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Asylum Seekers Left Out in the Cold in Greece: Daily Brief

Plus: Lebanon's waste crisis; fans warned of homophobia ahead of World Cup in Russia; Turkey anti-LGBT campaign; Vietnamese blogger's appeal rejected; Iran sends child soldiers in Syria; Aid workers pressured in Calais; recalling crimes committed in Bosnia; low to freedom of speech in Kyrgyzstan.


  1. The Greek government, with the support of EU leaders, should immediately transfer asylum seekers to improved conditions on the mainland and take concrete measures by December 21, the official start of winter, so that no one is left out in the cold. At the moment, thousands of asylum seekers, including single women, female heads of households, and very young children, live in summer tents in the hotspots on the Greek islands, essentially sleeping on the ground, exposed to the cold, damp, and rain as the weather worsens.
  2. The lack of action by authorities to end open burning of waste across Lebanon is posing serious health risks for nearby residents, violating their right to health. “Open burning of waste is harming nearby residents’ health one garbage bag at a time, but authorities are doing virtually nothing to bring this crisis under control,” said Nadim Houry, interim Beirut director at Human Rights Watch.
  3. The 2018 World Cup season is about to open in Moscow today and while fans are waiting to know how the teams will be split into groups, they are being warned of homophobia and racism in Russia. Equality campaigner Fare will produce a cautionary guide before the World Cups starts next June, inviting gay and ethnic minority fans to stay cautious while in Russia.
  4. In the past weeks, local authorities in Turkey banned a number of LGBT-related events, citing “social sensitivities,” “protecting public health and morality,” and “public security” as reasons for the bans. The Turkish government needs to stop this apparent campaign, and make sure local authorities adhere to Turkey's human rights obligations.
  5. The Vietnamese government should release and drop all charges against the blogger Nguyen Ngoc NhuQuynh, known as “Mother Mushroom.” On Thursday, an appeals court rejected her appeal of a 10-year prison sentence for “conducting propaganda against the state.”
  6. A recent video of a 13-year-old boy joining the Iranian forces in Syria suggests that despite recent denials from the Iranian Embassy in Kabul, Iran is violating the laws of war in recruiting child soldiers. Iran is not the only participant in the Syrian conflict using child soldiers, but that is no excuse.
  7. This year, International Volunteers Day recognizes those who are first responders in crises. In Calais, aid workers helping migrants face pressure from police. The pattern of harassment suggests that police are trying to intimidate humanitarian workers, in the hope that if they leave, migrants will stop coming to Calais.
  8. Media outlets around the world seized on the dramatic suicide of convicted Bosnian Croat war criminal Slobodan Praljak, who drank poison in court and died on November 29. But focus should remain on the horrible crimes – the atrocities – for which Praljak and his five co-defendants were convicted.
  9. On Thursday, Kyrgyzstan’s Supreme Court dealt a heavy blow to freedom of speech by upholding three defamation rulings punishing critics for apparently insulting the “honor and dignity” of the now former president, Almazbek Atambaev.