Croatia’s Interior Minister rejects Accusations that Croatian Police returns Migrants to BiH

February 22, 2019 1:00 PM

Croatia’s Interior Minister Davor Božinović on Wednesday rejected the Bihać mayor’s accusations about the Croatian police illegally entering Bosnia and Herzegovina in Una-Sana Canton to bring back illegal migrants who were found on Croatian territory.

“I dismiss such insinuations. These are false accusations aimed at diverting attention from the key question of how those people came to Bihać and why they arrived there,” Božinović said in Istanbul where he attended a two-day conference on migrations organized by the Budapest Process.

Back in 2017 we alerted Bosnia and Herzegovina’s authorities about the trend of increasing migrant tides through Bosnia and Herzegovina and suggested that they should step up the protection of the borders with the countries from which migrants were arriving to Bosnia. Furthermore, it has been clearly stated on several occasions that the problem cannot be solved by allowing migrants to walk illegally into Croatia, Božinović said.

Croatia does now allow irregular migrations and is permanently reinforcing the police force to protect the borders, primarily due to irregular migrants who are trying to enter our country from Una-Sana Canton, obviously with the permission of those who are supposed to deter them, the Croatian minister said.

The Bihac mayor, Suhret Fazlić, made the accusations against the Croatian police at a session of the Bihać town council which discussed the migrant crisis which hit this part of Bosnia and Herzegovina the hardest.

Prevention and combating of irregular migrations and enhancement of conditions for regular migrants and their integration are key targets of a five-year plan of the Budapest Process, which held a conference in Istanbul on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Interior Minister Davor Božinović, who represented Croatia at the conference, said on Wednesday that all countries along the migrant route should enhance their cooperation.

Addressing the conference, Božinović underscored that commitment to the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms “is supposed to go hand in hand with the right of each country to control its borders and define its migrations policy” in order to curb irregular migrations and help refugees in need.

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