Slovenian NGOs Urge Authorities to Cease Returning Migrants to Croatia

By 25 January 2020

LJUBLJANA, January 25, 2020 - Slovenian non-governmental organizations have called on their government to cancel the agreement with Croatia on the return of illegal migrants, citing reports of alleged inhumane treatment by the Croatian police.

Representatives of Amnesty International Slovenia (AIS), the Legal-Informational Centre for NGOs (PIC) and the association called Asylum Working Group held on Friday a press conference where they warned about the inhumane conditions in refugee camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina, about the unlawful conduct of the Slovenian police who return migrants to Croatia and about the cruel treatment of asylum seekers by the Croatian police, reports the Slovenia's press agency STA.

This is how "one of the biggest humanitarian crises in Europe" emerges, to which Slovenia is also contributing since it deports migrants it finds on its territory back to Croatia on a massive scale, without giving them any written decision or the possibility of an appeal, Slovenian NGOs say.

According to Blaž Kovač of AIS, there have been numerous testimonies by NGOs and media that Croatian authorities violate the prohibition of torture under the Convention on Human Rights in their treatment of migrants returned from Slovenia. This is why Slovenian authorities should cease implementing the bilateral agreement with Croatia which enables the readmission of potential asylum seekers, he says.

Barbara Vodopivec from the association Asylum Working Group said that it had recently been discovered that the Slovenian police, following internal instructions, had been virtually preventing migrants from seeking asylum in Slovenia, which is why, in her opinion, the interior minister and the director general of the police should consider resigning.

Slovenian Interior Minister Boštjan Poklukar said at the beginning of the week that Slovenia had successfully returned 16,000 illegal migrants to Croatia last year and that the trend of illegal entry had been on the rise for the last four years.

More news about the migrant crisis can be found in the Politics section.