Report on Illegal Expulsions from Croatia in the Context of the COVID-19 Pandemic
The seventh report on violent and illegal expulsions brings an overview of 2020 and 2021 in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past two years have once again proven that in times of great crisis, the most vulnerable members of society become increasingly exposed to systemic violence which leads to almost completely denied access to the asylum system. The Croatian political leadership and the Ministry of the Interior misused the fear of the unknown surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the prevailing media attention on the topic to disguise torture, inhuman and degrading treatment taking place at the Croatian borders and well within the Croatian territory. Nevertheless, never has there been more evidence of systemic violent and illegal pushbacks than in the past two years. Violent and illegal pushbacks have not only been recorded on thousands of pages of reports, hundreds of medical records describing the severity of the injuries inflicted, but also on video footage – evidence most difficult to ignore. In November 2021, in the case of M.H. and Others v. Croatia the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruled that Croatian police officers illegally pushed back the family of Madina Hussiny who tragically lost her life when she was only six years old.
This report represents our effort to uncompromisingly speak about and document violence, torture, inhuman and degrading treatment executed by Croatian police officers while illegally pushing back refugees and other migrants to Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in the last two years.