Migrants allegedly pushed back from Greece, rescued by a Turkish patrol near Ayvalik, Turkey on April 10, 2021 | Photo: Erdem Sahin/EPA
Migrants allegedly pushed back from Greece, rescued by a Turkish patrol near Ayvalik, Turkey on April 10, 2021 | Photo: Erdem Sahin/EPA

Over 11,901 people seeking protection were pushed back at the European Union's internal and external borders during 2021, a report from Protecting Rights at Borders says. Around one third of illegal expulsions were reported by Afghan nationals.

A report by Protecting Rights at Borders (PRAB), published in December 2021, notes that, since January last year, some 11,901 people have been pushed back from the European Union's internal and external borders and that 32% of all pushbacks were reported by Afghan nationals. It added that many of these people had been deprived of the right to request asylum.

The report is the result of documenting almost 12,000 cases of men, women, and children pushed back by border police, security forces, and other authorities of EU member states.

It noted that the pushbacks often include physical and sexual violence, harassment, destruction of personal property, theft, forced separation of families and the depriving of the right to request asylum.

Rights violated in systematic manner

The organizations of the PRAB network, from several different countries, noted that winter temperatures contribute to the deterioration of humanitarian conditions and that -- in addition to being deprived of the right to asylum -- people do not have access to shelter for the night, warm clothes, or enough food.

They stressed that these pushbacks are happening at both the internal and external borders of the EU and that, as part of collaboration with the Diversity Development Group (DDG) in Lithuania, the report includes updates on the border situation with Belarus such as the figures on cases recorded, changes in the modalities used and restrictions on the media and NGOs.

Though the accounts and the data gathered are not an exhaustive overview of all the violations, the report shows that rights are being violated in a systematic manner.

Protecting Rights at the Border (PRAB) project

Protecting Rights at the Border (PRAB) is an initiative that involves several countries and associations monitoring rights violations at the internal and external borders of the EU: the Danish Refugee Council, Italy's Associazione Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione (ASGI), Diaconia Valdese, Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Humanitarian Center for Integration and Tolerance, the Macedonian Young Lawyers Association, and the Greek Council for Refugees.

The associations have developed a coordinated mechanism to document the violation of rights and also offer legal support and are engaged in joint advocacy and visibility initiatives.

 

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