UN Called to Investigate Croatia’s Behaviour Towards Migrants

By 13 March 2018

ZAGREB, March 13, 2018 - Human Rights Watch (HRW) has recommended to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to call on Croatia to investigate alleged abuses against child migrants and asylum seekers and provide meaningful access to asylum and fair procedures for those on its territory and at its borders, the human rights organisation said in a statement on Monday.

During 2017, Croatia forced back asylum seekers and migrants who entered the country from Serbia without examining their asylum claims. In July, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled that Croatia breached EU law by allowing asylum seekers and migrants to cross into Slovenia and Austria without first examining their asylum claims, HRW said.

It said that asylum seeking and refugee children continued to face social isolation and difficulties in accessing language classes and education. Unaccompanied migrant and asylum children continued to be placed in residential institutions for children without adequate arrangements for their protection and care. Out of 30 registered unaccompanied children, only one had been enrolled in school for the academic year of 2017/2018, it added.

HRW said in January that, in the first eight months of 2017, Croatia had received 1,262 asylum claims, of which 76 asylum seekers were granted some form of protection. By the end of September, Croatia took in 78 asylum seekers from Greece and Italy.

According to the latest official information, until the end of 2017 Croatia accepted 60 asylum seekers from Greece, 21 from Italy and seven Syrian families from Turkey (48 people in all). Under the EU quota system, Croatia has undertaken to accept 1,583 asylum seekers.