Migration and Freedom

Migration and Freedom

Mobility, Citizenship and Exclusion

Brad K. Blitz

Migration and Freedom is a thorough and revealing exploration of the complex relationship between mobility and citizenship in the European area. Drawing upon over 170 interviews, it provides an original account of the opportunities and challenges associated with the rights to free movement and settlement in Croatia, Italy, Slovenia, Spain and Russia. It documents successful and unsuccessful settlement and establishment cases and records how both official and informal restrictions on individuals’ mobility have effectively created new categories of citizenship.

Chapter 6: Displaced Serbs in Croatia

Brad K. Blitz

Subjects: development studies, migration, geography, human geography, law - academic, human rights, politics and public policy, human rights, migration, social policy and sociology, migration, social policy in emerging countries, sociology and sociological theory, urban and regional studies, migration

Extract

I sit doing nothing, waiting for good luck to arrive. It is like waiting for rain in the middle of summer. They are always saying on TV it will be done but for seven years they have just been saying the same and people are dying in the meantime. (B.C., interview, Stirmca, 24 April 2004) Returning refugees and internally displaced people in post-conflict situations often find that their mobility rights have been compromised as a result of the trajectory of war and the political and economic structures left in place. This chapter examines the mobility options of returning refugees in Croatia, the newest EU member state, and describes the contrasting reintegration experiences of ethnic Serbs and Croats in post-war Croatia over the past 20 years. It describes a situation where migrants enjoy vastly different access to housing, employment and social services on the basis of their ethnic identity, property ownership and time spent in exile, while noting how societal discrimination has negatively impacted their personal well-being and created further intra-group divisions. It concludes with an assessment of the impact of long-standing societal discrimination on the free movement of former refugees and displaced people. On 1 July 2013 Croatia joined the European Union. Its admission had been a long time coming.

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