According to the New-York based human rights watchdog Human Rights Watch, Croatia has faced no consequences from EU institutions despite reports about illegal and violent pushbacks of migrants by Croatian police into neighboring countries.
Interior Minister Davor Božinović appeared on Croatian Radio on Wednesday, saying the waves of illegal migrants attempting to enter the EU were no longer refugees, but rather people seeking better lives in the West. The minister said people gathered in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the international border with Croatia were not legitimate migrants since they avoided legal border crossing points and failed to obey international laws.
"There is no inhumane treatment of migrants by Croatian police. If and when we receive such reports, we always respond. We have come to the point where Croatian police are being reported for not allowing migrants to enter Croatia illegally," said the minister. He added that it was not a practice the government would allow to continue, saying that migration and sociological issues where the responsibility of the international community.
The Human Rights Watch report cited data provided by Croatia's interior ministry which showed that over the first eight months of 2019, nearly 12,000 new migrants and asylum seekers were registered in the country, an increase of more than 8,600 compared to the same period in 2018.
According to the report, 974 people claimed asylum in the country, with authorities approving 71 asylum requests. Human Rights Watch says Croatia blocked the entry of nearly 9,500 migrants at its borders in the first eight months of 2019.
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