Shrinking Spaces: Report on Criminalisation of Solidarity in the Western Balkans

Today activists from BVMN, with support from network member Centre for Peace Studies, are releasing a new publication about contemporary pressures on solidarity work on the Balkan Route.

This report documents the trend to de-legitimise, stigmatise and criminalise acts of humanity and solidarity with people on the move. It seeks to provide an overview, including some selected cases from Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia as well as analysis of particular key events. For this purpose semi-structured interviews with different grassroots actors who were impacted by forms of criminalisation of solidarity were conducted between January and November of 2019.

The report seeks to contextualise different tropes within criminalisation, including:

    • Formal Criminalisation
    • Policing, Repression and Informal Criminalisation
    • Scrutiny
    • Obstruction of Individuals and Organisations
    • Arbitrary and Informal Acts of Policing
    • Verbal Violence
    • Physical Violence

While this is by no means a complete inventory of the repression civil society actors and people on the move face in the region, we hope to raise awareness of this threat to freedom and solidarity.Taking this report as a starting point we will continue to document cases of repression and criminalisation in the region and urge others to do the same. This dynamic of repression, especially targeting local solidarity actors and people on the move, is of concern now more than ever because of the changes taking place in the region during Covid-19.

 

 

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