Ombudsman Denied Access to Information on Migrant Mistreatment

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, October 18, 2018 – Croatian police have continued to violate migrants’ human rights, Ombudsman Lora Vidović warned on Thursday, emphasising that the Ministry of the Interior has repeatedly denied her access to information on the police treatment of migrants.

The ombudsman has warned several times to date of complaints by migrants about police violence, but has not received information from the Ministry of the Interior or the State Prosecutor’s Office about investigations that would either confirm or reject such complaints, Vidović said in a letter to the parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Ethnic Minority Rights.

Vidović said that migrants had complained about how Croatian police treated them, saying that they were beaten with batons, forced to take off their shoes and kneel or stand in the snow, and were forced to pass through a gauntlet of police beating and insulting them.

During such treatment, migrants were not allowed to speak, and there are witness accounts showing that they were dispossessed of valuables, money and mobile phones. Such actions may qualify as a breach of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, under which no one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and they require effective investigations, the letter said.

Vidović said that when confronted with these complaints the Ministry of the Interior had dismissed them as unsubstantiated and incorrect.

She said that this year she was obstructed in her work as a representative of the Croatian Parliament for the first time when the Ministry of the Interior denied her access to its database as the only source of information on the treatment of migrants by the police.

The Ombudsman said that the Ministry of the Interior would not give her footage from thermal imaging cameras taken at the time of the incidents in question, claiming that it was not preserved.

She said she had requested from the State Prosecutor’s Office the ruling dismissing a complaint filed by the Hussiny family in connection with the death of the girl Madina Hussiny, but the document was never delivered to her.


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