Category Archives: Kroatien

[Croatia] Repression against human rights defender & acticists in Zaghreb and Croatia

The following Text is a cross post. Originally it was written and published by activist of Frontline Defenders: https://www.frontlinedefenders.org/en/case/pressure-family-member-migrant-rights-defender-tajana-tadic
As an anti-repression campaign we want to express our solidarity with all political activists in Croatia and everywhere of course who are fighting against the racist, highly violent and deadly European border regime. The case of Tajana and her partner is showing how the authorities are again and again trying to intimidate, controll and opress (practical) solidarity and resistance! Solidarity will win!

Croatia: Pressure on family member of migrant rights defender Tajana Tadi

30 October 2020Croatia:

Pressure on family member of migrant rights defender Tajana TadićOn 5 November 2020, the appeal hearing into the case of the partner of migrant rights defenderTajana Tadić, is scheduled to take place at the Administrative Court of Zagreb. The appealconcerns a decision issued by the Ministry of Interior on 11 May 2020 to revoke his refugee status,which was granted in 2018.Tajana Tadić is a program manager with Are You Syrious (AYS), a human rights organisationcreated in 2015 in Croatia supporting migrants on the Balkan migration route. AYS providesmigrants with legal aid and psyco-social support, runs integration programs for children and adults,produces reports and analysis denouncing violent pushbacks and other illegal practices by theauthorities, and contributes to the reshaping of policies through advocacy work. AYS is part of theBorder Violence Monitoring Network, which in January 2020, published its first annual reportalledging torture of asylum seekers by Croatian authorities at EU external borders.Her partner is an Iraqi citizen who arrived in Croatia on 26 April 2017 and was granted refugeestatus on 7 September 2018. The pair met at AYS during his asylum application process. He hasbeen volunteering with AYS, assisting asylum seekers with translation and taking part in theeducational and integration programs of the NGO.On 5 November 2020, the Administrative Court of Zagreb will deliver a decision on the appeal ofTajana Tadić’s partner against the revokation of his refugee status. The Ministry of Interior initiallyrevoked his refugee status on 11 May 2020 on allegations that he represents a “threat to nationalsecurity”. Neither he nor his attorney have been given access to a part of his file which has beenclassified as “secret”, after the Ministry of Interior objected to their requests.Tajana Tadić’s partner has been harassed by police on multiple occasions in relation to the womanhuman rights defender’s activities for the protection of migrant rights. On 9 October 2019, hereceived a phone call summoning him to the police station at Petrinjska Street No. 30 for aninterview allegedly concerning “the register of persons who have entered the Republic of Croatia”.On 10 October 2019, he arrived to the police station where he was questioned, among otherthings, about his relationship with Tajana Tadić, people who he met in the Centre for AsylumSeekers, as well as some people he’s not acquainted with. In addition, content on his mobile phonewas checked by a police officer, without a warrant. During the interview, he was asked by a policeofficer to meet informally at a cafe and was told that he should help police by providing them withinformation about other refugees. When he refused, the police officer reportedly started to threatenhim with revocation of his refugee status, and deportation to Iraq. Following the interrogation, thepolice officer confiscated his residence permit despite the fact that such an action was illegal, andreturned it only after Tajana Tadić’s intervention. AYS and Tajana Tadić have been targetted by Croatian authorities since 2018, when the Minister ofthe Interior, Davor Božinović, sent a written reply to Member of Parliament Peđa Grbin to hisquestion about the circumstances surrounding the death of Madina Hussiny, a six-year old Afghangirl, at the Croatia-Serbia border. In the letter, the Minister accused AYS of encouraging illegalmigration to Croatia. The statement by Minister Božinović was reported by numerous media,seriously damaging the reputation of the NGO. Not long after its publication, AYS was subjected tojudicial harassment,where the Ministry of Interior implicitly sought to ban the work of AYSassociation.

In 2018, AYS were been subjected to several instances of police harassment, police questioning ofstaff members and beneficiaries and vandalism of its premises. On 17 April 2018, the eveningbefore a press conference hosted by AYS and the Centre for Peace Studies on police pressure andintimidation, police officers arrived at the private address of Tajana Tadić’s parents. Theysummoned Tadić to an interview with officers from theCroatian National Police Office forSuppression of Corruption and Organised Crime scheduled to take place at the same time as thepress conference. The interview was linked to a case filed by Madina Hussiny’s family againstunidentified perpetrators in the ranks of the Croatian police, accusing them of death by negligence.Front Line Defenders believes that the revocation of Tajana Tadić’s pertner’srefugee status may bein retaliation for her peaceful and legitimate human rights work. Front Line Defenders is deeplyconcerned by the apparant lack of a safe and enabling environment for migrant rights defenders inCroatia, who face judicial harassment and stigmatisation for their legitimate human rights activities.Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Croatia to:1.Immediately reverse the revokation of the refugee status of Tajana Tadić’s partner, as it isbelieved to be linked to his connection with the migrant rights defenders movement inCroatia;2.Take measures to ensure that government officials or other public figures refrain frommaking statements or declaration stigmatising the legitimate work of human rightsdefenders;3.Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Croatia are able to carryout their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of allrestrictions, including judicial harassment.

[Balkan] Neues Mapping-Projekt gegen Push-Backs

Dieser Beitrag wurde zuerst veröffentlicht unter www.pushbackmap.org am 18. Juni 2019

Ein Instrument zur kollektiven Bekämpfung des repressiven Grenz- und Kontrollregimes

Zagreb, 18. Juni 2019: Derzeit erleben wir eine Zunahme der institutionellen Gewalt in ganz Europa. An den Grenzen der EU finden täglich Abschiebungen und Zwangsrückführung über die Grenzen hinweg statt. Diese gewalttätigen Praktiken werden als Push-backs bezeichnet. Es handelt sich um eine systematische institutionalisierte Technik, mit der grenzüberschreitende Bewegung unterdrückt wird. Mit unserem neu entwickelten Online-Tool The Push-back Map, (www.pushbackmap.org)  wollen wir diese Praktiken kartieren, dokumentieren, visualisieren und anprangern.

Continue reading

[Kroatien] Update zu Gerichtsverfahren gegen zwei Aktivist*innen

This is an update on the court case involving G. and I., a German and an
Italian activist arrested in Croatia in September 2016 whilst helping a
family of 4 undocumented persons to reach Zagreb. The trial situates
itself in the context of the militarization of the European external
borders taking place between Serbia, Croatia and Hungary as well as the
widespread criminalization of migration and acts of solidarity,
affecting most countries.

Due to the progressive tightening of the external European borders since
September 2015 and the closure of the humanitarian corridor, which
temporarily instated some degree of free – although heavily
state-controlled – movement from Greece to central European countries,
the mainly transitory status of the Balkan region has invariably
transformed into a “buffer-zone”. The completion of a physical barrier
on the border between Hungary and Serbia was merely one amongst the
developments which led to thousands of people being stuck in Serbia,
with the only option of crossing illegally into Europe and facing not
only criminalization but also police violence. In fact, illegal
pushbacks carried out by border police both in Hungary and Croatia at
the expense of people who attempted to cross the border from Serbia and
expressed intent to request asylum, became standard practice and
continue up to this day. Beatings and dehumanizing acts against migrants
were and still are methodically perpetrated as well as overlooked by the
hypocritical Europe of “human rights”. In response, active humanitarian
and political groups started to record reports about police violence at
the borders and compiled the collected information in a project named
borderviolence.eu, in the attempt to show the systematic nature of these
events.

Among the most vulnerable and affected by these political developments
are those who do not possess enough capital to hire the services of
smugglers – potentially several times due to push-backs-, families and
minors. In November 2017, Madina, a six-year-old child from Afghanistan
was hit by a train and died as the Hussiny family was being illegally
sent back to Serbia on foot, in the dark, along the railroad tracks, by
overlooking Croatian authorities. Regardless of the child´s death, the
family was prevented from requesting asylum. The difficulty to reach the
E.U. forces many migrants to reside in Serbia for prolongued periods,
often in a limbo of rights and prospects.
The existence of so called “transit zones” on the Hungarian border,
which should supposedly create a safer and legal route for families and
children, only produced long waiting lists and lengthy processes and is
not a viable option for people traveling without a family. Furthermore
the waiting lists often created a corrupt business, which was connected
to deals with the commissariat or a lot of money for getting your name
on top of the list.

As everywhere else in Europe, actions of solidarity with people on the
move are met with a tough stance by Croatian authorities. On the morning
of the 21st of September 2016, G. and I. were driving in a car with the
family of 4 persons along a countryside road and ran into a border
police roadblock, about 50km from the Serbian border. As the family was
unable to provide identification, they were immediately brought to the
police station of Tovarnik, a small town near the Serbian border. There,
after hours of interrogation, G. and I. were finally detained as well
and awaited trial on the grounds of favouring illegal entry, movement
and stay in the country. The family´s right to request asylum was denied
– as it is standard practice – but they were nonetheless detained for
three days in order to testify as main witnesses against the two
activists, before being pushed back to Serbia.

The conditions in detention were particularly bad for the family. They
had to stay in the cell at the police station for three days. During
that period of time, only one of them was allowed to leave the cell for
one cigarette. The food which was given to them was little and they were
denied access to medical care for the sick father. Additionally it is
not sure, if they were being asked or interviewed by the police.
Probably one of them was forced to sign a paper which was not
translated. This would explain the false statement the police did about
the fantasy interview with the family (see below). G. and I., who were
unexpectedly kept in the same cell the whole time, had scarce access to
the lawyers and external information, so they were mostly waiting for
the first trial date.
After the first trial of the case, the family was pushed back to Serbia,
although they asked for asylum. But this was not taken serious by the
officials, as it is a standard procedure in Croatia. During their
push-back they were threatened by the police to be beaten up.

The criminal charges brought against G. and I. are grounded in a false
testimony collected from the familyaccording to which there would have been an economic exchange between the family and the activists. At the time, according to Croatian and
European law, human trafficking invariably involved a monetary exchange
or some degree of exploitation, a clause which is being ignored or at
times fabricated in order to criminalize acts of solidarity from civil
society. It is still unclear how the false statement was collected and
signed by the family, however during the trial there was a turn around
moment in which the one witness who was brought forth to testify against
G. and I. confirmed the version of events expressed by the activists,
denying the truthfulness of the previous statement. Nonetheless the two
activists were sentenced to one month of investigative prison, under the
baseless conviction that they could flee. After only 11 days, thanks to
an incredible show of international solidarity, 14.000 euros were raised
in order to bail them out.
After two years of wait, they are still awaiting to be notified of the
first official trial date. The only action taken by the police so far
was a phone search, in the attempt to find any reference to previous
knowledge of the family and a possible monetary exchange. Although a
plea deal was offered by the state, G. and I. have not accepted it in
their refusal to accept a wrongful conviction. In case of being declared
guilty, the plaintiff will propose a 8 months prison sentence on parole
and the payment of a fine, in addition to the lawyer fees that are
estimated to reach 10.000 euros all together.

Militarization and externalization of the European border regime are
first priority of the European Union. Whereas the E.U. is making Deals
with dictatorships and authoritarian regimes (i.e. EU-Turkey Deal), acts
of support and of solidarity are more and more criminalized. These
political tendencies are alerting! We will keep fighting and standing in
solidarity with people on the move and with people accused of crimes of
solidarity!

Solidarity will win!

Against all borders and cages!

[Grenze Bosnien / Kroatien] Proteste und Zuspitzung, 28. Oktober 2018

[Bosnien / Kroatien] Zuspitzung an der EU-Grenze // 28. Oktober 2018

silent protest in front of the border Bosnia / Croatia

In Velika Kladusa an der Bosnisch-Kroatischen Grenzen haben seit Dienstag, den 23. Oktober bis zu 500 Menschen ein Protestcamp errichtet und halten damit den offiziellen Grenzübergang blockiert. Als Reaktion auf die Gewalt der kroatischen Grenzpolizei sowohl bei individuellen Grenzübertritten als auch bei dem Versuch eines kollektiven Durchbruchs am Mittwoch, 24. Oktober betonen die Protestierenden, dass ihr Protest gewaltfrei ist, sie aber nicht freiwillig zurückgehen werden. „We‘re going to stay here, until there is a decision from Europe.“ sagten uns die Demonstrierenden.

Wir haben mit Menschen bei dem Protest gesprochen und Interviews geführt. Diese und ander Videos vom Protest könnt ihr hier sehen:

Interview mit Protestierender in Velika Kladusa Continue reading

[Bosnien] Neuer Bericht aus Bosnien, 13. Oktober 2018

Bericht zur Lage in Bosnien // 13. Oktober 2018

Die Situation in Bosnien unterscheidet sich stark von der in Serbien. Viele Ortsansässige sind sehr freundlich und solidarisch, und verschiedene Organisationen – sowohl NGOs als auch Offizielle (UNHCR, IOM, etc.) – sind hier tätig. Auch die MSF sind aktiv und (wie immer) eine große Unterstützung für freiwillige Gruppen. Außerdem gibt es mehrere aktive Freiwilligengruppierungen, von denen aber nicht viele explizit politisch sind und einige, die mit IOM kooperieren (und dementsprechend von ihnen abhängig sind).

Bisher war die Polizei recht freundlich: sie schlagen niemanden systematisch zusammen und Menschen, die von Bosnien nach Serbien gehen, werden vor Landminen gewarnt statt zurückgedrängt. Mit der steigenden Anzahl von Menschen, die nach Bosnien kommen, wird die Polizei jedoch zunehmend überfordert, Konflikte verschärfen sich und letzte Woche gab es die erste Messerstecherei in Sarajevo.

Hauptbahnhof in Sarajevo, Bosnien – photo credits: BASIS Sarajevo

Außerdem gibt es Gerüchte über einen Migranten, der vor kurzem in Sarajevo gestorben sein soll, was wahrscheinlich ein Unfall war; allerdings hat niemand nähere Informationen dazu. Wir versuchen weiterhin, Näheres dazu zu erfahren. Die Zahl der Fälle von Polizeigewalt steigt an und es werden Videos veröffentlicht, die zeigen, wie Migranten/Geflüchtete willkürlich geschlagen werden, wie Polizisten Migranten/Geflüchtete beleidigen, und Berichte über Freiwillige, die sich für eine menschenwürdige Behandlung von Geflüchteten einsetzen, die von der Polizei herumgeschubst werden. Außerdem gibt es Zeugenaussagen zu bosnischer Polizeigewalt, aber auch diverse Berichte über Raub durch die bosnische Polizei in Republika Srpska, wo die Polizei Geflüchtete/Migranten dazu brachte zu bezahlen, damit sie ihren Weg fortsetzen dürften, und sie dann eine halbe Stunde spaeter mit Polizeiwagen abfing um sie wieder zurückzudrängen. Es gibt Berichte über kroatische Polizisten, die Menschen in verminte Gebiete zurückdrängen, nachdem sie sie ausgeraubt und geschlagen haben. Außerdem gibt es Berichte über bosnische Polizisten aus Republika Srpska, die Menschen dazu zwangen, sich bis auf die Unterwäsche auszuziehen, um sie dann in Handschellen zu legen, sie zu schlagen und sie in einem verlassenen Haus zurückzulassen, wo sie schließlich von Ortsansässigen gefunden wurden, die ihnen Kleidung gaben und sie in einen Bus nach Sarajevo setzten. Andere Berichte sprechen von mehreren ertrunkenen Menschen in Flüssen, und weiterhin unbestätigte Berichte über Menschen, die beim Durchqueren von Bergregionen von Steinschlag getroffen wurden.

Dann ist da noch Velika Kladusa, eine kleinere Stadt im Grenzgebiet. Hier gibt es ein semi-offizielles Wildcamp, in dem auch No Name Kitchen arbeitet, Essen verteilt wird und Duschen zur Verfügung gestellt werden. Mittlerweile kommen auch andere Organisationen dort an, und weil die Lage noch recht chaotisch ist, kommt auch die Polizei, die bisher allerdings keine Schwierigkeiten macht sondern sich eher mit der Kontrolle und Verteilung der Menschenmengen beschäftigt. 

Wildes Lager in Velika Kladus, photo credits to NoNameKitchen

Freiwillige sind zum größten Teil längerfristig dort, scheinen überarbeitet und es ist schwierig in bestehenden Strukturen mitzuwirken. Besonders an V. Kladusa ist die Tatsache, dass die slowenische Grenze nur noch 70-80 km entfernt ist, wenn man es von hier aus geschafft hat, die Grenze nach Kroatien zu überqueren. Allerdings wird die Grenze mit Geräten wie (soweit wir wissen) einer Art Audioradar, Dronen, Infrarotkameras stark überwacht und auch hier werden Menschen von Slowenien nach Bosnien zurückgedrängt (2 Grenzüberquerungen). Es gibt Berichte über schwere Gewalt besonders durch die kroatische Polizei, wenn Menschen zurückgedrängt werden. Diese Gewalt beinhaltet sowohl Schlägereien als auch Raub von Kleidungsstücken, Telefonen und Schuhen; auch Frauen und Kinder sind betroffen.

Der nächste Ort ist Bihac. Wir waren noch nicht dort, aber die viele der Geflüchteten/Migranten sind hier. Bald soll hier ein offizielles Camp für ca. 1.000 Menschen entstehen, aber bisher ist es nichts weiter als ein leerer Rohbau namens Borici Camp, das früher mal ein Studentenwohnheim war aber dann verlassen wurde. Das Gebäude ist so heruntergekommen, dass es Löcher in den Böden hat, durch die Menschen fallen, und Treppen ohne Geländer.

“Offizielles Lager” Borici in Bihac, photo credits: Balkan Insights

Es wird vom Bosnischen Roten Kreuz betrieben und ist auch für Familien geöffnet, die aus Sarajevo dorthin geschickt werden. Auch von hier aus versuchen Menschen die westliche Grenze nach Kroatien zu überqueren. Auf den ersten Blick scheint das nicht viel Sinn zu ergeben, weil der Weg durch das feindliche Kroatien viel länger ist, doch weil die Grenze bei V. Kladusa so stark überwacht wird, müssen die Menschen ihr Glück anderswo versuchen. Es gibt Berichte über eine große Schlägerei zwischen verschiedenen Ethnizitäten vor einigen Tagen, nach der die Polizei Menschen wegschickte. Diese Berichte kamen aus Velika Kladusa, wo einige Menschen hingeschickt wurden. Die meisten Menschen kehrten jedoch direkt nach Bihac zurück. Die Bedingungen im offiziellen Camp in Bihac sind besser für Familien, da es dort angeblich medizinische Unterstützung gibt und die Menschen nicht in Sommerzelten auf schlammigen Feldern campen müssen.

Ein weiterer Ort des Geschehens ist Mostar, das weiter im Südwesten von Bosnien liegt. Dort gibt es ein sogenanntes Empfangszentrum namens Salakovac mit einem offiziellen Camp. Auch von hier aus versuchen Menschen die Grenze zu überqueren. Außerdem gibt es dort viele Kinder, weil die Einrichtung für Familien bestimmt ist.

In Delijas gibt es ein Camp und offenes Empfangszentrum für alleinreisende Männer, das einen Ruheplatz und medizinische Versorgung anbietet. Solange Delijas nicht voll ist, können IOM, UNHCR und die bosnischen Behörden sagen, dass noch Platz in den Camps ist. Es ist 3 Stunden von der nächsten Bushaltestelle und eine Stunde vom nächsten kleineren Laden entfernt. Zusätzlich dazu muss man berücksichtigen, dass es praktisch kein Telefonnetz gibt, sodass es unmöglich ist, mit der Familie zu kommunizieren oder anderweitig Informationen zu erhalten.

credits fuer Korrektur und Uebersetzung an J. Schley, Berlin