Domagoj Hajduković represents the Croatian Social Democratic Party in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Here, he tells #ProgressiveEurope about his priorities during the next sitting of the Assembly at the end of June and how he wants to improve the safety of asylum seekers.
Mr. Hajduković, this year you became a full member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. How has your experience been so far?
I have been a member of the Council of Europe since March 2016, first as a substitute and then as a full member. I find my membership of the Croatian delegation to be a logical advancement after six years of work in human rights in the Croatian national Parliament and my membership of the Scientific Council for Peace and Human Rights in the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts. Unfortunately, due to political instability in Croatia (we had two parliamentary elections last year and are facing a possibility of another one in the Autumn), I haven’t been able to fully participate in Assembly’s work. Hopefully, that will change soon.
In one month, the Assembly will convene again. Which topics on the agenda are most important to you?
Two topics shall be my focus during the next session: corruption and migration. Battling corruption in all its forms is an important prerequisite to having functional democratic institutions, i.e. a functioning democracy, and is on our national agenda as well. Migration and the human rights of migrants are topics which are especially important to me. As you know, Croatia is on one of the migration routes to Western Europe, so I have had the opportunity of witnessing the plight of refugees and migrants first hand. That is why I am interested in securing fair and humane treatment of migrants and refugees, as well as considering all of the aspects, both good and bad, of the migration crisis.
You have called for the Assembly to examine the possibility of extraterritorial hotspots for refugees. What are your concerns regarding this issue?
Perilous crossings of the Mediterranean and travelling on land migration routes towards Western Europe often results in fatalities, separated families and abuse. Since most migrants go to Europe with the goal of applying for asylum, my aim is to study the legal and political implications of allowing them to apply for asylum in countries that have accepted them (for example, Turkey, Lebanon etc.) thus saving them a perilous journey and the risk of being deported back once they have reached their destination.
Domagoj Hajduković is a Member of the Croatian Parliament and the Parlimentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, where he sits on the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons as well as the Sub-Committee on Integration.