In a report released on Wednesday, Amnesty International stated that European governments, by prioritizing border control, are complicit in “the systematic, unlawful and frequently violent pushbacks” against asylum seekers.
The report details the abuse asylum seekers face at the hands of Croatian police and the squalid conditions in the refugee camps. In addition, the bureaucratic obstacles that the refugees face once in the camps, makes it unlikely that their applications for asylum will be processed in Bosnia or Herzegovina.
European governments are funneling money into border security, paying to equip Croatian police rather than comport with international humanitarian laws.
Many described how they were beaten, had their documents destroyed and possessions stolen in what appears to be a systematic and deliberate policy by Croatian authorities designed to deter future attempts to enter the country.
As a result of the harsh treatment and conditions that the refugees face from Croatian police in the refugee camps, many attempt to travel to Slovenia or Italy. The journey is dangerous, including fast moving rivers, dense forests, and in some places live minefields. Additionally, at the border between Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina refugees frequently face pushbacks and expulsions.
The report calls for the EU governments to be held accountable for their contribution to the crisis, concluding with recommendations to each of the governments, as well as the EU as a whole.