The city of Rijeka decided to help and provide a temporary reception center for migrants in the move

Concerning the continuous arrival of refugees and other migrants in Croatia who, due to their unregulated residence, are denied access to accommodation facilities, hygiene facilities, and other services essential to life, local self-government units in Croatia (mainly Zagreb, Rijeka, Pazin, Buje, and Buzet) are currently facing with a serious humanitarian crisis. The city of Rijeka, as the first local self-government unit in Croatia, decided to provide a temporary reception center for migrants at the Rijeka railway station, which will include hygiene containers, mobile sanitary facilities, and tents for the distribution of meals, however, this decision was met with resistance from Croatian railroads infrastructure which opposes placing any containers or tents near the railway station.

Similar to the Rijeka station, we are witnessing a dehumanizing situation also at the Zagreb Central Station for some time now, where people find refuge in an area without basic living conditions. This week we also witnessed a police intervention by which a group of people who were there was stuffed into a police van and taken in an unknown direction. Such practices allegedly take place daily. However, unlike in Rijeka, where the City and the Archdiocese are actively trying to find a solution to the current situation and provide people with basic humanitarian conditions, in Zagreb we are still waiting for the reaction of the local authorities. It is high time to stop postponing solidarity – we call on the City of Zagreb to react urgently and direct its resources to the organization of accommodation, access to showers and adequate sanitary facilities, help with food, and the organization of other services crucial to life.

The Ministry of the Interior published new statistics regarding persons who applied for international protection in Croatia, according to which in the period from January to the end of 2022, 7,258 persons applied for international protection, of which, among others, 1,554 came from Iraq (880 men and 674 women), 1,150 from Turkey (678 men and 472 women), 1,123 from Afghanistan (724 men and 399 women), 1,123 from Burundi (541 men and 466 women) and 715 from Cuba (386 men and 329 women).

In the same period, only 16 persons received approval for international protection, and in the first 6 months of 2022, the Ministry of the Interior made only 60 first-instance decisions on international protection.

Soran Ghasemi, also experienced the practice of refusing international protection to asylum seekers. In the Newsroom of N1 television, he described the torture and other treatment he went through in Iran after he converted from Islam to Christianity, and the reasons why Croatia refused to provide him with international protection.

In September 2022, the Ministry of the Interior terminated the interdepartmental agreement with the Ministry of Science and Education, based on which financial resources obtained from the European Union Fund for Asylum, Migration, and Integration were used for the organization of Croatian language, history and culture courses for persons under international protection due to violations principles of good financial management and rules of the profession and non-compliance with agreed deadlines by the Ministry of Science and Education. Given the lack of further information, the question arises as to whether and when a new organization of Croatian language courses for persons granted international protection will be established.

The German Ministry of the Interior organized a meeting within the framework of the “Berlin Process” with the ministers of the interior and other officials of Austria, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Croatia, Italy, Poland, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, of Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Serbia, where the suppression of irregular migration through the so-called “Balkan routes”. At the meeting, among other things, it was discussed about the need to change the visa systems of non-EU countries with a focus on Serbia, which within its visa system enables visa-free travel from countries such as Cuba, Tunisia, and Burundi, and it was decided that such systems will have to be adapted to EU laws about visas. Serbia made a decision to abolish the visa-free regime for Burundi and Tunisia, which entered into force on October 20, 2022, with the announcement that it will fully align with the EU’s visa policy by the end of the year. Regards the mentioned decision, the civil society organization Klikaktiv – Center for the Development of Social Policies publicly called out the European Union for creating a narrative about Serbia as a “producer of refugees” in contrast to the actual situation on the ground, in which refugees mostly come from countries “where extremely repressive regimes rule or many years of wars and for which Europe again claims that there is no place, and their lives are threatened”.


Human Rights Watch called on the EU to declare Turkey an unsafe third country based on the criteria set out in Article 38 of Directive 2013/32/EU on common procedures for the recognition and withdrawal of international protection. Namely, although Turkey provided protection to 3.6 million Syrian refugees, in the period from February to July 2022, the Turkish authorities arbitrarily arrested, detained, and deported hundreds of Syrian refugees to the northern part of Syria.

FragDenStaat, Der Spiegel, and Lighthouse Reports published on their websites a report by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) in which it was revealed that Frontex – the European Border and Coast Guard Agency – actively covered up the pushbacks carried out at the borders of Greece in way that in some situations they deliberately suspended air surveillance in order to avoid recording illegal activities, then by co-financing Greek units that carried out pushbacks and by deceiving the authorities responsible for Frontex surveillance.

There is a worrying phenomenon regarding the alleged limited accommodation capacities of individual EU member states, which results in a threat to human dignity and in some cases the spread of homelessness among refugees and other migrants:

After last week’s announcements that Croatia is ready for Schengen, the Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) of the European Parliament supported Croatia’s accession to the Schengen area from the beginning of 2023, stating that the need for constant assessment of respect for fundamental rights at the external borders has been met by introducing independent mechanism in Croatia. We remind you that the Center for Peace Studies has on several occasions warned about numerous shortcomings of the Independent Mechanism for the supervision of the actions of police officers of the Ministry of the Interior in the field of illegal migration and international protection, from which it is clear that the said mechanism is financially, politically and operationally dependent on the Ministry of the Interior and completely ineffective in monitoring active violations of rights at Croatia’s borders.

Final recommendations:

  • A new episode of Troglas talks about the invisible work of love, the struggle for a fairer society than the ones we live in, and about taking care of our own and the mental health of those around us. About the reasons for the protest of international solidarity with the women of Iran under the slogan “Women, life, freedom”, the Iranian woman from Zagreb, Samane Fatemeh Riehani, who was recently followed by Troglas cameras in a protest in front of the Iranian embassy, ​​where she tried to warn about the current position of women in Iran by cutting her hair and protests across that country. Sara Kekuš from the Center for Peace Studies talks about activism that leaves too many traces, about burnout due to violence and co-traumatization, along with the presentation of the “Pocket Guide for Brave People”. Artist and activist Selma Banich talks about the possibilities of healing the hope that a different world is possible, through reflection on her practice as a practice of “play and rebellion”. Her political work “Movements” in collaboration with Sara Salamon was recently exhibited at the 57th Zagreb Salon of Visual Arts.
  • As a reflection on the current crisis in the Netherlands with the provision of accommodation for asylum seekers, Vice published an article about the experiences of LGBTIQ+ asylum seekers in the Netherlands.


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