Human Rights are not negotiable!

The right to asylum is one of the core Human Rights, given that its purpose is to protect the very people who have been deprived of their Human Rights before.

Like no other community of states, the European Union has committed to the protection of Human Rights. (Art.2 of EU Treaty and European Charter of Fundamental Rights). Notwithstanding, it is not only this newly released evidence (www.borderviolence.eu) that suggests the systematic violation of Human Rights by the Member States Hungary, Croatia and Slovenia [1]:

1.) Expulsions onto Serbian territory, so-called push-backs, violate the principle of “non-refoulement” (part of the Geneva Convention; Art. 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights), as well as the right to asylum, especially the right to a fair asylum procedure.

2.) Denial of a fair court hearing / personal interview to persons seeking asylum: Art. 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN) grants every person the right to ask for asylum in any country that is not their country of origin. While this does not entail the obligation to grant asylum, every application for asylum has to be heard and treated as prescribed by the applicable laws. The collective expulsion of groups without any individual case screening is a violation of the prohibition of collective expulsion of aliens as in Art. 4 of Protocol no. 4 to the ECHR as well as the right for an effective remedy before national authorities under ECHR, Art. 13. (cf. ruling of the European Court of Human Rights of 03.10.2017 [2])

3.) The physical violence perpetrated by Hungarian, Croatian and Slovenian police establishes grounds for the initial suspicion of torture (presumably for the purpose of deterrence) and cannot be justified by any means. These practices are an infringement of Art. 5 (Prohibition of torture) of UDHR and ECHR, Art. 3.

Confronted with these allegations, Hungary’s Ministry of Interior “wishes to draw attention to the fact that the Hungarian police protect the borders of the EU and Hungary”. (http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/police-violence-against-refugees-on-balkan-route-12-08-2017) In this way, the protection of EU borders is used as legitimation of clear Human Rights abuses.

Hungary’s Ministry of Interior has justified the documented acts of violence with the “protection of European borders”. Facing this statement, all EU countries have the obligation to act against Human Rights violations for the “protection of the EU”) – otherwise, the European community becomes complicit in these crimes.

We call on the governments of all Member States and on the Human Rights organs of the Council of Europe not to tolerate this behavior and use all available political means to ensure that no more Human Rights are violated by EU Member States in the future.

Every state has the right to protect its external borders. How the right to asylum is implemented may differ from country to country. However, the core of the right to asylum must never be up for discussion. Every individual has the right to a fair asylum procedure. Accepted refugees must be given shelter and protection in humane conditions.[3]

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[1]: Further reports on similar incidents:

Médecins sans frontières (03.10.2017): GAMES OF VIOLENCE, unaccompanied children and young people repeatedly abused by EU member state border authorities: http://www.msf.org/sites/msf.org/files/serbia-games-of-violence-3.10.17.pdf

UNHCR (2016): UNHCR Concerned Hungary Pushing Asylum Seekers Back to Serbia: http://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2016/7/5788c85a4/unhcr-concernedhungary-pushing-asylum-seekers-serbia.html

Are You Syrious/Welcome Initative (05.03.2017): REPORT ON THE NEW WAVE OF VIOLENCE AGAINST REFUGEES ON CROATIAN BORDERS http://welcome.cms.hr/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/REPORT-ON-THE-NEW-WAVE-OF-VIOLENCE-AGAINST-REFUGEES-ON-CROATIAN-BORDERS.pdf

Oxfam (06.04.2017): A Dangerous ‘Game’ https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-dangerous-game-pushback-migrants-refugees-060417-en_0.pdf

Human Rights Watch (2017): Croatia: Asylum Seekers Forced Back to Serbia. https://www.hrw.org/news/2017/01/20/croatia-asylum-seekers-forced-back-serbia

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/croatia-accused-of-illegally-deporting-refugees-01-04-2017-1

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/ngo-accuses-croatia-of-forcing-refugees-to-serbia-01-20-2017-1

[2] https://www.humanrights.ch/de/internationale-menschenrechte/europarats-organe/egmr/urteile/menschenrechtswidrige-push-backs-spanien

[3] see also Martin Klingst (2017): Menschenrechte, Schriftreihe Band 10061 der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, Bonn