Human Lives Human Rights: Brutal “pushbacks” and anti-migrant violence has been used as a routine by Croatian police against the migrants at the border with Bosnia.
The Council of Europe’s Committee on Prevention of Torture (CPT) released a report on Friday, on the treatment of migrants and asylum-seekers by the Croatian police, which revealed about the consistent abuses in Croatia’s border areas over the past four years.
The border victims have alleged that the officers beat and rob them of their belongings before forcing them back over the border into Bosnia half-naked and shoeless. Such behavior represents a clear breach of international law and EU regulations
The long-awaited report by the CPT confirms stories and numerous reports of widespread pushbacks and abuse, which the Croatian government can no longer deny now.
The CPT examined numerous allegations of physical ill-treatment of migrants and asylum-seekers by the Croatian police and concluded that, in a significant number of cases, the injuries suffered were consistent with those typically sustained in law-enforcement operations.
The CPT documented cases of people being kicked, repeatedly struck with rubber batons, barrels of automatic weapons, or wooden sticks, or attacked by police dogs.
In some cases, people intercepted by the Croatian police were stripped of their possessions, including clothes, shoes, and even underwear, and forced to walk for kilometers to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This kind of violence and abuse, point to a systematic and deliberate practice designed to punish those who try to cross the border.
The CPT concluded that Croatian authorities’ attempts to justify the abuses documented in the report do not constitute a plausible explanation for the many serious injuries compatible with police ill-treatment.
The failure of Croatian authorities to properly investigate ill-treatment confirm the Croatian government’s long-standing tactic of vehemently denying any wrongdoing while effectively preventing any independent scrutiny of its abuses. This has allowed violence to continue unchecked and with impunity.