Protecting rights at borders (PRAB) report 2022 | Beaten, punished and pushed back


The fifth “Protecting rights at borders” (PRAB) report reconfirms the pattern of a systematic use of pushbacks. In total, between 1 January and 31 December 2022, PRAB partners recorded pushback incidents involving 5.756 persons.  

Many of those victims were not merely prevented from crossing a border. The data collected by PRAB partners outlines that they were “welcomed” at the EU with a denial of access to asylum procedures, arbitrary arrest or detention, physical abuse or mistreatment, theft or destruction of property.

Nationals from Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan reported most frequently being the victim of pushbacks and in 12% of the recorded incidents children were involved. This data is unfortunately only the top of the iceberg.   

The situation is nevertheless not same for migrants of different citizenship and origin.  2022 was also the year that the EU provided protection – at least on paper – to 4.9 million people who entered the EU from Ukraine. The triggering of the Temporary Protection Directive was a historic decision.    

The practice of turning a blind eye to human rights violations at EU borders must be stopped. It is high time to uphold, respect and enforce the rights of those at Europe’s doorstep, irrespective of their country of nationality. All people have the right to ask for international protection in the EU. For years, DRC jointly with its PRAB partners and many other actors, has been recording evidence on pushback practices. The evidence is undeniable.” - says Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of Danish Refugee Council  


The report provides 5 requirements necessary to achieve a positive change at EU borders in 2023:

1. Human rights and human dignity are upheld at all borders, for people irrespective of their nationality.

2. The systematic (and often state-instructed) use of pushbacks, as a de facto migration management tool, is ended.

3. Effective independent border monitoring mechanisms, mandated to ensure accountability, are set up at all EU borders.

4. A culture of rights at borders prevails, enforced by political courage to support those in need of protection at the EU’s external and internal borders.

5. Safe and legal pathways become an effective reality, not on paper for the lucky few but in practice for a high number of people in need of protection.


More information on the pushback data recorded by PRAB partners, the litigation cases related to border violence which were brought before national and European courts, as well as an analysis of the current policy dimensions, can be found in PRAB V on this link here.


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The Protecting Rights at Borders (PRAB) initiative is formed by protection and legal aid organisations focusing on human rights compliance at the EU’s external and internal borders. The PRAB partners have solid field presence in the countries of operation enabling direct access to victims of pushbacks, as well as longstanding experience in strategic litigation. More information and previous reports are available at: