Blog > From the Field >

Why does the Global North continue to push them back and deny their rights?


Thousands of migrants are trapped in terrible conditions on the eastern borders of the European Union, on what is known as the Balkan route. They are pushed back by the police, stuck in the cold, snow, and mud. They go without food or basic sanitary conditions.

Some of those who walk that hellish path make it past the walls of fortress Europe, and in the last few weeks some of them came to visit our team at EMERGENCY’s Mobile Clinic in Milan.

“They were exhausted from the miles they had walked through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, and Turkey. They told us about the shocking physical and psychological abuse they had suffered on their journey. They were attacked, extorted and mistreated by local police,” says Loredana, the project’s coordinator.

“The bites, blisters, swelling, and micro-fractures we treated don’t tell half the story of the awful effects of this endless trek,” adds Emanuele, one of our doctors.

Why does the Global North continue to push back and deny rights to people fleeing war, poverty, and danger, rather than protecting and welcoming them?

After treating their wounds and exchanging stories, we bade them farewell and provided a sanitary kit with masks, soap, hand wash, a toothbrush, and toothpaste.

Access to healthcare is a human right, regardless of anyone’s immigration status. EMERGENCY will continue to provide the support and care that migrants deserve.