Going for Game
Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 2020
Bosnia is, until now, the last jumping-off point for migrants on the so-called Balkan Route through Greece and former Yugoslavia. Migrants seeking refuge or simply a better future in the European Union are stranded here until they manage to continue their journey towards Western or Northern Europe.
The last obstacle, however, proves to be the hardest. Those who make it into the European Union complain about unlawful push-backs to Bosnia (that is: non-EU territory) by Croatian authorities. These pushbacks allegedly involve frequent acts of violence against migrants, including children and minors. Accusations involve planned and organized beatings, mock executions and theft. Migrants unlucky enough to carry cash frequently accuse Croatian police offers to strip them off of all their belongings – and their clothes too:
“I was arrested in Croatia”, a young migrant from Afghanistan reports, “Five Days ago, croatian police drove me in their van back to the Bosnian border, somewhere in the woods. They made me get out of the van. Then they started beating me. They were maybe eight policemen. All of them beat me. Then they took my winter clothes, my shoes, my sleeping bag. They put this into the fire”.
This is one of countless witness reports, and there are many worse.
Croatian authorities, however, deny any use of unlawful violence against migrants.
In consequence, thousands of Migrants, mostly from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, are stranded at any given time in northern Bosnia, waiting for the next opportunity to cross the border – or go for The Game, as they call it.
Going for Game