tight grip on parliament, and having undermined the courts and the media, the Fidesz government doesn’t like being held to account by pesky independent…
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks during his state-of-the-nation address in Budapest, Hungary, February 10, 2017.
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
“We came from wars and places where governments are threatening people," 20-year old Nasratullah, an asylum seeker fleeing violence in Afghanistan, told me last week. "And then we came to Hungary and police beat us a lot. I want to know why they are doing…
Migrants walk along Hungary's border fence on the Serbian side of the border near Morahalom, Hungary, February 22, 2016
News
“We live like dogs here…We sleep on the ground with our children on our laps…and we only received biscuits.” When I spoke to 27-year old “Khadiya” from Syria, three-months pregnant and travelling with her husband and two children, aged five and…
Asylum seekers in Roszke waiting for days to be admitted to the transit zone, Hungary, March 31, 2016.
News
The Hungarian government today dealt yet another blow to asylum seekers and migrants by declaring a state of emergency throughout the entire country due to “mass migration.” The decision follows a similar declaration on September 16, 2015, imposing a…
Migrants walk along Hungary's border fence on the Serbian side of the border near Morahalom, Hungary, February 22, 2016
News

Long Detention, Poor Conditions, Little Help for Vulnerable People

(Budapest) – Hungary is detaining vulnerable asylum seekers and migrants under its new border regime for weeks at a time, sometimes in poor conditions, Human Rights Watch said today. In October 2015, Human Rights Watch was granted access to five…
2015-12-eca-hungary-refugees
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“Please, I had no other choice. I’m a sick woman and I haven’t done anything so bad as to deserve this. I just want to reunite with my husband and sons in Germany. I ran away from bombs that destroyed our house in the village.” Laila, a 60-year…
Hungary border migrants
News

Ensure Adequate Access to Food, Water, Medical Care

(Budapest) – Migrants and asylum seekers are being held in abysmal conditions in the two Roszke migrant detention centers on the Serbian border, Human Rights Watch said today after obtaining footage from inside the camp and interviewing persons currently…
Asylum seekers behind a metal fence in the ‘Hangar 1’ detention center, in Röszke, Hungary.
News

How to Save Lives and Protect People

(Brussels) – The European Union and its 28 member states should act immediately to address the human rights crisis resulting from years of mismanaging migration and asylum, Human Rights Watch said today. With a humanitarian crisis on the Greek islands, a…
A view of Budapest's Keleti train station in Hungary where refugees and asylum seekers wait to be let on trains to Germany. September 2, 2015.
News
I thought long and hard before I retweeted the photo of 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi. It shows the lifeless toddler, lying face down on a popular Turkish beach, one of eleven Syrians who have almost certainly died as they tried to reach safety in Europe by…
A man carries the body of a dead Syrian boy who died at sea.