Croatian border policemen at the Maljevac border crossing with Bosnia | Photo: Archive/EPA/Fehim Demir
Croatian border policemen at the Maljevac border crossing with Bosnia | Photo: Archive/EPA/Fehim Demir

The organisation Human Rights Watch does not want Croatia to be allowed to join the Schengen area because of alleged abuses against migrants committed by Croatian authorities.

Croatia should not be permitted to join the Schengen Area due to the country's alleged violent and illegal treatment of migrants and asylum seekers, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said. It published a statement on its website along with a video that shows migrants being abused at the Croatia-Bosnia border. 

The video includes interviews with witnesses and migrants who were allegedly pushed back from Croatia into Bosnia-Herzegovina. 

'An EU green light for abuses'

HRW criticized the European Union, which last month concluded that Croatia is ready to join the Schengen Area. 

"The summary return of asylum seekers without consideration of their protection needs is contrary to European Union asylum law, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the 1951 Refugee Convention," HRW said. It added that it has "documented summary collective expulsions from Croatia to Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2016."

"Croatia's unlawful and violent summary returns of asylum seekers and migrants should disqualify it from joining the Schengen Area," said HRW's Lydia Gall. "Letting Croatia join Schengen when migrants and asylum seekers continue to be brutally pushed back would be an EU green light for abuses."  

Croatian authorities have continually denied accusations of abuse and violence against migrants that were made by journalists, NGOs, and activists. 


 

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