Croatian Government Called on to stop Attacking Civil Society

Encouraged by the verdict issued to the Are You Syrious volunteer, Platform 112 has expressed concern over long-term pressure from the Ministry of the Interior towards activists, volunteers and all those who support refugees.

A few months ago, during a conference about police violence against refugees, people in Croatia were able to witness activists being asked to come in for questioning. Now there is a non-legally binding verdict and opaque communication of information, as well the disabling of the work of an independent national human rights institution, the Ombudswoman, when accessing the data necessary to carry out an assessment.

Croatian Government undermining fundamental rights

By restricting the space for civil society action and anyone who publicly criticizes the policies and practices of the ruling party, democracy and fundamental rights are being undermined. This also undermines the rule of law, but instead of carrying out investigations and taking warnings from the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, UNHCR and other relevant institutions and organisations seriously, the Ministry of the Interior continues to violate national and international legislation. It is precisely these warnings that are a sign that activists, volunteers and all those who help refugees are not only showing elementary humanity, solidarity and support for those in disadvantaged positions, but they are doing so in compliance with statutory rules.

Croatia joins list of EU countries trying to disable groups that support refugees

Unfortunately, Croatia is not alone in such practices among European Union countries. Threats, court proceedings and punishments for those who help refugees can also be seen in Hungary, Greece, Italy and France. For years now, Hungary has, in addition to violating the rights of refugees, been trying to punish and disable the work of those who help refugees, which has led to a situation in which the European Parliament last month voted in favour of activating an extraordinary procedure that protects democracy and civil liberties. The Italian Government has also decided to punish solidarity, and it went so far as to detain the mayor of Riacea, a town known for successes in integrating foreigners, and expelling those that had settled there. Solidarity, proclaimed as one of the fundamental European values, is increasingly losing its meaning, and Croatia has joined the list of countries that punish solidarity and restrict the freedom of human rights organizations.

Platform 112 demands that ministers put a stop to these attacks

Platform 112 denounces the behavior of the Ministry of the Interior and the Government of the Republic of Croatia, which are trying to intimidate and criminalise people on the move, as well as those that support them. The question now is, who will stop other human rights violations if the Ministry of the Interior has already ceased responding to requests for answers from independent institutions. Platform 112 also urges Prime Minister Plenković and Minister Božinović to urgently stop these intense attacks from the Ministry of the Interior on human rights organizations, enable investigations of independent institutions, and punish those who violate human rights rather than those who protect these rights.