How you can report border violence and push-backs

If you have witnessed or experienced police violence or push-backs on the borders of:

  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Croatia
  • Slovenia
  • Hungary

You can get in touch with Border Violence Monitoring, an organization that documents and publishes cases like these involving EU member state authorities.

They offer the opportunity to get your story heard and expose basic human rights violations on the borders. However, reporting your case does not mean that you will automatically get legal support.

How can I report a case?

You can write down and send what you experienced or witnessed in English or French via:

People who receive your message can communicate only in English and French, so it’s important to write in one of these languages.

You can report a case anonymously, without writing your name or other personal data. Although they will see your email address or Facebook account name, they will not publish your name or contact details anywhere.

What response should I expect?

After the Border Violence Monitoring team receives your email or message, they will most likely ask you for further details. They only publish reports if they get enough information about the case. If they get the necessary information, they will publish the report on their website anonymously, without specifying your name. Border Violence Monitoring will likely use the information you shared to raise pressure on institutions that are responsible for violating basic human rights on the borders of the European Union.

Border Violence Monitoring cannot provide you with any actual help with legal procedures. In exceptional cases, they can reach out to their partner organizations in other European countries, such as Hungary and Croatia, that provide legal support to refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants.

What are the potential consequences of reporting something using your phone and social media?

In some countries, authorities check refugees’ phones during the asylum procedure. Based on your chat history, activity and check-ins on social media like Facebook and WhatsApp, they can determine which countries you have been in. Authorities could then possibly deport you back to one of those countries.

There are potential risks and consequences related to your privacy and safety when using social media.

Here is an article on how some EU authorities use metadata on smartphones to send migrants back.

How do I seek legal support for my case?

If you want to get legal help in Hungary, you can send an email or a Facebook message to the Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

If you need legal aid in Serbia, you can contact the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights.

Cover photo © Martine van Bijlert