On www.borderviolence.eu Rigardu documents illegal deportations and police violence against refugees at the EU’s external borders in more than 200 cases. I am firmly convinced that the perpetrators in Croatia are not unprofessional, violent policemen. Instead, it is obviously an instruction within the Croatian police to use violence as a deterrent. I have collected some reasons for this:

  • So far more than 200 cases have been documented. Since we do not collect reports at all border sections and refugees often do not talk about their experiences, the number of unreported cases is undoubtedly many times higher.
  • Refugees who have repeatedly been victims of police violence have reported that the perpetrators are always different people. Accordingly, many officials are involved. I don’t think that so many people decide independently to use violence against refugees.
  • The abuses are very similar. It seems as if the perpetrators are following firm guidelines.
  • The Croatian Ministry of the Interior denies the incidents instead of carrying out internal investigations and bringing those responsible to justice. It seems to me that police violence is in the interest or on behalf of the Ministry of the Interior.
  • In recent years it has been shown that media attention leads to a temporary reduction of the violence. For example, a few weeks ago, after “The Guardian” published a detailed report. As soon as the public interest has returned to the usual level, the abuses continue. Individual perpetrators would not be influenced by this.

Somewhere in Croatian police buildings there is, in my opinion, a paper on which it is written: “Refugees should be denied access to an asylum procedure. Instead, they are to be brought back to the border and physically injured by beatings, for example with a baton, before being deported. Mobile phones are to be destroyed. Further suggestions to the abuse, which may be used depending upon desire: Undressing of the refugees, use of dogs, theft, electric shocks, verbal insults, detention without food. These instructions also apply to families.”

If I am right, this is an inhuman crime with many perpetrators and confidants in Croatian politics and police. The fact that there is no investigation by the European Union into this also puts the EU’s commitment to human rights into perspective.

Written by Martin


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