Human Rights Watch (HRW) has blamed “discriminatory border closures” and a cap imposed by Austria for a growing logjam of refugees on Greece’s border with Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).
“Trapping asylum seekers in Greece is an unconscionable and short-sighted non-solution that is causing suffering and violence” said Eva Cosse, a Greece specialist at HRW.
“It demonstrates once again the EU’s utter failure to respond collectively and compassionately to refugee flows,” she said.
HRW warned that stopping an individual from lodging an asylum claim based on their nationality is a violation of international law.
“This discrimination violates the right to seek asylum as set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the right to asylum under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights,” the New York-based NGO said.
HRW said that Austria’s cap on asylum applications is incompatible with EU and international law.
“Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Macedonia should swiftly put an end to these policies,” it said.
The group criticized instances of excessive police violence by FYROM police against refugees and migrants at the border, including the excessive use of tear gas and stun grenades.
On Monday, FYROM police used teargas to prevent angry migrants storming the border.