UNHCR on How Croatian Bureaucracy is Rendering Some People Stateless

Total Croatia News

November 14, 2018 – While some foreigners may be having issues with Croatian bureaucracy getting residence permits, UNHCR has highlighted two cases where it has made people stateless.

We have featured several frustrated stories in the unwinnable battle with Croatian bureaucracy in recent weeks, particularly with regard to foreigners who are having difficulty getting residence permits, but a recent UNHCR article focuses on two cases where the failings of Croatian bureaucracy actually rendered two men stateless, despite the fact they have lived and worked in Croatia for decades. 

Boro Topolic, 63, came to Croatia from Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1975, has worked hard all his life and never been in trouble. After working much of his life as a welder in the shipyards of Split and Rijeka, he now drives a taxi. All was fine until he tried to buy the apartment he rented in a municipal block back in 2014. Already in possession of Croatian permanent residency and a BiH passport, he was informed that he had to be a Croatian citizen to be able to own the property. He was assured that this would be no problem, but he was required to renounce his BiH citizenship, which he did. 

And then yes – you guessed it – despite those assurances, having renounced his Bosnian citizenship, he then was refused citizenship by Croatia, leaving him stateless. Unable to reclaim his Bosnian citizenship, he now has a stateless person’s Croatian passport, which allows him to travel, but he must apply for a visa for Serbia, for example. 

Bedri, 56, was born in Kosovo and came to Croatia to work at the age of 17, back in 1979. He was conscripted to help the Croatian Army as a skilled civilian repairing vehicles during the Homeland War and applied for Croatian citizenship at that time. He was refused on the grounds that he was Albanian, even though he has never been to Albania in his life. According to UNHCR, he has been unable to work or get benefits for 25 years and lives in room in an abandoned house in Novska, tapping into the neighbours’ electricity, relying on them for food handouts and showers. 

To read the full story, visit the UNHCR website.


Subscribe to our newsletter

the fields marked with * are required
Email: *
First name:
Last name:
Gender: Male Female
Please don't insert text in the box below!

Leave a Comment