“Push back of a group including a man with cancer and his 3-year old kid”

  • Date and time: February 19, 2022 14:00
  • Location: Near Grabarska
  • Coordinates: 45.161315, 15.764207
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 8 person(s), age: 3, 15, 15, 42, 46, 47, 48, 50 years old , from: Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: more than 12 men dressed in dark blue uniforms, 6 cars, 1 officer in light blue uniform, 1 a white car with “policija” written on the front glass
  • 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

The respondent is a man from Iraqi Kurdistan, and at the time of taking the testimony 47 years old. He explained that on the 20th of February 2022, he tried to cross the border from Bosnia into Croatia to ask for asylum together with seven other people including his wife, their 3-year-old kid, his brother-in-law, a father from Afghanistan, and his 15 years old son, and an Iranian father and his 15-year-old son.

He reported that the group left Velika Kladuša at 4 am and walked three hours to get into Croatian territory. After crossing the border, the group sat down in the border area to ask for help from there. At exactly 7:14 am he sent a WhatsApp message to a Croatian association known to support people on the move. He explained the harsh situation of his group: he himself has cancer with two tumors and urgently needs medical assistance. He sent the information about the group and the medical documents proving his health condition. Reportedly, the association answered at 1 pm, explaining that in order to help them to claim asylum they had to call the police on behalf of the group. The respondent accepted and sent his location so the association could forward the information to the Croatian police. The respondent described that an hour later, six cars arrived with more than 12 men dressed in dark blue uniforms. One of them seemed to call his superior to ask for instructions. After the call he told the group to leave, saying “Go back to Bosnia”, ignoring their repeated wish to claim asylum. None of their documents were checked, nor were any pictures taken of them.

The group walked back for about 10 minutes when another van – a white car used usually for transporting people on the move to the pushback locations with “policija” written on the front glass – stopped them. An officer in a light blue uniform got out of the car only to insult the group in what the respondent assumed to be Croatian and English. After crossing the border back into BiH, the group still had to walk back for three hours while the temperature was only two degrees.