• EU ’covered up’ Croatia’s failure to protect migrants from border brutality

    Exclusive: Brussels officials feared disclosing Zagreb’s lack of commitment to monitoring would cause ‘scandal’

    EU officials have been accused of an “outrageous cover-up” after withholding evidence of a failure by Croatia’s government to supervise #police repeatedly accused of robbing, abusing and humiliating migrants at its borders.

    Internal European commission emails seen by the Guardian reveal officials in Brussels had been fearful of a backlash when deciding against full disclosure of Croatia’s lack of commitment to a monitoring mechanism that ministers had previously agreed to fund with EU money.

    Ahead of responding to inquiries from a senior MEP in January, a commission official had warned a colleague that the Croatian government’s failure to use money earmarked two years ago for border police “will for sure be seen as a ‘scandal’”.

    Supervision of the behaviour of border officers had been the condition set on a larger grant of EU funds to Croatia. There have been multiple allegations of violent pushbacks of migrants and refugees by Croatian police on the border with Bosnia, including an incident in which a migrant was shot.

    In response to allegations of a cover-up, an EC spokesman told the Guardian that what was known had been withheld from MEPs as the information was believed to have been “incomplete”.
    Crosses on our heads to ’cure’ Covid-19: refugees report abuse by Croatian police
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    It throws a spotlight on both the Croatian government’s human rights record and the apparent willingness of the EU’s executive branch to cover for Zagreb’s failure.

    Croatia is seeking to enter the EU’s passport-free Schengen zone – a move that requires compliance with European human rights standards at borders.

    Despite heated denials by the Croatian authorities, the latest border incident has been described by aid workers as the most violent in the Balkan migration crisis. On 26 May, 11 Pakistani and five Afghan men were stopped by a group wearing black uniforms and balaclavas in the Plitvice Lakes, 16km (10 miles) into Croatia from the Bosnian border.

    “The men in uniforms tied each of the Pakistanis and Afghanis around a tree, so their wrists were bound and they had to turn their faces toward the trees,” according to a report from the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), which provides healthcare for migrants in Bosnia. “Once these people were unable to move, the men in uniforms fired several shots in the air with guns placed close to the ears of the Pakistanis and Afghanis. There were also shots fired close to their legs.’’

    “They kept shooting. They were shooting so closely that the stones under our feet were flying and being blown to pieces,” one of the men told the Guardian. “They kept saying: ‘I want to beat and kill you.’ They tortured us for three to four hours.”

    The council’s report says electro-shockers were placed on people’s necks and heads. “One of the men in uniform was cutting several victims with knives and the same person inflicted cuts on both of the palms of one person.”

    One asylum seeker said that one of the men put his knee on his neck, then cut at him with a blade. ‘‘He sliced the index finger of my left hand, and blood started spurting out like a small shower,’’ he said. “Then he smiled and cut my middle finger followed by my palm with a larger cut. The whole hand is swollen beyond recognition.”

    After a while, the men in balaclavas called other uniformed officers.

    According to the victims and a report by the DRC, “before the police arrival, one of the men in uniform made a film with his mobile phone, while others in his company were laughing, yelling and provoking”.

    Upon the arrival of police officers, the migrants were put into vans and taken to the border at Šiljkovača, a village close to Velika Kladuša. Police officers did not beat them, but ordered them into Bosnian territory.

    “All of them had bleeding wounds on their heads and numerous bruises on various parts of the body,” Nicola Bay, the DRC country director for Bosnia, told the Guardian. “Four of them had broken arms and one had a broken leg and both arms.”

    Contacted by the Guardian, the Croatian police denied the allegations and suggested that asylum seekers could have fabricated the account and that the wounds could be the result of “a confrontation among migrants” that took place ‘‘on 28 May in the vicinity of the Croatian border, near Cazin’’.

    Volunteers and charities who have treated migrants involved in the fight in Cazin, said the two incidents are unrelated and happened two days apart. Those involved in the fight in Cazin have not claimed they were attacked by the police.

    The establishment of supervisory mechanisms to ensure the humane treatment of migrants at the border had been a condition of a €6.8m (£6.1m) cash injection announced in December 2018 to strengthen Croatia’s borders with non-EU countries.

    The mechanism was publicised by the European commission as a way to “ensure that all measures applied at the EU external borders are proportionate and are in full compliance with fundamental rights and EU asylum laws”.

    Croatian ministers claimed last year that the funds had been handed over to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Croatian Law Centre to establish the supervisory mechanism.

    Both organisations deny receiving the money.

    In January this year, the commission was asked by Clare Daly, an Irish MEP in the Independents 4 Change party, to account for the discrepancy.

    A commission official responded that the UNCHR and Croatian Law Centre had established the monitoring mechanism but from “their own funds” to ensure independence from the government.

    He added: “Hopefully [this] clarifies this matter once and for all”.

    But both organisations have again denied being involved in any monitoring project, clarifying that they had only been engaged in an earlier initiative involving the examination of police files.

    Beyond the apparent inaccuracy of the response to Daly, internal emails suggest the full facts of the “underspending” – as its known to the commission – were also withheld.

    The EC failed to inform Daly that the Croatian government had decided to ring-fence only €102,000 of the €300,000 provided for the monitoring mechanism and that ultimately only €84,672 was actually spent – €17,469.87 was given to the interior ministry and €59,637.91 went to NGOs. A roundtable conference accounted for €1,703.16.

    “While we know that there has been underspending on the €300,000 … we thought that around € 240,000 were nevertheless spent in the context of the monitoring mechanism,” an EU official had written while discussing how to deal with the MEP’s questions. “Having spent only EUR 102,000, will for sure be seen as a ‘scandal’.”

    The commission did not pass on information on the spending to Daly but privately officials agreed to seek answers urgently. They also discussed in a phone and email exchange the possibility of intervening in the member state’s planned report due to the poor handling of the matter by the Croatian government.

    “Seeing how unfortunate [Croatia] is presenting this issue, [Croatia] definitively needs (your?) help in putting some ‘final touches’ to the report,” an official in the commission’s migration department wrote to a colleague. “Will [Croatia] provide you with an advance copy of the final report?”

    Daly told the Guardian: “It is outrageous – the commission appears to be colluding with the Croatian authorities in a cover-up.”

    An EC spokesperson said the EU’s executive branch was committed to the establishment of a fully independent border monitoring mechanism.

    The spokesperson said: “We would caution against drawing misleading conclusions from reading the internal email exchanges in isolation.”

    He added: “The Croatian authorities are explaining in their final implementation report how the monitoring mechanism was established, how it works in practice and outline the results.

    “Given that the report submitted by the Croatian authorities was incomplete, the commission asked the Croatian authorities for clarifications first in writing and orally regarding outstanding issues (eg factual data confirming the achievements of the project indicators relating to internal controls and trainings).”

    https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jun/15/eu-covered-up-croatias-failure-to-protect-migrants-from-border-brutalit
    #complicité #EU #UE #Croatie #violence #réfugiés #asile #migrations #violence #violences #hauts_fonctionnaires #fonds #argent #gardes_frontière #route_des_Balkans #frontières #Plitvice_Lakes #commission_européenne #Union_européenne #couverture

    • Report from Centre for Peace Studies on the pushback of children

      On 29th May 2020, the Centre for Peace Studies – a key member of the Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN) – presented a new report alongside the Welcome! Initiative. Addressing the Croatian Government, the “Report on violent and illegal expulsions of children and unaccompanied children” is based on testimonies collected by activists through the BVMN shared database. The publication shares the story of children who sought protection from Croatia, and how Croatia answered in violence.

      “We came to the door of Prime Minister Plenković and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Božinović, who have been turning their backs on testimonies and accusations for years and silently pursuing a policy of flattering the European Union. Even the most vulnerable are not excluded from violence – children “, said Tea Vidović on behalf of the Welcome! Initiative.

      The report submitted to the Government by the organizations provides testimonies of children and their families and unaccompanied children on violent and illegal methods that they had to experience at the hands of police authorities. This illegal and inhuman behavior violates national laws, international law and human rights, prevents access to international protection and, most importantly, marks children’s lives. Although the Government of the Republic of Croatia and the Ministry of the Interior should take into account the special vulnerability of children, respect their rights and best interests, children experience police brutality and limitation of their freedom for hours without access to water and food.

      “While the government uses every opportunity to emphasize the importance of border protection, we wonder in which way is police protecting Croatian borders? By beating children, confiscating their personal belongings, locking children in police vans for several hours in which they are exposed to extremely high or extremely low temperatures, shooting and using electric shocks, is this how the police protect Croatian borders? ”, points out Ana Ćuća.

      The exact number of children who are victims of police brutality remains unknown. BVMN has reported 209 cases of violent and illegal expulsions of children from Croatia since 2017, while Save the Children recorded 2969 expulsions of children at the borders in the Western Balkans during the first 9 months of last year.

      Two cases are currently pending at the European Court of Human Rights against Croatia, both involving violence and pushback. The first is the case of the family of the tragically late six-year-old girl Madina Hussiny, who was killed at the Croatian-Serbian border. The second includes pushbacks, illegal detention and inhumane treatment of a 17-year-old Syrian boy by Croatian police, who was pushed back to Bosnia and Herzegovina despite seeking asylum in Croatia.

      The latest report presented is the sixth report on violent and illegal expulsions published in the last four years, and it is the collective work of the Centre for Peace Studies, the Society for Psychological Assistance, the Welcome! Initiative and the Border Violence Monitoring Network. It also brings a short graphic novel based on the story of little #Madina, a young girl killed in transit, for whose death no one has yet been held accountable.

      Therefore, the organisations ask the Government and the Ministry of the Interior to finally take responsibility and for those who sanction and carry out systematic violence. Responsible institutions are obliged to investigate those who commit violence and push back children in need of protection. All children deserve justice and protection.

      https://www.borderviolence.eu/report-from-centre-for-peace-studies-on-the-pushback-of-children
      #enfants #enfance #mineurs

      Pour télécharger le #rapport:
      https://www.cms.hr/system/article_document/doc/647/Pushback_report_on_children_and_unaccompanied_children_in_Croatia.pdf

    • Policiers croates accusés de violences contre des migrants : l’UE réclame une "enquête approfondie’’

      Après avoir été interpellée par Amnesty International sur la « violence » des policiers croates à l’égard des migrants, la Commission européenne a réclamé à Zagreb une « enquête approfondie ». L’institution prévoit d’envoyer une mission sur place, quand la situation sanitaire le permettra.

      L’Union européenne est sortie de son ’’silence’’ au sujet des accusations de violences contre des migrants perpétrées par la police croate. Vendredi 12 juin, la Commission européenne a réclamé à Zagreb une "#enquête_approfondie'' à la suite de la publication d’un rapport à charge de l’ONG Amnesty International dénonçant des #passages_à_tabac, des #tortures et des tentatives d’#humiliation de la part de policiers croates (https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/25339/on-les-suppliait-d-arreter-de-nous-frapper-ils-chantaient-et-riaient-l).

      « Nous sommes très préoccupés par ces allégations », a déclaré un porte-parole de l’exécutif européen, Adalbert Jahnz. « La #violence, l’humiliation et les #traitements_dégradants des demandeurs d’asile et migrants n’ont pas leur place dans l’Union européenne et doivent être condamnés », a-t-il assuré.

      L’Union européenne avait été directement interpellée par Amnesty International dans son rapport. Ce document affirme que 16 migrants, qui tentaient d’entrer illégalement en Croatie, ont été « ligotés, brutalement battus et torturés » pendant plusieurs heures par des forces de l’ordre, dans la nuit du 26 au 27 mai. « L’Union européenne ne peut plus rester silencieuse et ignorer délibérément les violences et les abus commis par la police croate à la frontière », avait déclaré Massimo Moratti, directeur adjoint de l’antenne européenne de l’ONG.

      https://twitter.com/Jelena_Sesar/status/1271044353629335553?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E12

      Une mission sur place quand la situation sanitaire le permettra

      L’exécutif européen a également indiqué être « en contact étroit » avec les autorités croates qui « se sont engagées à enquêter » sur ces accusations de mauvais traitements à leur frontière avec la Bosnie (https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/18721/plusieurs-migrants-retrouves-blesses-a-la-frontiere-entre-la-bosnie-et). « Nous attendons que ces accusations fassent l’objet d’une enquête approfondie et que toutes les actions nécessaires soient prises », a poursuivi le porte-parole.

      La Commission prévoit aussi d’envoyer, quand la situation sanitaire le permettra, une mission sur place, dans le cadre d’un mécanisme de surveillance du respect des droits fondamentaux par les autorités aux frontières lié à l’allocation de fonds européens.

      Le ministère croate de l’Intérieur a, de son côté, immédiatement démenti ces accusations, en ajoutant cependant qu’une enquête serait ouverte.

      Des milliers de migrants empruntent chaque année la « route des Balkans » pour essayer de rejoindre l’Europe occidentale. La plupart passent par la Croatie, pays membre de l’UE, le plus souvent en provenance de la Bosnie.


      https://www.infomigrants.net/fr/post/25354/policiers-croates-accuses-de-violences-contre-des-migrants-l-ue-reclam

    • Croatia: Fresh evidence of police abuse and torture of migrants and asylum-seekers

      In a horrifying escalation of police human rights violations at the Croatian border with Bosnia, a group of migrants and asylum seekers was recently bound, brutally beaten and tortured by officers who mocked their injuries and smeared food on their bleeding heads to humiliate them, Amnesty International has revealed today.

      Amnesty International spoke to six men among a group of 16 Pakistani and Afghan asylum-seekers who were apprehended by the Croatian police on the night between 26 and 27 May near Lake Plitvice, as they tried to cross the country to reach Western Europe.

      Between eight and ten people wearing black uniforms and balaclavas identical to those used by Croatia’s Special Police, fired their weapons in the air, kicked and repeatedly hit the restrained men with metal sticks, batons and pistol grips. They then rubbed ketchup, mayonnaise and sugar that they found in one of the backpacks on migrants’ bleeding heads and hair and their trousers. Amnesty International also spoke to doctors who treated the men and NGOs who witnessed their injuries.

      “The European Union can no longer remain silent and wilfully ignore the violence and abuses by Croatian police on its external borders. Their silence is allowing, and even encouraging, the perpetrators of this abuse to continue without consequences. The European Commission must investigate the latest reports of horrifying police violence against migrants and asylum-seekers.” said Massimo Moratti, Deputy Director of the Europe Office, following the latest incident on the Croatian border.

      Physical and psychological abuse

      Amir from Pakistan told Amnesty: “We were pleading with them to stop and show mercy. We were already tied, unable to move and humiliated; there was no reason to keep hitting us and torturing us.” He said the armed men showed no sympathy. “They were taking photos of us with their phones, and were singing and laughing.” Amir had a broken arm and nose, stiches on the back of his head, and visible bruising all over his face and arms.

      Ten men suffered serious injuries that night. Thirty-year-old Tariq now has both of his arms and a leg in a cast, visible cuts and bruises on his head and face and is suffering from severe chest pain.

      “They did not give us a chance to say anything at all when they caught us. They just started hitting us. While I was lying on the ground, they hit my head with the back of a gun and I started bleeding. I tried to protect my head from the blows, but they started kicking me and hitting my arms with metal sticks. I was passing in and out of consciousness the rest of the night.” Tariq is now forced to use a wheelchair to move around and it will take months before he is able to move on his own again.

      The men told Amnesty International how they felt humiliated as militia rubbed mayonnaise and ketchup on to their bloody heads and faces. One masked man squirted mayonnaise on an asylum-seeker’s trousers between his legs, while others laughed and sang “Happy Birthday” around them.

      After almost five hours of continuous abuse, the migrants were handed over to the Croatian Border Police who transported them close to the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina in two vans before ordering them to walk. “They were taken aback by our condition. We were drenched in blood and very shook up. We could barely stand, much less walk for hours to Bosnia. But they told us to go. They told us to carry the guys who couldn’t walk and just go.” Faisal told Amnesty.

      Some of the men eventually reached Miral, a reception centre run by the International Organization for Migration in Velika Kladusa in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but five, who were too weak to walk, stayed behind and were eventually picked up by an NGO operating in the camp.

      An emergency doctor at the medical clinic in Velika Kladusa who treated the men told Amnesty International that they all had injuries on the back of their heads which were consistent with a blow by a blunt object and required stiches. Most had multiple fractures, joint injuries, collapsed lungs, cuts and bruises and several were traumatized. Their recovery could take months.

      Routine violent pushbacks and torture by the Croatian police remain unpunished

      While only the latest in the series, the incident points to a new level of brutality and abuse by the Croatian police. In early May, the Guardian reported about a group of men who were forced across the Croatian border after being beaten and having orange crosses spray-painted on their heads. The Croatian Ministry of Interior dismissed the allegations, but the testimonies of violence and intimidation fit the trend of unlawful pushbacks taking place not only on the Croatian, but also on other external borders of the European Union.

      Numerous reports over the past three years have revealed how the Croatian border police routinely assault men, women and teenagers trying to enter the country, destroy their belongings and smash their phones before pushing them back to Bosnia. People are sometimes stripped of their clothes and shoes, and forced to walk for hours through snow and freezing cold rivers.

      A physician in the Velika Kladusa clinic told Amnesty International that approximately 60 per cent of migrants and asylum-seekers who required medical treatment reported that their injuries were inflicted by the Croatian police, while they were trying to cross the border. “Many injuries involve fractures of long bones and joints. These bones take longer to heal and their fractures render the patient incapacitated for extended periods of time. This appears to be a deliberate strategy – to cause injuries and trauma that take time to heal and would make people more reluctant to try to cross the border again or any time soon,” the physician told Amnesty International.

      The Croatian Ministry of Interior has so far dismissed these allegations, refusing to carry out independent and effective investigations into reported abuses or hold its officers to account. In a climate of pervasive impunity, unlawful returns and violence at the border have only escalated. Amnesty International has shared the details of this incident with the Ministry of Interior, but has not received an official response.

      The EU’s failure to hold Croatia to account

      The European Commission has remained silent in the face of multiple, credible reports of gross human rights abuses at the Croatian border and repeated calls by the European Parliament to investigate the allegations. Furthermore, Croatia remains a beneficiary of nearly EURO 7 million of EU assistance for border security, the vast majority of which is spent on infrastructure, equipping border police and even paying police salaries. Even the small proportion (EURO 300,000) that the Commission had earmarked for a mechanism to monitor that the border measures comply with fundamental rights and EU asylum laws, has been no more than a fig leaf. Last year, the Commission recommended Croatia’s full accession to the Schengen Area despite human rights abuses already being commonplace there.

      “The European Commission cannot continue to turn a blind eye to blatant breaches of EU law as people are being branded with crosses on their heads or brutally tortured and humiliated by Croatian police. We expect nothing less than the condemnation of these acts and an independent investigation into reported abuses, as well as the establishment of an effective mechanism to ensure that EU funds are not used to commit torture and unlawful returns. Failing urgent action, Croatia’s inhumane migration practices will turn the EU into an accomplice in major human rights violations taking place at its doorstep,” said Massimo Moratti.

      Violent pushbacks from Croatian border have been a regular occurrence since late 2017. The Danish Refugee Council recorded close to 7,000 cases of forcible deportations and unlawful returns to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2019, most of which were accompanied by reported violence and intimidation by Croatian police. Despite the brief respite during the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, pushbacks continue with 1600 cases reported only in April. The figures are increasing daily, as the restrictions across the region are being lifted and the weather is turning milder.

      Amnesty International has interviewed over 160 people who have been pushed back or returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina since July 2018. Nearly one third reported being beaten, having their documents and telephones stolen, and verbally abused in what appears to be a deliberate policy designed to deter future attempts to enter the country.

      https://www.amnesty.eu/news/croatia-fresh-evidence-of-police-abuse-and-torture-of-migrants-and-asylum-se
      #rapport #Amnesty_international

    • Croatia, police abuse is systemic

      While the world is outraged and protests after George Floyd’s death to denounce institutionalised violence, migrants have been beaten and tortured on the Balkan route for years. A brutal practice often covered up, even by the EU itself.

      George Floyd’s death on May 25th sparked protests around the world against police violence and institutional racism. In the Balkans as elsewhere, sit-ins have been held in support of #BlackLivesMatter , followed by calls to report abuses committed locally by the police. And in the region there is no lack of such abuses. In fact, police violence is routine on the “Balkan route”, the flow of migrants and refugees that has crossed the peninsula since 2015 in the hope of reaching the European Union. The events of the past few weeks have unfortunately confirmed once again the link between police brutality and immigration, bringing us back to the Croatian-Bosnian border. It is a story of systemic abuse, both proven and covered up, which involves a member state of the EU, candidate for accession to the Schengen area and, according to the latest revelations of The Guardian, the European Commission itself.
      Torture in Croatia

      When it comes to police abuse on the Croatian-Bosnian border, one does not really know where to start. The accidents recorded in recent years are so many that we can no longer even speak of “accidents”, or unexpected events. On the contrary, violence is rather a common practice, the only news being the increase in brutality by the agents, who have gone from illegal pushbacks to outright torture.

      “We rarely use the word ’torture’ in Europe, but in this case we had to”, explains Massimo Moratti, deputy director of the Europe office of Amnesty International (AI). Last week, AI published yet another report of the mistreatment of migrants by the Croatian police along the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mistreatment is an understatement. The testimonies collected no longer speak of broken mobile phones, or – as has happened more recently – destroyed with a screwdriver to prevent recharging, but instead contain “actual sadism”, as Moratti puts it.

      The case in question is that of 16 Pakistani and Afghan asylum seekers arrested by the Croatian police near the Plitvice lakes between May 26th and 27th. Their testimony is chilling. “We asked them to stop and show mercy. We were already tied up, there was no reason to continue hitting and torturing us", Amir told Amnesty International. Singing and filming on mobile phones, the agents continued to beat the 16 unfortunate men hard, finally smearing their wounds with ketchup and mayonnaise found in the backpack of one of the migrants. Eventually, the group was brought back to the border and forced to walk to Bosnia. Those who were unable to walk, because they are now in a wheelchair, had to be transported by others.

      “It is a pattern, a trend. These are the same practices that we have already seen in Hungary in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Dogs, sticks, broken bones... The goal is to intimidate and frighten so that no one tries to cross the border anymore", resumes Massimo Moratti, who adds: “the fractures we saw in the latter case will take months to heal”. The Amnesty International report and the attached photos tell the rest.
      Four years of violence

      How did we get to this? It is useful to make a brief summary of recent years to understand the evolution of violence. First, the “Balkan route” became a media phenomenon in the summer of 2015, when hundreds of thousands of Syrians, Iraqis, and Afghans began to travel up the Balkan peninsula to reach the European Union. At the beginning, the destination of the route was Hungary, then, with the closure of the Hungarian wall, it became Croatia, which leads to Slovenia and then to the Schengen area. In 2015, Croatian policemen showed themselves to be tolerant and benevolent, as reminded by this cover of Jutarnji List .

      In the spring of 2016, the agreement between the EU and Turkey led to the closure of the Balkan route and a change of pace. “The first case of pushback is registered in 2016 on the Serbo-Croatian border. In 2017, we have the first cases of violence", says Antonia Pindulić, legal advisor to the Centre for Peace Studies (CMS) in Zagreb. At the end of 2017, Madina Hussiny, 6, died hit by a train while returning from Croatia to Serbia following the tracks. Together with her family, she had been illegally pushed back by the Croatian policemen.

      In the summer of 2018, the Croatian police fired on a van that carried 29 migrants and refused to stop. Nine people were injured and two minors ended up in hospital in serious conditions. Since then, it has been a crescendo of accidents, especially on the Croatian-Bosnian border, where what remains of the Balkan route passes. Here, the testimonies collected by NGOs speak of beatings, theft, destruction of mobile phones and, as always, illegal pushbacks. Then, the situation has deteriorated up to the torture of the last few weeks. All in the silence of the authorities.
      The silence of the institutions

      How could the Zagreb government not complete an investigation in four years, address the police abuse, punish the guilty? It just didn’t. In fact, Andrej Plenković’s government has just “denied everything” for four years, while “no investigation has produced results”, as Antonia Pindulić of CMS summarises. And this despite the fact that there have been complaints from NGOs and also the actions of the institutions themselves in Croatia.

      “In 2019, a group of policement wrote an anonymous letter to the Croatian Ombudswoman asking to be protected from having to carry out illegal orders”, recalls Pindulić. The agents then revealed the pushback technique: GPS off, communications only on Whatsapp or Viber, no official report. Also in 2019, then President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović had let slip , during an interview on Swiss television, that “of course, a little strength is needed when making pushbacks”. Later, she said she had been misunderstood.

      After dozens of complaints have fallen on deaf ears and after in 2018 the Ombudswoman, in her investigations, had been denied access to video surveillance videos with the excuse that they were lost, the CMS decided a couple of weeks ago to file a complaint “against unknown police officers” guilty of “degrading treatment and torture against 33 people” and “violent and illegal expulsion [of these people, ed.] from the territory of the Republic of Croatia to Bosnia and Herzegovina”. “We hope that the prosecutor will open an investigation and that people who have violated the law are identified. But since the institutions themselves have violated the law for four years, I don’t know what we can expect”, says Antonia Pindulić.

      The complaint filed brings together four cases, all of which occurred at the beginning of May 2020. “We suspect that the cases are linked to each other, as all the migrants and refugees involved have reported beatings, theft of their belongings, being stripped and, above all, having a cross drawn on their head with orange spray”, says Antonia Pindulić. This very detail had brought the story on the Guardian and sparked controversy in Croatia.
      Towards a turning point?

      In their brutality, the cases seem to repeat themselves without any change in sight. But the Croatian government may soon be forced to answer for what appears to be institutionalised violence. Not only the legal action taken by the CMS “could likely end in Strasbourg”, as Massimo Moratti of Amnesty International speculates, but a lawsuit filed by three Syrian refugees against Croatia reached the European Court of Human Rights at the end of the May . And last week, after the publication of the AI ​​report, the European Commission announced that an observation mission will be sent to Croatia.

      And there is more. This week, the Guardian also revealed that communications between officials of the European Commission show how the European body “covered up Croatia’s failure to protect migrants from brutality on the border”. In question are the European funding received from Zagreb for border security: 7 million Euros, of which 300,000 for the implementation of an independent control mechanism that should have supervised the work of the police. Not only has the mechanism never been implemented, but there have been contradictory communications in this regard, with the Commission declaring that UNHCR was part of the mechanism and the latter publicly denying at the end of 2019 .

      In short, although Brussels allocated a (small) budget for the control of the brutality of Croatian agents, the mechanism that was to be activated with those funds was never created. And the Commission is aware of this. How long, then, will the Plenković government manage to hide its system of violence on the Bosnian border?

      https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Areas/Croatia/Croatia-police-abuse-is-systemic-202952

      #violence_systémique

    • Croatia: Police brutality in migrant pushback operations must be investigated and sanctioned – UN Special Rapporteurs

      Croatia must immediately investigate reports of excessive use of force by law enforcement personnel against migrants, including acts amounting to torture and ill-treatment, and sanction those responsible, UN human rights experts said today.

      “We are deeply concerned about the repeated and ongoing disproportionate use of force by Croatian police against migrants in pushback operations. Victims, including children, suffered physical abuse and humiliation simply because of their migration status,” Felipe González Morales, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, and Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, said in a joint statement.

      They said physical violence and degrading treatment against migrants have been reported in more than 60 percent of all recorded pushback cases from Croatia between January and May 2020, and recent reports indicate the number of forced returns is rising.

      Abusive treatment of migrants has included physical beatings, the use of electric shocks, forced river crossings and stripping of clothes despite adverse weather conditions, forced stress positions, gender insensitive body searches and spray-painting the heads of migrants with crosses.

      “The violent pushback of migrants without going through any official procedure, individual assessment or other due process safeguards constitutes a violation of the prohibition of collective expulsions and the principle of non-refoulement,” González Morales said.

      “Such treatment appears specifically designed to subject migrants to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as prohibited under international law. Croatia must investigate all reported cases of violence against migrants, hold the perpetrators and their superiors accountable and provide compensation for victims,” Melzer added.

      The UN Special Rapporteurs are also concerned that in several cases, Croatian police officers reportedly ignored requests from migrants to seek asylum or other protection under international human rights and refugee law.

      “Croatia must ensure that all border management measures, including those aimed at addressing irregular migration, are in line with international human rights law and standards, particularly, non-discrimination, the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment, the principle of non-refoulement and the prohibition of arbitrary or collective expulsions,” they said.

      During his official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina in September 2019, González Morales received information on violent pushback of migrants by Croatian police to Bosnia and Herzegovina. He has exchanged views with relevant Croatian authorities on this issue on several occasions. Already during his official visit to Serbia and Kosovo* in 2017, Melzer had received similar information from migrants reporting violent ill-treatment during pushback operations by the Croatian police.

      * All references to Kosovo should be understood to be in compliance with Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

      https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=25976&LangID=E

      #OHCHR

    • Dva policajca u pritvoru u Karlovcu zbog ozljeđivanja migranta - protiv njih pokrenut i disciplinski postupak

      Zbog sumnje u počinjenje kaznenih djela obojica su, uz kaznenu prijavu, dovedeni pritvorskom nadzorniku Policijske uprave karlovačke. Također, obojica su udaljeni iz službe, odgovoreno je na upit KAportala

      Dva policajca PU karlovačke nalaze se u pritvoru i to zbog sumnje u ozljeđivanje ilegalnog migranta, stranog državljanina.

      Na naš upit iz policije su nam rekli da je u četvrtak, 11. lipnja, u večernjim satima, tijekom utvrđivanja okolnosti nezakonitog ulaska u Republiku Hrvatsku, u policijsku postaju Slunj doveden strani državljanin na kojem su policijski službenici uočili da je ozlijeđen.

      https://kaportal.net.hr/aktualno/vijesti/crna-kronika/3836334/dva-policajca-u-karlovackom-pritvoru-zbog-ozljedjivanja-migranta-protiv

      Commentaire reçu via la mailing-list Inicijativa Dobrodosli, mail du 23.06.2020

      two police officers were arrested this week for injuring migrants. This is a big step for the Ministry of the Interior, but small for all cases that have not yet been investigated. However, it is important to emphasize that the violence we are witnessing is not the result of isolated incidents, but of systemic violence for which those who issue and those who carry out these illegal orders should be prosecuted.

  • During and After Crisis : Evros Border Monitoring Report

    #HumanRights360 documents the recent developments in the European land border of Evros as a result of the ongoing policy of externalization and militarization of border security of the EU member States. The report analyses the current state of play, in conjunction with the constant amendments of the Greek legislation amid the discussions pertaining to the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) and the Return Directive.

    https://www.humanrights360.org/during-and-after-crisis-evros-border-monitoring-report

    #rapport #Evros #migrations #réfugiés #Grèce #frontières #2019 #militarisation_des_frontières #loi_sur_l'asile #Kleidi #Serres #covid-19 #coronavirus #Turquie #push-backs #refoulements #refoulement #push-back #statistiques #passages #chiffres #frontière_terrestre #murs #barrières_frontalières #Kastanies #violence #Komotini #enfermement #détention #rétention_administrative #Thiva #Fylakio #transferts

    –------
    Pour télécharger le rapport


    https://www.humanrights360.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/During-After-Crisis-Evros.pdf

    ping @luciebacon

  • #Boamistura

    We are a multidisciplinary team with roots in #graffiti art. Born in late 2001, Madrid, Spain. We develop our work mainly in the public space. We have carried out projects in South Africa, USA, UK, Brazil, Mexico, Georgia, Chile, Algeria, Norway, Kenya, China, Serbia or Panamá. We were 15 years old when we first met, while painting the walls of our neighborhood. We became friends since then. Our headquarter is in Madrid, but we spend the day from here to there, living among paint buckets, computers and ping-pong matches. We love what we do. We understand our work, as a tool to transform the street and to create bonds between people. We feel a responsibility with the city and time we are living in.

    http://www.boamistura.com/#/project/te-comeria-a-versos

    #art_et_politique #art #art_de_rue #street-art #détournement #espace_public #graffitis #art_de_rue #Boa_Mistura #passages_piétons

    ping @visionscarto

  • Continuous Influx of Eritrean Refugees Challenges Ethiopia

    Refugee and host communities in Ethiopia came together on June 20 to commemorate World Refugee Day through various cultural activities, organized within refugee camps as well as urban settings. But the reality behind the festivities is that hundreds of Eritrean refugees continue to cross the border between Eritrea and Ethiopia every day.

    Despite the peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea, signed in July 2018, the internal situation and oppression of Eritrean people, mainly through the indefinite military service, remains intact. The continued inflow of young Eritreans fleeing oppression is putting strain on Ethiopia’s refugee camps.

    A senior official from the Ethiopian refugee agency has reported that Eritrean refugees continue to arrive in Ethiopia in large numbers, 250 to 300 persons a day. The increasing number of people residing in refugee camps is posing an enormous challenge for the Ethiopian Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affair (ARRA) as well as development and relief organizations working with refugees. “We have challenges of shelter, Core Relief Items (CRI), water and energy alternatives,” states the senior official. Earlier reports indicate that many young Eritreans currently flee due to the increase of raids, Giffas, to force them into the indefinite national service.

    It is not just Eritreans who are fleeing the country. According to the informed sources, around 5000 Somali refugees living in Eritrea are trying to reach Ethiopia in search of safety. Out of this group, more than 400 individuals have already arrived at Zalambessa, a border town between Ethiopia and Eritrea, where they are supported by Gulomokeda Wereda, a local administrative district of Tigray region.

    Ethiopia has introduced an open door approach and is currently hosting more than 915,000 refugees inside the country. Even though the Federal Government of Ethiopia has shifted its national legislation to give broader rights to refugees, including work permits, the strain on Ethiopian reception facilities is growing.

    Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) has hosted a summit in Brussels in which migration and its management was high on the agenda. The external migration policies of the EU have been challenged this week by a group of organizations through a joint initiative.

    In the letter, addressed to the president of the European Council, organizations denounced migration policies and platforms such as the Khartoum Process through which the EU and several member states cooperate with regimes accused of systematic and severe human rights violations.

    Civil society actors have been mobilizing in the form of legal action, campaigns and protests in order to challenge the adverse effect on human rights, democracy and rule of law that the EU’s external policies are creating. The Foundation Human Rights for Eritreans has initiated a court case against the EU’s €20 million project supporting the Eritrean regime to build roads through a forced labour. Amnesty International and seven other NGOs have taken legal steps against France over the allegedly unlawful donation of boats to the Libyan coast guard. Also, a young Ethiopian asylum seeker has sued the UK’s Department for International Development for funding detention centres in Libya where refugees are exposed to human rights violations, torture and abuse.

    Furthermore, NGOs have legally challenged the blocking of rescue operations on the Mediterranean Sea; meanwhile, a German rescue boat captain Pia Klemp faces prosecution in Italy for her rescue work. A group of lawyers has submitted a document to the International Criminal Court, which calls for EU prosecution over migrant and refugee deaths as a result of EU policy.

    Meanwhile in the Greater Horn of Africa, citizens are raising their voice. Sudanese citizens have been demonstrating, first against the oppressive regime and now against the Transitional Military Council, and are calling for a democratic civilian government. A group of prominent African activists has written an open letter urging Eritrea’s president, Isaias Afwerki, to launch political reforms and to protect human rights of Eritrean people.

    This initiative was predictably dismissed by the regime. Nevertheless, diaspora and even activists within Eritrea are pushing for change through the #Enough and #Yiakil campaign demanding end of indefinite national service, slavery and human rights violations.

    If change is to happen, oppressive leaders and militia should be held accountable for their actions through empowerment of the people. As the letter to the president of the European Council highlights, the EU should support the people, rather than unaccountable external actors, by directing its policies and instruments towards this objective. [IDN-InDepthNews – 22 June 2019]

    https://www.indepthnews.net/index.php/the-world/africa/2770-continuous-influx-of-eritrean-refugees-challenges-ethiopia

    #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Ethiopie #Erythrée #réfugiés_érythréens #passages #traversées

    Une news qui date de juin 2019, mais que je mets ici pour archivage, et notamment pour ces #statistiques #chiffres :

    A senior official from the Ethiopian refugee agency has reported that Eritrean refugees continue to arrive in Ethiopia in large numbers, 250 to 300 persons a day.

    J’ai trouvé ce chiffre aussi ici :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/808866

  • When The Border Is Just Next Door, Crossing It Is A Fact Of (Daily) Life

    Depending on where you sit, the U.S.-Mexico border is:

    a) a dangerous frontier that allows drug traffickers and illegal immigrants to cross freely into the U.S.

    or

    b) a familiar frontier that is navigated as a regular part of everyday life.


    http://www.npr.org/2017/04/04/520874611/when-the-border-is-just-next-door-crossing-it-is-a-fact-of-daily-life

    #murs #barrières_frontalières #passages #interactions #everyday_life #quotidienneté #frontières #rencontre

  • Wasted Lives. Borders and the Right to Life of People Crossing Them

    States are obliged to protect the right to life by law. This paper analyses the way in which states do this in the field of aviation law, maritime law, and the law on migrant smuggling . A comparative description of these fields of law shows that states differentiate in protecting the right to life. Regular travelers benefit from extensive positive obligations to safeguard their right to life, whereas the lives of irregularized travelers are protected first and foremost by combating irregularized migration and, if the worst come s to pass, by search and rescue. The right of states to exclude aliens from the their territories leads to exclusion of irregularized travelers from their main positive obligations under the right to life. This situation is analyzed through Zygmunt Bauman’s notion of ‘wasted lives’. The contrast with aviation and maritime law makes clear that this situation is the outcome of human choice, which can be changed.

    http://thomasspijkerboer.eu/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Wasted-Lives-DEF.pdf
    #droit_à_la_vie #vie #mort #étrangers #migrations #asile #réfugiés #droit_maritime
    cc @reka

  • Panama Canal Authority Books First Transits Through Expanded Canal - gCaptain
    https://gcaptain.com/panama-canal-authority-books-first-transits-through-expanded-canal

    The Panama Canal Authority on Monday began taking transit reservations for Neopanamax vessels passing through the new locks of the expanded Panama Canal.

    The first reservation was booked by the NYK Line LPG tanker Linden Pride, which has a length of 754.59 feet and a beam of 120.08 feet, the Canal Authority said Monday. The first commercial transits will occur June 27, one day after the official inauguration of the new locks.

    Within hours of the opening of the first booking period, the Canal Authority said it had already filled all 25 available booking slots.

  • Le #détroit_de_Gibraltar, espace de transit et espace de vie

    Depuis toujours, le détroit de Gibraltar est sous le regard et l’emprise du monde. De multiples influences l’ont traversé bâtissant au fil des siècles un espace singulier et nourrissant parfois l’ignorance, et d’autre fois, la complémentarité des rives. Des places portuaires, souvent en position d’extraterritorialité, ont toujours cherché à profiter de ce carrefour entre Europe, Afrique et Asie : Gibraltar, fermement tenu par les Britanniques depuis 1704 ; Tanger, objet de toutes les convoitises et qui devient une ville internationale entre 1925 et 1960 ; Algesiras et Tanger-Med, nouveaux rois du détroit, et archétypes de ce fonctionnement portuaire au service du réseau (Guillaume, 2002) et dé-spatialisé (Debrie et al., 2005). Entre brutalité des impacts de la mondialisation et recherche par les riverains de perspectives de développement, c’est un espace tiraillé qui émerge.

    http://mappemonde.mgm.fr/num42/mois/moi14201.html
    #mer #Méditerranée
    via @ville_en (twitter)

  • Paris vu par Walter Benjamin
    http://plus.franceculture.fr/paris-vu-par-walter-benjamin

    Walter Benjamin décrit Paris au XIXe siècle comme un grand « désordre productif » faisant coexister la richesse et la pauvreté entre « promesses utopiques » et « fantasmagories oppressives ». Les Passages parisiens, représentent un extraordinaire hommage critique au Paris du XIXe siècle, brassant tous les thèmes (architecture, littérature, urbanisme, industrie, mode)... Comme Walter Benjamin, Jean Lacoste invite à comprendre notre époque de seuil entre deux siècles comme une « fantasmagorie »...

    #Paris #Représenter_l_Espace #Représenter_la_Ville #Géographie #Paris_au_19e_siècle #Walter_Benjamin #Représenter_Paris #Agrégation_de_Géographie #Littérature #Urbanisme #Géographie_et_Littérature #Géographie_Littéraire #Passages_Parisiens

    • #Livre, #parution :
      Migrations, exils, errances et écritures

      Ecrire les migrations, les #errances et les exils, c’est se tourner vers les problématiques des #déplacements et des #passages. Se pose alors la question de la définition de l’#écriture_migrante, définition nécessairement mouvante selon que l’on s’intéresse aux #artistes qui choisissent la problématique de l’exil pour mettre en scène un questionnement identitaire ontologique ou à ceux qui, ayant eux-mêmes subi ou choisi l’exil, transforment leur propre exil en un exercice d’espoir dans un double mouvement mnémonique et didactique. Qu’il s’agisse d’une #littérature de migrants ou sur les migrants, d’exils politiques ou d’exils imaginaires, l’esthétique de la #migrance se construit dans la fracture et dans la perte pour réaffirmer le droit à la vie à travers une nouvelle éducation du regard : celui du sujet sur lui-même et sur l’autre, celui de l’autre sur l’étranger. Dès lors l’exil ne saurait se concevoir simplement comme une expérience purement physique et accidentelle, mais devient la condition même de notre relation à autrui, bouleversant les frontières commodes entre le dedans et le dehors. L’expérience de l’exil conduit ainsi le sujet à hanter les marges du langage, à s’ouvrir à d’autres langues, pour devenir cet « hôte [...] dont le métier est de demeurer vulnérable à de multiples présences étranges, qui doit garder ouvertes à tous les vents les portes de son logis du moment ».

      http://www.pressesparisouest.fr/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=296:migrations-exils-