Balkan Region – Report July 2019

In July, illegal cross-border pushbacks continued at an increasingly institutionalized level along the EU’s external borders throughout the Balkans. Politicians, encouraged by unclear signals from the EU, have made clear that pushbacks operations are organized from the highest level of government. Varying levels of violence are employed by police officers during the apprehension, detention and return operations, creating a deterrence effect.

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FRONTEX involvement in pushback operations

report München, The Guardian and De Correspondent evaluated “serious incident reports” of Frontex and accuse the agency’s staff to not only tolerate violent pushbacks of refugees and migrants but also to actively participate in unlawful treatment.

“Citing Frontex documents, the Network reported that national guards used nightsticks and pepper spray to subdue displaced people, and dogs to chase them through forests.”

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Complaint by Croatian police officers who are being urged to act unlawfully

After the Croatian president Grabar-Kitarović confirmed a couple of days ago that Croatian authorities are involved in illegal pushback of migrants to Bosnia & Herzegovina (“a little bit of force is needed”)1,2, another complicit voice speaks up: Croatian Ombudswoman presents an anonymous complaint by police officers that were ordered to “return everyone without papers, no traces, take money, break mobile phones or take for ourselves, and forcefully return refugees to Bosnia.” Read the whole letter and a rough English translation (thanks to Centre for peace studies Zagreb3) below. Continue reading “Complaint by Croatian police officers who are being urged to act unlawfully”