Three graves are marked "NN1, NN2 and NN3" in a cemetery in Siče, Croatia. "NN" stands for "name unknown". Photo by Tina Xu

The Border Graves Investigation, a months-long project by eight journalists working across Europe’s southern and eastern frontiers, has won the Special Award of the prestigious European Press Prize.

Supported by IJ4EU’s Freelancer Support Scheme, the investigation unearthed the existence of 1,015 unmarked graves of migrants buried in 65 cemeteries over the past decade across Spain, Italy, Greece, Malta, Poland, Lithuania, France and Croatia.

“What happens to those who die in their attempts to reach the European Union?” the European Press Prize wrote on its website. “How are their lives marked, how can their families honour them? How do governments recognise their existence and their basic rights as human beings?

“The Border Graves Investigation was published in over 40 stories in 22 outlets in nine countries and eight languages, and its investigative findings were re-reported widely.

“The investigation has been published in print, digital, radio, video, and podcast forms and drew attention to a crisis of unmarked graves proliferating on Europe’s borders at a scale unprecedented outside of war.”

Each year, the European Press Prize’s Special Award honours one striking entry that defies categories and disciplines.

The Border Graves Investigation team consisted of Barbara Matejčić, Daphne Tolis, Danai Maragoudaki, Eoghan Gilmartin, Gabriela Ramirez, Gabriele Cruciata, Leah Pattem, and was coordinated by Tina Xu.For more information on this IJ4EU-supported project, see The Border Graves Investigation.