The respondent and 19 others, including families and children, got pushed back by Croatian authorities from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina on April 24, 2022.
The respondent and three of his friends tried crossing the border with families from Afghanistan, the group included children aged between 2 and 7 years. They started in Velika Kladusa at 4 am on April, 24, walking towards Croatia through the forest and over mountains. Once they reached a certain point in Croatia after walking for about 3 to 4 hours, the respondent texted the International Organisation of Migration (IOM). This was at about 8 am. The IOM asked the group if there were any minors involved and if they could send their location so that the IOM can send cars to drive them to a camp in Zagreb. However, 1 hour after sending the location to IOM the police arrived. The respondent assumes that IOM shared their location with the police since they should not have known this place.
“3 times we did like this. But he (IOM) doesn’t come. Liar.”
The respondent has tried contacting and asking IOM for help three times and reported that they never did help them. After the police arrived they had to sit in the rain for three hours. This time the respondent did not mention that he spoke English, since the last times he got beaten whenever they found out that he spoke English; apparently they then assumed that he was a boss.
“If I say I speak English, they beat me.”
This left the group without a proper translator, since the police did not have one and the other person in the group only knew a few words of English. While the group sat outside in the rain the police took everything from the people, from their cigarettes to the phone cables and powerbanks to 12 phones. Although the police told the group that they would give them asylum and bring them to a camp in Zagreb. However, they still pushed them back to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
After those 3 hours outside, the police drove the group to a police station, a 10-minute drive away. However, the group did not leave the car. The respondent saw the policemen picking up some papers. He described the time in the car as torture.
“In the car no oxygen, no window, no nothing.”
They spent what felt like 4 hours in the car. Those 4 hours also included the drive to the border. There was a 5 months pregnant woman in the group, that started to feel pain during the drive to the border. However, the police – though made aware of it – did not care about the state of the woman. Reportedly they started joking about her.
“She feel pain, but police laughing, joking about it.”
At the border, one woman started crying. The police then threatened to hurt her with a spray can, the respondent did not know what kind of spray. Most likely it was pepper spray.
“If you don’t go back, I put to your face this spray.”
In general, the respondent described the mood as very miserable. He said that everybody was crying, families and children. The total time spent with the police was about 7 hours. And the group got pushed back at around 4 – 5 pm the same day they started.