[JURIST] Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Friday called on [HRW report] the European Union (EU) and Western Balkans states [official websites] to focus on remedying what it characterizes as deplorable conditions for asylum-seekers in Europe. With hundreds of thousands of people fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Africa, Europe has been overwhelmed with a sudden influx of refugees. Some nations have closed borders to refugees, causing significant bottlenecking and rerouting. Most recently, Hungary closed its borders with Croatia and Serbia, forcing around 20,000 refugees into Slovenia in a matter of five days. With many European nations struggling to accommodate refugees ahead of the coming winter, the European Union and other European states will meet Sunday in an attempt to work out an immediate solution. This meeting is one in a series of meetings European nations have conducted in an effort to find a long-term remedy for the refugee crisis. On the crisis, HRW European and Balkans researcher Lynda Gall said, “[i]nstead of playing a game of hot potato with fleeing human beings, EU and Western Balkan countries should use the upcoming meeting to agree on viable solutions to avoid a deadly winter at Europe’s borders.”
The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issue around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. Earlier this week, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein urged [JURIST report] the Czech Republic to stop detaining migrants and refugees in “degrading” conditions. According to Zeid, the numerous migrants and refugees who have arrived in the Czech Republic since August 2015 have been subjected to human rights violations. Last month Zeid gave the opening statement [JURIST report] at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council in which he addressed, among other pressing human rights issues, the migrant crisis. In his statement, he commended the efforts of ordinary citizens in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Germany, Sweden and the UK who have opened their homes to refugees and have galvanized politically to help with the crisis. Also in September Germany announced that it was invoking temporary border controls [JURIST report] at the nation’s southern border with Austria, after thousands of immigrants entered the country. Earlier than month, the Hungarian National Assembly passed a number of emergency measures [JURIST report] to address the recent mass migration into Europe.