“A woman and her two children crossing”

  • Date and time: July 20, 2020 00:00
  • Location: Near Donji Vaganac, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 44.912626, 15.740413
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: 30, 9, 2 years old , from: Iran
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: theft of personal belongings
  • Police involved: Two Croatian municipal police one male one female. Two Croatian border officers, both male, dressed all in black
  • 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

On approximately the 20th July 2020 a woman and her two children were pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia.

The primary respondent for this report was a 30 year old woman from Iran who was alone with her two children who are a 9 year old boy and a 2 year old girl. They started walking from 5 kilometres before the border with Croatia near Mala Peća in Bosnia, at night. According to the respondent, they walked across the border on a dirt road and through the forest to a local house. The respondent approached the house to ask for help from the people that lived there. She was very scared as she had previously seen single men being beaten by officers. And they were all very tired.

The local person in the house called their local municipal police and, after some time, two officers came – one male and one female. Reportedly, the officers asked the woman “Do you want to stay in Croatia?” and the respondent replied “Yes.” They then asked where she was from – she told them she was from Iran – and the officers said “You can’t stay here.” The respondent believes that this is because of the country she is from. The local people asked the municipal police where they were going to take them, and they were told that the family would be taken to camp in Croatia.

The municipal police then contacted another set of authorities (the respondent inferred that these were authorities directly responsible for border enforcement) and, after some time passed, two additional officers arrived to the scene. They were both male and both dressed in all-black uniforms. The respondent repeated her request for asylum in Croatia.  These black-uniformed officers then put the respondent and her children into a police van and drove them back to the Bosnian border. They took her phone and her money and told her to walk. She was already tired and terrified. She had to walk for 5 hours carrying her two year old daughter while her 9 year old son had to walk. Finally, after much distress, they reached Miral camp near Velika Kladuša, Bosnia