The NGO No Name Kitchen has released reports about police using violence against migrants and pushing them back to Bosnia. What are the details of these allegations and how many asylum seekers are coming to Croatia ?
Last month, the NGO No Name Kitchen released a report that migrants have been brutally beaten by Croatian police and pushed back to Bosnia. No Name Kitchen claims that the Croatian police use cameras, a helicopter, night vision drones, police dogs and even snipers to find out who is trying to enter from Croatia. The organization says that around 200 people attempt to cross the border into Croatia from Bosnia each week. The Red Cross also has claimed in July that dozens of people enter Bosnia from Croatia each day that need help for injuries which are allegedly inflicted by the Croatian police.
The report described an Iranian family who had fled their country in fear of repressions imposed by the government. The family described how they walked 25 kilometers into Croatia from Bosnia, when soon they were ambushed by five Croatian policemen. They reported that the police stripped the whole family naked, including the women, and that Croatian police groped at them. Their money was stolen along with their phones. "I want to share our voice around the world about the action of the Croatian police towards the women and children," Fatima (not her real name) the mother of the family said.
"As I entered the Croatia border I wanted to apply for asylum, but they didn't register me," Didar an Afghan refugee living in Bosnia told InfoMigrants last week. "The Croatian police have beaten me and took my telephone. They put us in a car and returned us back to Bosnia."
"The Croatian police arrested us and sent us back to Bosnia," Milad Kamkar, a refugee from Iran said. "They beat me. My body is in a lot of pain. Police put pepper spray in our eyes. I couldn't breathe and see."
Denouncement of border police violence
"We are requesting from the Croatian authorities to stop the illegal and violent pushbacks. We are further asking the EU authorities to create legal and safe pathways for the displaced people from the Balkans to Europe through the transit zones, where they can access the asylum procedures," No Name Kitchen said in the report on its website.
No offical statements by authorities
This isn't the first time that the Croatian police have been accused of pushing back migrants. In January 2017, the Croatian police were accused by Human Rights Watch that they were pushing back Afghan asylum seekers to Serbia. There were allegations that they were beaten and their cell phones taken away near the Serbian border as punishment for entering Croatian territory. On July 18, the Croatian police denied the reports that they are using violence against migrants and pushing them back to Bosnia. They told the Associated Press that they "have not recorded" such incidents.
Asylum seekers in Croatia
According to the Asylum Information Database,(Aida), there were 880 asylum applicants lodged in total in Croatia in 2017. 415 of those were still pending by the end of 2017, 120 were given refugee status and 30 of them were given subsidiary protection. In 2016, Croatia received 2,150 first time applications, the Dubrovnik Times reported.