Croatia's Criminalization and Detention of Refugees Must Stop!

Refugees in Croatia are systematically discriminated against based on gender and alleged marital status, and their right to freedom of movement is breached by their detention in closed centers.
The "Welcome!" Initiative has published its report "Criminalization and detention of refugees" regarding the situation of refugees who were relocated to the detention center in Ježevo following the closure of the camp in Slavonski Brod.

Symbolically, on Europe Day – the Europe that did not pass the human rights test in the current humanitarian crisis and failed to provide protection for people who are fleeing from wars – the Welcome! Initiative stressed that refugees are systematically discriminated against based on gender and alleged marital status.

After more than a month – and in some cases nearly two months – of captivity and isolation in Slavonski Brod, they were moved to the reception center for asylum seekers in Ježevo.

The reception center in Ježevo has key infrastructural and functional characteristics of the prison, but with a worrying exception: the detention is carried out without the previous judicial process, with rudimentary judicial supervision and obligation of payment for accommodation.

A restriction of the freedom of movement in any form is by nature a highly individualized measure and therefore is subjected to a strict test of its legality and justification; in this case, it is applied collectively and automatically, without consideration of individual cases and alternative models.

Equal conditions

Croatian and European legislation justifies detention only in exceptional cases, as a measure that is applied only if there are no other sufficient, but less restrictive, measures.

Objecting to the detention as an aspect of the system of criminalizing people who are searching international protection, the "Welcome!" Initiative expects the competent institutions and bodies to launch mechanisms for the protection of all disempowered, captured, isolated and injured refugees.

Focused on the context described above, the initiative demands that the institutions provide equal conditions to all refugees who were imprisoned in the Slavonski Brod camp, and, regarding those who are now in Ježevo, to immediately allow them the freedom of movement and placement in open institutions such as the Porin reception center for asylum seekers.

Read more in the full report.