Speaking ahead of a plenary discussion on the situation at the external borders of the European Union, members of the Greens/EFA Group in the European Parliament said it was undeniable that Croatian border police were forcibly returning migrants to Bosnia and Herzegovina in violation of legal procedures.
“Croatian authorities are the only ones insisting that illegal pushbacks are not happening in the EU’s largest external land border”, Green MEP from the Netherlands Tineke Strik said in a report, according to HINA and Total Croatia News.
“The UN agencies, the Croatian Ombudsman, civil society organizations, migrants and asylum seekers we spoke to showed us clear evidence that (illegal push back) is happening”, she added.
Green MEPs Strik, Saskia Bricmont (Belgium), and Erik Marquardt (Germany) were on a fact-finding mission to Croatia’s border with Bosnia and Herzegovina several days ago.
“People reported being beaten up by the Croatian police, being forcibly taken back to Bosnia and Herzegovina and given no information or denied access to the asylum system. Nearly 40 percent of the individuals pushed back are children”, Strik said in the report.
The Greens called on Croatia to allow independent oversight of the conduct of the Croatian border police. They also called on the European Commission to investigate allegations of human rights violations.
“The EU is pushing Croatian authorities to ‘protect’ their borders and keep asylum seekers and migrants out, without demanding the respect for fundamental rights. It is astonishing that despite the substantiated allegations of violent pushbacks, EU countries like Germany are applauding Croatia. The EU and its member states must stop turning a blind eye to this humanitarian situation at its borders”, Strik concluded.