Hungary: Draft Law Tramples Asylum Seekers' Rights
(Budapest) – A draft bill proposed by the Hungarian government would allow the authorities to automatically detain asylum seekers in transit zones and to summarily return asylum seekers to the Serbian border from anywhere in Hungary, Human Rights Watch and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee said in a February 24 letter to the European Commission calling for it to intervene.
These provisions would apply during under the current immigration "state of crisis," in effect since September 2015 and in force until September 2017, and any such declared emergency in future.
"The European Commission should not stand by while Hungary makes a mockery of the right to seek asylum," said Benjamin Ward, deputy director of the Europe and Central Asia division at
US: Release Singaporean Blogger Amos Yee
(New York) – US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials should immediately release persecuted Singaporean activist and blogger Amos Yee, who was granted asylum by a US immigration judge on March 24, 2017, PEN America and Human Rights Watch said today. Yee, who has been detained since December, remains in ICE custody on the grounds that the Department of Homeland Security may file an appeal against the grant of asylum.
Bangladesh: Reject Rohingya Refugee Relocation Plan
(New York) – The Bangladeshi government should immediately drop its plan to transfer Rohingya refugees to an uninhabited, undeveloped coastal island, Human Rights Watch said today. Relocating the refugees from the Cox's Bazar area to Thengar Char island would deprive them of their rights to freedom of movement, livelihood, food and education, in violation of Bangladesh's obligations under international human rights law.
Between 300,000 to 500,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees, most of them unregistered by the authorities, are in Bangladesh after fleeing persecution in Burma dating back to the 1990s. Since October 2016, nearly 69,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State in Burma have entered Bangladesh to escape attacks by Burmese security forces, including unlawful killings,
Pakistan: Renewed Threats to Afghan Refugees
(New York) – The Pakistani government should reduce rights violations against Afghan refugees by extending their legal residency status until at least December 31, 2017, Human Rights Watch said today. On June 29, 2016, the government extended registered Afghan refugees' Proof of Residency (PoR) cards for six months, until the end of 2016.
Iraq: Displacement, Detention of Suspected "ISIS Families"
(Erbil) – Iraqi forces have forcibly displaced at least 125 families said to have familial ties to affiliates of the Islamic State (also known as ISIS), Human Rights Watch said today.
Sunni tribal groups (known as the Hashad al-Asha'ri), within the Popular Mobilization Forces (known as the PMF or Hashd al-Sha'abi), which are under the control of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, and Iraqi soldiers forced the families out of their homes following the passage of a decree issued by local authorities. The families, all from Salah al-Din governorate, are being held against their will in a camp functioning as an open-air prison near Tikrit. The PMF also destroyed some of the families' homes.
"While politicians in Baghdad are discussing reconciliation efforts in Iraq, the state's own forces are undermining those efforts by destroying homes and forcing families into a detent