Syrian Refugees Arrive in Zagreb from Turkey in First-ever Refugee Resettlement to Croatia
Zagreb – A first group of 36 Syrian refugees landed in Zagreb after leaving Turkey today, and a family of four is expected to arrive this evening (28/11) through a new resettlement programme initiated by the Republic of Croatia with the support of IOM, the UN Migration Agency.
The group is the first of 150 Syrian refugees that Croatia has committed to resettling from Turkey, bringing the newest EU member into a group of emerging resettlement states.
Tatjana Radošević, Head of IOM’s office in Zagreb, commended Croatia for undertaking its first-ever resettlement pilot project.
“We are delighted to partner in the programme and happy to see the realization of Croatia’s commitment to share the responsibility for refugees and show solidarity with hosting countries,” said Radošević.
She further noted that the resettlement agreement between Croatia and IOM marks a new milestone in cooperation and that the level of support to the government has grown and diversified since 1992.
The 36 refugees included 15 adults, 20 children and 1 infant (18 male and 18 female). An IOM medical escort accompanied the refugees on the flight. IOM also provided pre-departure health assessments for the resettled refugees and has facilitated the two selection missions undertaken by the Croatian government thus far in Turkey.
The pilot resettlement programme, implemented by IOM in cooperation with the government, will run through January 2019 and includes post-arrival orientation and early integration support for the resettled refugees. Activities will also include capacity building, networking and partnership building between national and local stakeholders to facilitate sustainable resettlement programming for the future, including the provision of housing solutions and through volunteering schemes.
Resettlement programmes help to save the lives of vulnerable refugees who, despite having international protection needs, might otherwise be compelled to undertake unsafe and even fatal journeys via irregular routes, often with the help of smuggling networks.
Apart from helping Croatia to meet its internationally assumed obligations, the protective and humanitarian character of the pilot resettlement project ensures a much needed safe and legal channel for the beneficiaries.