Croatia continues with push backs of children

Only 3 months after the horrible death of a pushed back 6-year old girl Madina, for whose death nobody has still been held accountable, her family has again been exposed to illegal and cruel treatment of the Croatian state. In the night of March 8, a 17-year old girl sent us a disturbing call for help. She notified AYS that, along with another family, her family is in the Croatian territory, in the village Strošinci. She also said they are very cold and that they wish to ask for international protection in Croatia. They group had 11 children along, among them 2 babies. They asked us to contact the police on their behalf and notify them about the intention to seek asylum in Croatia. After we asked about their names, it was evident that they were Madina’s family, confirmed later by them. We have informed the police (local police station by phone and the official email contact), the UNHCR, Croatian Law Centre and the Ombudswoman. Although Madina’s family feared meeting with the police again due to fear of being pushed back again, realizing it was the only way to ask for asylum in Croatia, they approached the officers in the area and said they wanted to ask for asylum. According to the family’s statements, instead of answering their demands for medical assistance for the children and providing the option of asking for international protection, the officers reportedly laughed when they saw who was informed about this, they searched through their belongings and went through their messages in the phone in detail, later on letting them go back to Serbia. What strikes us particularly is that the push back happened in a very similar way as it did in the night when their 6-year old daughter died on the train tracks: both families were forced to return to Serbia with their small children.

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