Balkan Region Report – March 2021

In March, the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) recorded 31 pushback cases, impacting 671 people-on-the-move in the Balkans. This report looks at the direct and indirect violence that people face at borders in the region and the way border enforcement has adapted to maximise the abuse of transit communities. In profile were those killed at borders and interiors last month – directly because of the lack of safe passage into the EU.

As a network comprised of grassroots organisations active in Greece and the Western Balkans, this report was produced via a joint-effort between Are You Syrious, Mobile Info Team, No Name Kitchen, Rigardu, Josoor, IPSIA, Disinfaux Collective, InfoKolpa, Centre for Peace Studies, Re:ports Sarajevo, Mare Liberum, Collective Aid and Fresh Response.

This report analyses among other things:

    • “Border Killings” on truck and foot routes
    • Pushbacks of minors and families from Croatia
    • Further pushbacks in the tri-border from Bulgaria
    • Fixed and mobile surveillance technologies
    • Law changes and litigation from Slovenia, Hungary and Greece

 

Over a year after the first lockdowns were implemented across Europe, the deteriorating Covid-19 situation in camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Aegean islands are a reminder of the differentiated experience of the pandemic. In March, conditions in various transit sites – from Athens to the Una Sana Canton – were punctuated with violent urban policing and harassment of squatted and homeless communities. In the month where BVMN published it’s 1000th testimony, it is sadly apparent that practices at the EU external border remain consistently aggressive to people-on-the-move, both in the systematic use of pushbacks and the violence felt within state borders. 

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