German NGO Rigardu said it has documented the alleged beating and mistreatment of refugees by Croatian police officers on the border with Serbia and on the border with Slovenia in June. […]
After the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Doctors without Borders and Doctors of the World recorded an increase in violence against refugees in late May, Croatian NGOs told BIRN that such attacks had decreased and that the police had taken action after these reports were published. However, they also said that attacks usually resumed after some time passed following the publication of the reports by the international organisations. The Interior Ministry told BIRN in May that it rejected the allegations of violence by officers. Various other reports of alleged police violence and the unlawful treatment of refugees were made earlier this year. In January, the Jesuit Refugee Service reported the Croatian Interior Ministry to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and to the Croatian ombudsman’s office for illegally deporting refugees to Serbia. The same month, Human Rights Watch warned that Croatian police were not respecting the rights of asylum-seekers arriving in the country and had been pushing them back across the border to neighbouring Serbia.
German NGO Rigardu said it has documented the alleged beating and mistreatment of refugees by Croatian police officers on the border with Serbia and on the border with Slovenia in June.
As it has been already stated, violence, repression and persecution has been growing since the squatted barracks got evicted and demolished on May 11th. Before the elections the serbian police was more reserved but now using violence openly. In the last two weeks there has been three physically violent police operations, forcing people to be taken to the infamous Preševo closed “camp” near Macedonia. Although is it presented as a reception center, the unspoken reality is that of a detention camp. The approx. 1000 people imprisoned there are not allowed to go in or out, except for a very restricted special permission, and the only way to leave the camp is to be pushed-back illegaly to Macedonia, which happens regularly.
During a visit to Belgrade’s train station in February, men and boys, layered in blankets to ward off the freezing cold, emerge from dilapidated buildings next to the historic station as commuters hurry to their buses and trams. As I watch refugees cross the roads alongside locals, it is clear they have become invisible to those around them. Among them are hundreds of children, some of whom appear to be as young as 9. By May, however, even the refuge of Belgrade’s warehouses at the station would cease to be an option for the asylum seekers biding their time to cross the last border to Europe. Serbian authorities evacuated all the men and boys from the premises, claiming the warehouses were a health hazard and exposed inhabitants to the risk of trafficking and abuse.
The following interviews were conducted by our volunteers starting in January of this year, following human rights reporting guidelines drafted by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee. Unless otherwise stated, all interviews were recorded and conducted in the victim’s native language through our translator. Personal identifying information has been removed for reasons of safety and anonymity.
„My name is Asa, it has been 11 months now that I am passing these hardest days of my traveling. I am a refugee from Afghanistan. As we know freedom is the right of every breathing being. Right now i am in Belgrade, Serbia, i came here to save my life an be a real servant for human kind but today we are facing a lot of problems by the orders of the governments. They destroyed the place * where more than thousands of refugees passed their nights during their journey and then they send us to camps. But „camp“ is only a name, in fact it is like jail, they dont let us to move freely . Even for shopping. Even the bus drivers dont want to take us.
Vor knapp einem Jahr hat Außenminister Sebastian Kurz die Balkanroute geschlossen. Doch noch immer versuchen viele, auf diesem Weg in das reiche Europa zu gelangen. Allerdings sind die Sitten sehr rau geworden.