Black Book on Pushbacks: Violence not Human Rights

Various reports show that authorities are illegally turning people away at the EU’s external borders. The extent of so-called pushbacks is a new black book.

Greek border guard with vehicle

Repeatedly involved in illegal pushbacks: Greek border guards on behalf of Frontex Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto/imago

BERLIN taz | While the EU interior ministers were discussing the expansion of the Schengen zone and tightening the right to asylum in Brussels on Thursday, NGOs, journalists and the Left Group in the EU Parliament presented new evidence of the mass pushbacks at the EU’s external borders.

The Group, together with the Border Violence Monitoring Network, presented a new edition of the “Black book pushbacks“. It collects 1,635 testimonies about pushbacks affecting almost 25,000 people in 15 countries. It is the most comprehensive documentation of a practice that, especially in the past five years, has increasingly used naked violence to take the place of the law.

The various forms of abuse described in the black book are hardly manageable. People report being beaten, kicked, insulted, humiliated and arbitrarily detained.

You can read about different methods of torture, rape, sexual abuse, excessive beatings and tasers. Those who arrived were thrown into rivers, sometimes with their hands tied, or shot at by border officials.

Increasingly tougher border protection

“The new edition of the Black Book once again clearly shows the structural violence that children, women and men are still exposed to on the external and internal borders of the EU on a daily basis,” said Left MEP Cornelia Ernst. The EU’s inaction and the impunity of those responsible are “shameful and a slap in the face to the countless victims”.

Cornelia Ernst believes that the right to asylum is “cleared for shooting”. The EU is financing more and more border protection and cooperation with third countries. Member states such as Poland, Lithuania and Latvia passed laws aimed at legalizing pushbacks.

Also on Thursday, a network from the ARD magazine “Monitor”, the research NGO, presented Lighthouse Reportsto the mirror and other media research on this, as in Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia would use “prison-like shacks” to hold refugees captive. “The people seeking protection are often mistreated before they are forced back across the border,” says the report.

Footage shows, among other things, how several people wait on the ground surrounded by rubbish until they are taken to cars and driven away. According to statements by refugees, asylum seekers are sometimes locked up here for several days without water and food. The police then bring the people back to the border and force them to return to Turkey.

Laws passed that effectively legalize pushbacks, clothes of a migrant at the Polish-Belarusian border Photo: Robert Pastryk/imago

Particularly explosive: According to research, these illegal detentions are apparently taking place directly under the eyes of the EU agency Frontex. Internal documents show, for example, that ten Frontex officers are also stationed at a location of the Bulgarian border police, which is said to be involved in the pushbacks. Because of persistent reports about Frontex’s involvement in illegal pushbacks, the Frontex director Fabrice Leggeri to resign in April.

More pushbacks since the Taliban

Just recently, the NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) had a report on Pushbacks from Turkey released. All of the men and boys interviewed who were traveling without female family members experienced or observed how Turkish authorities mistreated them or other refugees.

Many reported that Turkish border guards fired in their direction – sometimes aimed at them – as they approached or attempted to cross the border.

The report “No One Asked Me Why I Left Afghanistan“ also shows that fleeing does not only become difficult at the EU’s external border. According to him, especially since the Taliban took power in August 2021, Turkey has “routinely pushed back tens of thousands of Afghans at its land border with Iran or deported them directly to Afghanistan without assessing their claims for international protection”.

For 2022, the Turkish authorities have so far reported 238,448 “irregular migrants whose entry into our country has been prevented”. Most of them came from Afghanistan. From January to August, the country deported 44,768 people from Afghanistan by air to Kabul – 150 percent more than in the same period last year, before the Taliban government.

Source link