Police forces commit brutal acts on external EU-borders every day — either by direct violence in areas like the Hungarian border or by ignoring the cries for help that come from the the Mediterranean Sea. Such is the story of the refugees trying to cross the Bosnian – Croatian border near Velika Kladuša, which became a new transit hot spot with nearly two hundred refugees trying to cross it daily. Refugees — women and children included — often end up robbed, humiliated, stripped naked, shot at with live rounds and beaten by metal batons.
No Name Kitchen, an NGO providing makeshift cooking facilities, told the story of one Iranian family. Fatima, her husband and underage daughter were all being robbed, stripped naked and forced to go back to Bosnia.
All of this, of course, is in direct violation of international law. Based on the so-called non-refoulement principle, EU states are obliged to access the case of asylum seekers regardless of whether they are granted the status of a refugee and thereby international protection, and not to return a person to a state where he or she faces a threat to life or liberty (UNHCR, 1967).
According to the EU Directive on Asylum Procedures, those recognised as ‘irregular’ migrants are entitled to information about asylum, translation assistance, the ability to present their case to a competent authority, notification of the outcome and the right to appeal a negative decision. These laws are ignored not only by the border police but also by EU officials, turning a blind eye on refugee crisis and police brutality. Xenophobia and racism are flourishing while gatekeepers are ‘protecting’ the “Fortress Europe”.
We cannot shun our responsibilities to protect human life and respect the international laws that enshrine its value. We must #Let_Them_In