Croatia: third party intervention on collective expulsions, including of children

Croatia: third party intervention on collective expulsions, including of children

The ICJ with partners has intervened in European Court for Human Rights case concerning collective expulsions, including of children from Croatia.

The ICJ and partners (European Council for Refugees and Exiles, Dutch Council for Refugees, AIRE Center and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee) intervened today in the case S.B. v Croatia (Application No. 18810/19) at the European Court for Human rights.

The case concerns collective expulsion of migrants, including children, from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and excessive use of force.

In the intervention, the organisations have highlighted international legal standards regarding the principle of non-refoulement and prohibition of collective expulsions. They also point to the need to take into account specific vulnerabilities of asylum seekers and children in order to guarantee enhanced safeguards afforded to them under international and EU law.

The organisations also note that in operations aimed at imposing restrictions on freedom of movement or deprivation of liberty to carry out an expulsion, the use of force should only be employed exceptionally and subject to strict necessity and proportionality requirements. The lack of resistance to law enforcement officials, per se renders force unlawful.

Please find the third party intervention here.

Greece: Government’s decision to close border violates international law – ICJ

Greece: Government’s decision to close border violates international law – ICJ

The ICJ today called on the Greek authorities to withdraw their decision to close its border with Turkey for “national security” reasons as it constitutes a clear breach of the country’s obligations under international refugee and human rights law as well as EU law.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has ordered the closure of the border with Turkey for “national security” reasons as thousands of refugees have been arriving at the border with Greece. 

The ICJ said that the decision to close the border to migrants and  refugees coming from Turkey breaches their right to seek asylum, the principle of non-refoulement and the prohibition of collective expulsion, which Greece must uphold under international human rights and refugee law and the EU Charter.

“Any violence and push-backs occurring at the border and at sea must stop and the persons responsible for acts of violence must be duly investigated and prosecuted. Respect for human rights principles that form part of the EU’s founding values require that refugees are not pushed back at the borded,” said Massimo Frigo, Senior Legal Adviser for the ICJ Europe and Central Asia Programme.

“Assistance should be centred on fostering access to asylum and not on strengthening border control where, in the current situation, EU authorities, such as Frontex, risk assisting in human rights violations,” he added.

The ICJ calls on the European Union to immediately set up a relocation plan with the Greek authorities to allow them to properly process asylum applications without placing refugees in dire reception conditions, such as those existing for refugees on the Greek islands. 

The ICJ, together with ECRE and the Greek Refugee Council has launched a complaint against Greece before the European Committee of Social Rights on the degrading conditions of migrant children in Greece (ICJ and ECRE v. Greece).


The movement of refugees comes after the declaration by President Recep Tayip Erdogan not to continue to retain on its territory Syrian refugees under the so-called “EU-Turkey statement”, following the armed conflict in Idlib (Syria).

Under this “statement”, Turkey had previously agreed to retain Syrian refugees on its territory and to accept Syrian refugees that reached Greek territory without their request of international protection being examined by the Greek authorities.

On the basis of the same “statement”, the EU had agreed to resettle some of the Syrian refugees in its Member States.


Massimo Frigo, Senior Legal Adviser, ICJ’s Europe and Central Asia Programme, t: +41 22 979 3805; e: massimo.frigo(a)

Spain: ICJ and others intervene in case of push backs of asylum seekers

Spain: ICJ and others intervene in case of push backs of asylum seekers

The ICJ and other NGOs jointly intervened before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in a case against Spain on the denial of entry of asylum seekers in the enclave of Melilla.

The ICJ, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, the AIRE Centre, Amnesty International and the Dutch Refugee Council argued that the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits refusal of entry, and/or return of a person to face serious violations of human rights, including of the right to life, the prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, or flagrant denial of justice and of the right to liberty.

They submitted that these refusals of entry are also contrary to the rights set out in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (CFR) and the prohibition on non-refoulement found in the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees (Refugee Convention).

The joint interventions presents the argument that, for these prohibitions to be practical and effective and not theoretical and illusory, Contracting Parties must have in place effective systems for identifying people within their jurisdiction who are entitled to benefit from the prohibition on refusing entry.

Spain-ICJ&others-AmicusBrief-ND&NT-ECtHR-GC-legalsubmission-2018 (download the thirty party intervention)

Training on migration and human rights in the Western Balkans

Training on migration and human rights in the Western Balkans

The ICJ, OSCE and Group 484 are holding a training on migration and international human rights law starting on From 10 to 13 October in Zlatibor (Serbia).

The training has been organised by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Serbian NGO “Group 484” and will be given by the International Commission of Jurists.

It will focus on international protection of migrants and asylum seekers, access to territory and asylum and the principle of non-refoulement, in light of the current migrants and refugee crisis and drawing from the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, of the UN human rights systems and from EU law.

The training will be centred on the ICJ Practitioners Guide no. 6: Migration and International Human Rights Law.

serbia-jointtrainingmigrationhr-events-2016-eng (download the agenda)

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