“We were left in our underwear!”

  • Date and time: March 8, 2021 02:00
  • Location: Border crossing near Velika Kladusa
  • Coordinates: 45.1840797, 15.8068421
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 4 person(s), age: 16, 17, 17, 55 , from: Syria, Kuwait
  • Minors involved? Yes
  • Violence used: beating (with batons/hands/other), kicking, forcing to undress, destruction of personal belongings, reckless driving
  • Police involved: 6 Croatian police-men, Interventna Policija (IJP), 1 van.
  • 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: IPSIA

Original Report

A group of 4 people, one family (the father and 2 minors) from Syria and a minor from Kuwait (although he is stateless), were apprehended by the police officers in the area of Mićetinac (Croatia), after three days of walking, and pushed back on the 8th of March at 2 am, from Croatia to Bosnia and Erzegovina in the boarding crossing area near Velika Kladusa.

The respondent claims that the policemen that found them were 6 and were dressed in black uniforms and black sky masks, that according to the description can be the Interventna Policija. They first searched the group and then they forced them to completely undress. All the group members remained in underwear. The policemen took all the money and broke two mobile phones and one power bank and they burned everything else: clothes, food, backpacks and so on.

The father tried to ask for asylum, but they did not listen. They beat and kicked the older brother (17 years old) and the father. Particularly, the older brother was pushed against the wall. The respondent also asserts that it is difficult for him to remember every single detail. The policemen were speaking only in Croatian, except for asking them where did they stay in Bosnia, one group member answered “Bihać”.

Then the respondent and the other members of the group were loaded into a white van and were brought to the border with Bosnia, specifically the area of Velika Kladuša. The police was going very fast and when they were left at the border, the respondent threw up because of the reckless driving. The police left them in the woods, during the night, without anything: the main problem was to orient themselves as they did not have any light and/or GPS.

They managed to reach Miral camp in Kladuša, where they asked for help as they were pushed back. They spent a night in front of the camp, while the staff of Miral camp made contacts with Sedra camp in order to readmit them.