Did you experience a push back? Have you been arrested by border police and sent back to another country over a green border without the right to explain your case? Such human rights violation are illegally practiced every day by border police in many countries.
A lot of people have already documented these right abuses from different borders along the Balkan route: from Bulgaria to Turkey, from Macedonia to Greece, from Serbia to Macedonia, from Serbia to Bulgaria, from Croatia to Serbia, from Croatia to Bosnia, from Hungary to Serbia, as well as from Slovenia to Croatia.
We want to collect testimony in order to condemn those who are responsible for these human rights violations, so that they do not repeat themselves. We encourage you to give your testimony to resist this illegal practices! Read the following information on push backs and contact us.
Lets not accept these human right violations!
What is a Push-Back?
A push-back occurs when you are expelled from a country without having the possibility to explain your personal circumstances and without the possibility to claim asylum. Push-backs are illegal and prohibited under international human rights law. These expulsions can take different forms. It can happen that you are returned at a state border to the country you came from without having the possibility to claim asylum. It can also happen that you have stayed in a country for a while and are later on expelled to the country you travelled through earlier, without any legal procedure. Sometimes, it can even happen that you are expelled to a country you have previously not set foot in.
Article 19 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and Art 4 Prot 4 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) prohibit collective expulsions. That right is broken when push-backs and expulsions occur. Everyone enjoys protection from collective expulsions, including those with irregular status. Ill-treatment in itself is also a violation of Article 3 ECHR. Violence or inhuman and degrading treatment, occur often during or prior to push-backs and expulsions.
The right to seek and to enjoy asylum requires that persons seeking international protection have access to a fair and efficient procedure for the examination of their claims. It is each state’s responsibility to identify refugees and give effect to their obligations under the 1951 Geneva Convention.
What can you do after a push back?
If you have experienced a push-back or expulsion it might be recommendable to report it as well as any ill-treatment or other human rights violations you suffered to big well-known human rights organisations. It is possible to seek justice for the human rights violation you experienced. Taking legal steps against push-backs takes a very long time. However, it can help the people who travel this way later on and it could also lead to some form of compensation for you. You can make a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights if you have reached a safe country, but this must happen within 6 month after you have experienced any kind of push-back or human rights violation. Please seek legal advice quickly. We can assist you with doing so. However, this will NOT help you to reach the country of your destination.
How to document your push-back?
Try to document that you have entered a country by taking photos of any official document that you receive and official facilities that you have stayed in. Keep the photos stored safely in your e-mail or Facebook account. Keep contacts of any witnesses in case you are a victim of violence. Try to give as many details as you can, and send us any picture or video of the push-back. Try to save the GPS coordinates of the places you took the pictures and videos. You can report human rights violations in any country you are. Human rights violations might be a push-back or expulsion, but also any form of violence by the authorities, inhuman and degrading detention etc.
If you have been hospitalized for psychological reasons or severe health problems or injuries that resulted from any form of attack or by any kind of accident during the border crossing, ask the doctors/hospitals for a paper that documents at least that you were examined or even better an attest on what you suffered from.
Report your push-back and other human rights violations:
Try to give as many details and proof material as you can. Your identity will not be revealed, and your testimony will remain anonymous.
Registering the human rights violations you experienced with big and known organisation might be useful evidence for your asylum case. The following organisations are a selection of independent institutions (There are also many other organisations in each country. See contact lists in each country section). Your name will not be published if you don’t want to. There are also possibilities to report human rights violations that were done by any national authorities to a national court with the help of a lawyer. Please seek legal advice for this in order to get detailed information on procedures, possibilities and limitations. If you lose your case before a national court and you have tried all legal national remedies without success, your lawyer can go to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) against the respective state. Please seek legal advice quickly.
Contacts for reporting push-backs and human rights violations:
You can contact us to seek help in finding the right organisation to report your push-back: firstname.lastname@example.org
The following organisations can further record the push backs you experienced and build public pressure on the governments that have conducted these illegal push-backs or other human rights violations. Additionally, check the respective country section for more information and more specific contacts.
Postfach 16 06 24
D 60069 Frankfurt/Main
Tel.: +49 69 242 314 20 (Mo-Fr: 10.00-12.00 and 14.00-16.00)
Fax: +49 69 242 314 72
UK office Address:
1 Easton Street,
London, WC1X 0DW, UK
Tel.: +44 20 741 355 00
Fax: +44 20 795 611 57
European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights
Zossener Str. 55-58
D 10961 Berlin
Tel.: +49 30 400 485 90
Fax: +49 30 400 485 92
Countries where push-backs are currently reported regularly: