Per la libertà di movimento, per i diritti di cittadinanza

On Human rights violations: the externalisation of European borders,testimony, and accountability in Serbia

Master’s degree thesis by Lucia Bertani

Ph: Antonio Sempere

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University of Bologna

Department of Cultural Heritage
Master’s degree
International Cooperation on Human Rights

On Human rights violations: the externalisation of European borders, testimony, and accountability in Serbia

by Lucia Bertani

Academic year 2022-2023


This research investigates the dynamics of externalisation of European borders along the Balkan Route, characterised by narratives and tactics of securitisation, militarisation, and repressive border regime along with the creation of ad-hoc labels that frame migrant people for specific purposes.
The focus is on Serbia and Hungary, since the time spent on the field with the humanitarian organisation No Name Kitchen was along the border between the two countries. The main interest is how border regime policies and infrastructures are built and perpetrated on the ground and how the externalisation practices lead to violations and abuses of human rights towards people one the move. A deep analysis of what forms human rights abuses and violations take is presented, enriched thanks to the collection of oral testimonies on the ground. The study is therefore sustained by the examination of the testimonies of violence and abuses perpetrated by police and border officers. The methodology and principles are the ones of No Name Kitchen and the Border Violence Monitoring Network. A section is also presented, mentioning founding charters and documents of the European Union regarding human rights. A subjective introspection concludes the research, as far as the importance of accountability for people on the move, who hold agency even though they are rendered invisible by the legal and institutional system.

Keywords: externalisation, border regime, violations of human rights, migrant people, violence tactics.