“Police Officers Warn about Violent, Unlawful Pushbacks of Migrants”

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, July 17, 2019 – The Centre for Peace Studies (CMS) said on Wednesday that an anonymous complaint by border police officers about systematic unlawful actions by the Croatian police towards migrants showed that the system was “bursting at the seams”, and called for an independent and effective investigation as well as for stopping and punishing unlawful actions.

Human Rights Ombudswoman Lora Vidović yesterday published the complaint and the CMS said it was the first confirmation of unlawful police conduct on the ground, given that many domestic and international organisations, institutions and media have been warning about this for years.

The complaint was made public after President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović told Swiss TV last week that Croatian police had been carrying out unlawful pushbacks using “a little bit of force”, the CMS said, adding that the Interior Ministry, despite requests, still had not made a comment.

The fact that the human rights ombudswoman, after requesting an investigation, has received no feedback either from the State Prosecutor’s Office or parliament, shows that the rule of law is “seriously undermined,” the CMS said, adding that the ombudswoman had been warning for months that she was being denied access to data on the treatment of migrants.

The police officers’ complaint shows that the dignity as well as the labour and human rights of the police are undermined because they are forced to harm other people and break the law, the CMS said.

Especially worrisome is that the officers said the orders for unlawful pushbacks came from their superiors and that, afraid of losing their jobs, they saw the only way out in an anonymous complaint to Vidovic, the CMS added.

Such lack of trust show that the system is breaking at the seams and that the situation is unacceptable and untenable, it said, calling for an investigation.

More news about the migrant crisis can be found in the Politics section.


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