Pushing Back Responsibility

Between January and April 2021 civil society organizations in 6 different countries collected testimonies of 2162 cases of pushbacks, including chain pushbacks over multiple countries. The rights violations were recorded at different borders in Italy, Greece, Serbia, Bosnia-and-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Hungary.

Over a third of pushbacks were accompanied by rights violations (denial of access to asylum procedure, physical abuse and assault, theft, extortion and destruction of property), at the hands of national border police and law enforcement officials. This is however merely the tip of the iceberg, as pushbacks and these types of rights violations are likely to occur even more frequently, but go often undetected.

Further, testimonies collected at different borders seem to point to cooperation practices between different EU Member States, to circumvent their responsibility and push unwanted groups outside of the EU. It goes without saying that these practices have to stop. States should comply with international law, and not use violence at their borders as a deterrence or effective part of their border management.

An independent border monitoring mechanism is required to ensure that rights violations are monitored and effective investigations into evidence submitted by civil society actors are conducted. The violence must end and perpetrators must be held accountable.

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