ZAGREB, April 25, 2019 – Croatian authorities have been providing well for migrants but the existing accommodation capacity is insufficient for unaccompanied migrant children, reads a report by the Council of Europe released on Wednesday.
“Croatian authorities have succeeded in providing fairly good material reception conditions, both for adults and children… The authorities expressed the understanding that the existing institutions were not adequate for unaccompanied migrant and refugee children,” reads the report by Tomas Boček, Special Representative of the Secretary General on migration and refugees.
Due to this, Croatian authorities plan to open two new reception centres in 2019 to accommodate unaccompanied children.
While substantial efforts have been made by all actors to provide shelter and basic services to the migrant population, the authorities should improve the coordination of assistance to migrants and refugees and implement standards for adequate and safe reception centres for women and children, notably unaccompanied children in Bosnia and Herzegovina, says Boček, whose report deals with the status of migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and is based on data collected by the Council of Europe missions in the two countries from June 24 to 27 and November 26 to 30, 2018.
In 2018 Croatia made attempts to prevent illegal border crossings, with some nongovernmental organisations accusing Croatian police of excessive use of force. “It is important that all border management operations are carried out with a view to identifying people in need of international protection,” reads the report.
Boček suggests that Croatia should introduce credible complaint mechanisms and investigations to address the allegations of ill-treatment at the border.
The Council of Europe also encourages Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to develop alternatives to existing migrant reception centres.
In 2018 Croatia registered more than 7,500 migrants, of whom 352 asylum-seekers stayed in the country, while Bosnia and Herzegovina registered 24,000 migrants, 20 times more than in the previous year. Currently, between 4,000 and 5,000 migrants are in Bosnia and Herzegovina and they wish to cross the border into Croatia, according to Boček’s report.
The report also notes that the Council of Europe Development Bank and the EU have co-funded the construction of new reception centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
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