“It was so hard, it was horrible”

  • Date and time: April 1, 2021 21:00
  • Location: Bosanska Bojna
  • Coordinates: 45.198322, 16.029863
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 12 person(s), age: 7, 11, 41, 30, 32 and others. , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, pushing people to the ground, forcing to undress, theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: 8 Croatian border policemen, 2 in a van and 6 outside.
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

A family from Afghanistan crossed the border from Bosanska Bojna, Bosnia into Croatia on April 1st.  According to the respondent, their journey was very difficult as it is slow to travel with a family. They were traveling with their children who cannot walk very fast.

So the family only walked a few kilometers into Croatia. After they entered the country, they made a call. The respondent described the number they called as an “IOM phone number”. According to him, the IOM, the International Organization for Migration, told them to wait at the location. But, meanwhile, a car of the border police saw them, while they were waiting in the forest. When the Croatian border police arrived, they asked them some questions like: “Where are you from?”, “Why do you come here?” Their final sentence was “You are deported!”. Even though they asked them for asylum. According to the respondent they just said: “We cannot, you just go! Go!”

As the respondent described it, the police looked angry and ordered them to hand over their phones and power banks. After they did so, the officers started to check in every clothing and every part of their bodies. While strip-searching them the policemen also checked women’s bodies. They also ordered the men of the group to fully undress. At the same time, police officers also checked the kid’s bodies. One of them was only seven years old. They asked them to stay in a position with the arms raised so they could check their bodies more easily.

After the examination, the police asked all the family to separate, the men on one side and the women and children on the other. As the wife of the respondent did not want to get separated from her husband she did not move. Subsequently, the police pushed the woman. According to the respondent, she almost fell to the ground.

All the men of the families and one minor had to walk a few meters towards the lush forest, it was there that they ordered them to lay on the ground. It had just snowed so the ground was extremely cold. All the men had to lay down in the snow onto their bellies just wearing their underwear. Four of the eight border police started beating them with batons, after some seconds, they ordered them to stand up again but they kept beating them. According to the respondent, his sons were hearing how the police were beating them.

“It was so hard, it was horrible…”. 

“My family had to wait 15 minutes while the police were beating me.“ 

When all this finished, the police asked all of them to get into the vehicles. They dropped them at the border and told them to walk back into Bosnia.