A Croatian migrant rights group has placed a sign saying ''Welcome to Croatia - Country of torture'' at the border between Croatia and Bosnia to protest against reported cases of violence against migrants at the hands of the authorities. The protest is also directed against Croatia joining the Schengen zone.
A Croatian immigrant rights organization has placed a sign at the border between Croatia and Bosnia that reads "Welcome to Croatia - country of torture." Their stated aim for the sign is to protest against Croatia's reportedly abusive border policies, including violent pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers.
The organization ''Welcome'' launched the initiative to denounce the violation of migrant rights, which have also been reported by several international organizations. Another goal is to protest against the European Commission's (EC) green light, last week, to Croatia's joining the border-free Schengen area.
Croatia to join Schengen area
The EC, last Tuesday, recommended that the country was ready to join Schengen over four years after it applied for membership. Croatia has been an EU member since 2013 but needed to persuade Brussels that it could effectively manage the bloc's external border in order to join the border-free zone.
However, the organization ''Welcome'' said Croatia should not be allowed to join the area because violence against migrants ''has been institutionalized and normalized'' at its border. The decision to allow Croatia to join the Schengen area must be upheld by EU governments.
33 migrants discovered inside lorry in Slovenia
Meanwhile, across the region, immigrants continue to use the Balkan route to try to reach European countries, local officials said. Slovenian police on Monday apprehended 33 Pakistani immigrants who were traveling inside a lorry driven by a Serbian citizen, who was arrested on human trafficking charges.
Local media reported that the truck was stopped by police near Ribnica, south of the capital Ljubljana. According to local media, the number of illegal border crossings with Slovenia has increased by 70% in the first nine months of 2019 compared to the same period last year.