Background information


Islets, Interim Measures and Illegal Pushbacks: The Erosion of the Rule of Law in Greece

This report documents the recent increase in use of Rule 39 measures (the suspension of deportation) on the Greek mainland, in order to secure access to international protection. It specifically details and analyses three case studies of Mai and June 2022 whereby transit groups despite the European Court of Human Rights rulings were reportedly pushed back to Turkey after several days on the islets without food, water, or medical care. In order to contextualise these events, the report briefly introduces a history of Evros islets in the context of pushbacks, the lack of access to asylum on mainland Greece and interim measures at the European Court on Human Rights. The report additionally observes the concerning trend of criminalisation of civil society organisations. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Griechenland / Türkei


The death of Blessing Matthews – a counter-investigation on violence at the alpine frontier

In May 2018, 21-year old Blessing Matthew drowned in the Durance river while fleeing a gendarme patrol on the day she crossed the Franco-Italian border. The case was dismissed on June 18, 2020 without any additional investigations. The association Tous Migrants and Matthew’s family have since been fighting to reopen the case. They noted inconsistencies in the statements of the mobile gendarmes in the prosecutor’s investigation file and contacted Border Forensics to conduct a counter-investigation. With the methods of spatio-temporal analysis, and on the basis of the precise and coherent testimony of an eye witness and fellow traveler of Blessing Matthew in situ, it was possible to reconstruct the events and shine light on the many omissions, contradictions and grey areas of the judicial police investigation regarding the conditions that led to Blessing's death. Hervé S. testifies that the pursuit of the gendarmes led to Blessing Matthew’s fall into the Durance and her death. Both the testimony of Hervé S., and the spatio-temporal analysis of the statements of the mobile gendarmes constitute new elements that allow Blessing's family to request the reopening of the judicial investigation. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Frankreich, Europäische Union


Resilience and Resistance. In Defiance of the Criminalisation of Solidarity Across Europe

The criminalisation of solidarity strikes at the heart of the values that Europe has given itself and contributes to the erosion of rule of law and democracy, while seriously impacting the rights and welfare of the most vulnerable in our societies and those who seek to protect and assist them. This report provides a thorough investigation of the criminalisation of solidarity with migrants in Europe in 2021-2022. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Europäische Union, Europa


No end in sight Refugees and migrants moving irregularly to North Africa and Europe face unspeakable horrors along Mediterranean routes

While reported numbers of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to Europe are fewer than in 2015, journeys are becoming more fatal. This is according to a new data visualization released today by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Since a peak in 2015, in which more than a million people crossed the Mediterranean to Europe, the numbers of those making these journeys have seen a downward trend, even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2021, 123,300 individual crossings were reported, and prior to that 95,800 in 2020, 123,700 in 2019 and 141,500 in 2018. Despite the lower numbers of crossings, the death toll has seen a steep rise. Last year, some 3,231 were recorded as dead or missing at sea in the Mediterranean and the northwest Atlantic, with 1,881 in 2020, 1,510 in 2019, and more than 2,277 for 2018. Even greater numbers may have died or gone missing along land routes through the Sahara Desert and remote border areas. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Nordafrika, Europa


The Voice of the Voiceless. A Newsletter from the Communities Living in Samos

Who we are: We are people from different communities living in the Closed Controlled Access Centre (C.C.A.C.) in Samos, Greece. In this newsletter, we are raising our voices to whoever is concerned against the difficulties we have in the camp of Samos. We realised the need to raise awareness of the situations we are facing in the camp, so we are sharing insights on our daily life to amplify our voices. The people in the camp try to reduce their stress by just entertainment but it is not a long lasting solution to the fact that they faced lots of problems back at home, in their journey and now still suffering more than the problems which chased them from their homeland to here through the big black sea in search of a better life than the one they faced back at home. At first, we were very happy to have come safely to the island thinking that was the end of the dark road but has doubled even more than we never thought. We think this is not the real Europe we thought we were heading to. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Griechenland / Türkei, Europäische Union


Annual report 2021 - SOS Mediterranee Deutschland e.V.

On the occasion of the EU Conference of Ministers of the Interior meeting on migration issues tomorrow, 10 June 2022, SOS Humanity calls on EU politicians to reach an agreement and reform a Common European Asylum System (CEAS). The civilian sea rescue organisation describes the fatal consequences of the failed migration policy on the Mediterranean in its annual report 2021, which was presented today. read more

Language(s): Deutsch / German
Region(s): Europäische Union


Nichts ist gut an Europas Außengrenzen!

Dr Arndt Dohmen spent seven weeks in the refugee camp Mavrovouni on the island of Lesbos with the organisation Medical Volunteers International to help as a doctor. In his guest article for PRO ASYL he writes of his experiences with the Greek medical system, the EU border regime and of the extraordinary initiative of refugees and migrants he witnessed in the camp. read more

Language(s): Deutsch / German
Region(s): Griechenland / Türkei


Digital technology, policing and migration – what does it mean for undocumented migrants?

What about data protection and digital technology? Are these buzz words? What do they mean, in practice, for undocumented people?

Some may think of the use of drones and surveillance technologies at Europe’s external borders – and yet the use of digital tools and the large scale processing of migrants’ personal data extends well beyond Europe’s borders and into communities – beyond even physical spaces into people’s devices and their personal and biometric data. The extension of this web of surveillance increases the power of authorities to monitor – and to act – in ways often hidden from view, to screen for, identify and deter or deport foreigners meeting certain “risk” profiles. Meanwhile, civil society is shut out from many of these spaces, and criminalised for efforts to assist those whose lives are put at risk by these policies. Technology is therefore not a trendy side-show, but increasingly imbedded in the vast and intertwined systems that regulate and control migration, and that surveil and monitor migrants. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Europäische Union


Blocked from the System. Voices of People Excluded from the Asylum Procedure on Mainland Greece, Crete and Rhodes

This research highlights the multiple significant barriers that people face in attempting to register their asylum claims since the policy changes in November 2021. Despite the termination of the flawed Skype system, people continue to be forced to remain undocumented for extensive periods of time and are blocked from accessing international protection in Greece. This deprives people of support from social services, cash assistance, the labour market, healthcare systems or accommodation. The conversations with people excluded from asylum procedures reveal that undocumented people in Greece are facing increased exploitation, ill health and debilitating fear of being illegally pushed back. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Griechenland / Türkei


Feasibility Study on the setting up of a robust and independent human rights monitoring mechanism at the external borders of the European Union

This study was prepared against the backdrop of multiple developments in the management of the external borders of the European Union. In recent years, the management of these external borders has become increasingly robust. Despite the obligations incumbent upon national and European border guards to respect the fundamental rights of all migrants, a considerable number of credible reports have highlighted widespread violations of rights. Nonetheless, these reports appear to have been routinely dismissed by the relevant authorities, with limited legal and political consequences. This has led to a perception of a lack of political oversight and judicial control of events at the European borders, which can result in impunity for violationscommitted, including possible criminal offences.
To counter this, the study explores the feasibility of a ‘new response’ to the challenge faced by human rights monitoring at the EU’s external borders. It proposes a way forward that relies on a collective mechanism of national human rights monitoring bodies to provide effective monitoring, in line with the criteria and principles outlined in the first part of the study. In particular, this study proposes a consortium of independent national institutions that engages in human rights monitoring at the borders. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Europäische Union


Balkan Regional Report | March 2022

In March, the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) shared 36 testimonies of pushbacks impacting 762 people-on-the-move across the Balkans. This report brings together first-hand testimonies from a range of countries in the region to look at the way European Union states and other actors are affecting systemic violence towards people crossing borders. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Balkanstaaten


Pushback Report 2021

The Pushback Report 2021 first provides a brief overview of the history of European border violence and illustrates different ways of dealing with different migratory movements of the European border regime. In the main part of the publication, it becomes clear that illegal pushbacks have become a regular practice of human rights violations against people on the move. These are neither isolated cases nor a "side effect" of so-called border protection. Rather, different testimonies reveal impressively that (physical) violence, humiliation and torture are used as strategic means to prevent fleeing people from reaching EU territory, also by illegal methods. read more

Language(s): Deutsch / German
Region(s): Griechenland / Türkei, Europäische Union


"Their Faces Were Covered". Greece's Use of Migrants as Police Auxiliaries in Pushbacks

Greek authorities are utilizing migrants for pushbacks at the Evros River. Afghan asylum seekers and migrants, including children, are assaulted, robbed, and stripped, before summarily pushed back to Turkey without a possibility to lodge an asylum claim. Men in balaclavas, who appear to be of Middle Eastern or South Asian origin, force the stripped or barely-clothed migrants onto small boats, take them to the middle of the river, which marks the land border between Greece and Turkey, and force them into the frigid water, making them wade to the riverbank on the Turkish side. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Griechenland / Türkei


E-Book: "The Time to Act Is Now" by Carola Rackete

Sea Watch captain Carola Rackete made the courageous decision to defy the Italian Interior Ministry's ban and head for the port of Lampedusa with the Sea Watch 3 and 40 refugees rescued from the Mediterranean Sea on board. 
In her book, she recounts moments of the rescue operation and makes a connection between migrations, global and environmental justice and conservation. And she calls for engagement and action now. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English


E-Book: Free the El Hiblu 3

Three years of torment for three young men who fled Libya across the Mediterranean to build a better life. The publication sheds light on their experiences and how the case exemplifies Europe’s systematic attempts to criminalise people on the move. On 120 pages, the three accused, their lawyers, members of the campaign and the Freedom Commission denounce the injustice Abdalla, Amara and Kader experience in Malta since 2019. read more


Migrant resistance against yet another new level of brutality

In the second half of 2021, Alarm Phone was alerted to 214 boats in the central Mediterranean region. Together with the 193 boats that Alarm Phone had supported in the first half of the year, in 2021 we assisted a total of 407 boats in distress in the central Mediterranean only. This is by far the highest number of distress cases reported to us in this region within a year. In 2019, Alarm Phone had assisted 101 cases. In 2020, we supported 173 distressed boats. This considerable increase in distress cases reflects both a significant increase of precarious crossings over the past years, as well as a greater knowledge of the Alarm Phone network among migrant communities. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Italien / Malta


When the UNHCR in Tunisia throws refugees on the streets like rubbish

For seven nights and eight days now, refugees and asylum seekers have been demonstrating in front of the offices of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Zarzis and Medenine, in the south of Tunisia. As more and more of them are being expelled from the accommodation centers, they have started to denounce their abandonment by the UN agency, which is supposed to provide protection. read more

Language(s): Deutsch / German
Region(s): Nordafrika


Humanitarian crisis at the Polish-Belarusian border

This report of the Polish network Grupa Granica focuses on the situation of migrants at the border between Poland and Belarus. It is based on information and data collected by Grupa Granica activists since August 2021, with the primary aim of providing humanitarian support to migrants and helping them access the relevant legal procedures. An integral part of this work was also the monitoring and documentation of human rights violations.
read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Osteuropa


Werkzeugkoffer für Gespräche gegen rassistische Migrationspolitik

Bevor die inhaltliche Auseinandersetzung mit dem eigentlichen Werkzeugkoffer beginnt, klären wir zunächst unsere Grundlagengedanken und Position zum Thema Rassismus. Danach laden wir Dich ein unsere kritische Reflexion zur Entstehung und (Nicht-) Umsetzung der Menschenrechte zu lesen. Alle Texte in diesem Werkzeugkoffer können jedoch nur ein erster Aufschlag für die Beschäftigung mit den verschiedenen Gegebenheiten zu Migration sein. read more

Language(s): Deutsch / German
Region(s): Deutschland


AYS Special from Greece, where saving lives is illegal. An interview with Nassos Karakitsos.

On the 18th of November the first trial will be held on Lesvos for Nassos Karakitsos, Sara Mardini and Sean Binder. They were originally arrested in 2018 and accused of people smuggling, money laundering, espionage and membership of a criminal organisation while working and volunteering with Emergency Response Centre International, ERCI. 21 more people from other groups were also charged. read more

Language(s): Englisch / English
Region(s): Griechenland / Türkei