ZAGREB, February 15, 2018 – Interior Minister Davor Božinović on Thursday told reporters, in reference to an alleged case of a nine-year-old unaccompanied migrant being deported from Croatia, that no such case was identified in police records.
Božinović told a press conference that it was odd that the public was debating a case of Croatian police unlawfully deporting a nine-year-old unaccompanied child yet there was no information of who the child was or when this occurred. “What I do know is what I said yesterday, that the chief police director wrote to the ombudswoman requesting information on this matter considering that police records do not have evidence of any such case,” Božinović said when asked whether there was any news on that case, after Ombudswoman Lora Vidović warned the police with regard to their behaviour toward migrants.
Asked whether he felt responsible for this case and whether he would step down if that information is proved correct, the minister retorted, “You reported that an unaccompanied child aged nine was deported from Croatia. What else did you report in that case, which child and when did it happen,” he asked.
Asked what would he do if it was his child, Božinović said it would be difficult to imagine such a situation, adding that tragic events could occur with a child being in such a situation. However, he reiterated that no-one has proved that such a case even existed. The police director is asking for information about where, when and which child, because if something has been released to the public then it would be proper and normal to say to whom and what this refers to, he concluded.
Yesterday, Minister Božinović warned that certain information had been publicly released before it was even communicated to the Ministry, after which, according to the media, the Ombudswoman’s office replied that all the information concerning that case had been delivered to the authorities last June.
Asked how many migrants had entered Croatia since he took up office, Božinović said that statistics of this kind were not kept according to a timeline of appointments of office-holders.
As far as legal migrations were concerned, he said that, in 2015, Croatia took on the obligation to reallocate a certain number of migrants based on the principle of solidarity with Greece and Italy. To date, 81 migrants have come to Croatia, whereas 76 Syrian migrants have been resettled from Turkey. There are about 500 people in migrant centres at the moment whereas last year, their number was 4,000.