19:08 / 07.03.2022.

Author: Nikola Badovinac

Croatia extends rights to Ukrainian refugees



Foto: Vjeran Zganec Rogulja / Pixsell

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković said on Monday that some 2,600 Ukrainian refugees - mostly women and children - have arrived in Croatia to date. 

In the eastern city of Osijek, a sports hall has been converted into a refugee center, and another one is currently in the process of being converted to accept even more people.

Plenković cited projections from the International Organization for Migrations which said that about 1.8 million people had fled Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion.

As in the rest of the EU, Croatian authorities will grant refugees with most of the rights befitting regular citizens.

"On the basis of these decisions and the activation of these legal decrees, they will have the right to stay here, a personal identification card, basic needs for life and housing, health coverage, elementary and secondary education, work without landed immigrant status, and confirmation of being registered to work, the right to reunite families and the right to freedom of religion," said the prime minister.

Two Ukrainian girls started school in the fifth-grade of an elementary school near Osijek on Monday, and added that a kindergarten group for about 20 refugee children from Ukraine would launch this week.

Deputy mayor of Osijek, Dragan Vulin confirmed that the city would prepare a location where the kindergarten-aged children could get expert support and receive all the necessary care they may need.

After a certain period, the children will be integrated into regular kindergartens, said Vulin. The city of Osijek would also provide Ukrainian children with all the municipal services, including free public transport, free school lunch, access to public swimming pools and sports facilities.

In light of the Homeland War, the deputy mayor said the citizens of Osijek have absolute empathy for Ukrainian refugees. They are donating places to stay, food, clothing, hygienic products, and toys for children on a daily basis.

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