A newly released Oxfam report  A Dangerous ‘Game’ based on 140 interviews with migrants and asylum seekers reveals wide-spread abuse and human rights violations committed by law enforcement officials along the West Balkan route. The abuse includes beatings, humiliation, confiscation of personal belongings, destruction of legal documents and violent push backs.

Testimonies from people passing through Serbia, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia confirm a pattern of brutality and abuse by law enforcement officials against migrants, including children. Ruth Tanner, Advocacy Advisor for Oxfam South East Europe, said: “People who are often fleeing unimaginable violence in their home countries are shockingly and unjustly thrown back into a reality of brutality here in Europe. The testimonies we have collected expose the horrendous treatment governments, including by European Union member states, are letting happen in order to stop people entering their territory.”

The research for the report was conducted by the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) and the Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA), with support from Oxfam.  Violence by law enforcement agencies along the West Balkan route has been previously reported, among others in the ECRE fact finding mission to Croatia.

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Photo: Hungarian – Serbian border, (c) Dominik Kodin