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NEW TESTIMONY OF THE POLICEMAN: PUSHBACKS ARE HAPPENING FROM THE DEBTH OF THE TERRITORY

The new testimony of the policeman within which he describes the practice of pushbacks confirms countless testimonies of refugees who claimed that pushbacks are implemented even from the depths of the territory of the Republic of Croatia. In this text, written by Barbara Matejčić, you can read about methods and internal procedures that the policeman describes, and given the fact that he is already the second policeman who spoke about illegal, inhuman and immoral procedures that they have been seeking to do. It will be interesting to see what will be the next step taken by Minister Božinović, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Government of the Republic of Croatia.  Until the writing of this report, five days after the publication, we did not receive any response from the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

You can read about anonymous testimonies and the work of the State Attorney of the Republic of Croatia and the Parliamentary Committee on Internal Affairs as well as other events that followed the theme of pushbacks and violence at the border in a new interview with the Croatian Ombudswoman, Lora Vidović. You can also take a look at the TV report on police violence and refugee testimonies at the SRF.

Minister Božinović in his reaction that came a week later after the anonymous complaint of the policeman got published failed to address the content of the complaint. Additionally, following concerns show that state institutions did not approach seriously to these problems and that are no sufficient efforts to stop these practices and properly sanction them: the information that the Parliamentary Committee on Internal Affairs and National Security revealed the details of the above mentioned anonymous complaint to the Ministry of Internal Affairs as well as the fact of the insufficient capacity of the State Attorney of the Republic of Croatia to conduct an investigation within the Ministry of Internal Affairs without using the capacities of MoI.

This week we could read numerous comments about the latest statement of the President in which she tried to explain what she meant when she addressed pushbacks and her admitting that they are carried out at the border with Bosnia and Herzegovina. While trying to justify illegal pushbacks, the President, strengthened the narrative of refugees as threats and instructed journalists to work in official propaganda service. In connection to this, we are sharing comments of Ladislav TomčićBoris PavelićSlavica Lukić, and Gordan Duhaček.

Also, the Human Rights House commented on the appointment of Minister Božinović as a Vice-President of the Government responsible for coordinating government activities in the field of human rights. The Human Rights House emphasized that his appointment could seriously jeopardize the rule of law and prevent effective supervision of police procedures.

Last Monday, 14 representatives of the EU Member States discussed the French-German proposal for a new mechanism of solidarity in the redistribution of people arriving in the EU, i.e. for the rapid transfer of people rescued with ships at the nearest port. According to the media, eight countries supported this proposal, including Croatia. The next meeting on Malta is announced for September. We will keep track of what the proposal is about, what is the content and why only six out of 28 Member States have supported it so far.

At the same time, Slovenia deployed 35 soldiers at the border to Italy to prevent migration and confirmed its “commitment” in helping  Croatia with combating illegal migration, and proposed the potential sending of Frontex to the EU’s external borders, H-alter writes.

On Thursday, we have witnessed the news of the drowning of 150 people on Libyan coasts, while about 150 others got rescued. To recall, Libya currently has a large number of refugees who are trying to reach Europe with unsafe boats and escape from inhumane conditions. Precisely because of the lack of safe and legal paths, in Croatia we keep witnessing the refugees’ casualties while trying to ensure safety, the latest news we got about this long-lasting struggle is that a group of refugees with a child was found on a train in Zagreb after calling for help.

On Thursday, the European Commission decided to refer Hungary to the Court of Justice of the EU concerning legislation that criminalizes activities in support of asylum applications and further restricts the right to request asylum. The Commission has also decided to send a letter of formal notice to Hungary concerning the non-provision of food to persons awaiting return who are detained in the Hungarian transit zones at the border with Serbia. In the light of all these recent events, it will be interesting to follow the visit of Ursula von der Leyen, the new president of the European Commission, on Tuesday. You can read more about it in the Commission’s statement. According to media articles, the topic will be Schengen and Presidency priorities, but it will be interesting to follow the talk on future migration and asylum policy moves. As von der Leyen pointed out, ‘’we’’ need strong external borders and strengthening of FRONTEX, among other things, in a way that the number of 10000 border police officers should be reached in 2024, not 2027, as it is now planned. How will these institutions address the issues of protecting human rights, including refugees and people in migration is still to be seen.

The portal Workers’ Rights brings the story of the Black Vests, the movement of undocumented migrant workers in France who, due to their status, are forced to live and work on precarious and exploitative conditions.  Besides calling for profiteers and those who provide repression over migrants, these collective actions give courage to many vulnerable migrants to talk, claim their rights, and be sympathetic to their companions.

For the summer readings, we refer to the releases published in 2019, which suggestively thematize  migrant crisis and migrant experiences, such as the Irregular Verbs’ Jenny Erpenbeck, ‘I’m With You – Brigitta’s Story’ Melanie G. Mazzucco, ‘Wariness of  Material’ by Marek Šindelka, ‘European Spring’, Caspar Colling Nielsen, ‘Marx and the Doll’ Maryam Madjidi, ‘Minority Orchestra’ by Chigozie Obioma.

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