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Rights group: EU complicit in violence against migrants

BIHAC, Bosnia-Herzegovina — A leading rights group has accused European Union states of complacency in the ‘‘systematic, unlawful, and frequently violent pushbacks’’ by Croatian border guards of thousands of asylum-seekers to squalid and unsafe refugee camps in Bosnia.

Amnesty International said in a report released Wednesday that ‘‘European governments are not just turning a blind eye to vicious assaults by the Croatian police, but also funding their activities.’’

The report said that ‘‘in doing so, they are fueling a growing humanitarian crisis on
the edge of the European Union.’’

Croatian authorities have repeatedly denied such reports in the past.

In a response to the Amnesty International report on Wednesday, Croatian Interior Minister Davor Bozinovic said that the ministry has received more than 200 complaints issued by international rights groups of alleged illegal and violent pushbacks of migrants, but that after investigations no foul play was detected.

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‘‘Migrants in most cases falsely accuse police officials of violence, hoping that this will help them enter the Republic of Croatia the next time they try,’’ he said in a statement.

In Brussels, European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said that the EU’s executive body is concerned about the allegations made in the report and is taking them seriously.

Thousands of migrants have been stuck in Bosnia as they seek to move on toward Western Europe.

associated press