Push-backs and police violence are still daily fare: We keep receiving reports pointing to collective expulsions and police violence in Croatia and Hungary.
On the Croatian border, violence exacerbated recently, when Croatian police shot and injured two 12-year-olds, as AYS reports.
“Last night’s incident is just one of many recent examples of police brutality along the Croatian border. Vulnerable people are targeted, criminals often avoid any legal consequences, and police officers involved in deaths or injuries of refugees on Croatian borders also avoid any penalties. Officers remain on duty, further endangering people who are trying to find safety in Croatia and other EU countries.”
Meanwhile in Subotica, Serbian police officers burned down a building sheltering a group of refugees. No one was injured, but many lost all of their belongings.
In the meantime, we keep working to make this reality of systematic human rights abuse part of political discourse on the European level. Dietmar Köster (Member of the European Parliament and part of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE)) gave us the possibility to contribute to an enquiry that he posed to the Frontex Consultative Forum for Fundamental Rights in the following committee meeting.
A recording of the meeting can be accessed under the following link. The request is read from 15:28:45, some answers are given from 15:47:30.
“The Consultative Forum’s Annual Report mentions that Frontex has significantly reduced the number of deployed officers and assets in Hungary. Is there information available to the public regarding the number of Frontex officers remaining in Hungary? Have similar measures been taken in Croatia, where regular fundamental rights violations have also been documented by different actors over the last few years?
Frontex Executive Director has suggested that Frontex presence could contribute to minimise use of violence on the border, as well as to document circumstances on the ground. Has Frontex documented any cases of fundamental rights violations in Hungary or Croatia? If this is the case, are there any reports available to the public?
As the forum rightly declared, developments in Hungary have further exacerbated the risks of Frontex being involved in serious fundamental rights violations. In fact, activists have documented several cases of Frontex officers allegedly taking part in, or witnessing excessive violence against asylum seekers. Is the Forum aware of these incidents? Is there any evidence of these cases in Frontex internal documentation? What is the agency’s response to these allegations? “
Even though the answers are rarely satisfying, we keep on going. From enquiries to the European Commission or formal complaints with Frontex to legal procedures, a variety of instruments is available. The point is to raise political pressure and to confront policymakers again and again with the reality on the ground.