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Going for Game
Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 2020

Bosnia is, until now, the last jumping-off point for migrants on the so-called Balkan Route through Greece and former Yugoslavia. Migrants seeking refuge or simply a better future in the European Union are stranded here until they manage to continue their journey towards Western or Northern Europe.
The last obstacle, however, proves to be the hardest. Those who make it into the European Union complain about unlawful push-backs to Bosnia (that is: non-EU territory) by Croatian authorities. These pushbacks allegedly involve frequent acts of violence against migrants, including children and minors. Accusations involve planned and organized beatings, mock executions and theft. Migrants unlucky enough to carry cash frequently accuse Croatian police offers to strip them off of all their belongings – and their clothes too:

“I was arrested in Croatia”, a young migrant from Afghanistan reports, “Five Days ago, croatian police drove me in their van back to the Bosnian border, somewhere in the woods. They made me get out of the van. Then they started beating me. They were maybe eight policemen. All of them beat me. Then they took my winter clothes, my shoes, my sleeping bag. They put this into the fire”.

This is one of countless witness reports, and there are many worse.

Croatian authorities, however, deny any use of unlawful violence against migrants.

In consequence, thousands of Migrants, mostly from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, are stranded at any given time in northern Bosnia, waiting for the next opportunity to cross the border – or go for The Game, as they call it.

Going for Game
Bosnia and Herzegovina, February 2020

Bosnia is, until now, the last jumping-off point for migrants on the so-called Balkan Route through Greece and former Yugoslavia. Migrants seeking refuge or simply a better future in the European Union are stranded here until they manage to continue their journey towards Western or Northern Europe.
The last obstacle, however, proves to be the hardest. Those who make it into the European Union complain about unlawful push-backs to Bosnia (that is: non-EU territory) by Croatian authorities. These pushbacks allegedly involve frequent acts of violence against migrants, including children and minors. Accusations involve planned and organized beatings, mock executions and theft. Migrants unlucky enough to carry cash frequently accuse Croatian police offers to strip them off of all their belongings – and their clothes too:

“I was arrested in Croatia”, a young migrant from Afghanistan reports, “Five Days ago, croatian police drove me in their van back to the Bosnian border, somewhere in the woods. They made me get out of the van. Then they started beating me. They were maybe eight policemen. All of them beat me. Then they took my winter clothes, my shoes, my sleeping bag. They put this into the fire”.

This is one of countless witness reports, and there are many worse.

Croatian authorities, however, deny any use of unlawful violence against migrants.

In consequence, thousands of Migrants, mostly from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh, are stranded at any given time in northern Bosnia, waiting for the next opportunity to cross the border – or go for The Game, as they call it.

A group of refugees from Afghanistan prepare lunch on the roof of an abandoned metal factory in Bihac. The factory serves as a squat for migrants who don't find a place in the IOM camps in Bihac. The EU border is just a few kilometers away on the mountain ridge in the background.
Daigul Hussainkheih, nicknamed Commando due to his former job in the Afghan Army, during his afternoon prayer in an abandoned metal factory in Bihac. There are not enough places in the IOM camps in Bihac. Migrants squat here until they try what they call 'The Game' - the attempt to cross the border to Croatia which often leads to violent pushbacks by Croatian Police
Sayeed Latif, a refugee from Afghanistan, rests on his place in an abandoned metal factory in Bihac. Sayeed wrote 'Miss you Mom' in the dirt on the windows (the only windows left in the entire building) and more words of endearment to his mother. He calls her regularly and tries to pretend he's doing fine in order not to worry her.
Nursaid (left), a migrant from Pakistan, bandages a foot of Jalal Udeen from Afghanistan. They stay in an abandoned metal factory in Bihac before they try to go for
Sayeed Latif, a refugee from Afghanistan, collects bricks in  abandoned metal factory in Bihac in order to build a makeshift sofa.
Newly arrived migrants from Pakistan prepare Dinner in a makeshift fireplace in an abandoned metal factory in Bihac. The factory serves as a squat for migrants who don't find a place in the IOM camps in Bihac.
An Afghan refugee washes in the icy Una River in Bihac.  Scabies is widely spread in the squats and staying clean almost impossible.  Some of them spent weeks and months here before they manage to get to Europe.
Ikham Khan, refugee from Pakistan is having his hair cut by Majidullah Khan, also from Pakistan, in an abandoned house in the city center of Bihac.
Ilkham Khan and Zeeshan Akash Khan, cousins from Pakistan, dance to music from a mobile phone on the roof of an abandoned metal factory in Bihac.
Recep Shinwari, Shabir Khan, Sharifullah Najib, Zakir Khan and Ahmad Shah (Left to right), all migrants from Pakistan,  sit in a former office of an   abandoned metal factory in Bihac. They arrived on this day from Serbia and yet have to figure out how to adapt to the daily routine in the squat.
A migrant counts his money in an improvised shelter in Sturlic, close to the Croatian Border.
Maha and her family left Iran in 2017 and have been stuck first in Serbia and now Bosnia for almost two years.
Wounded foot of an afghan women who returned from Croatia to the IOM camp Miral in Velika Kladusa and is waiting for medical treatment
Migrants from Morocco and Algeria in their squat in a disused factory in Velika Kladusa close to the EU border with Croatia
Brahim (center) prepares tea in his squat in an empty factory in Velika Kladusa. He left school and started to work with 13 years
Badshah Khan, a 44-year-old refugee from Pakistan, walks to a nearby village where locals let refugees charge their mobile phones. He walks on a crutch due to a bullet wound in his leg, allegedly fired by Taliban fighters
Migrant graves in a corner of Bihac cemetery. Only three graves have names, the others just say 'unknown person'.
Syed Subtain Shah, migrant from Pakistan, looks out of the window of his makeshift shelter in an abandoned house at dusk. He can see the the EU border from this place and tried to reach EU ground five times already but was pushed back every time. He's got two small children in Pakistan and hopes to find work in Italy.
A group of Pakistani migrants get ready in Bihac city center to 'go for the Game', as they call the attempt to cross the borders to Croatia and then Italy. The game includes 10-15 nights in the forest with temperatures below zero and often ends up in violent deportations back to Bosnia.
A group of Afghan migrants is 'going for the Game', how they call their attempts to cross the borders to Croatia and then Italy.
Woodland close to Velika Kladusa on the Bosnian-Croatian Border in a spot where frequent pushbacks happen.
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