Place of detention

Croatia

Country Report: Place of detention Last updated: 27/05/21

Author

Croatian Law Centre Visit Website

Pre-removal and transit detention centres (“Reception Centres for Foreigners”)

Applicants for international protection are detained in the same premises as irregular migrants.[1]

There is a pre-removal detention centre (“Reception Centre for Foreigners”) in Ježevo, 30km from Zagreb, which has a total capacity of 95 places.[2] The centre has capacity to accommodate 68 men, 12 women and 15 vulnerable persons. The special wing for vulnerable groups in Ježevo was finalised at the end of 2015 in order to detain women, families and unaccompanied children.

There are also two Transit Reception Centres for Foreigners in Trilj and Tovarnik, close to the Bosnian and Serbian borders respectively. Both centres are considered as Reception Centres for Foreigners.[3] Each centre can accommodate 62 migrants, and include a separate wing for vulnerable groups with 12 places.[4]

The activities performed by these centres are defined by the Decree on Internal Organisation of the Ministry of Interior,[5] and it is envisaged that the Transit Reception Centres will serve for the detention of foreigners apprehended for irregular crossing of the EU’s external border until their transfer to Ježevo or until removal under a readmission agreement. This would mean that they are primarily intended for shorter accommodation of foreigners.

Airport transit zones and police stations

According to the information for 2018 provided by the Border Directorate of the Ministry of Interior,[6] places of deprivation of liberty for the accommodation of irregular migrants also include airport transit zones and premises in police stations. Special premises exist at Zagreb Airport (14 places) and at Dubrovnik Airport (6 places), while at other airports, space for international departure is in use for these purposes. The total number of persons whose entry was refused at the airports in 2018 was 468. The total number of refusal of entry in 2018 was 12,633, which also includes land (12,107) and sea (58).  According to the Ministry of Interior there were 12,447 refusals of entry in 2019, and 14,678 refusals of entry in 2020.[7]

The total number of police stations at the end of 2018 was 184, while the total number of places where migrants can be detain in police stations is 162. In 2018, 1,243 migrants were deprived of liberty in police stations. However, there is no information available for 2019 or 2020.

 In August 2020, the Council of Europe Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) completed a five-day rapid reaction visit to Croatia to examine the treatment of persons attempting to enter the country and apprehended by the police.[8] Beside the Reception Centre for Foreigners in Ježevo, the delegation visited the Cetingrad Border Police Station, the Donji Lapac Border Police Station, the Korenica Border Police Station, and the Intervention Police Unit of the Karlovac Police Administration (Mali Erjavec). The preliminary observations of the delegation were presented to the Croatian authorities at the end of the visit. According to the Croatian Ombudsperson, the report on the CPT visit was adopted in November and the CoE Commissioner for Human Rights urged to Croatia to publish it, as it is common practice for CPT reports to be made public, with exceptions being very rare.[9] As of the end of April 2021, the report was not published.

[1]  Article 54(5)-(6) LITP.

[2] Information provided by the Border Directorate, 30 January 2018.

[3]  ECRE, Balkan route reversed, December 2016, 17.

[4]  Information provided by the Border Directorate, 6 February 2019.

[5] Official Gazette97/2020, Article 409 and Article 674.

[6] Information provided by the Border Directorate, 6 February 2019.

[7] Ministry of Interior, Statistical overview of basic safety indicators and work results in 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3eRJrE5, 158.

[8] Council of Europe, ‘Council of Europe anti-torture Committee carries out rapid reaction visit to Croatia to examine treatment of migrants’, 18 August 2020, available at: https://bit.ly/3dIr9ok.

[9] Ombudsman, Annual report 2020, available in Croatian at: https://bit.ly/3aaQXar.

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