EU countries are becoming increasingly violent towards migrants and asylum seekers at their borders. This is according to a report by the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), Politico reports.
“We are beyond the point of denying that pushbacks exist. We have video evidence. We have footage, we have medical reports and over 1,000 testimonies, and this is just the data that we managed to collect,” Hope Barker, senior policy analyst for BVMN said at the report’s launch event in the European Parliament.
Activists with the advocacy network spoke to more than 700 people who tried to enter the EU in 2021 and 2022, and paint a grim picture of inhumane conditions at EU borders, describing an unprecedented increase in violence.
In 2021, only 5 percent of those surveyed said they had not experienced or witnessed "an unprecedented rise in violence" during expulsions from Europe.
In more than 3,000 pages, the network documented “how almost 25,000 people were beaten, kicked, humiliated and arbitrarily detained before being illegally pushed back, both at the EU’s external borders and from deep within the territory of its member states,” Barker said.
Cornelia Ernst, a German member of the leftist group in the European Parliament that commissioned the study, holds the European Commission directly responsible. She said, “the EU Commission is still inactive, not starting infringement procedures against member states who are pushing people back and denying them the right to asylum.”
The authors add that media freedom is also under attack. Milena Zajovic, head of advocacy at BVMN, said that “criminalization is not only affecting the potential asylum seekers. It is also affecting those who are reporting on their hardship.”