Today the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) presented findings to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) regarding pushbacks and other forms of border violence perpetrated by Romanian authorities. This new submission, offering input to the 69th session of the CESCR, tackles the expulsion and mistreatment of people in Romania, as documented via first hand interviews conducted by members of BVMN on the ground. Despite the ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, BVMN asserts that Romania has failed to meet its obligations.
The findings presented in this submission affirm that the continuous action of pushbacks and collective expulsion of refugees and migrants, carried out by Romanian authorities is illegal and in contradiction to the obligations set out under the Covenant. BVMN maintains that the continued and credible allegations published by a range of NGOs, international monitoring bodies and media outlets demonstrates that Romanian authorities are carrying out border policing in violation of Articles 10-13 of the Covenant. Furthermore, BVMN wishes to draw attention to the continued use of torture and inhuman treatment by Romania authorities as documented across 95% of pushbacks, highlighting how such rights violations are in direct violation of the right to the highest attainable standard of health as outlined under the Covenant.
Some of the violations addressed include:
- Patterns of torture that BVMN assert pose a direct threat to the life and health of victims, including but not limited to: the use of excessive and disproportionate force, the punitive use of electric discharge weapons and the prolonged forced exposure to extreme weather conditions.
- The systematic destruction of clothing, food and personal items during pushbacks.
- Denial or absence of medical assistance to those in need.
Reccomendations for Romania
- Please provide information on measures taken to ensure that refugees and asylum seekers enjoy economic, social and cultural rights, including access to international humanitarian protection at border zones.
- Please provide information on the impact of the measures taken to ensure that police and border officials act in full accordance with the Covenant. Furthermore, please inform the Committee of measures taken by the State party to respond to violations of Covenant rights, by police or border officials, that have been brought to its knowledge.
- What measures have been taken within the reporting period to ensure accessible, affordable and quality healthcare services for all, particularly for migrants, refugees and individuals housed within detention or pre-removal facilities.
- Please clarify whether the State party has adopted specific legislation that protects individuals from pushbacks, collective expulsion or refoulement. Please also provide information on the measures taken to enhance the reporting and investigation of pushbacks, collective expulsion or refoulement, as well as the prosecution of those responsible, and the measures taken to improve the remedies and support provided to victims.
Recommendation to the Committee
- BVMN respectfully invites the Committee to establish a Day of General Discussion to examine the economic, social and cultural rights of migrants and refugees with the view to further establish best practices and recommendations for State Parties.
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