Serbia’s refugee agency has cited Croatian border police for torturing an Afghan refugee child and denying him and 15 other migrants their right to claim asylum.
Croatia's interior ministry denied the claim as ‘unfounded and... absolutely incomprehensible’.
The tense relationship between Croatia, an EU member, and Serbia, an EU aspirant, has been exasperated by the migrant crisis.
Serbia has previously been critical of Croatia’s treatment of asylum seekers, but the recent report concerning an Afghan child makes unusually strong claims of ‘physical and psychological torture’ which caused internal bleeding and fractured ribs. The teenager also said the Croatian police broke his cell phone and took 600 euros from him, but let him keep his Serbian dinars.
‘We consider this to be another in a series of unfounded and substantially unsupported allegations against the Croatian police due to its persistence and determination in protecting the state border and the external border of the European Union’, said Croatia’s Interior Ministry.
‘These practices are taking more dramatic and inhumane shapes, where in addition to beatings, people are being ... degraded and treated as non-humans, and of course, are illegally pushed back into Serbia’, said Rados Djurovic, executive director of the Asylum Protection Center in Belgrade. They state that police violence against illegal migrants is widespread in the region.