Johannes Peterlik, the EU’s Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs, told media in Sarajevo on Thursday that migrants and refugees currently in Bosnia must be told that they are trying to take the wrong path to the EU. The Austrian diplomat was commenting on continuing tensions in northern Bosnia, where a group of hundreds of and refugees have been trying to get across the border into Croatia. “Austria will make it clear that illegal migration is not a path that can and should be followed. There are legal ways and that is what must be clear,” Peterlik told a press conference after meeting with Bosnia’s deputy foreign minister.
Several migrants and refugees were injured when they tried to break through a police cordon preventing them from passing through Bosnia and Herzegovina’s border crossing with Croatia.
Numerous rights groups have reported on violent pushbacks of migrants, but Croatia denies the allegations. The Council of Europe’s commissioner for human rights has called on Croatia to launch prompt and independent investigations regarding allegations of police violence and theft against refugees and migrants as well as collective expulsions. In a letter published Friday addressed to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic, Commissioner Dunja Mijatovic wrote that she was “worried” by reports from “expert refugee and migrant organisations that provide consistent and substantiated information about a large number of collective expulsions from Croatia to Serbia and to Bosnia and Herzegovina of irregular migrants, including potential asylum seekers”. Particularly worrisome, Mijatovic wrote, were the allegations of systematic violence by Croatian law enforcement officials against those people, including pregnant women and children. UNHCR has received reports of some 2,500 migrants being pushed back from Croatia since the beginning of 2018, with 1,500 people being denied access to asylum procedures, including over 100 children.
Gegen Kroatien gibt es schon länger Vorwürfe über kollektive Rückschiebungen – ohne Asylverfahren – und Polizeigewalt. Die Menschenrechtskommissarin des Europarats fordert nun, die kritischen Berichte von Menschenrechtsorganisationen erhoben wurden, zu untersuchen. Kommissarin Dunja Mijatovic aus Bosnien forderte den kroatischen Premier Andrej Plenkovic in einem Brief auf, solche Handlungen zu beenden. Zagreb wies die Vorwürfe zurück.
The authors of this article, two solidarity workers in the Balkans, want to tell the relatively untold story of the violence being perpetrated against refugees on the fringes of Europe. Their research shared here reveals the depth of abuse being carried out by member states at the behest of Brussels and suggests that we reconsider our perception of dangerous actors. What is more dangerous? Refugees fleeing conflict, or a continentally militarised border?
Twenty-two Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have submitted a request for a parliamentary interrogation on migrants’ living conditions in Croatia after reports from the media and NGOs. Some 22 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from 11 member states have submitted a request for a parliamentary interrogation on a serious situation as concerns the living conditions of migrants, as reported by several NGOs and media outlets. ”The situation is serious. We are asking the European Commission what initiatives it plans to take to monitor the dramatic conditions of migrants on the border between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and to ensure that their fundamental rights are respected,” Italian MEP Elly Schlein said.
The UNHCR reports that thousands of migrants have been pushed back from Croatia this year or denied the possibility of requesting asylum in the country, an accusation that the Croatian government has rejected. About 2,500 migrants trying to reach Western Europe have been pushed back by Croatia since the beginning of the year, including about 1,500 who have been denied the right to request asylum and international protection, according to a UNHCR report entitled Desperate Journeys. The accusation has been firmly rejected by the Croatia interior ministry.