On 4th November 2020, a group of 4 people from Bangladesh was pushed back from Croatia to Bosnia-Herzegovina. The group was a family, with two children – a son of 13 years and a child of 8 months. They crossed the border on foot very near Velika Kladusa, at a point were there is a small river right after the border and before the first Croatian road. The group entered this road and after 5 minutes they were met by a Croatian police car, which was white and blue colored and said POLICE in Croatian on it. Two Croatian police officers in blue uniforms got out of the car and approached the group.
“They say stop and we say, we want to ask for asylum, we want to go to asylum center in Zagreb.”
“I show them papers and my wife cannot walk because of operation, they don’t care they say deport, deport.”
The police officers were then described to have started to search the group, without reacting on the claim that was expressed towards them. They searched the clothes, body and backpack of the male respondent, and also the son’s cloths and the baby. As they proceeded to search the wife of the respondent, he intervenes by stating, that they are obliged to use a female officer to search a women. The police officers force the women to stand behind the police car and take off her cloths to be searched.
“ When they were searching my wife, she had to open all cloths, jacket and shirts everything open, and then she also had to take them out, she have only bra in the end, she had to take all out!” describes the respondent.
The respondent also remembers, “I say why you are like this, they say we protect European Union, they tell us like this!”
He says, “There is a lot of problem in my country, that’s why we come here, so I pray for Croatian government please give me asylum! My son wants to go to school, he is a good sudent, I want to work, we don’t ask for money or BMW or house! Only give us asylum and education, that’s enough for us!”
After the search, family was able to put their clothes back on and take their belongings. Subsequently, a police van staffed by 2 black uniformed police – the co-driver wore a ski mask – brought them back to the Bosnian border very close to Velika Kladusa. The masked men told the family to exit the van and walk across the border into Bosnia-Herzegovina. From this point the group proceeded walking back to the center of the city.