Zagreb, 7th February 2018. Jesuit Refugee Service welcomes Ombudsman’s reaction and initiative to investigate the actual events that took place in the tragic event of the death of young girl Madina. Madina Hosseini lost her life in November of 2017 after being hit by a train on the Croatian-Serbian border.
The insistence in dealing with the circumstances under which the child lost her life is sending a message to the weaker and under-protected parties, such is this Afghan family, that there is somebody who is listening. The Ombudsman’s report clearly points to obvious contradictions, therefore we urge for a criminal investigation.
“If the investigation were to point out that Croatian police officials acted illegally in the events mentioned by the Ombudsman, we expect the individuals to be held accountable for their actions and omissions. In this year’s message for the World day of migrants and refugees pope Francis spoke directly of refugees at border crossings and mentioned how ‘the safety of an individual is to be put above the safety of the nation’. In this respect he pointed to the ‘need of ensuring the right kind of education for the officials in charge of border safety’. In short, we can’t say we are protecting our borders if there are children dying there.” – it was pointed by Tvrtko Barun, the director of the Jesuit Refugee Service.
According to its mission to advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons and over the course of 2016, 2017 and 2018, Jesuit Refugee Service has been warning about possible illegal conducts of Croatian police officials towards asylum seekers and infringement of human rights in the events of finding migrants whose status’ are unregulated on Croatian territory. Our numerous reports expressed concern over police officials’ treatment and returning of refugees and migrants whose status’ are unregulated to the Republic of Serbia, without implementing measures proscribed by the Law on foreigners and the Law on international and temporary protection. What worries most is that such actions were undertaken with regard to unaccompanied minors as well, which was brought to our attention by the Jesuit Refugee Service’s staff in the Republic of Serbia.