Update from June 2022:
A new census was carried out in Croatia in August 2021, but the preliminary results do not yet report any data on the stateless population. The last census carried out in 2011 reported 749 ‘stateless’ people in the country, 37% of whom were born in Croatia. There was also a category ‘unknown nationality’ (2,137 people recorded in 2011). The latest data from UNHCR Croatia reports 2,886 people under its statelessness mandate in the country based on government sources. There were no major legal or policy reforms relating to statelessness in Croatia in 2021.
New resources on Croatia now available include:
Croatia is State Party to two of the core statelessness instruments, the 1954 Convention and the 1961 Convention, but it has not acceded to the relevant Council of Europe conventions. Some limited data is available on the stateless population in Croatia, but figures are mostly out of date or estimates. A census was carried out in 2021, but preliminary results do not cover the number of stateless persons. There is a definition of a stateless person in Croatian law, but there is no dedicated procedure to determine statelessness and grant stateless people adequate protection under the 1954 Convention. Statelessness may be identified and assessed on an ad hoc basis within other procedures, but no rights are granted based on statelessness, except for a travel document, and there is no facilitated route to naturalisation for stateless people in Croatia.
There are some limited protections against the arbitrary detention of stateless people, but NGOs report widespread detention at the border without adequate due process or individual assessments. There are some safeguards to prevent and reduce statelessness in Croatian law, but these are not in line with 1961 Convention standards, and there are important gaps. Although there is a partial safeguard to prevent statelessness for some children born stateless in Croatia, authorities do not apply it in practice. The law provides that all children born in Croatia are registered at birth, but there are discriminatory practices, which create obstacles for some children. There are no legal provisions for the deprivation of nationality that permit a person to be rendered stateless, but some cases have been reported in practice, which resulted in statelessness.
Information below by theme was last updated in March 2021.