Beaten, having dogs sicked on them, deprived of their rights: the new PRAB (Protecting Rights at Borders) report indicates an alarmingly high level of human right infringements at European borders. Migrants and refugees trying to reach the European Union are systematically pushed back outside of the EU. The seventh PRAB report once again indicates that pushbacks have become an accepted tool for border traffic management.

Beaten by the police, having dogs sicked on them, robbed of everything they have. Humiliated, left in a forest without their phone, passport, any food or water. Trapped. The seventh Protecting Rights at Borders (PRAB) report indicates that the above is only a part of what people trying to cross European border go through. The report contains new data confirming systematic pushbacks at numerous EU borders. The report confirms that such illegal activities have been accepted by some states as border traffic management tools.

From 1st May to 31st August 2023, Danish Refugee Council and its partners operating as part of the PRAB initiative (including SIP) documented 9 515 pushbacks. Every third out of the 9 515 pushbacks involves a child. PRAB partners managed to interview 2 030 people affected by pushbacks.

The report draws attention to numerous instances of violence, inhumane treatment, humiliation, and lack of access to procedures for asylum-seekers. Even though the number of pushbacks and other types of violence towards migrants is very high, it is believed that documented cases form only a fraction of all illegal pushbacks taking place at EU borders.

“Due to the parliamentary elections in Poland scheduled to take place on 15th October, the subject of migration was seized and politicized by the competing political parties. The ruling party encourages Poles to vote in an anti-migration referendum and boycott the new movie by Agnieszka Holland about the humanitarian crisis at the Poland-Belarus border. That crisis is far from over. The right to seek asylum, the non-refoulment principle, and the prohibition against mass expulsion are infringed there on a daily basis, even now as I speak these words. Due to the increasing militarisation of the area near the border over the course of several months, we have seen more and more violence towards both citizens of other countries and people seeking humanitarian aid,” explains Maja Łysienia, Strategic Litigation Specialist at SIP, who has participated in the processing of data included in the report.

DRC and PRAB partners urge European governments to take immediate steps aimed at ensuring that international standards of human rights protection are observed and that people crossing EU borders have access to sufficient protection and are treated humanely.

The full report can be found HERE.