Balkan Regional Report – December 2021

Summary and analysis of pushbacks and internal violence documented by BVMN during the month of October.

In December the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) shared 30 testimonies of pushbacks impacting 280 people-on-the-move across the Balkans. This report brings together first-hand accounts from a range of countries in the region to look at the way European Union states and other actors are affecting systemic violence towards people crossing borders.

BVMN is a network of watchdog organisations active in the Balkans, Greece, and Turkey including No Name Kitchen, Rigardu, Are You Syrious, Mobile Info Team, Disinfaux Collective, Josoor, [re:]ports Sarajevo, InfoKolpa, Centre for Peace Studies, Mare Liberum, Collective Aid and Fresh Response. Combining insights from these different members, the report analyses among other things:

    • Pushbacks from Bulgaria
    • 10-year old Kurdish girl drowns in Dragonja River (Slovenia)
    • Shipwrecks in the Aegean Sea
    • CPT Report
    • Updates from the Polish-Belarusian border

In updates on conditions along the Balkan Route(s), this report touches on the recent death of a 10-year-old Kurdish girl in the Draganja river between Croatia and Slovenia, as well as the subsequent pushback of her family. Regarding recent developments in Croatia, the report delves into the recent release of a report by CPT on various forms of severe ill-treatment experienced by people on the move at the hands of Croatian police officers, such as being forced to march barefoot through the forest to the border or being thrown into the Korana River which marks the border between Croatia and BiH. The recent criminalization of a BVMN member organization Are You Syrious volunteer is also explored, highlighting the legal absurdities of the court decision. 

Several recent developments from the Greek mainland and Islands are also covered, including reports from the new closed camp on Samos. Further sections cover the Pope’s recent visit to Lesvos and the multiple shipwrecks in the Aegean over the last month. The final sections cover recent developments in Trieste, Italy, with regards to mounting repression and the death of a person on the move in detention, as well an overview of recent changes in legislation, and voices of solidarians on the ground on the Polish-Belarusian border.

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