The respondent and 11 other people, including 4 children, one teenager and 2 women, got pushed back by Croatian authorities from Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina on April 29, 2022.
The group started from the outskirts of Velika Kladusa and walked for about 5 hours, 5 kilometres, crossing the border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. They described it as a very cold morning. The group decided to call a number, according to the respondent it belonged to the GRC, to ask for help. It was not very clear what the GRC was, but it seems most likely that the group contacted the Croatian Legal Centre, a Zagreb-based NGO. People on the move trying to enter Croatia regularly contact this group hoping they can ensure their transfer to the camp and avoid a pushback. This is mostly done by families, as the respondent explained, as walking long distances is harder with small children.
The transit group, therefore, crossed the border and then a few kilometres within Croatia contacted who they referred to as GRC, whom they told that they wanted to claim asylum. Reportedly the organisation answered them:
We write your name…send your photos to us…we are going to say to not deport you.
The group was then asked to head to a nearby street where they were supposed to wait. They waited for about one hour, watching other cars pass by until the police showed up. The GRC however did not come. The police started asking the group for their names to check whether it is the same group that they were called for.
There were about 19 police men and one police women to search the two women in the group. After searching everyone, the entire group got crammed into one big van. The transit group said they knew from previous attempts that those vans were being used for pushbacks. There was a bad smell induced into the car, which additional to a really bad driving style, made all the children cry and several people throw up.
The group got pushed back in the forest, they had to walk for about 6 hours to reach a street. Then they had to walk another 6 hours to reach Velika Kladusa. The families reported feeling extremely bad after this journey.