Civil society alliance demands: Immediate end to push-backs in the Balkans!

Press Release by PRO ASYL | January 20, 2021

Bosnia/Lipa: Civil Society Alliance Demands Evacuation and Reception of Protection Seekers and an Immediate End to Push-Backs

On the initiative of Balkan Bridge, Seebrücke and PRO ASYL, an alliance of around 140 civil society organizations and initiatives is calling for the immediate evacuation and reception of those seeking protection in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The German government must no longer standby idly and watch the humanitarian crisis at the gates of the EU.

Around 3,000 people are still fleeing unprotected from the Bosnian winter without winter-proof accommodation. They are threatened with death from the cold. So far, the EU has tried to buy its way out of responsibility for the refugees by providing money for “local aid”. But in Bosnia there will be no humane solution for those seeking protection. Fast and unbureaucratic evacuation and rescue measures must be initiated now.

Most of the protection seekers stranded in Bosnia-Herzegovina were already in the EU, but they were beaten back to Bosnia by Croatian border police officers. For years, push-backs, which are carried out with extreme brutality and violate international and European law, have been a daily occurrence at the Bosnian- Croatian border.

The push-backs happen with the approval and support of the EU and the German government. Notwithstanding the well-documented, systematic human rights violations, Croatia has received over 18 million euros in EU support for border protection since December 2018 alone. In addition the Croatian border police received thermal imaging cameras and vehicles in 2020 from Germanys Home Secretary.

Instead of supporting violence, the German government must act in accordance with Germany’s readiness to receive refugees: Over 220 municipalities and several federal states have pledged to take in protection seekers in recent months. Civil society also supports this readiness – Balkan Bridge and Sea Bridge are calling for Corona-compliant protests nationwide on January 30 under the slogan “Aufnahme statt Abschottung.”

The alliance demands:

Stop the violent illegal push-backs at the European external borders. The right of all people to access a fair asylum procedure in the EU must finally be respected.

Stop the federal German support for the Croatian border police!

The German government must act immediately. Those seeking protection in Bosnia-Herzegovina must be evacuated. In Germany, states and municipalities are ready to take them in.


Among others, the following have signed:

Paritätischer Gesamtverband, medico international, terre des hommes, pax christi, Landesflüchtlingsräte, Border Violence Monitoring Network, No Name Kitchen, Diakonieverbände Baden, Bayern, Hessen, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Mitteldeutschland, Rheinland, Rheinland-Pfalz, Rheinland-Westfalen-Lippe, Sachsen, Schleswig-Holstein, Württemberg und viele weitere wie AWO Sachsen-Anhalt, Caritas Diözese Hildesheim und andere.

You can download the appeal and the list of all co-signing organizations here runterladen

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