By the end of November last year, more than 400,000 migrants entered Croatia and quickly continued on their way to Hungary and Slovenia and in 2015, the government approved 32 applications for asylum, an annual report by Human Rights Watch about human rights in the world in 2015 shows.
The HRW “World Report 2016” presents a review of the respect of human rights in more than 90 countries for the period Nov 2014 – Nov 2015.
By the end of November 2015, according to HRW, 441,931 migrants and asylum seekers had entered Croatia. almost all of them spent very little time in the country and continued on their way toward Hungary (until it closed its borders) or Slovenia.
Croatia struggled tomeet their basic needs, HRW says, recalling that it temporarily shut its border with Serbia and limited entry to certain nationalities.
According to HRW data, since 2006, fewer than 5,000 people had applied for asylum in Croatia and by July 2015, only 165 applications for some form of protection had been approved. In 2015, only 32 applications were approved.
“Long-term asylum seekers and refugees face difficulties in accessing housing, health services, and education. Unaccompanied migrant and asylum-seeking children continue to be placed in a residential home for children with behavior problems and in reception centers for adults, without adequate guardianship or specific protection,” the report notes.
While the Croatian government made some progress in protecting the rights of people with disabilities, the guardianship system continues to deny roughly 18,000 people with disabilities the right to make decisions about their lives.
Implementation of a 2011 deinstitutionalization plan progressed slowly and excludes people with disabilities in psychiatric hospitals and foster homes for adults. More than 7,500 people remained institutionalized as of September 2015, HRW says.
In April 2015, the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities urged the Croatian government to ensure that its domestic laws protect the rights of people with disabilities, HRW recalls. Croatia also has to resolve more than 220 war crimes cases, the report adds.
The European Court of Human Rights in February ruled that Croatia violated the fair trial rights of a dual Croatian-Serbian national convicted in his absence of war crimes and unable to obtain a retrial.
The UN Human Rights Committee adopted concluding observations on Croatia in April, including concerns about discrimination and violence against members of ethnic minority groups, particularly Roma and Serbs.
Serbs stripped of tenancy rights during the war faced ongoing difficulties in benefiting from the 2010 government programme that permits the purchase of property at below-market rates.
The Roma community is particularly faced with difficulties accessing basic state services, such as health care, social assistance, and adequate housing. Roma children are de facto segregated in the education sector, HRW underscored in its report.