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Balkan Region – Report September 2019

Date 14 October, 2019
Category Monthly Report

The Border Violence Monitoring Network has just published it’s September report analyzing collated testimony of pushbacks and police violence in the Western Balkans. The case material covers extensive violations along Croatia’s border with Bosnia-Herzegovina, chain refoulement from Slovenia, pushbacks from Hungary to Serbia, and incidents from the North Macedonian -Greek border.

This report analyzes, among other things:

      • Use of K9 units in Croatia and Hungary
      • Water torture in Hungary
      • Improvised detention near Zagreb
      • Wet Borders used as violent pushback sites
      • Performative procedures within pushbacks

Dog attacks, and the rising use of K9 units by border officials across the route illustrated some of the most brutal elements now common place within the pushback apparatus. Analysis of Croatia and Hungary’s persistent use of dogs in apprehending and attacking transit groups revealed multiple cases of serious abuse, including the hospitalization of bite victims. Alongside this, the use of border rivers to enact pushbacks was identified as a consistent method. Fifty percent of direct pushbacks recorded this month from Croatia included the use
of rivers to immerse transit groups in cold water. These cases often included people being stripped of clothing by the police, and connect up to a common pool of torture-like practices which were covered this month, such as the use of a child’s swimming pool to humiliate a transit group apprehended in Hungary.


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