Is Bosnia and Herzegovina a safe country to readmit to?

No right to food. No right to water. No right to shelter. No right to walk in the street. No access to asylum. No access to healthcare. Is this a safe country to be returning people-on-the-move?

In the 2007 bilateral agreement signed between Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) and the European Union (EU), Article 13 explicitly states an obligation to “non-refoulement”. This principle ensures that an individual’s removal to BiH can be halted:

“(a) if the third-country national or the stateless person runs the real risk of being subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment

BVMN, alongside media and human rights groups, have substantiated the claims that Croatia is illegally pushing people back into BiH, aspects of which are often tantamount to torture. But recent news from BiH shows that the conditions awaiting people in the primary receiving state also go further: fundamentally violating the principle of “non-refoulement”. Continue reading “Is Bosnia and Herzegovina a safe country to readmit to?”

Joint Letter in Response to Croatia’s Schengen Accesion

The Border Violence Monitoring Network, along with other NGOs, have signed the following letter.

Croatia’s Schengen membership should be halted until human rights are respected 

Today, Croatia received the green light from the European Commission to enter the border-free Schengen Area. While we agree that expanding the Schengen space could be a positive and much-needed move towards improvement of free movement inside the European Union, Croatia’s Schengen membership should be made conditional on the immediate end to the Croatian Government’s illegal and violent push-back of migrants. Such practice at the soon-to-become Schengen border not only directly violates provisions of the Schengen Border Code, but represents a violation of international and EU law, including the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees.

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Balkan Region – Report September 2019

The Border Violence Monitoring Network has just published it’s September report analyzing collated testimony of pushbacks and police violence in the Western Balkans. The case material covers extensive violations along Croatia’s border with Bosnia-Herzegovina, chain refoulement from Slovenia, pushbacks from Hungary to Serbia, and incidents from the North Macedonian -Greek border.

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A person pushed back every twenty minutes

Last week saw autumn rains sweep through Bosnia and Herzegovina, marking the season’s change. For most people, it means gradually escaping into their homes and into warmth; for the people-in-transit mired in northwestern Bosnia, a seasonal desperation sinks in. In spite of the brutal border regime of Croatia, Slovenia and their EU patrons, people keep moving in search of safety.

So too the local people of Bihać forge their way through this ongoing story. The northwestern city has kept a vigil now for over eighteen months, hearing the same cycle of empty promises around camps, facilities and change. Yet Bihać is bracing itself again for winter, and as before, people are forced to do things themselves.

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