Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF), a Swiss broadcaster, published on Wednesday footage of what they claimed was the Croatian police illegally pushing migrants back to Bosnia and Herzegovina.
According to the journalist reporting on this matter, the images were recorded around the border area in the north of Bosnia.
“Croatia’s officers in uniforms are coming out of the woods. They are followed by a group of some 30 persons carrying backpacks and blankets. The officers stay on the Bosnia-Croatia border, signalling the group to move further to Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said the reporter.
According to SRF, its reporters saw four such cases in which some 70 migrants were pushed back to Bosnia in only two days. They talked to over a hundred of migrants and all of them claimed Croatia rejected their asylum requests.
Responding to the allegations in the SRF programme, the Croatian Ministry of the Interior noted that this event included no illegal action or forceful deportation.
The footage shows no use of force and it was “an official operation that is in line with the Schengen Borders Code and is designed to prevent illegal entries into the EU,” the ministry said.
But the migrants claim the opposite.
The reporters quoted a few of them as saying that the Croatian police used force and sent them back to Bosnia without any regular procedures.
“They caught us in the woods, put in a van and took directly to the border. The ride was about two hours long. They then destroyed our cell phones and used a baton to show us the way towards Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said a Pakistani national.
The migrants also claimed they were taken all the money they had.
“They pointed their guns at us and said ‘stop.’ We were so scared, we cried,” said a boy in an Afghani family. His family sought the asylum in Croatia but, according to the boy, the police laughed at that and said they would get “Bosnian asylum.”
Media earlier reported on similar activities of the police in neighbourly Croatia, which triggered the Mayor of Bihac, a Bosnian town sitting on the northwestern border with Croatia, to ask the state-level authorities to do treat this issue.