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Desperate Journey: Europe’s Refugee Crisis

Asylum seekers and migrants descend from a large fishing vessel used to transport them from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos. October 11, 2015.

© 2015 Zalmaï for Human Rights Watch


Afghan refugees in Greece
Twin Threats

How the Politics of Fear and the Crushing of Civil Society Imperil Global Rights


Thirteen-year-old Sifola in the home she shares with her husband and in-laws in Bangladesh. Sifola’s parents, struggling with poverty, took her out of school and arranged for her marriage so that the money saved could pay for her brothers’ schooling. © 20
Ending Child Marriage

Meeting the Global Development Goals’ Promise to Girls

Bhumika Shrestha, a transgender woman in Nepal, holds her citizenship certificate, which listed her as male in 2011. Nepal legally recognized a third gender category beginning in 2007, but it took Shrestha and other activists and transgender citizens unti
Rights in Transition

Making Legal Recognition for Transgender People a Global Priority

The door of a cell at Lusaka Central Prison. Children are routinely incarcerated in Zambia for minor offenses and frequently held together with adults, putting them at increased risk of sexual violence and other abuses. © 2010 João Silva
Children Behind Bars

The Global Overuse of Detention of Children

Between January 1 and the end of November 2015, more than 886,000 people reached the EU via the Mediterranean, a significant increase over previous years. More than 3,500 people died or went missing in the same period while making the journey. Arrivals to Greece via Turkey across the Aegean Sea now far outstrip crossings via Libya to Italy. From Greece, a debt-stricken country unable to cope with the influx, many travel overland through the Western Balkans to reach other EU countries. The land route contains its own perils, including blocked border crossings, summary expulsions and police abuse.

Over 80 percent of those taking the dangerous journey originate from countries beset by war, generalized violence, or with repressive governments, such as Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. The EU continues to emphasize preventing departures and combating smuggling over a coordinated approach based on access to protection and respect for human rights including through problematic cooperation with Turkey and other transit countries.