“They didn't care about the babies”

  • Date and time: May 21, 2022 13:30
  • Location: Slunj, Croatia
  • Coordinates: 45.195667576973, 15.792490203173
  • Pushback from: Croatia
  • Pushback to: Bosnia
  • Demographics: 3 person(s), age: 26 years old , from: Pakistan, India
  • Minors involved? No
  • Violence used: exposure to air condition and extreme temperature during car ride
  • Police involved: 3 Croatian border officiers, 3 Croatian Intervention police officers, 1 police car
  • Taken to a police station?: yes
  • Treatment at police station or other place of detention: fingerprints taken, personal information taken, papers signed
  • Was the intention to ask for asylum expressed?: Yes
  • Reported by: No Name Kitchen

Original Report

A 26-year-old Pakistani man was the victim of yet another pushback by the Croatian authorities on May 21, 2022 in Slunj , Croatia.
The man had walked into the forest, starting in Šturlić, in Bosnia and Herzegovina around 6 in the morning. He went together with 13 other people, including 11 from Africa, 2 Pakistani and an Indian, among whom there were 4 children and 3 women. Respondent claims to have tried the game with two families, hoping to have a better chance of making it and finally leaving Bosnia after roughly two years of failed attempts to progress.

After 5-6 hours of walking, the group crossed the border and arrived in Mašvina. At that point, some of them called a number they refer to as IOM, obtained from some acquaintances, to ask for help. They communicated that they were experiencing difficulty, especially with the children. They were instructed to wait and not to move from the spot, as they would call the police who would escort them to Zagreb, where they would be given the opportunity to seek asylum.
The group waited for a day and a night in the same place, but the police never arrived, and at 6 am the next day they decided to leave. After walking only a few hundred meters the children were tired and crying. As a result, the group decided to call the police and ask for help, as the children were sick and could not continue.

After less than an hour, around 1 pm, two officers of the Croatian police in blue uniforms arrived  in a car. The two men requisitioned all the phones, powerbanks chargers and searched all the adults present to make sure they didn’t have any knives. They put everything in plastic bags, which were placed in the middle of the street, while the POMS sat in a row beside it. After about 10 minutes, a police van arrived: all those present got on and spent about an hour inside the vehicle, which is described by the respondent as very turbulent and disturbing, since the driving was particularly reckless.

The respondent states thath the heat was asphyxiating, made worse by a lack of air intakes. The children were crying loudly, but this did not phase the driver, who continued in this way and without stopping to the Slunj police station.
Here the POMs applied for asylum. They were asked a lengthy series of personal questions, they were all searched again, had fingerprints taken, and the IMEI number of their phones were taken. The respondent also states that, after 5 or 6 hours, 11 people in the group were given some papers, while the other three (including the interviewee, along with the other Pakistani and the Indian man) were asked to leave the police station and get into a van supervised by 3 police officers in black uniforms, matching the description of Croatian Intervention police officers.

The journey took less than 40 minutes, and was more pleasant than the prior one. The vehicle was well ventilated and the ride fairly smooth. At around 9 pm they stopped in a place 100 meters from the Bosnian border, not specifically identified by the respondent. The agents indicated the direction to take to the three men, intimating never to try to cross the border again; after about two hours of walking through the jungle the interviewee returned to the vicinity of Velika Kladuša.