UNHCR concerned about violence, pushbacks of migrants at EU borders

UNHCR concerned about violence, pushbacks of migrants at EU borders

The head of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said Monday it is “deeply concerned” by the increasing number of incidents of violence and “serious human rights violations” against refugees and migrants at various European borders.

“Violence, ill-treatment and pushbacks continue to be regularly reported at multiple entry points at land and sea borders, within and beyond the European Union, despite repeated calls by UN agencies, including UNHCR, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs to end such practices,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.

“We are alarmed by recurrent and consistent reports coming from Greece’s land and sea borders with Turkey, where UNHCR has recorded almost 540 reported incidents of informal returns by Greece since the beginning of 2020,” he said, adding that “disturbing incidents” are also reported in central and south-eastern Europe at the borders with EU member states.

Grandi said that “with few exceptions,” European states have failed to investigate such reports, despite mounting and credible evidence.

“We fear these deplorable practices now risk becoming normalized, and policy based. They reinforce a harmful and unnecessary ‘fortress Europe’ narrative,” he said.

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