The Croatian civil society group "Dobrodosli" (Welcome) has sent a letter to Pope Francis ahead of his meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic on Thursday, thanking the pontiff for making the public more sensitive to the suffering of people fleeing war and violence and asking him to encourage Croatian political leaders to treat refugees peacefully.
"Your proposal that each parish should take in one refugee family has unfortunately not become a reality in Croatia, but it has lasting importance for peaceful action in the refugee crisis. Unfortunately, the policy of Prime Minister Oreskovic is not going in that direction," the civil society group said, calling on Pope Francis to use his authority to convince the Croatian prime minister to give up "repressive policies and measures" against refugees.
"Feel free to propose that he turn to ensuring decent living conditions and measures for the integration of refugees who will continue to live in Croatia, and to invest efforts in creating an atmosphere in which they will feel welcome, so that we can all focus on stopping the war that is generating all this evil," the group said in the letter, among other things.
It also said that it expected the Catholic Church in Croatia to more actively advocate the right to life and freedom of migrants, preach and encourage acts of mercy, and promote inter-religious dialogue and cooperation with the Islamic community in Croatia.