Three days before Croatia is set to join the European Union, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on the country’s leaders to address abuse of the mentally disabled and offer better protection for migrants and refugees.
In an open letter to Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, HRW said Croatia "has much more work to do" to bring its human rights situation in line with EU standards.
The group has documented the plight of more than 9,000 people with mental disabilities who are being held in Croatian institutions with little care or hope for release.
It also called on Croatia to address overcrowding in reception centers for asylum seekers, neglect of unaccompanied migrant children, and continued discrimination against Roma and ethnic Serbs.
Croatia is set to become the 28th EU member state on July 1.