Balkan Region Report – August 2021

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

In August the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) recorded 30 pushbacks, impacting 324 people across migratory routes in the Balkans. This report brings together these testimonies with field observations from across the region, highlighting the various types of border violence being enacted by the EU and other states. The analysis presented considers patterns in police violence during pushbacks, as well as the dire conditions in camps and squated housing, aspects which make up some of the internal bordering processes impacting people-on-the-move.

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Submission to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Today the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child opens a two day session on “Children’s Rights and Alternative Care”. This general discussion is aimed at tackling “the current situation regarding alternative care in its complexity, identify and discuss particular areas of concern with regard to the unnecessary separation of children from their families and appropriate ways to respond to family and child separation in cases where it is unavoidable”. The Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) is sharing here a submission made to the Committee outlining the rights violations carried out against children during pushbacks and the denial of access to alternative care. This submission builds of extensive field data and research gathered by BVMN and responds to the concept note issued by the Committee. 

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MEPs slam Slovenian Presidency for their role in chain-pushbacks

In the first week of September (2. 8. 2021), MEPs in the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs confronted Slovenian Interior Minister Aleš Hojs as he presented the priorities for Slovenian presidency of the Council of the European Union in Brussels. With evidence provided by BVMN and network members InfoKolpa and Are You Syrious, representatives of The Left in the European Parliament took the Presidency to task for its systemic policy of chain-pushbacks and flagrant abuse of the rule of law. Members also shamed the Slovenian Ministry of Interior for continuing to ignore a Supreme Court ruling which established Slovenia had violated the rights of a Cameroonian plaintiff and are obligated to allow him access to the Slovenian asylum system and to stop returning people to Croatia as there is overwhelming evidence of chain-refoulement and degrading treatment often amounting to tortute.

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Mapping Legal Struggles: Toolkit for Legal Action Across the Balkan Routes

Today the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) is releasing a new legal toolkit for applicants, volunteers, advocates and litigators. The aim of the guide is to map possible legal complaint mechanisms on human rights violations at borders, at both domestic and European level. The guide is a public resource for both the members of the network and other activists supporting people on the move. It seeks to share experiences, best practice, and propose some concrete actions that can be taken against human rights violations at borders and interiors.

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