Status of Asylum Seekers in Croatia Criticized

Total Croatia News

Many asylum seekers say they get more help from NGOs than from the state.

Participants of a roundtable about asylum seekers, which was organized on Wednesday evening in Zagreb by the Forward Croatia political party, urged the Interior Ministry not to delay procedures more than it was necessary and to take into account all those cases in which asylum seekers’ freedom or life would be in danger if they were deported. They said that Croatian society should be open towards refugees as it was in the 1990s, reports Jutarnji List on March 30, 2017.

Former Interior Minister Ranko Ostojić (SDP) criticized the current government because “there is no immigration policy”’ and described the manner in which the Interior Ministry managed the migrant crisis in late 2015. He confirmed the information of the Centre for Peace Studies that the police has acted improperly towards asylum seekers on the border between Croatia and Serbia in the last several months, which has also been confirmed by international organizations for the protection of human rights.

On the other hand, Tvrtko Baron from the Jesuit Refugee Service praised the cooperation between the Interior Ministry, the Red Cross and other non-governmental organizations, but noted that some NGOs were leaving the Porin migrant centre in Zagreb and added that there was a need for more efforts in the integration of asylum seekers. He criticized the Education Ministry for “not carrying out, although it is demanded by the law, the activities for teaching asylum seekers the Croatian language, which is done instead by volunteers from his and other organizations”.

Mihal Kreko for the Baptist church in Malešnica agreed that the state was not doing much, despite the efforts done by the Interior Ministry. He spoke about the particular situation of Iranian asylum seekers, testifying that they are honest people.

Tihomir Kukolja, director of the Forum for Leadership and Reconciliation, spoke about the situation with religious freedoms in Iran. A testimony about the situation in Iran was also given by asylum seeker Donya Spanta, who asked everybody whether they thought that the refugees had crossed the Mediterranean and passed the Balkan Route just because they no longer felt like staying in Iran. The roundtable was also addressed by Palestinian Ahmed Tsramsi, who described circumstances in Gaza and what made him leave his wife and two young children in order to save his own life.


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