Text: APC Photo: APC
Sid, August 30, 2019 – According to information gathered by the APC / CZA mobile team during regular visits to open locations near the border with Croatia, the Croatian police, in addition to the brutality with which they return migrants to Serbia illegally, they also humiliate migrants by forcing them to take off their clothes and shoes and then push them back to Serbia in their underwear and barefoot.
As the APC/CZA team learned, at least three different migrant groups from Afghanistan and Algeria have experienced a violent push-back from Croatia in the last week of August, in the space of just three days. In addition to the physical violence to which migrants were exposed, the police confiscated their personal belongings, backpacks, telephones, and money, and migrants were forced to remove their clothes and shoes and to cross into the territory of Serbia at Tovarnik in their underwear and barefoot.
Amri, 45, from Algeria, stated that when detecting illegal crossings in Croatia, police officers hit migrants with batons and kick them after they fall on the ground, then confiscate their backpacks, phones, and money, then force them to take off their underwear and they go back to Serbia without clothes and shoes. One of Amri’s friends suffered a head injury during the beating, his entire head was covered in blood, and after his return, he went to the hospital in Sremska Mitrovica to take care of the injury.
Several hundred people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Algeria, Morocco and other countries in the Middle East are trying to make illegal crossings into Croatia, walking on foot along greenways and hiding in truck trailers. Up to 400 people are currently staying in open locations in and around Sid and the border.
According to information from the field, Croatia illegally returns more than 60 persons daily to Serbia, using physical force, humiliating migrants and confiscating personal belongings and money.