Migration

Violence & Rightlessness at Europe’s (External) Borders

Kilometers of barbed wire border fences and high-tech patrols by land, air and sea. Return agreements like the EU-Turkey Statement or the EU's cooperation agreement with Morocco. Unlawful und often brutal push-backs at the EU's external borders. Europe goes to great lengths to keep out people trying to flee war, persecution and extreme hardship. Spain's push-back practices have become a model for states wanting to barricade their borders. Since 2014, ECCHR has been working on legal interventions to challenge the EU's practice of push-backs and supporting affected people in taking legal action.

Germany

Migration

“Seehofer Deal” denies access to asylum procedures and effective remedy

Push-backs

Germany and Greece concluded the so-called Seehofer Deal in 2018. The administrative agreement named after German Minister of Interior Horst Seehofer says: migrants and refugees who have already applied for asylum in Greece and arrive to Germany via Austria should be refused entry and returned to Greece within 48 hours. This is what happened to Syrian asylum seeker HT.

Bulgaria

Migration

Bulgaria’s pushback practice condemned by ECtHR

Push-backs

Bulgaria’s systematic expulsion of refugees and migrants to Turkey without an examination of the individual risk of ill-treatment violates the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Court of Human Rights ruled in July 2021.

Libya

International crimes and accountability
Migration

Migrants and refugees in Libya face crimes against humanity: The ICC must investigate

Crimes against humanity

Enslavement, arbitrary detention, sexual violence – these are just some of the serious crimes that migrants and refugees have been systematically subjected to in Libya. In order to bring an end to impunity for such crimes, ECCHR and its partners have, in cooperation with 14 survivors, filed a communication to the International Criminal Court.

Croatia

Migration

Push-Backs in Croatia: Complaint before the UN Human Rights Committee

Push-backs

A 21-year-old Syrian refugee crossed the Bosnian-Croatian border. He and other refugees were pushed back by armed Croatian police officials. The Syrian, supported by ECCHR submitted a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee urging it to examine Croatia’s practice of expulsions.

Croatia

Migration

Croatia to answer to European Court of Human Rights

Push-backs

Croatia is obliged to account for its push-back practice to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) before the European Court of Human Rights. The court accepted the individual complaints brought by three Syrian refugees. The applicants were denied any individual assessment as they were summarily and collectively expelled in October 2018 at the border between Croatia and BiH.

Spain

Migration

ND and NT v. Spain

Push-backs

ND and NT crossed the border fence structure in Melilla and entered Spain in August 2014. The Spanish Guardia Civil apprehended them, along with approximately 70 other individuals from sub-Saharan Africa who also had climbed the fences. They were immediately “pushed back” to Morocco – without access to any legal procedures or protection.

Spain

Migration

Europe’s treacherous borders: Seeking justice for Ceuta victims

Push-backs

At least 15 dead and many more injured: this is the outcome of a Guardia Civil operation on 6 February 2014 on the beach of El Tarajal, located at the border between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. The deadly push-back has still not been investigated properly. ECCHR is working with survivors who are willing to give witness evidence.

Spain

Migration

UN committee condemns Spain’s push-back policy

Push-backs

Spanish authorities apprehend and summarily deport unaccompanied minors to Morocco without a procedure to identify them and protect their rights. This policy was strongly condemned by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in February 2019 in a decision that clearly upholds the fundamental rights of unaccompanied minors at Europe's borders.

Macedonia

Migration

From Idomeni to Strasbourg: Refugees demand their right to have rights at the ECtHR

Push-backs

With support from ECCHR, several refugees filed individual complaints against Macedonia in 2016. They assert that Macedonia’s practice of unlawful expulsions is violating the European Convention on Human Rights.

Italy

Migration

Criminalizing sea rescue: ECCHR demands UN intervention

Rescue at sea

For years, Italy has intimidated, threatened and prosecuted sea rescues that provide vital humanitarian assistance to refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean. To counter this, ECCHR submitted a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders regarding Sea-Watch 3 crew members, in particular Captain Carola Rackete.

Italy

Migration

Sea rescuers under attack: Iuventa crew criminalized by Italian government

Rescue at sea

The NGO ship Iuventa (owned and operated by German organization Jugend Rettet) has been rescuing refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, off the Libyan coast, thereby providing crucial aid to those abandoned by state-administered sea rescue. In August 2017, Italian authorities seized the Iuventa, thereby preventing any further rescue missions.

Greece

Migration

Greek hotspots: Complaint against European Asylum Support Office to the EU Ombudsperson

Hotspots

According to ECCHR’s analysis of a series of admissibility interviews conducted on the Greek Islands, EASO fails to respect core standards of fairness. The interviews do not permit a fair assessment of cases and do not give room for a thorough investigation of vulnerability.