“The only solution for them is that we go back to Montenegro”

  • Date and time: May 19, 2019 03:20
  • Location: Brezovice, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Coordinates: 43.57011190758903, 19.09808505181354
  • Push-back from: Bosnia
  • Push-back to: Montenegro
  • Demographics: 5 person(s), age: 25, 30 years old, one family: 45-50, 18, 23 years old , from: Syria
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: no violence used
  • Police involved: 2 Republika Srpska police officers; 3 Bosnian border officers, 1 police van; 2 border officers in a car, 4 checkpoint police officers
  • Taken to a police station?: no
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention:
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: No
  • Reported by: Border Violence Monitoring

Original Report

One family consisting of a mother (45-50 years old), and 2 sons (18, 23), and two single men, who were all from Syria, departed from Pljevlja (MNE) at 1:00 AM on May 18th. They took a taxi to the border and entered Bosnia by foot near Metaljka (BiH).

They spent the next 24 hours walking through the forest, but during this time one member of the group fell and injured her leg. By this time the group was near the town of Brezovice (BiH) and they left the forest to walk along the main road to look for someone who could help the injured member of the group.

The respondent reported that they encountered two local police officers, who he believed were from Republika Srpska. At around 3:00 am (May 19th), the officers stopped to talk to the group May 19th on the road in Brezovice (BiH). The respondent and his group told the officers that they needed to go to a hospital because one of the individuals had an injured leg. The police officers did not speak English, but told them to “wait, wait.” The respondent believed that the officers would help them get to the hospital. Instead, within ten minutes, three border police officers arrived in a van.

The border police asked them where they are going and the respondent told them they wanted to go to the camp in Sarajevo (BiH) to ask for asylum and that the one individual was injured and needed a hospital.

For ten minutes the group tried to speak to the border officers, expressing the need for medical care and intended to apply for asylum, but the officers claimed they did not understand what they were saying. The officers then shouted at the group and told them that they must go back to Montenegro.

“The only solution for them is that we go back to Montenegro.”

The officers shouted at them to enter the van and they drove them back to Metaljka (BiH). At this point, the respondent was separated from the other four members of the group after they had an argument. He stayed on the Bosnian side of the border to try again to reach Sarajevo (BiH) while he reported that the others crossed back into Montenegro.

The respondent walked along the main road from where he was dropped off by the border police and arrived at the Bosnian border checkpoint around 7:00 am. There were four officers present at the checkpoint, one woman and three men. The respondent showed them his Syrian documents and told them that he wanted to go to Sarajevo to apply for asylum. 

The officers checked the respondents’ documents and after ten minutes, two border police officers arrived to the location in a vehicle. They shouted at him to get into the vehicle and they drove him to the same point where he was dropped off earlier in the morning by the first three border police officers that he had encountered. 

From there he re-entered Montenegro and walked along the main road trying to find a car that would pick him up and drive him to Pljevlja, but no cars stopped for him and he walked for six hours to return to the city.