On 14 March 2016, more than 1500 people started walking from Idomeni in Greece across the border to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), seeking to move on and escape the inhuman conditions in Greece. However, they were apprehended by the Macedonian military, threatened, returned to the border in army vehicles, and ordered to crawl under the fence from FYROM back to the Greek side. Such large-scale push-backs form part of a pattern of systematic expulsions at the Greek-Macedonian border. It shows that the enforcement of border closures - following the EU leaders’ decision on 7 March of the same year to stop migratory movements along the former Balkan corridor - engenders predictable human rights violations.
Eight persons from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan submitted complaints to the European Court of Human Rights with the support of ECCHR and PRO ASYL, arguing that such push-backs carried out without any consideration of individual circumstances violate Article 4 Protocol 4 (prohibition of collective expulsion) and Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Macedonian Young Lawyers Associationbacked the complaint with a Third Party Intervention. While the court decision is pending, the expulsions and human rights violations along the Balkan route(s) continue. Violent push-backs at the Serbo-Croatian border are documented by the Welcome Initiative Croatia.
At this event we will discuss these past and present human rights violations during push-backs at Europe’s external borders, as well as the legal and political struggles against them.