Pushback Report 2021
This publication highlights reports of affected refugees and eyewitnesses and denounces institutionalized violence against people on the move. Pushback is a term that refers to the violent forcing back of people seeking protection across a border. This practice violates international law and deprives people of their right to asylum. 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. Also, the current developments in the Aegean Sea from 2021 on the shifting of flight routes, number of fatalities and missing people as well as arrivals of people on the Greek islands, are put into context with the established practice of pushbacks. The report shows that the executive organs of the Hellenic Coast Guard and Frontex face no real consequences. Instead of prosecuting these crimes, there is a growing effort by several EU member states to legalize pushbacks. Finally, the publications takes a look back at the monitoring missions in the Aegean in 2017 and 2021, which make clear the repressive way in which human rights monitoring is being countered.