PM expresses regret over Afghan girl’s death; interior minister stays in office

NEWS 24.11.202114:33
Patrik Macek/PIXSELL

Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on Wednesday expressed regret over the death of the Afghan refugee girl Madine Hussiny, saying that Croatia would comply with the European Court of Human Rights ruling in this case, but that Davor Bozinovic would remain Minister of the Interior.

“We will comply with the ruling, and we are very sorry about the girl’s death. The minister will continue his work both on this case and on future cases,” Plenkovic said during Question Time in Parliament while responding to the remark by Vili Matula (Green-Left Bloc) that the ruling showed deep incompetence in Croatian migration management and seriously jeopardised Croatia’s bid to join the Schengen area. The MP also asked whether Minister of the Interior Bozinovic would be relieved of his duties.

“The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Croatia, or more precisely, the Croatian government and you prime minister, is guilty of violating the right to life of the girl Madine from Afghanistan. This judgment is one of the biggest blows to your government,” Matula said.

Plennkovic dismissed the accusation of his personal responsibility or the responsibility of his government.

“Congratulations on your performance, you’re clearly an actor! I reject the accusation of me or my government being responsible for what happened,” Plenkovic responded, expressing regret over the girl’s death and saying that everyone was shocked and shaken by that news. He said that the competent authorities had been instructed to closely study the court judgment.

Plenkovic said that illegal migration was a serious global problem involving unfortunate families and human traffickers, but that there was also “orchestrated, organised illegal migration” of people taking advantage of different situations to get into EU member states.

“What we don’t want is human tragedies. The border should be crossed at border crossing points. Anyone who comes to the border and applies for asylum is treated in accordance with the law. Those ignoring the law cannot enter, not only Croatia, but any EU country,” he stressed.

Not pleased with the answer, MP Matula responded by saying that the prime minister had expressed his sympathy, but had not formally apologized to the girl’s family.

Plenkovic declined to comment on the alleged statement by Alemka Markotic, director of the Fran Mihaljevic Hospital for Infectious Diseases in Zagreb, that vaccines need to be tested on someone’s children to see if they are safe.

“I didn’t see the programme and I don’t know if your quote is true,” the prime minister said in response to the question put by Homeland Movement MP Stephen Nikola Bartulica. Bartulica quoted Markotic as saying in a television programme: “Whose children should we test vaccines on? Many vaccines manufactured in western countries have been tested in poor areas of Asia and Africa, on poor children. They need to be tested on someone’s children for my child to be safe.”