Journal of Human Rights and Social Work

, Volume 4, Issue 1, pp 63–73 | Cite as

Croatian Experience with the Refugee Crisis on the Balkan Route and Possible Implications for Social Work Practice and Education

  • Gordana BercEmail author


The purpose of this review article is to describe some aspects of the migration crises experience that Croatia as a Member State on the European Union external border went through as a transit country on the Balkan route 2015–2016. In that period of time, migrant movement was the most intensive, when Croatia received more than 600,000 refugees and migrants who migrated mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other Middle East countries, escaping from the war devastation. The international and national legal frameworks on refugees’ rights’ protection are presented as well as EU funds for the refugee crisis and improving migration management. The main focus is on elaboration of organized social services and psychosocial support in Croatian reception centers. Interplay between public and civil sector in providing needed services for the different migrants’ needs is explained. Since Croatia in 1990s experienced a strong war devastation and refugee crisis, comparison on similarities and differences basis is described. Migrants’ reception-recovery process and aspects of the role of the social work profession are highlighted, as well as possible improvement in social work practice and education based on the recent migrant crisis experience.


Migration Legislation Human rights Social services Psychosocial support Social work 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Law, Department of Social WorkUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia

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