(ANSA) - BELGRADE, MARCH 13 - In a new report released today, Amnesty International (AI) has accused the EU governments of being complicit in "the systematic, unlawful and frequently violent pushbacks and collective expulsions of thousands of asylum seekers to squalid and unsafe refugee camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina," the Ngo said in a statement. Amnesty has presented its accusations in "Pushed to the edge: Violence and abuse against refugees and migrants along Balkan Route". The document includes of testimonies of violence committed against migrants and refugees trying to enter Croatia from Bosnia. Moreover, Amnesty said, migrants and refugees "caught in Italy and Slovenia are often subject to chain pushbacks, summarily handed over to Croatian police and forcibly expelled back to camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina without having their asylum claims considered." "Nearly all" migrants and refugees "in the camps in Bihac and Velika Kladusa", in Bosnia and Herzegovina, "had been pushed back into Bosnia and Herzegovina from Croatia or Slovenia and nearly one third of those interviewed had experienced violence at the hands of the Croatian police", Amnesty said in a statement. Amnesty added that "European governments are not just turning a blind eye to vicious assaults by the Croatian police, but also funding their activities", and they are as well "prioritizing border control over compliance with international law." "To understand where European government's priorities lie, one only needs to follow the money" as their "financial contribution towards humanitarian assistance is dwarfed by the funds they provide for border security which includes equipping Croatian border police and even paying their salaries," said Massimo Moratti, Director of Research for Amnesty International's Europe Office, quoted in the Amnesty statement. "Meanwhile people fleeing war and persecution are beaten and robbed by the Croatian police and forcibly pushed back to legal limbo, left at the mercy of a failing asylum system in Bosnia and Herzegovina," Moratti added. More than 5,000 migrants and refugees are currently stranded in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in appalling conditions, while waiting to irregularly cross into Croatia and to travel further north. (ANSA).

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