Launch Event for the Black Book of Pushbacks: Expanded and Updated Edition

On Thursday 8 December 2022, the Border Violence Monitoring Network is releasing an expanded and updated edition of the Black Book of Pushbacks, consisting of more than 3,000 pages across four volumes. The majority of these pages are filled with testimonies from people-on-the-move who were beaten, kicked, insulted, humiliated and arbitrarily detained before being illegally pushed back both at the EU’s external borders and from deep within the territory of its Member States. In many cases these people were subject to different methods of torture such as rape, sexual abuse, excessive and prolonged beatings, the use of Electric Discharge Weapons against them, and even being shot at by border authorities and thrown into rivers, sometimes with their hands still ziplocked together. However, what this book evidences yet again is that these are not the sporadic actions of a ‘few bad apples’, nor are they coordinated actions by individual Member States; these are Europe-wide systems that have been reinforced from the very top. At the start of the book we look at how changes to the migration landscape in Europe, pioneered by the Commission, like the increased use of new technologies, the New Pact on Migration, and the strengthening of the EU’s own Agency Frontex, have only served to entrench more deeply inhumane and unfair asylum systems across Europe. With the first edition of this book we promised to publish a new edition until impunity ends, and here we are fulfilling that promise.



  • 3,176 pages
  • 1,635 testimonies impacting over 24,990 persons
  • Covering 16 countries


Speaking on the launch of the book, MEP Cornelia Ernst (Die Linke, Germany) says:

“The new edition of the Black Book clearly shows the violence still experienced every day by women, men, children on the move at the EU’s external and internal borders. The EU Commission is still inactive, not starting infringement procedures against Member States who are pushing people back and denying them the right to asylum. Frontex is still operating in Greece, although its complicity in human rights violations there is no secret. We see that the right to asylum is seriously under attack: the EU is funding more and more border forces perpetrating violence and Member States like Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are adopting laws aiming at legalising push-backs, legislation that violates the EU and international law. This new edition aims at holding the EU and governments accountable for the tortures, the inhumane and degrading treatment and the violations of the right to life that people seeking safety in Europe face every day. As Members of the European Parliament we have to thank the activists and NGOs that have been documenting border violence, gathering testimonies and locations at the high risk of being criminalised by European governments, without whom this book would not exist. Many of them have been suffering attacks for speaking out against the violence and push-backs carried out by law enforcement authorities, and we would like to express our strong support to them.”

Hope Barker, Senior Policy Analyst for the BVMN, added:

“In 2020 we published the first Black Book, with over 900 testimonies, and called for an end to the culture of impunity that surrounds human rights violations in Europe. Two years later and illegal pushbacks continue unabated in spite of an increased evidence base, videos of perpetrators committing these crimes, and hundreds more testimonies. In this new expanded and updated edition of the Black Book we publish over 1,600 testimonies – and this is just the tip of the iceberg, there are hundreds of thousands of stories that we have not heard. We at BVMN again call for an end to this practice, for perpetrators to be held accountable, and for the human rights of all individuals to be respected.”