Refugees arriving at Zagreb airport | Credit: UN Migration Agency (IOM)
Refugees arriving at Zagreb airport | Credit: UN Migration Agency (IOM)

In the past week, 36 Syrian refugees have arrived in Zagreb from Turkey under Croatia's first resettlement program. Under the scheme, it is planned that 150 Syrians will be resettled by January 2019.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 36 Syrian refugees arrived safely in the Croatian capital after leaving Turkey as part of the first resettlement program by the country. The first group of 26 people was made up of five families and one unmarried man. The group consisted of 14 adults, including a pregnant woman and her husband, and 12 children, all of whom arrived on January 25. Ten further Syrian nationals arrived in Croatia the following day. 

Support on arrival

The IOM noted that under the program that was set up by Croatia last year, the first group of 40 refugees had been resettled to the European country on November 28, 2017. On arrival at Zagreb airport, the most recent group of Syrian refugees was assisted by the IOM, which provided medical help to one person in a wheelchair and assisted others who had vision problems. After leaving the airport, the refugees were transferred to the Kutina asylum seekers center. 

"As was successfully done in the case of the first group of refugees arriving in November, IOM staff will provide a Croatian language course and orientation on topics such as living and working in Croatia, building social networks, getting familiarized with the institutions and organizations, and the rights and obligations in the areas of education, housing, health and employment," the UN agency said in a statement. "At the same time, the IOM is implementing capacity building, as well as networking and partnership building activities with national and local stakeholders in the interest of a sustainable resettlement program, including through the provision of housing solutions and volunteering schemes." 

Program to run until January 2019 

Croatia's pilot resettlement program was activated by IOM in collaboration with the country's government. The initiative will continue through January 2019, with plans to transfer 150 Syrian refugees from Turkey. Upon arrival, the refugees will be supported by courses on orientating themselves in the new country,  as well as integration assistance. 

"In addition to helping Croatia meet its internationally agreed obligations, the protection and humanitarian character of the pilot resettlement project continues to ensure the availability of a much-needed safe and legal channel for the most vulnerable refugees," the UN agency IOM said. (A photo of the refugees arriving at the Zagreb airport.Credit: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018)

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