“I ask the police officers why they don´t allowed us to come here. They said we have this job. Our boss don´t allow us to let you in. We can´t do anything.”

  • Date and time: February 17, 2022 09:30
  • Location: Close to the Bosnian town of Velika Kladuša
  • Coordinates: 45.161996624495, 15.765390179632
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 8 person(s), age: 1,5; 7; 14; 15; 26; 30; 35; 48 years old , from: Afghanistan
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: 4 Croatian local police officers: dark blue uniforms with “Policija” on the back, 1 patrol care: white car with blue stripes with "Policija" on the side; 1 van: white van, no lettering, windows only in front, inside with benches
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: denial of access to toilets, denial of food/water
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: Blindspots

Original Report

On Thursday, the 17th February 2022, at around 10:00 a.m., a group of 8 people from Afghanistan got push-backed from Croatia to Bosnia.

The respondent described that the group left the Bosnian town of Velika Kladuša at around 07:00 a.m. and crossed the border into Croatia at about 08:30 a.m. The respondent described a forested area and remembered these coordinates to be the approximate location: 45°09’46.2 “N 15°45’53.9 “E

Around 09:00 a.m., after the group had been in Croatia for about 30 minutes, the group encountered a car and two people. The respondent described the car as a white passenger car with a blue stripe with the inscription “Policija” and the clothes of the persons as dark blue uniforms with the inscription “Policija” on the back. This suggests that they were local Croatian officers.

The respondent described that the group asked the Croatian officers for asylum in Croatia. The officers neglected the request and demanded the group’s passports. The group did not have passports and therefore could not show them. The Croatian officers then stated that the group was in the country illegally. The respondent explained that he asked the Croatian officers why the group cannot ask for asylum. To which the officials replied that this is their job and they have this order.

“I ask the police officers why they don´t allowed us to come here. They said we have this job. Our boss don´t allow us to let you in. We can´t do anything.”

The respondent described that the Croatian officers called their colleagues for reinforcement. In the meantime, the group had to spread the contents of their backpacks on the ground and the officers examined all items. The Croatian officers put the group’s mobile phones into plastic bags and stowed them in the patrol car. The rest of the contents of the backpacks were allowed to be repacked after the examination.

At round 09:30 a.m., the reinforcements arrived. The respondent described a white van, without lettering, only with front windows and two persons in a dark blue uniform with the inscription “Policija” on the back. This suggests that the reinforcements were also local Croatian officers. The group had to get into the van, which had two benches. The respondent described that the Croatian officers forced the group to hurry, whereupon the women and children who were not fast enough were insulted by the officers in Croatian. The officers moved the doors of the van back and forth. When the women and children were intimidated, the officers laughed.

“When we go into the car, they kicked the door. The door swung back and forth and we were afraid that the door will hit us. When they saw that we were scared, they laughed.”

The group asked if they could have something to drink and eat, but the Croatian officers refused. The group was also not allowed to use the toilet.

At around 10:00 a.m., the van reached the Croatian-Bosnian border near the Bosnian town of Velika Kladuša. The respondent described the place as a wooded area and could not give a more precise location. The respondent described that the group had to get out of the van and that the officers gave them back their mobile phones. Then the officers explained that the group had to cross the border. The group reached the Bosnian town of Velika Kladuša again at around 12:00 a.m.