The previous Action plan for the integration of beneficiaries of international protection, which covered the period from 2017-2019, foresaw the adoption of a relocation plan once a year to monitor the integration of persons granted international protection based on their needs.This was never applied in practice, however. As the Integration Action Plan expired at the end of 2019, a new one is under development, covering the period from 2020 to 2022.
On 14 November 2019, the Government issued a decision on the composition of the new Permanent Commission for the Implementation of Integration of Foreigners in Croatian Society. The latter will be composed of representatives of: state administration’s bodies, Governmental Offices, local and regional self-government units, public institutions as well as of a representative of a non-governmental organisation. The composition of this new commission has been modified insofar as it provides for the appointment of a representative of local and regional unit and a representative of non-governmental organization, which were not part of the previous commission.
Basic information for the Integration of Foreigners can be found in an amended guide for integration which was prepared by the Croatian Governmental Office for Human Rights and the Rights of National Minorities in 2019. The guide is available in 7 languages (Croatian, English, French, Ukrainian, Arabic, Urdu and Farsi). The Croatian Red Cross has also prepared leaflets in 4 languages (English, Arabic, Farsi, French) containing basic information for beneficiaries of international protection as well as contact details to relevant institutions and NGOs.
IOM Croatia has further issued a Guidebook for the stakeholders involved in the integration process of the persons granted the international protection. The manual is available in Croatian and English. IOM Croatia is participating in the European Commission (DG HOME) funded project “COMMIT: Facilitating the integration of resettled refugees in Croatia, Italy, Portugal and Spain”. Within this project, IOM Croatia contribute to following project action’s: systematising community support, including through building capacity of key stakeholders in receiving communities and piloting community mentorship schemes with specific attention to vulnerable groups, as well as fostering transnational exchange between new and experienced resettlement countries to identify and disseminate lessons learned and best practices beyond the project’s geographical scope.
As reported in previous years, beneficiaries of international protection still face challenges in exercising their rights in almost all areas, as persisting obstacles are still not sufficiently addressed at state level. The greatest problems are still related to learning the Croatian language, health care, employment, education and accommodation, as detailed in this Chapter.
In overcoming those challenges, beneficiaries are assisted by various NGOs:
- The Croatian Red Cross (CRC) has provided psychosocial support for beneficiaries of international protection in 2019 under their integration programme. Support was provided through an individual approach in various forms, such as direct assistance in exercising educational, employment, health and social rights, interpretation services in relation to enrolment in the education system, distribution of humanitarian aid, financial aid, support for children in learning. Beneficiaries can approach CRC in their integration premises every working day from 8.a.m until 4.p.m.
- Are you Syrious (AYS) provides various activities both in their integration centre and outside the centre. The organisation reported that it conducts an informal beginner's Croatian language course as well as an advanced Croatian language course, the latter one being organised in collaboration with Centre for Croatian as a Second and Foreign Language (Croaticum). Other activities include the requalification for scarce occupations, organized educational workshops and visits to cultural events for children under international protection; support for homework for children; provision of information in relation to various areas of integration etc. In 2019, Are You Syrious? printed leaflets related to their Free Social Shop. The leaflets are available in the following languages: English, Farsi, Kurumanji and Arabic. The leaflets were distributed at the Reception Centre for Applicants of International Protection.
- JRS provides language courses. Moreover, together with volunteers and refugees, they established “Staze”, the first newspaper in Croatia for refugees that is written by refugees themselves. “Staze” is published in four languages: Croatian, English, Arabic and Persian/Farsi. The newspaper covers topics relevant to refugees and the challenges they face. The workshop and publication creates a sense of community and gathers volunteer and refugees together to work on the same goal.
- At the end of November 2018, the Platform “Danube Compass” was introduced to help with migrants' economic and social integration into society. The Danube Compass covers living, working, language learning, education, daily life and health and offers an overview of main rights. The Croatian version brings content available in Croatian and English but also in Arabic, Farsi and Urdu. In May 2019, the final conference of the project “The Danube Region Information Platform for Economic Integration of Migrants – DRIM”, was held. The key outcomes were presented at the conference, outlining the information platform “Danube Compass“, which is designed to facilitate migrants' economic and social integration into the community, providing key information on all important aspects of life in an easily accessible way. “Danube Compass“ is thus a central place for all integration services that migrants can use, as well as the institutions and organisations that work with migrants.
- The Rehabilitation Centre for Stress and Trauma, in cooperation with the Centre for Peace Studies and its partners from Italy, Slovenia and Austria, has started developing an online information and learning tool intended primarily for refugees coming to EU countries through resettlement. Informative materials on Croatia are available in English, Arabic and Tigrinya on the WELCOMM website. A Web platform for integration is also provided by the NGO Mi.
- The lawyers of the Croatian Law Centre provided legal information to beneficiaries of international protection in CLC’s premises when needed and in the Integration House run by the Croatian Red Cross once a month in the course of 2019.
The Chapter: Content of International Protection in Croatia contains sections on: