Croatia: Slavonski Brod Transit Camp for Migrants and Refugees

To all whom it might concern

It has come to our attention that there is systematic violence and unlawful process carried out by Croatian police officers at the Slavonski Brod Transit Camp for Migrants and Refugees. We have collected witness statements by refugees labelled as ‘non-SIA’ (i.e. their country of origin is neither Syria, Iraq nor Afghanistan) describing these acts of violence, in humane treatment and human right violations (non-refoulement). A consistent racial profiling has caused brutal responses by Croatian police staff.

This method of segregation begins when migrants are forced to line up in a one-by-one queue as the official translators as well as police forces are arbitrarily picking out random individuals and consequently interrogating them about their country of origin. For example, one victim of Croatian police brutality who we met, revealed that a policeman, instead of a translator, picked him out of the crowd as a ‘non-SIA’. This man and several others were then taken into an ICRC (Red Cross) container and locked in there by the police for several hours.

They were not given any information on the possibility of seeking asylum in Croatia, which is their legal right even as a ‘non-SIA’ migrant or refugee.

The police proceeded to drive them halfway from Slavonski Brod towards the Serbian border. They were then subject to beatings by the Croatian police before being given harsh orders that they should not attempt to enter Croatian territory again. They were left to walk in the snow (and minus Celcius degrees) back to Serbia while being followed and observed by the Croatian police.

Such witness accounts of similar treatment at the hands of the Croatian police are rising on a daily basis at the Šid camp (by Šid train station) in Serbia. These witness accounts constitute not only excessive force being applied by the Croatian police, which is unlawful under Croatian law, but also violations of the victims’ rights to seek asylum in Croatia as ensured by International Human Rights Law [UDHR 14(1), Refugee Convention 1951, European Convention on HR (art. 2, 3, and 5), CAT (art. 3)].

We urge all responsible bodies of the Croatian government as well as Croatian police force to investigate these allegations and to immediately put an end to the treatment described above.

Refugees, supporters and Buscrew Moving-Europe