S&D MEPs took part in a mission to Croatia and Bosnia to assess the situation of refugees living in very precarious conditions in camps on the Bosnian border with Croatia. MEPs discussed the challenges of migration and border policies with the Croatian government, including Interior Minister, Davor Bozinovic, while in Bosnia they visited camps in Bihac and Velika Kladuša and met with civil society and NGOs.
After witnessing the situation in the camps, the S&D Group is calling on Croatia to set-up an independent monitoring mechanism of border control activities to ensure that EU law, international obligations and fundamental rights are respected.
Isabel Santos, human rights spokesperson, said:
“I am deeply concerned about the living conditions in the camps in Bosnia. We have seen a lot of children and unaccompanied minors and it's important that education remains a priority in humanitarian emergencies. We expect that all EU member states, at the very least, respect international asylum procedures. Croatia should stop its violent push-back of migrants to Bosnia. These people are determined at any cost to cross the border and this will not stop. We call on the Commission to look into alleged abuse at the border and act to make sure that border officers are complying with the law.”
Bettina Vollath, member of the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee, said:
"We have seen so much suffering and misery today. This is a humanitarian crisis. Solutions are out there and it doesn’t need to be this way. The EU and its member states should take responsibility and start reforming the Dublin system which we all know is not working. Von der Leyen committed to do something but we are still waiting. S&D MEPs will keep up the pressure on the Commission to come forward with new laws for humanitarian visas to make sure that there are safe and legal channels to enter the EU for those that really need it. Illegal push-backs and violence at our external borders needs to stop immediately.”
Dietmar Köster, member of the human rights committee, said:
“We have seen so many children suffering from so much misery. It is absolutely essential that the EU takes special care of the many unaccompanied minors as the most vulnerable in these camps. We cannot close our eyes on this inhumane situation. If the EU has a heart, it needs to show it now by acting.”