Report on illegal and forced push backs of refugees from the Republic of Croatia

Zagreb, January 24, 2017

  • Valuables and personal belongings are taken from refugees, such as money (e.g., € 1000), mobile phones (that are also often destroyed), watches, bags and documents.
  • Refugees are exposed to various forms of verbal abuse. Refugees have talked about shouting, humiliation, mocking, swearing, etc.
  • Refugees are exposed to various forms of physical abuse. They speak of shoving, kicks to different parts of the body, hits to the face using fists and hits to the abdomen, thighs and other body parts using batons, undressing (e.g., one of the refugees said “They took my clothes and shoes off and made me stand in the snow.”), etc. In conversation with one group of refugees we found out that six police officers stood in line on both sides and that each member of the group had to walk between them while the police officers hit them with batons. They shattered their mobile phones in front of them and took their money. The refugees we spoke with described or showed us the following injuries that, according to their claims, they sustained during bush backs: serious eye injuries, arm fractures, injuries in area between the eyes, an injured leg and feed, traces of blows to the head and cuts on the scalp, face bruises, scars on thighs, bruises on the face and lips, a broken finger, leg wounds, etc. Several people confirmed that they lost consciousness, as well as that they received medical attention in Serbia due to the injuries. In response to our inquiry, Doctors Without Borders confirmed that they treated four patients in Serbia just in the first few days 2017 for various injuries such as hematomas, swollen limbs and wounds. All four told them that the injuries were inflicted by the Croatian police on the Croatia-Serbia border.
  1. An immediate end to violent and unlawful expulsions of refugees from the Croatian territory.
  2. Urgent implementation of a thorough investigation on unlawful and violent push backs of refugees across the Croatian border and sanctioning of violent police officials and responsible persons.
  3. The return of unlawfully pushed-back refugees, who still wish to seek asylum in Croatia, to the Reception Centres for Asylum Seekers in Zagreb and Kutina and the continuation of the application procedure for international protection.



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