CROATIA: Ministry of Interior puts pressures on lawyers and civil society organizations working with refugees

(Platforma 112) Platform 112 strongly condemns the recent pressures the Ministry of Interior has been putting on lawyers and civil society organizations in Croatia. Platform 112 also urges Prime Minister Plenković and Interior Minister Davor Božinović to restrain the police and stop violating the rule of law in the Republic of Croatia.

For the past ten days the organizations Are you Syrious?, Centre for Peace Studies (CPS), as well as a lawyer’s office protecting the rights of refugees, came under the intense pressure applied by the Ministry of Interior. The pressure is related to the tragic death of a 6-year old refugee Afghan girl, Madina. The police have announced filing a lawsuit against the Are you Syrious? volunteer who helped Madina’s family after they entered Croatia. At the same time the lawyers Ivo Jelavić and Sanja Bezbradica Jelavic who represent Madina’s family, have faced intimidation. After announcing the press-conference where Centre for Peace Studies and Are you Syrious? would reveal the methods of intimidation and hiding the truth about Madina’s death, the police began knocking on the doors of their activists asking them to attend informational talks in the police station, scheduled at the exactly same time as the press-conference.

At a press conference held at 10AM on the 18 of April, both the CSOs and attorneys have talked about the situation of Madina’s family, especially in relation to the temporary measure of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as of the living conditions of other families in detention at the Transit-Reception Center for Foreigners in Tovarnik. At the beginning of April this year, the European Court of Human Rights has issued a interim measure ordering the Ministry of Interior to immediately place the family in such a setting where they would not be exposed to inhuman or degrading treatment. The CPS then called on the Ministry of Interior to immediately execute the Court’s decision and allow Madina’s family to stay in a safe place without restricting their freedom of movement. The same request would be applied to all other families in the detention centre.

The Platform 112 supports the protection of the human rights of refugees in Croatia and calls on Prime Minister Plenković and Minister Božinović to immediately stop this intimidation of human rights activists and lawyers. These disturbing actions violate some of the fundamental rights, not only of refugees, but also of citizens of the Republic of Croatia.

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