Vanja Bakalović (D),  Inicijativa „Dobrodošli!“, Vedrana Baričević (L), Valter Cvijić .jpg
Photograph: HINA / Tomislav PAVLEK / mm

The Welcome! initiative responded on Saturday to the Interior Ministry's announcement that the refugee reception and transit centre in Slavonski Brod will be closed, saying that moving from a camp which was not adapted for a lengthier stay was a positive step but that it was unacceptable to transfer some refugees to the Jezevo detention centre where freedom of movement was not possible.

For the 96 disenfranchised and scared men, women and children currently at the Slavonski Brod centre, "it is necessary to immediately lift the ban on free movement," the initiative said in a press release, adding that they had been returned from Slovenia, "based on arbitrary and discriminating decisions", to Croatia, which they could no longer leave after the borders were closed and were therefore forcibly detained.

The initiative recalled that refugees could seek asylum or transfer to other detention centres, and demanded that the relevant institutions protect the persons at the Slavonski Brod centre and provide them with dignified living conditions.

Welcome! said Croatia should find a solution for the accommodation of asylum seekers and refugees in urban or rural areas where they will not be ghettoised but able to get support and integrate into society.

The Police Directorate told Hina yesterday that preparations were under way to close the Slavonski Brod refugee reception and transit centre in order to cut costs and that the 96 migrants currently there would be transferred to alien reception centres around the country.

According to the Interior Ministry, 162 persons have applied for asylum in Croatia this year.

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