Yesterday in the European Parliament during the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, MEPs lambasted Croatia’s Minister of Interior for its continued practise of conducting illegal and violent pushbacks.
Holding photos captured by the Border Violence Monitoring Network of Croatia’s abusive policing methods, MEPs showed evidence of extreme beatings, dog attacks and the use of electric discharge weapons. Whilst showing an image of a young three-year-old child who sustained injuries during an attack on her mother, Dutch MEP Tineke Strik urged the Croatian presidency to:
“make sure that Croatia’s external border controls goes hand in hand with the respect for fundamental rights and access to an asylum procedure”.
Referencing a recent report published by the Border Violence Monitoring Network German MEP Dietmar Köster today stated that “we all know Croatian law enforcement to be regularly performing beatings, forced undressing, using tasers, pushing people into rivers, and stealing and breaking peoples phones to erase evidence”. The report by BVMN published last week stated that over 80% of all field reports collected in 2019 contained one or, in most cases, multiple features of violence indicating either torture or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment as outlined within international law.
Seemingly unphased by either the accusations or the photos MEPs were holding, Croatia’s Interior Minister Davor Božinović upheld the government line that all accusations, including the use of extreme violence, electric shock and dog attacks by Croatian police, were fake news. Yesterday’s action in the European Parliament by MEPs clearly shows that they are not willing to relent the pressure on the Croatian authorities to open up a full independent investigation into these allegations. We welcome the work of these MEPS in using their platform to continuously give voice to those having to suffer and endure abuse and illegal pushbacks at the hands of Croatia and other EU member states.
In the end, the photos used in this event speak for themselves. They can be found below along with quotes from the people who experienced these violations, voices that yesterday MEPs brought to the heart of Brussels demanding justice.
(All photographs included in the article come courtesy of GUENGL)