Monitoring, Recording, and addressing the illegal practices at the land borders of Evros

CHALLENGES

a) Militarization of the borders: National and European polity of preventing the newcomers from entering and avoiding the secondary movement in Europe has resulted to:

  • Systemic and constant violation of the non-refoulment principle, push backs and massive expulsions.
  • Increased deployment of Frontex, soldiery, police etc. at the borders.
  • Proposal on the new Pact of Migration and Asylum strengthening detention and returns based on the assumption that the Member States will not accept a relocation mechanism.
  • Increase of racist speech and racist violence; presence of arm militias at the borders and their involvement with far right-parties.
  • Criminalization of organizations and human rights defenders.

b) Restriction of reception provisions and deterioration of access to international protection; invoking discrimination measures against this population “as a prevention measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus and in order protect them”.

c) A new rhetoric on the need of further border guard against “an invisible threat”.

WE SHOULD NOT FORGET THAT

The principle of non-refoulement is the cornerstone of the international refugee protection, prohibiting the forced removal of refugees to territories where they are at risk of persecution. It is enshrined in Article 33 of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and it is a fundamental principle for which no deviation is permitted. The principle of non-refoulement is customary international law, as such, it is binding on all States, including those who are not state parties to the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol on the Status of Refugees. According to Article 21 of Law 4636/2019 (Article 21 of Directive 2011/95/EU) the competent authorities are obliged to follow the principle of non-refoulement in accordance with the international obligations of the country.

MONITORING METHODOLOGYOF THE ILLEGAL PRACTICES AT THE BORDERS

Recording and documenting the illegal practices at the borders

  • Interviews/Recording of incidents/Documenting
    We collaborated with Forensic Architecture, in order to conduct a thorough research and utilize detailed testimonies and evidence at the time of the push back. The results of the investigation focused on specific investigations and described the modus operandi of the state bodies that committed the illegal act of violating the principle of non-refoulement. In addition, the latter formed a way to make more widely known the conditions in which the push backs take place at the land border of Evros and highlight issues of accountability of the Greek authorities.
  • Research on the legislative tools (e.g New Pact on Migration and Asylum), European Commission’s allocation of funding on further militarization of the borders.
  • Research on Frontex’s role and on the increased border police enforcement at the land borders
  • Research on the increase of the racist violence and speech in the area.

Preparing and publishing reports on human rights situation in the borders and policy papers on the geopolitical situation affecting them.

Legal cases

  • Legal support on victims of push backs
  • Legal support on cases concerning violations of rights at the borders

Strategic litigation

Advocacy actions

  • Participation on Committees and Meetings Greek and European bodies
  • Letters on competent Greek and European Bodies
  • Arthrography
  • Participation on conferences and establishing networks
  • Collaboration with Forensic Architecture, in order to conduct a thorough research and utilize detailed testimonies and evidence at the time of the push back. The results of the investigation focused on specific investigations and described the modus operandi of the state bodies that committed the illegal act of violating the principle of non-refoulement. In addition, the latter formed a way to make more widely known the conditions in which the push backs take place at the land border of Evros and highlight issues of accountability of the Greek authorities.

https://chaptered-video.forensic-architecture.org/kuzey/
https://chaptered-video.forensic-architecture.org/fady/

Developing Cooperation/Networks

With the support of:

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