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21 November 2022

Challenging child pushbacks from Croatia and Slovenia: Discussion on rights violations against minors on the Balkan route

21 November 2022, 11:00 am

On World Children’s Day, we hear the story of a Rohingya child and his search for safety and the violence and rightlessness he experienced at Europe’s borders. After a long journey toward Europe, U.F. faced several pushbacks with his asylum claim ignored. He experienced repeated beatings by Croatian border officers, had his belongings burnt and his shoes confiscated before his expulsions, which included a “chain” pushback from Slovenia. In July, he submitted complaints against Croatia and Slovenia at the UN Child Rights Committee, the first complaints of their kind against these two states. The litigation forms part of the Advancing Child Rights Strategic Litigation project (ACRiSL).

Despite widespread rightlessness at borders and the high levels of violence against minors, there has been comparatively little research on child pushbacks and few legal complaints before international fora. Children and adults alike have routinely been subjected to violent pushbacks from Croatia, where the practice forms part of a designed and systematic state policy. Slovenia’s pushbacks were implemented since 2018 through a readmission agreement authorizing hasty expulsions with complete disregard for a person’s protection needs, a child’s identity, or their best interests.

This panel will engage with policymakers and key actors to address the current state of child rights on the move along the Balkan route. Moderated by Delphine Rodrik, legal advisor at ECCHR, the panel will include the following contributors: 

Gordan Bosanac, Secretary to the Green-Left bloc, Croatian Parliament 

Miha Nabergoj, Advisor to the Human Rights Ombudsman of the Republic of Slovenia

Tatjana Ristic, Advocacy specialist, Balkans Migration & Displacement Hub, Save The Children

Aoife Nolan, Co-director of the Human Rights Law Centre, University of Nottingham / Lead, ‘Advancing Child Rights Strategic Litigation Project’.

The panel will be held in English and streamed live on Facebook.

U.F was supported in his legal complaints by the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR), and Blindspots. The litigation forms part of the Advancing Child Rights Strategic Litigation project (ACRiSL). ACRiSL comes under the auspices of the Global Campus for Human Rights – Right Livelihood cooperation.


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