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Anyone who decides to make the life-threatening journey across the Mediterranean or over the barbed-wired fences to Europe has already experienced great suffering. War, persecution and severe hardship continue to force people to leave their home countries. But violence and misery does not end for them when they reach the external borders of the European Union and the migration paths across Europe. On the contrary, refugees and migrants are systematically subjected to push-backs at European borders, often involving great brutality. Current European migration and asylum policies are focused not on asylum, protection and assistance, but instead on deterrence, defense and the fortification of borders.

In several European states, fundamental refugee protections and human rights have been suspended in an attempt to keep refugees and migrants out. Those affected are effectively left without rights. They are denied any access to proceedings in which they could put forward their individual case of persecution or apply for legal protection. Until recently, no push-back or violent attack on refugees and migrants had resulted in any legal or political consequence for those responsible. Together with those affected, ECCHR challenges this fortressing of Europe and fights to uphold the fundamental right to have rights to which all people, including refugees and migrants, are entitled.

Violence & Rightlessness at Europe’s (External) Borders

Europe goes to great lengths to keep out people trying to flee war, persecution and extreme hardship. ECCHR is working on legal interventions to challenge the EU’s practice of push-backs and supporting affected people in taking legal action.