A new investigation purports to show scenes of Croatian authorities violently pushing back migrants outside European Union borders — an unlawful practice under EU law.
In one video, a masked man deemed to be a Croatian police officer is seen beating up young asylum-seekers with a stick.
Reacting to the report, Jelena Sesar, Balkans Researcher at Amnesty International said it offered “the latest evidence that unlawful pushbacks and violence against asylum-seekers and migrants are commonplace at the EU’s external borders”.
“While the officials’ clothes are deliberately stripped of identifying insignia, it is clear that their uniforms, weapons and equipment are identical to those used exclusively by Croatia’s special police, which has been notorious for conducting violent pushbacks for years now,” Sesar went on.
The European Commission has repeatedly said it was opposed to pushback practices and made clear to member states that they were illegal.
But according to Amnesty, the EU’s executive “continues to turn a blind eye to the staggering violation of EU law, and even continues to finance police and border operations in some of these countries”.
“European Commission funding has been used by Croatian authorities to buy police equipment and even pay the salaries of border officials, rendering the EU complicit in these violations,” Sesar said.
Euronews reached out to the Croatian Foreign Ministry and to the European Commission for comments but did not get a reply at the time of publication.