Criminalisation Report: Accused of Solidarity

This report documents cases of criminalisation attempts experienced by BVMN’s member organisations in several countries, mainly in the Western Balkans and Turkey in 2021. In order to contextualise these events, the report briefly introduces a definition of criminalisation, the political and legal environment, as well as relevant actors, and forms of criminalisation. In addition, it discusses the consequences of criminalisation for BVMN’s member organisations and incidents of criminalisation they were subject to, listed after the countries they are located in.

The report observes a trend of deterioration in the situations of CSOs and their team members due to such incidents. Different forms of criminalisation, namely formal and informal criminalisation, scrutiny, obstacles related to visa procurement, defamation in the media and smear campaigns, as well as threats, harassment, and violence had huge negative consequences for the contributing member and partner organisations of the Network.

BVMN and its member organisations are one of several CSOs working in an increasingly restrictive environment to support and monitor the fundamental human rights of people-on-the-move in the EU. Here, the restrictive legal environment for CSOs working in this sector is combined with increasing societal, administrative, and police pressure. This is no longer a country-specific phenomenon, but rather a European- wide trend that, in line with the EU’s externalisation policies on migration in general, extends well beyond its external borders.

This report was produced within the Border Violence Monitoring Network’s (BVMN) Internal Violence Working group. BVMN is a network of watchdog organizations active in Greece and the Western Balkans including No Name Kitchen, Rigardu, Are You Syrious, MobileInfoTeam, Push-back Alarm Austria, Josoor, InfoKolpa, Centre for Peace Studies, BlindSpots, Mare Liberum, Collective Aid, and Fresh Response. As such, this document was produced through joint collaboration of these groups.



Press Release: Greece Ordered to Rescue 34 Syrians from Evros River

5th April, 2022

Thirty-four Syrian nationals have been taken to the Greek mainland after surviving for three days on a deserted islet in the Evros/Meriç border river. The European Court of Human Rights obliged Greece to provide the group with shelter, food, medical care and shelter after an urgent appeal was submitted by the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN).

The group, which included six children and a pregnant woman, ran out of food and water before Greek authorities finally came to their aid, despite having been notified of their situation and location days earlier. According to the group, the authorities had been flying drones over the islet but never interacted with the group. Continue reading “Press Release: Greece Ordered to Rescue 34 Syrians from Evros River”