A new study from the Border Violence Monitoring Network, published on Thursday, documents 25.000 violent pushbacks at EU borders, saying the real number of pushbacks is likely even higher.
A new study, “Black Book of Pushbacks”, compiled by experts from the Border Violence Monitoring Network, BVMN, has monitored and mapped border violence to migrants. The report was launched on Thursday at Brussels.
“It documents how almost 25,000 people were beaten, kicked, humiliated and arbitrarily detained before being illegally pushed back, both at the EU’s external borders and from deep within the territory of its member states”, BVMN said in a press statement.
It added that the report includes 1,635 testimonies that impacted 24,990 persons and that 15 countries were involved: Austria, Italy, Greece, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bulgaria, North Macedonia and Albania.
BVMN said these pushbacks are not sporadic cases but that violence, torture and humiliation are growing and being normalized.
“Pushbacks are illegal under international law, but [EU] member state authorities have long ignored such breaches of human rights which are contrary to the EU’s international obligations. The Black Book contains only the testimonies recorded by BVMN, the real number of people being pushed back and experiencing violence at the borders is likely much higher,” the press statement added.
BIRN has reported and documented pushbacks through Balkans and Eastern Europe.
Another report, “Protecting Rights at Borders”, published 2021, recorded some 6,200 illegal pushbacks of asylum seekers and migrants from Balkan country borders, with some experiencing “chain pushbacks” across several countries.
In June 2021, Croatia announced a new Border Monitoring Mechanism, to be supported and funded by the European Commission, to serve as an example for the rest of the EU in ensuring accountability at the borders.
But the report said implementation of this had not been good, with many media documenting “pushbacks and cruel and degrading treatment at the Croatian and Greek borders”.
Border Violence Monitoring Network is an independent network of NGOs and groups mainly based in the Balkan regions and in Greece, which monitors human rights violations at the external borders of the European Union. BVMN was created in 2016.