Panel: Huge refugee wave won’t hit Croatia


According to all relevant information, Croatia will not see a huge refugee wave but if this were to happen, all the relevant services and institutions are prepared to resolve that problem and meet its obligations to take in 550 refugees from Syria, a panel discussion of experts organised by the Human Rights Ombudswoman’s Office heard on Monday.

Border police chief Zlatko Sokolar said that a huge wave of refugees pouring into Croatia was not likely after Hungary tightens its border controls on Tuesday.
Around 20,000 police officers are engaged to deal with refugees, of whom 6,000 are controlling the state border. Around 30 police officers are involved in joint EU rescue missions in the Mediterranean, helping to save lives and assist hundreds of refugees, Sokolar said.
Eight refugees from Syria entered Croatia on Saturday and have been placed in a migrant centre in Zagreb. The greatest accommodation space available is in Kutina and the State Property Management Office could offer certain facilities if need be.
Sokolar underscored that Croatia could accept around 3,000 refugees in collection centres and that a problem could emerge with refugees wishing to move on to other European countries.
A representative of the UNHCR, Terence Pike, said that due to wars last year there were 60 million refugees, 9 million more than the year before.
Among the 4 million Syrian refugees, around 40% are children and 12% are pregnant women who require additional protection, representatives of the UNHCR, UNICEF and Children’s Ombudswoman’s Office said.
Croatia will be able to deal with the refugee problem, it was heard, because of its recent history and it is one of the few countries that has the know-how with regard to accommodating refugees. Citizens are calling the UNHCR and offering to take in refugees but are not sure how to do so and whether they will be in violation of the law if they do.
Sokolar underscored that according to current legislation this was not permitted, however, under the circumstances, charges would not be pressed against anyone.