After the denial .. President of Croatia recognizes the use of force against immigrants Culture and Society -

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Since last year, humanitarian organizations have been talking about "systematic violence" by Croatian border guards against migrants returning from the border to Bosnia and Herzegovina. Migrant News documented cases of migrants with injuries who say they are the result of violence used by the Croatian police.

While the Croatian media ignore these reports, the Ministry of the Interior denies that the Croatian police force the migrants to return to Bosnia or Herzegovina or to ill-treat them.

Selections

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Earlier this month, Croatian President Kulinda Garabar Kitarović visited the border and denied to journalists that the injuries of migrants were caused by violence by border guards. "When someone travels through these difficult terrain, it is normal for him to be scratched, bruised and injured."

Confirm after denied

"The next time you hear stories about the brutality of our police, you have to think twice, they are not violent, I can confirm that."

In her conversation with the press, the president insisted that the police did not return refugees from the border, claiming that people trying to cross into the EU "are not refugees anyway, but they are simply economic migrants."

But a few days after the visit, the president admitted to talking to Swiss television (SRF) during her visit to Switzerland that Croatian police had brought back migrants from the border.

"I spoke with the interior minister, police chief and officers on the ground, and they assured me that they did not use excessive violence," Grabar-Kitarovich said in an interview published on Tuesday (July 9). "Of course, Return ".

Swiss television had shown videos of "illegal renditions" on the Croatian-Bosnian border in May.

Bosnien Grenzübergang zu Kroatien Migranten (Getty Images / AFP / E. Barukčić)

Immigrants in Bosnia on the Croatian border

"Blatant justification"

"According to international law and European Union laws, returns are always illegal," said Jillina Cesar, an Amnesty International researcher.

The researcher finds it "outrageous" that the Croatian president is trying to justify the use of "little force" as a precautionary measure, calling on the European Commission to pressure Croatia to end its border practices.

In response to a request for more information about the Croatian president's remarks, the European Commission said – had no comment.

It was clear a year ago that Croatia intends to take its new role as a guard for European borders seriously. During a visit to Berlin in June of 2018, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic proudly said: "Croatia has the strongest border police in this part of Europe," in a campaign to become a member of the Schengen region.

Croatia, which became a member of the European Union in 2013, is seeking to join the European Schengen region as well. But it has become clear that the government is using the "Protecting the Border of Migrants" paper to guarantee its citizens freedom of movement in European space.

Nenad Kraitsel / Mohieddin Hussein

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