Saturday, 21 August 2021

Croatia Grants Most Asylums to Syrians, Most Asylum Seekers Are From Afghanistan

ZAGREB, 21 Aug, 2021 - There are 1,529 asylum seekers in Croatia, most of them from Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria and the highest number of asylums were obtained by Syrians, Vecernji List daily wrote on Saturday.

According to data provided by the Croatian Interior Ministry, of the 1,208 asylum seekers in the first six months of 2021, more than a half were from Afghanistan (692), followed by those from Iraq (116), Iran (105), Turkey (66), Syria (60) and Pakistan (37).

Croatia granted asylums and subsidiary protection to approximately 1,000 people. The highest number of asylums was granted to Syrians, namely 457 and another 84 people from Syria were granted subsidiary protection. Among top five states to whose citizens asylums were granted are Iraq (109), Afghanistan (39), Iran (38) and Turkey (26), while subsidiary protection was granted the most to the citizens of Syria (84), Afghanistan (17) and Somalia (15).

The interior ministry said it was impossible to give the exact number of people granted international protection and currently living in Croatia as the number varies on a daily basis because people with passports have the right to freedom of movement, and they can leave Croatia any time they want.

There are twice as many men than women among people granted with asylum or subsidiary protection, most of them of the age between 18 and 34, followed by underage boys.

For more news updates, CLICK HERE.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Project Launched To Include Asylum Seekers In Croatian Society

ZAGREB, June 18, 2020 - The Centre for the Culture of Dialogue on Thursday presented its project "New neighbours - Inclusion of persons under international protection in Croatian society," which covers 200 people who have been granted asylum and will last three years and is valued at HRK 14 million.

The centre's director, Nejra Kadic-Meskic, told a press conference that the project is being co-financed from the Asylum, Migration and Integration (AMI) fund which is being managed by the Interior Ministry, and partially from the state budget. The Islamic community in Croatia is a partner in the project.

Kadic-Meskic explained that the project was aimed at helping asylees, after they leave asylum centres, to achieve true integration in society.

The first part of the project is direct work with the people, which includes mobile teams that will operate around the country and provide assistance, advice and help in finding accommodation and a job.

The second part of the project is to raise awareness in the local population and the third to conduct a media campaign promoting fair and proper reporting about asylum seekers.

"The Islamic community in Croatia is recognised, in the world even, for its integration policy," said the president of the Islamic community in Croatia, Mufti Aziz Hasanovic. That has been confirmed in war and peace, he said and added that not one member of the Islamic community had left to go to war anywhere in the world.

Interior Ministry State Secretary Zarko Katic said he was pleased with this cooperation, noting that the inclusion and integration of persons who have been given international protection is a common goal.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Croatia MUP and Nigerian Students: Questions Emerge in Alleged Expulsion

Allegations of the abduction and forced expulsion of two Nigerian students to Bosnia by the Croatia police (MUP) has received wide attention in the Croatian media since the Bosnian portal Žurnal broke the story on December 3. More details have emerged, which have led to even more questions, and credibility issues are muddying the narrative.

After yesterday’s official statement from MUP regarding the alleged incident, additional details are emerging, some of which may contradict MUP claims. While the story is being covered extensively in Croatian media, most of the basic questions about this alleged incident haven’t even been addressed.

There are possible credibility issues with a member of the Nigerian group and proven credibility issues with MUP. No witnesses have come forward to corroborate the Nigerian students’ allegations. One member of their group claimed asylum in Croatia on November 27, which may help support the MUP claim that people from third countries are using sports competitions to enter the EU.

However, several world news organizations have disproven MUP’s repeated denials of an aggressive pushback policy toward illegal migrants. Here’s what we still don’t know.

What was the groups’ actual flight itinerary?

According to MUP, the group of five Nigerians, one leader and four students, arrived in Croatia on November 12. The leader and one student departed Croatia via the Zagreb airport on November 17. The students claim that their return flight departed on November 18, which meant that they had arrived on the same flight with the others but wouldn’t be returning to Nigeria on the same flight.

What Zagreb hostel did the students check into?

MUP has not provided the name of the hostel and the students claim that they don’t remember the name, as they had just checked in, before setting off on a stroll through the city.

What date did the students check into that unidentified Zagreb hostel?

MUP claims they checked in on November 16, rather than November 17, as the students claim. Alberto Tanghetti, the organizer of the 5th World InterUniversities Championships in Pula supports the students’ claim and indicated that the students left Pula for Zagreb on November 17 to make their November 18 flight. 

Are there any witnesses to the students’ alleged abduction by Croatian police on the Zagreb tram?

The sight of police removing the students from a tram in a large busy city for no apparent reason (they weren’t disturbing the peace) would have produced witnesses. So far no one has come forward.

Who sent the students their passports?

In yesterday’s statement, MUP claimed that the students checked out of their Zagreb hostel on November 18 and took their passports and belongings with them. However, sources now confirm that the students didn’t have their passports with them when they entered Bosnia. An unidentified friend from the competition sent the students’ passports from the unidentified Zagreb hostel to Bosnia. The students received their passports on November 25, nine days after their alleged abduction and expulsion from Croatia.

Where is the students’ luggage?

If the students weren’t allowed to return to the unidentified Zagreb hostel, the hostel would have had their luggage as well as their passports. They would have packed for a five-day trip. Where is their luggage now?

Why would the Croatian police expel the students to Bosnia, when it would have been much easier, and legal, to allow them to catch their return flights to Nigeria?

It would have been very easy for the Croatian police to physically go with the students to the unidentified Zagreb hostel and confirm they were registered there. In addition, by law, every traveler visiting Croatia must furnish their passports to the front desk (or host) of their accommodations upon arrival, as part of the registration process. That information is reported to MUP, so they should have been able to confirm where the students were staying. Why would the Zagreb police detain the students for hours, for no apparent reason, and allegedly send them in a van to Bosnia? Furthermore, in an interview for Index, Željko Cvrtila, an experienced criminologist, emphasized that the Croatian police could have only legally deported them back to Nigeria, as they had valid visas for their stay in Croatia.

If MUP has no record or evidence that the students crossed the Bosnian border, what does that say about the effectiveness of the MUP effort to control the border?

If MUP has no record of the students’ whereabouts and was not able to intersect the students’ illegal and forced expulsion into Bosnia, it would seem to suggest that Croatia still lacks effective tools, surveillance and manpower to monitor and control illegal movement across the border.

Are there any witnesses who can corroborate the students’ arrival and length of stay in Bosnia?

According to the students, they were abducted by Zagreb police on November 17 and taken in a van to the Bosnian border with a group of illegal migrants. That also means that they have allegedly been in Bosnia for 2 ½ weeks.

Is there additional information on the fourth student who sought asylum in Croatia?

According to MUP, the group leader and one of the four students returned to Nigeria on November 17. Another remained in Croatia and tried to enter Slovenia twice, but was denied entry because he did not have a Schengen passport. MUP claims that he reported his passport lost on November 18 and refused an alleged offer from the MUP central station in Zagreb to contact the Nigerian embassy on his behalf. On November 27, the student returned and filed a claim for asylum and is currently being housed in an asylum center in Zagreb.

Did the students perform competitively at the 5th World InterUniversities Championships?

Zoran Ničeno, Director of Border Security, claims in an interview with Dnevnik Nove TV that they had confirmed with organizers that the students fared very poorly at the 5th World InterUniversities Championships and lost every match. He then implied that they may not have been professionally trained for the sport and were simply using the competition as a way of entering the EU. While varied resources and levels of training can produce performance gaps among contestants in international competitions, videos of the students at the event might reveal their proficiency in the sport they flew to Croatia to compete in.

What about MUP’s claims that the students may have been involved with illegal smugglers?

In the same interview, Ničeno claimed that they have information that the students may have been involved with illegal smugglers. What evidence do they have to support that claim?

Did Bosnian officials offer to help the students return to Nigeria?

Ničeno also claimed that Bosnian officials offered to help the students return home to Nigeria, but they allegedly refused and expressed a desire to return to Croatia and apply for asylum. Did this help offer include buying them one-way tickets home? Bosnian official have not confirmed Ničeno's claims.

Follow our Politics page here to stay updated on this story, MUP activities, and the migrant crisis in Croatia.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Dance Workshop with Ištvan Varga Organised for Young Asylum Seekers in Zagreb

Junior Chamber International Zagreb (JCI Zagreb) and Are You Syrious? association are organising various events and with the aim of providing entertaining, educational and cultural content so that the children and young people from Porin, Zagreb Center for Asylum Seekers, could integrate into society.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Interior Ministry Denies Claims about Unsatisfactory Conditions in Centre for Asylum Seekers

Asylum seekers protest against conditions in the accommodation centre in Zagreb.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Croatia to Accept up to 550 Asylum Seekers Over Next 2 Years

Croatia to take in asylum seekers over next two years.