The updated AIDA Country Report on Croatia details legislative and practice-related developments in asylum procedures, reception conditions, detention of asylum seekers and content of international protection.

Asylum procedure: Reports of refoulement or push backs at the border have continued in 2018. The Ombudswoman requested an investigation but was denied access to data and information. Non-governmental organisations Are you Syrious and the Centre for Peace Studies, as well as attorneys, accused the Ministry of Interior of putting pressure on human rights organisations and lawyers with the aim of diverting public attention from an investigation into the death of a six-year-old Afghan girl, Madina Hosseini, who died in 2017 after her family was pushed back to Serbia from Croatian territory. The case M.H. v. Croatia was brought by the family of Madina Hosseini before the European Court of Human Rights and was communicated on 11 May 2018.

A new Protocol on the treatment of unaccompanied children was adopted. The protocol establishes am Interdepartmental Commission for the protection of unaccompanied children.

Reception conditions: In July 2018, the Ministry of Interior’s Independent Sector for Schengen Coordination and EU Funds decided to allocate funding for the implementation of the project “Establishing Infrastructure and Capacity Building of the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers in Mala Gorica within the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund”. In accordance with this decision, the Government of the Republic of Croatia plans to build a Reception Centre for asylum seekers near Petrinja, in the place of Mala Gorica.

Access to health care remained a persistent issue for asylum seekers. Mental health has also been highlighted as a key concern.

Detention of asylum seekers: Detention of vulnerable persons, including children was observed in 2018. In the case of the Hosseini family, the Constitutional Court rejected the complaints relating to ill-treatment stemming from the conditions in Tovarnik, and to a violation of the right to life in its procedural aspect.

Problems with access and communication with detained asylum seekers in the Reception Centre for Foreigners were reported by attorneys. The Centre for Peace Studies was not allowed to access the Reception Centre for Foreigners in Ježevo and the Transit Reception Centre in Tovarnik. Although Transit Reception Centres for Foreigners in Tovarnik and Trilj should be used for detention of irregular migrants for a short period, in 2018, a practice of long-term detention of applicants for international protection was observed. The newly adopted Ordinance of stay in the Reception Centre for Foreigners restricts visits to the Centre for non-governmental organisations, attorneys, and even representatives of institutions such as the Ombudsperson.

*This information was first published by AIDA managed by ECRE

This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin . You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.