EU 'complicit' in Croatian human rights abuse, report claims


Refugees face a police blockade at the Croatian border.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

EU leaders are "complicit" in human rights abuses committed by Croatia police, according to an Amnesty International report. 

A third of refugees interviewed by the human rights group reported suffering violence and intimidation as they attempted to enter Croatia.

The report alleges EU leaders are tacitly supporting the Croatian police, including by partially funding them and paying for salaries and equipment.




An Amnesty International spokesperson said: “European leaders can no longer wash their hands of responsibility for the continued collective expulsions and violent pushbacks along the Balkan route that are the result of their determination to fortify EU borders, no matter what the human cost is.”

The report details abuse committed by members of local police, border police, and “special police” wearing black uniforms and facemasks.

One Algerian refugee said he was made to stand in a circle of police wielding batons and baseball bats and beaten, before being robbed of his phones and money.


EU 'complicit' in abuses

Angela Merkel praised Croatian border police in September. 


Although Croatian actions against migrants and refugees have been criticised by MEPs, the report highlights an inconsistent response by EU leaders.

In September, German Chancellor Angela Merkel complimented the Croatian police for making “great progress in protecting the external EU borders”.

Additionally, the EU Commission announced a 6.8 million euro fund dedicated to be spent on equipment, overtime compensation and operational costs in border police stations. 

The report alleges that border police forces saw the EU funding as a sign of support for their actions, with one police chief quoted as saying: "Croatia did not receive one billion KUNA from Brussels for border control to have its police just stand idly."

Croatian government officials said the Ministry of the Interior had “thoroughly investigated” 200 reports of violence but found no wrongdoing.