In an article published on Wednesday 5 May, The Guardian revealed that at least 40,000 asylum seekers have been illegally turned back by the European Union member states and the European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex). These illegal push-backs have led to the deaths of more than 2,000 people, according to the British newspaper, which said it had established this number on the basis of reports published by the UN and data collected by NGOs.
The Guardian reported that some member states, such as Spain, Malta, Italy, Croatia, and Greece, “have paid non-EU states and private boats to intercept boats in distress at sea and send passengers to detention centres.”
The border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia has recorded the most violations, with 90% of illegal returns in the Balkans taking place in Croatia, according to a recent report by the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN).
A large number of illegal expulsions were also recorded in the Mediterranean, where 15,500 asylum seekers were intercepted at sea by the Libyan coastguard and sent back to Libya.