Provision of information on the procedure

Croatia

Country Report: Provision of information on the procedure Last updated: 12/01/21

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The LITP prescribes that the Ministry of Interior is obliged, within 15 days from the expression of the intention to apply for international protection, to inform an applicant about the procedure for international protection, about rights and obligations applicants are entitled to in the procedure, and about the possibility to get free legal aid and to get into contact with UNHCR representatives and representatives of other organisations dealing with the protection of refugees’ rights.[1] This information must be given in the applicant’s own language or in a language he or she can be reasonably supposed “to be able to communicate” in.[2] The law does not specify whether the information should be provided orally or in writing. The same type of information is provided with the same modalities to applicants during all types of procedures except in border procedure where this information should be given by police officers.[3]

Official information on the procedure

At the beginning of the interview, the applicant is also informed about his or her duties in the procedure and during the interview. According to the Ministry of Interior, in general, information is provided during the process of lodging the application for international protection in the presence of interpreter and information is also given to the person in writing.[4] An information sheet, together with the rest of the documents (House Rules of the Reception Centre, information on Dublin procedure etc)  is available in Albanian, Amharic, Arabic, Bengali, English, Farsi, French, Russian, Tigrinya, Turkish, Pashto and Urdu.[5] According to the Ministry of Interior, if information is not translated in a particular language, then it is translated from Croatian in the presence of an interpreter.

Applicants are informed about the Dublin procedure when expressing the intention to apply international protection, and later on when lodging the application for international protection. They are provided with information explaining the purpose of the Dublin procedure as well as the purpose of taking fingerprints and of the Eurodac database. Also, information has clarified the procedure to be carried out if the applicant for international protection is unaccompanied child. The above information is available in 8 language versions: Urdu, English, French, Arabic, Croatian, Somali, Farsi and Turkish.[6]

The decision on the transfer that applicants receive include the ground for application of the Dublin Regulation, and also information on the fact that they can lodge a complaint before the Administrative Court within 8 days from the delivery of the decision. The Ministry of Interior does not provide a written translation of the Dublin decision, but they do explain it orally in a language that the applicant understands during the delivery of the decision itself.

No information is available on the common leaflet and the specific leaflet for unaccompanied children according to the Article 4(3) of the Dublin III Regulation.

Information on the procedure from NGOs

NGOs also provide information on asylum system. Some NGOs have issued leaflets and brochures which are also available in the Reception Centre for Applicants for International Protection, as well in Reception Centre for Foreigners. A Croatian Law Centre leaflet contains basic information on the procedure and rights and obligations during the procedure and is available in the both Receptions Centre for Applicants for International Protection and in the Reception Centre for Foreigners in Arabic, Croatian, English, Farsi, French, Pashto, Somali, Turkish and Urdu. The leaflet is also available online on the Croatian Law Centre’s web page.[7]

The Centre for Peace Studies, an NGO also working within the integration of beneficiaries of international protection, has issued different leaflets dealing with inclusion into society, accommodation, education, free legal aid, family, religion, health and social care. The leaflets are available in Croatian, English and French. The Centre for Peace Studies has also issued a brochure entitled “Welcome to Croatian Society”, containing information on Croatian history, the political system of Croatia, cultural differences, information on detention, a short overview of asylum procedure etc.[8]

The Centre for Missing and Exploited Children has produced and printed leaflets for unaccompanied children, available in Croatian, English, Arabic and Farsi.[9]

The Croatian Law Centre, within the project entitled “Improving the protection of the rights of unaccompanied children”, has prepared leaflet for unaccompanied children. Leaflets are recorded as mp3 format in Arabic, Croatian, English, Farsi and Pashto.[10]

Information at the border

In the past, foreigners arriving at the borders generally did not have access to information about the procedure. Leaflets aligned with the LITP were prepared by the Croatian Law Centre and UNHCR in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior and distributed by the Ministry of Interior. At some border crossing points, there is a lack of available interpreters. This prevents effective communication between foreigners (among whom some are potential applicants i.e. applicants for international protection) and border officers. However, according to the LITP third-country nationals or stateless persons in a reception centre, at a border crossing or in a transit zone of an airport, sea port or inland water port who wish to express their intention to apply for international protection shall be provided by police officers with all necessary information on the procedure for the approval of international protection in a language which they may justifiably be expected to understand and in which they are able to communicate.[11]

In practice, persons may seek international protection at police stations at the border but are not proactively informed of that possibility, although the authorities have indicated that border guards have received training on how to recognise indications that a person wishes to seek protection. Interpretation at the border is also problematic, especially for Afghan and Pakistani nationals.[12] Problems with regard to access to the territory and then accordingly to the asylum system which started in late 2016 have persisted in 2017, 2018 and 2019 (see Access to the territory and push backs).

With regard to decisions, these are written only in Croatian and are translated orally by an interpreter to the applicant during the delivery of the decision. However, due to the legal terms used in the decision, the level of understanding of that information by applicants is questionable (including the information on the available legal remedy and its deadline).

 


[1] Article 59(2) LITP.

[2] Article 14 LITP.

[3] Article 59(1) LITP.

[4] Information provided by the Ministry of Interior, 28 January 2019.

[5] Information provided by the Ministry of Interior, 28 January 2019.

[6] Information provided by the Ministry of Interior, 28 January 2019.

[7] The leaflet may be found at: https://bit.ly/2HaFZ7I

[8]  According to the Centre for Peace Studies, the brochure is available in Arabic, Croatian, Farsi, French, English, Russian and Turkish.

[9] Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, Welcome to Croatia: Guide for unaccompanied children, available at: https://bit.ly/2TBXncq.

[10] Croatian Law Centre, ‘Izrađen informativni letak za djecu bez pratnje u audio formatu – dostupan i na web stranici HPC-a’, 17 July 2017, available at https://bit.ly/2H9BpX3

[11] Article 59(1) LITP.

[12] ECRE, Balkan route reversed, December 2016, 11-12.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation