Asylum seekers have submitted a complaint to the European Court of Human Rights regarding their unlawful pushback from the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) to Greece. The claim submitted by a group of eight Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan asylum seekers concerns events that took place in March 2016.

The asylum seekers crossed the FYROM border on 14 March 2016 and claim they were violently forced back to Greece through ‘holes’ in the border fence. They were given no possibility to ask for asylum or to take legal action against their deportation.

The European Centre for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) and Pro Asyl are providing legal support to the asylum seekers. “The closure of the Greek-Macedonian border made legal entry into Europe via the Balkan route de facto impossible,” said ECCHR General Secretary Wolfgang Kaleck. “FYROM’s use of push-backs against refugees in transit violates human rights”

“In a Europe characterized by walls and fences, the ECtHR in Strasburg offers hope that victims of systematic unlawful collective expulsion from FYROM to Greece may find a measure of justice,” stressed Pro Asyl’s Karl Kopp.

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