Asylum seekers trying to enter the European Union via Croatia are deliberately ingesting dangerous substances, including powerful opiates, in the hope that police will take them to hospitals rather than illegally deporting them. Many are travelling with young children in tow.
Croatian authorities have come under increasing scrutiny in recent years for the violent treatment of asylum seekers during “pushbacks”, an illegal practice in which people are deported before they are allowed to apply for asylum. Hundreds of migrants and refugees are stranded just over the Croatian border in northwest Bosnia and have tried to enter the EU dozens of times to lodge an asylum claim.
Asylum seekers hope medical distress will trigger a hospital visit, and a chance to make their claim. They explain, however,