President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (Photo: Goran Stanzl/PIXSELL) President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (Photo: Goran Stanzl/PIXSELL)

“I sharply refute the attempt to reinterpret statements related to the issue of protecting Croatia’s borders from illegal migrants,” said President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović.

“I want to point out that Croatian police, in conducting activities in control of state borders, and thus EU borders, when preventing illegal migrations act according to the law, professionally and humanely, while means of force against those who violate the law are used to the least possible measure that is necessary for protection of police official’s safety and for conducting their tasks,” she added.

The president went on to say that safety is the basic precondition for stability and development of Croatia and one of her key tasks.

“These are facts that no play on words, incorrect translation of statements taken out of context can or will change,” said a statement from the president’s office.

The president made the statement after world media and Human Rights Watch reacted to an interview that she gave for Swiss SRF Television.

During her visit to Switzerland last week, a reporter from Swiss state television told the president that the television station has videos in its possession of beaten migrants who claim that Croatian police forcibly and illegally prevented them from entering the country and the president responded that he was “Speaking about illegal migrants who want to enter Croatia illegally.”

“Why do you think that is illegal? We are talking about illegal migrants, people who illegally want to enter Croatia and police send them back to Bosnia and Herzegovina. There are open border crossings for all those that want to enter Croatia and seek asylum,” said the president for Swiss television.

She also said that due to such accusations she spoke with the interior minister, police director and police on the terrain and they confirmed for her several times that they do no use “excessive force.”

“Naturally a little force is needed when you push expel people, but you need to see what kind of terrain it is that they are crossing mainly at night,” said the president who before her departure for Switzerland visited the border crossing at Kordunski Ljeskovac.

Source: HRT