Guidelines for Reporting, Advocacy and Strategic Litigation

Publisher: Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Southeast Europe, Belgrade 2021.

The guidelines aim to improve documenting of and reporting on harmful border practices and human rights violations committed at the border between Serbia and Croatia. They place particular emphasis on the practice of refugee and other migrant pushbacks. These have been implemented in a steady and consistent manner since the end of 2016. Moreover, during this period many civil society organizations (CSO) in several countries in the region have been involved in various kinds of activities that aim to protect the rights of refugees and other migrants, while calling for an end to human rights violations along the border. These efforts have been based mainly around reporting, advocacy and public condemnation, with only a few cases of strategic litigation. In other words, it is now clear that collective expulsions, ill treatment and the arbitrary deprivation of liberty have been occurring along the Serbian-Croatian border from 2016 to 2021 despite all the efforts of CSOs. Therefore, besides effective reporting, testimony collection and advocacy, efforts and capacities around strategic litigation should be increased. Thus, these guidelines contribute to goals such as:

1. Providing guidelines for CSOs on where, how and when to document and legally challenge unlawful border practices along the Serbian–Croatian border.
2. Increasing the credibility and reliability of reports published on individual incidents by applying a multidisciplinary approach.
3. Informing the reader of possible legal avenues open at the national and international level for fighting harmful border practices. These legal avenues could be investigated jointly by Serbian and Croatian CSOs, alongside independent lawyers, and they could potentially lead to strategic litigation.

Source: Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Southeast Europe, Belgrade 2021.