The respondent is a 35-year-old man from Iran. He fled his country three years ago and arrived in Bosnia more than a year and a half ago. He explained that, together with other people on the move, they tried to cross the border to ask for asylum in Croatia numerous times. He says that he tried 60 times in total since he arrived in Bosnia, and he experienced physical violence in 45 of those times.
On the 2nd of March 2022, the respondent reported that along with a couple and two other families including two babies and four young children, he left Šturlić at 11 am. The group walked for around 30 minutes and crossed the border and was about one kilometer inside Croatian territory when some officers apprehended them (45.075390,15.752890). After their uniforms (blue with “policija” written on the back) the group identified the officers as members of the Croatian police.
The respondent reported that while they tried asking for asylum there, the police were not listening to them. He told the police that his group wanted to ask for asylum and repeated “please call your central office, give them a report to give us stay or not” to the three officers. The respondent explained that the police said they were only 100 meters into Croatia and should leave the territory. What surprised the informant is that the policemen did not call their superiors and did not take into account that the group included very young kids.
Due to the rainy weather, two kids had a lot of dirt on their clothes and faces after they had fallen in the mud on the way. The kids were crying while the police walked two kilometers with the group to push them back. There was one policeman in the front and two in the back while the group was walking with the police officer. The respondent asked a police officer why he did not give them the chance to apply for asylum. His answer was that they needed a passport and that the border was only open for Ukrainians, not for other refugees.
The respondent said they were left at the border in the forest (45.070549,15.756632). They were told that they needed to go back to Bosnia from there. From the location of pushback, it took the group one hour to walk back to find a place to rest.