Access to detention facilities

Croatia

Country Report: Access to detention facilities Last updated: 12/01/21

Author

Croatian Law Centre Visit Website

According to the Detention Centre Ordinance, after being placed in the centre, individuals are entitled to one free phone call with their country's diplomatic mission or consular office, and to another private phone call lasting up to 3 minutes.[1]

Persons are allowed to receive visits at least twice a week.[2] The centre must be notified about the visit in writing at least two days earlier. A visit may be prohibited if it is established that the visitor is not announced or if he or she poses a threat to public order, public security and health or that he or she is prone to improper behaviour and violation of regulations. Visits to third-country nationals shall take place in a special room for visits. The visit may last for up to an hour, regardless of the number of visitors. On an exceptional basis, a visit may last longer if approved by the head of the centre or the person designated by the head of the centre.

Persons shall be provided with an opportunity to communicate with their attorney and the competent national or international institutions or organisations in the field of protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, with which the Ministry of Interior has concluded a cooperation agreement. In order to effectively realise such communication, the attorney and representatives of humanitarian and other organisations for the protection of human rights shall be provided with access to the centre in accordance with the rules on visits,[3] meaning that visits must be announced two day in advance and may last up to maximum one hour.

 

Access of lawyers to detention facilities

 

Attorneys at law reported problems in accessing the Reception Centre Ježevo as well as problems in relation to privacy with their client.[4]

The Civil Rights Project (CRP), an NGO that provides free legal aid to applicants for international protection in the procedure before Administrative Court reported that they have improved their cooperation with the Reception Centre for Foreigners in Ježevo. CRP announces every visit two days in advance by e-mail. According to CRP, the privacy of conversations with the client depends on the individual assessment made by police officers of the clients’s behaviour, i.e. risks of violence and/or aggression.[5]

 

 Access of NGOs and UNHCR to detention facilities

 

In practice, some NGOs have faced obstacles to accessing detention centres in 2019. The Centre for Peace Studies reported that their employees did not have access to the Reception Centre for Foreigners in Ježevo and the Transit Reception Centre for Foreigners in Tovarnik.[6]

The Centre for Peace studies tried to gain access to the Centres in Tovarnik and Trilj in the context of a research on the rights of the victims in detention, however their access was denied. They also tried to gain access to the Reception Centre for Foreigners in Ježevo in vain, based on the argument that the centre has concluded many agreements on co-operation and was therefore overburdened with the organisation of numerous visits by NGOs and lawyers. Centre for Peace Studies does not have access to Centre in Ježevo since 2018.

Are you Syrious (AYS) did not ask for access to Reception Centres in Ježevo, Trilj and Tovarnik in the course of 2019. Nevertheless, they emphasized, that, unlike in previous years, it became impossible to find out whether a particular person was detained, for example in situations where AYS was contacted by the family of the person who assumed that a person may be in detention and asked AYS to contact the centre to check accordingly.[7]

The Croatian Red Cross has access to the Reception Centre for Foreigners in Ježevo when needed.[8]

According to information available at JRS website[9], JRS team is present every week in the Reception Centre for Foreigners where they provide legal counselling, psychosocial support and organise different cultural and sports activities in order to raise the quality of life. UNHCR has also access to the Centre. However, every visit should be announced in advance.

 


[1] Articles 4 and 21 Detention Centre Ordinance.

[2] Article 22 Detention Centre Ordinance.

[3] Article 26(3) Detention Centre Ordinance, citing Article 22.

[4] Information provided by attorneys at law, 3 December 2019.

[5] Information provided by Civil Rights Project, 6 December 2019.

[6] Information provided by the Centre for Peace Studies, 24 December 2019.

[7] Information provided by the Are you Syrious, 27 January 2020

[8]  Information provided by the Croatian Red Cross, 20 December 2019.

[9] The JRS website is available at: https://bit.ly/2RiMdWS.

 

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