Throughout the past months, more than 6.000 men, women and children have experienced illegal
pushbacks at the EU’s external and internal border. Testimonies document unlawful, yet seemingly
tolerated and ongoing, pushbacks involving physical abuse, harassment, extortion, destruction of
property, theft and denial of access to seeking asylum. But it is not only theft of
people’s belongings, it’s also a loss of EU’s basic value of human dignity and respect for people’s
Collected from July to November 2021, the report shows that by far, the highest rates of
pushbacks have been recorded at the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Overall,
Afghan nationals are the largest population reporting pushbacks. 10 percent of all incidents of
pushbacks involved children.
An overview of the developments at the EU’s eastern borders with Belarus is also provided in the
report. Here, the situation is deteriorating on a daily basis, and has tragically resulted in loss of
With winter approaching, temperatures dropping below zero and snow a common phenomenon in
the areas where most of the affected people are stranded, needs will increase. With ill-treatment and
unlawful practices continuing at the borders, thousands of men, women, and children await a winter
in uncertainty and legal limbo, in dire conditions without basic assistance to survive and without
access to rights and legal remedies.
The report is the third under the Protecting Rights at Borders (PRAB) initiative launched in January
this year by DRC and six civil society organisations across Europe. The initiative focusses on human
rights violations at the EU’s external and internal borders – and provides evidence of the illegal
practice of pushbacks.
Throughout the reporting period of almost a full year, the PRAB initiative has collected close to 12.000
reports involving pushbacks employed by border police, law enforcement officials or other
authorities experienced by migrants and asylum seekers.
The trend of border violence, amounting in many cases to collective expulsions, is systematic and
widespread at internal and external EU borders. Further, the sheer number of reported
pushbacks reflects the normalization of the practice, as a border management tool.
The risks refugees, asylum seekers and migrants face along the route, as well as the
humanitarian crises at different borders have been exacerbated by EU policies aimed at keeping
people out and proposals aimed at legalizing derogations of basic rights.
While the practices must simply end, the instalment of an effective and independent border
monitoring mechanism can be a tool to hold perpetrators accountable and ensure paths to justice for
The PRAB initiative gathers partner organizations operating across a range of different
countries: Italy (Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull’Immigrazione (ASGI), Diaconia Valdese
(DV) and Danish Refugee Council (DRC) Italia); Hungary (Hungarian Helsinki Committee); Bosnia and
Herzegovina (DRC BiH); Serbia (Humanitarian Center for Integration and Tolerance (HCIT)); North
Macedonia (Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA)); Greece (Greek Council for Refugees
(GCR) and DRC Greece); and Brussels (DRC Brussels).
Diversity Development Group (DDG) in Lithuania has also contributed to the report with an overview
of the situation at the Lithuania – Belarus border.
You can find the whole report in the link below