A girl from Afghanistan says she was sexually abused, pressured to strip bare, held at knifepoint and threatened with rape by a Croatian officer after crossing into Croatia from Bosnia searching for asylum, in line with a brand new file (PDF) compiled by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).
The girl, whose identify is omitted out of respect for privateness, mentioned that she and three others, an aged man and two kids, crossed the border to Croatia close to Velika Kladusa, Bosnia on the night of February 15.
Shortly afterwards, the group was stopped by a Croatian police officer, who continued to level a rifle at them till extra officers arrived on the scene. When the group mentioned they had been searching for asylum, an officer “laughed and insulted them whereas they had been asking him to have understanding”, the girl mentioned.
She mentioned she was repeatedly subjected to sexual abuse and compelled to strip bare throughout a search close to the border. The officers beat the group of asylum seekers with batons on their backs and legs as they had been pressured to stroll again to Bosnia, she mentioned.
The police mentioned in an announcement on Wednesday they had been investigating the reported sexual abuse,
The Related Press information company reported.
The police mentioned an preliminary look into allegations collected by the Danish Refugee Council group discovered no police intervention in opposition to any feminine migrants on February 15, when the incident reportedly happened.
“We’re completely horrified by such allegations and [that] such behaviour is attributed to a Croatian policeman,” the assertion mentioned.
“Identical to in all earlier situations when Croatian police had been accused of violence in opposition to migrants, quick actions had been taken to test the allegations.”
The DRC report featured different testimonies detailing bodily abuse, inflicting accidents to the migrants.
A complete of 23,853 folks have reported pushbacks to Bosnia since Might 2019, the report mentioned.
The council documented 547 folks being pushed again from Croatia in January and February, with 35 p.c experiencing abusive and degrading remedy and 32 p.c reporting bodily abuse and assault.
A 3rd of respondents mentioned they had been denied entry to an asylum process.
The DRC report famous that pushbacks, violent or not, violate the EU asylum, migration and Schengen acquis, but they had been reported each day on the EU’s exterior borders.
“The testimonies recorded by DRC are really surprising,” mentioned Charlotte Slente, secretary-general on the DRC. “Regardless of the decrease variety of pushbacks recorded by DRC in 2021 – which might largely be attributed to harsh climate situations, as occurred firstly of 2020 – the patterns of reported violence and abuse on the Croatia-BiH border stay unchanged.”
“This underscores, as soon as once more, the pressing want for systematic investigations of those experiences. Regardless of the European Fee’s engagement with Croatian authorities in current months, we’ve got seen nearly no progress, neither on investigations of the particular experiences, nor on the event of impartial border monitoring mechanisms to stop violence on the EU’s exterior borders.
“It truly is time to show rhetoric into actuality – and be sure that really impartial border monitoring is put in place to stop these abuses, and be sure that credible and clear investigations can successfully maintain perpetrators of violence and abuse to account.
“Whether or not they contain violence or not, pushbacks represent a violation of worldwide and EU legislation, and it’s long-overdue for EU member states to respect the rule of legislation in border administration.”
Croatia has repeatedly denied allegations that it makes use of violence to push again migrants and asylum seekers to Bosnia.
On January 11, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights printed observations to the European Courtroom of Human Rights, noting that each one info factors to a longtime observe of collective returns, widespread ill-treatment of migrants by Croatian legislation enforcement officers and an absence of immediate and impartial investigations into such remedy, the report mentioned.