The reports that make up this database have been collected by volunteers in Serbia starting in 2016 and have been complemented by reports collected in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro since then. These reports have been compiled mainly by volunteers working either independently or with the NGOs No Name Kitchen, Rigardu, [Re:]ports Sarajevo, Aid Brigade, Balkan Info Van, Escuela con Alma, BASIS, BelgrAid and Fresh Response. We also work closely with Are You Syrious and Center for Peace Studies in the field of political interest representation and advocacy. Border Violence Monitoring is a network consisting of a variety of organizations, rather than an NGO. Due to the close social contact we have as independent volunteers with people attempting transit through countries like Serbia or Bosnia-Herzegovina, we have observed the effects of push-backs which have been increasingly accompanied by physical violence. After months of receiving similar reports, it became obvious that these were not isolated episodes limited to specific places, but rather part of a wider, systematic deterrence strategy communicated by authorities of EU member states.
Although illegal push-backs occur throughout southeastern Europe, this database predominantly features cases from Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary since the majority of our testimonies originate from these locations. While a variety of actors from civil society1 as well as local and EU politicians2 have made attempts to bring attention to this issue, illegal and violent push-backs are still occurring today.
The reports on this page are derived from the testimonies provided by victims of push-backs and border violence. In cases where we notice that a group or individual has experienced border violence (or an illegal push-back), a volunteer will sit down and talk through the event with the individuals and record their testimonies. When available, the testimonies are accompanied by images documenting injuries sustained from this structural violence.
In carrying out these reports, we utilize a semi-standardized set of guidelines, developed with professional input, which blends the collection of hard data points with an open narrative of the abuse. Our methodology strongly prioritizes the informed consent, safety and anonymity of respondents, and therefore all of our reports are completely anonymized.
The goal of this platform is to document the pervasive and structural nature of border violence communicated by officials of EU member states. We aim to unite as many reports as possible in one single database. In this way, the website can serve as a powerful tool to increase public awareness of this issue; i.e. as a basis of information for journalists, as a utility when contacting ombudspersons or politicians, and/or as a way to facilitate statistical analysis. This platform seeks to increase pressure on the institutions and actors that are responsible for the systematic violation of human rights on the borders of the European Union. These actors are not limited to the EU member states located along the borders, but rather extends to EU institutions at large which finance this violent border apparatus3 and European politicians portraying decreasing arrival numbers in central European countries as the results of effective European policy-making.4