The organization "Save the Children" has accounted for more than 1,350 cases of refugee children who have been forced, in many cases with violence, to leave the borders of Eastern Europe between January and November of this year.
In a report released today, the nongovernmental organization (NGO) points out that almost a third of these cases were surrounded by violence perpetrated by the border guard, especially children who traveled alone or were separated from their families.
Most of these incidents occurred on the border between Croatia and Serbia, but in Serbia there were also children who were pushed from the borders of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, Romania and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
According to some testimonies, border guards in the western Balkans used pepper spray, removed their mobiles, removed money and forced them to remove clothing and shoes, while others claimed to have been held in detention centers without food. nor water.
"The Hungarian police held us back, forced us to sit down and then they beat us brutally and humiliated us for four or five hours before pushing us back towards Serbia, they threw cold water on us, sprayed pepper and incited the dogs to bite us "said a 14-year-old boy from Afghanistan.
"Border protection can be done in a human way without using violence," said Jelena Besedic, director of the Balkan migration area of "Save the Children."
"Border guards should take responsibility and ensure that children are safe, registered and can apply for asylum, and better surveillance at borders, either by European border guards or independent humanitarian agencies can help prevent violent incidents," Besedic added. .
The organization also states that the number of refugees arriving in Europe has fallen to the lowest level since 2007, although children still face a violent response from the police at the community borders and find it difficult to access asylum.
"European countries should be able to take better care of refugees and migrant children, and these children already face unique challenges that make them vulnerable, those in positions of authority should not intimidate them, steal their possessions or beat them, they should ensure that they are protected "he added.
"Save the children" indicates that you have worked with another non-governmental organization in Serbia, "Praxi", to prepare this document.