On 29th May 2020, the Centre for Peace Studies – a key member of the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) – presented a new report alongside the Welcome! Initiative. Addressing the Croatian Government, the “Report on violent and illegal expulsions of children and unaccompanied children” is based on testimonies collected by activists through the BVMN shared database. The publication shares the story of children who sought protection from Croatia, and how Croatia answered in violence. Continue reading “Report from Centre for Peace Studies on the pushback of children”
A response to the Croatian Ministry of Interior on grave rights abuses by police officers in the border area.
When it comes to human rights violations, then the authority implicated should conduct an impartial internal investigation. This has not been the response of the Croatian Ministry of Interior (MUP), who have batted off reports recently put to them by No Name Kitchen (NNK) and the organisations which form the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) in an article by the Guardian newspaper.
The Border Violence Monitoring Network are publishing a feature report on the intersection of the current health crisis and border management. This new report shares first hand testimony of people-on-the-move who are experiencing the COVID-19 lockdown in transit. Its scope looks at the way restrictive measures disproportionately affect vulnerable persons in camps and at borders. Further, analysis of various countries from the region shows how COVID-19 measures have also been utilised to shape and erode the fundamental rights of these communities. Approaching the topic of COVID-19 as a period used to stage rights suspensions, some of the developments explored in this report include:
–The deployment of military forces at borders and camps is a core feature of the securitised response to COVID-19. This was seen with proposals made by the Slovenian government to increase the army’s remit in the border area and the garrisoning of camps in Serbia.
-The development of pushback practice in countries such as Croatia has shown a disturbing turn. Augmentation of border violence as a result of the pandemic appeared with the crude paint tagging of transit groups near Velika Kladusa. Meanwhile two officers actively involved in pushbacks in the Topusko area were tested positive for COVID-19, putting people-on-the-move at direct risk of contracting the virus at the hand of perpetrating officers..
-Collective expulsions from camps has rapidly become a new concern for people in centres in Greece and Serbia. The lockdown measures were used on multiple occasions as an excuse to perform large scale pushbacks from inner city camps and centres hosting asylum seekers.
-Inadequate accommodation facilities are an ongoing concern for transit groups denied the basic means to exercise relevant health protocols. Across the Balkan Route and Greece, the sealing of centres marked disproportionate deprivations of liberty and wilful neglect of hygienic standards by states and the European Union.
These findings point to the sharpening of inequality for people-on-the-move, whose access to asylum, healthcare, adequate accommodation, and safety from brutal collective expulsions has decreased rapidly during the COVID-19 restrictions.
Webinar launch: 22nd May 2020 (CET)
This report, and the unfolding situation during COVID-19, will be the topic of a webinar hosted by the Border Violence Monitoring Network. Listen in to hear from various members in the network and activists from the field who will discuss the latest developments regarding coronavirus and pushbacks in the Western Balkans and Greece.
-Milica Švabić (Belgrade) – lawyer and activist from Klikaktiv – Centar za razvoj socijalnih politika
-Zied Abdellaoui (Velika Kladuša) – activist from Tunis, currently stuck in Western Bosnia
-Simon Campbell (Thessaloniki) BVMN field coordinator, activist
Join the event via: https://youtu.be/9CAGedKQEIs
If you have any questions regarding this report and would like further information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For translated press releases see links below:
The Border Violence Monitoring Network are releasing new case material presenting evidence of removals from Greek centres and the subsequent pushback of people to Turkey. The incidents, occurring from the camp in Diavata and the Drama Paranesti Pre-removal Centre, show the extension of collective expulsion during the COVID-19 period. These are brazen acts which situate institutional accomodation sites and detention spaces firmly within the illegal pushback regime.
The 700th testimony published by BVMN is a reminder that border violence continues unchecked during Coronavirus.
For many of us right now, it feels like the world, and all of its problems, have been put on hold while COVID-19 takes the main stage. We are in isolation, waiting for the curve to flatten so that physical distancing restrictions can be relaxed. We are counting down the days until we can resume normal routines, and be with our family and friends.