What is the demographic reality in Croatia today?

All conflicts result in an exodus of the local population on a small or large scale. These are essentially civilians who are fleeing the destruction of war.

These populations are often granted international protection under schemes outlined by the 1951 United Nations Convention.

Nevertheless, international legislation differentiates exiled civil populations from displaced populations:

  • A Refugee is someone who finds themselves outside their country of nationality and who is unable or unwilling to return because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinions.
  • A Displaced person may be a victim of the same discrimination as above but until they leave their country of origin they remain under that country’s national jurisdiction and therefore do not fall into the category of people protected under international law.
  • A Returnee is someone who returns to their home after having fled or been forced to flee.

Today, Croatia must face such demographic and legal realities to rebuild a society in the towns and villages bloodied by war, from Gvodz to Vukovar. The work done by Suncokret and Vimio helps with national reconciliation and the emergence of a new peaceful and reconciled Croatia.

By the time a country turns to peace and reconstruction, its demographic realities have undergone significant change.

To learn more about the 1951 Convention and refugee rights, visit the High Commission’s site on Refugees.

Many humanitarian associations work to provide help and assistance to refugees worldwide and to defend their rights. According to the UNHCR, there are 10.4 million refugees worldwide in 2011.

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