The Protecting Rights at Borders (PRAB) initiative is formed by protection and legal aid organisations focusing on human rights compliance at the EU’s external and internal borders. The PRAB partners have well established field presence in the countries of operation enabling direct access to victims of pushbacks, as well as longstanding experience in strategic litigation.
Pushbacks at EU borders
Pushbacks are expulsions without legal justification and procedure, usually employed by border police, law enforcement officials or other authorities. It is being used to push foreigners such as migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from a state’s territory to the territory of another state without regard for the individual’s circumstances and right to seek asylum.
PRAB partners register and document pushbacks and cover both internal and external EU borders, such as the borders between France-Italy, Greece-Turkey, Croatia-Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary-Serbia, Belarus-Poland, Ukraine-Poland, Greece-North Macedonia, Slovenia-Italy, North Macedonia-Serbia, and Lithuania-Belarus.
Are pushbacks illegal?
Resorting to pushbacks, regardless of whether these involve violence, as a means of protecting states’ borders constitutes an illegal practice.
Pushbacks risk violating the principle of non-refoulement being a cornerstone of international refugee law and of international human rights law - as well as the prohibition of collective expulsion and as it prevents access to procedures for international protection.
States have the right to control movement across their borders. However, this must happen in compliance with their obligations under international and European Human Rights Law.
PRAB work is based on:
Documenting and collecting testimonies of these well-established and systematic rights violations.
Triggering and supporting legal action, when relevant and feasible.
Highlighting accountability issues, as well as the need for Independent Border Monitoring mechanisms.
"It is extremely worrying to see that so many people experience pushbacks and border violence. It goes without saying that states must stop the violence and these illegal practices, and perpetrators must be held accountable.
Human rights compliance must not be an obstacle to migration management, a rights-based approach to border management is indispensable."
/ Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council