Croatian Police Denies Allegations of Violence against Migrants

By Vedran Pavlovic

“Until now, in cases reported to the police, we have not found any unprofessional or unlawful conduct by police officers towards migrants. If some illegal events are reported to us, the police will undertake all measures and actions to determine all the circumstances of the events and check the allegations,” said the police in a statement released to the media. “Please note that we are in daily contact with our counterparts in Serbia about all the key incidents, but we have not received any information any such incident,” the police added.

Two humanitarian organisations, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Doctors of the World (MDM), have accused Croatian police of violence against migrants trying to enter Croatia from Serbia.

“Since 10 May this year, we have witnessed increased violence by Croatian police towards migrants trying to cross the border,” said Owen Breuil from the MDM. “This violence always takes the same form: kicking with police bats, destruction of mobile phones, taking migrants’ money,” added Stephane Moissaing, head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in Serbia. He said his organisation had taken care of 30 migrants who were injured on the border with Croatia since 19 May.

The Croatian police also pointed out that police officers who are in contact with foreigners “are obliged to respect their fundamental rights and dignity, for which they are specially trained, and every use of coercive means or physical force is thoroughly analysed for each case. The Interior Ministry in each instance ensures that police conduct is in accordance with the lawful application of police powers.”

As stated in the press release, the police have submitted to the State Attorney's Office all the collected documentation relating to the criminal report filed by the non-governmental and humanitarian organisations to the State Attorney.

This is not the first time that the Croatian police have been accused of violence against migrants. A few months ago, similar migrants’ testimony was reported by activists of non-governmental organisations Are You Syrious? and the Welcome Initiative.

Vlaho Orepić, who was Croatia’s Interior Minister at the time, initiated an investigation into these allegations and, at the end of January, issued a public call to the non-governmental organisations to bring evidence to the police about alleged maltreatment of migrants to jointly address this problem if it really existed. He later dismissed these accusations by migrants against the Croatian police, which referred to severe injuries, thefts and bribes.

source: total croatia news