Government Abandons Plans to Punish Providing Humanitarian Aid to Illegal Aliens

Total Croatia News

Initial plans included a 23,000 kuna fine for giving humanitarian help to illegal aliens.

During a roundtable about the proposed amendments to the Law on Aliens, which was organized by the Centre for Peace Studies, a representative of the Interior Ministry said that the Centre’s objections had been accepted and that it would not be against the law to provide aid to foreigners who had illegally entered Croatia if the aid is being provided for humanitarian reasons, reports on April 19, 2016.

Participants of the roundtable warned that the proposal for amendments to the Law on Aliens included a series of measures to criminalize providing aid, even for humanitarian reasons, to people with unregulated status. They stated that financial fines would further discourage solidarity among people.

Helping people in unregulated status, when it is being done from humanitarian reasons, should not be punished, said Vanja Bakalović from the Centre and noted that in Croatia there are many cases of people who are unable to return to their country of origin and therefore illegally stay in Croatia.

Lidija Pentavec from the Office for Illegal Migrations of the Interior Ministry said that the Ministry had accepted the proposal of the Centre for Peace Studies and that providing assistance to aliens in illegal entry, stay or movement through Croatia would not be punishable if it was being done for humanitarian reasons. “Providing aid for humanitarian reasons is not considered as being against the law – if you are saving lives, preventing injuries or providing emergency medical assistance. If you are providing help without one of these three reasons and get caught, you can be punished”, she added.

As for the conditions for detention of foreigners at border crossings, she announced that there would be strict rules about conditions in which they will be detained. There is also the possibility of alternative detention. “If you have aliens who fulfill the requirements for alternative detention and they have a family here, they may be ordered to stay with the family. If aliens have financial resources, they can rent an apartment”, she added.


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