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Protecting Rights At Borders

The Protecting Rights at Borders (PRAB) initiative is formed by protection and legal aid organisations focusing on human rights compliance at the EU’s external and internal borders. The PRAB partners have well established field presence in the countries of operation enabling direct access to victims of pushbacks, as well as longstanding experience in strategic litigation.

Mauro Ujetto
Pushbacks at EU borders 

Pushbacks at EU borders 

Pushbacks are expulsions without legal justification and procedure, usually employed by border police, law enforcement officials or other authorities. It is being used to push foreigners such as migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers from a state’s territory to the territory of another state without regard for the individual’s circumstances and right to seek asylum. 

PRAB partners register and document pushbacks and cover both internal and external EU borders, such as the borders between France-Italy, Greece-Turkey, Croatia-Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary-Serbia, Belarus-Poland, Ukraine-Poland, Greece-North Macedonia, Slovenia-Italy, North Macedonia-Serbia, and Lithuania-Belarus.

 Are pushbacks illegal? 

  • Resorting to pushbacks, regardless of whether these involve violence, as a means of protecting states’ borders constitutes an illegal practice. 
  • Pushbacks risk violating the principle of non-refoulement being a cornerstone of international refugee law and of international human rights law - as well as the prohibition of collective expulsion and as it prevents access to procedures for international protection. 
  • States have the right to control movement across their borders. However, this must happen in compliance with their obligations under international and European Human Rights Law. 

PRAB work is based on:

  1. Documenting and collecting testimonies of these well-established and systematic rights violations.
  2. Triggering and supporting legal action, when relevant and feasible.
  3. Highlighting accountability issues, as well as the need for Independent Border Monitoring mechanisms.
Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council

"It is extremely worrying to see that so many people experience pushbacks and border violence. It goes without saying that states must stop the violence and these illegal practices, and perpetrators must be held accountable. Human rights compliance must not be an obstacle to migration management, a rights-based approach to border management is indispensable."

/  Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council

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News about pushbacksView all news

23 Apr 2024

129 civil society organisations call on MEPs to uphold fundamental rights and reject the harmful Schengen borders code recast

31 Jan 2024

New report: “They started beating us, used a stun gun and pepper spray on us and then threw us into the forest. We couldn't walk for three days because of the pain, and we had vision problems.”

02 Oct 2023

Beaten by police, bitten by dogs, and robbed of all rights: New Report Reveals Alarming Pushbacks and Violations at Europe's borders

16 Jun 2023

Joint NGO Statement: The EU must not be complicit in the loss of lives at sea and in rights violations at Europe’s borders

30 May 2023

Protecting Rights at Borders VI: What we do in the shadows

13 Feb 2023

Heaven or hell at Italy’s northern borders

09 Feb 2023

EU migration management: Wilful blindness to evidence of harmful human rights consequences

26 Jan 2023

Protecting Rights at Borders: Beaten, punished, and pushed back

12 Jan 2023

Protecting Rights at Borders (PRAB)

08 Dec 2022

EU admits Croatia to Schengen Without Regard to Abuses at the Border

16 Dec 2021

12,000 pushbacks in 2021 reflects worrying normalization of illegal practice

03 Dec 2021

Need for calm and proportional response at the EUs external borders

26 Nov 2021

Joint Statement: Call on the EU: Restore Rights and Values at Europe’s Borders

03 Aug 2021

Croatia/EU Border Monitoring System: Effective Mechanism Needed - Independent, Broad Mandate, Adequate Resources

23 Jul 2021

Using family separation as deterrent – new report documents alarming illegal push-back methods

12 May 2021

Push back of responsibility: Human Rights Violations as a Welcome Treatment at Europe’s Borders

18 Mar 2021

Open letter: Five years after the EU-Turkey Statement, European Civil Society Demands an End to Containment and Deterrence at the EU’s External Borders

10 Nov 2020

Turning rhetoric into reality: New monitoring mechanism at European borders should ensure fundamental rights and accountability

PRAB Partners

Association for Legal Intervention Poland
Association for Legal Intervention Poland
Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione
Associazione per gli Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione
Danish Refugee Council
Danish Refugee Council
Diaconia Valdese
Diaconia Valdese
Diversity Development Group
Diversity Development Group
Greek Council for Refugees
Greek Council for Refugees
Humanitarian Center for Integration and Tolerance
Humanitarian Center for Integration and Tolerance
Human Constanta
Human Constanta
Macedonian Young Lawyers Association
Macedonian Young Lawyers Association
Sienos Grupé
Sienos Grupé

Working in collaboration with:

European Programme for Integration and Migration
European Programme for Integration and Migration
Open Society Foundations
Open Society Foundations