No Progress in Human Rights Protection

By 26 March 2018

ZAGREB, March 26, 2018 - 2017 saw no significant progress in reversing the negative trend of social downplaying and political marginalisation of human rights in Croatia, the Human Rights House Zagreb said on Monday.

The exercise of economic rights by all citizens is being hampered by an economy burdened with structural problems for years and the stagnation of socioeconomic circumstances, and the most affected are young people and vulnerable groups, the organisation said in a report.

The report was based on year-round monitoring and 60 interviews with individuals from 46 civil society organisations and members of the academic community.

It warned that illegal expulsions of refugees, violence on the state borders and preventing persons from seeking international protection had further deteriorated. The rights of ethnic minorities are being violated with regard to employment under equal terms and the use of ethnic minorities' languages and scripts.

Roma people are being discriminated against in employment and access to services, while the Serb minority is facing problems arising from the 1991-1995 war: unprosecuted war crimes, discrimination at trials, missing persons, slowness in the process of exhumation of mortal remains, refugee return, lack of investment in war-affected areas, housing, and unrestored cultural and religious heritage.

Insults and threats addressed to ethnic Serbs and Serb institutions in Croatia, public campaigns with elements of intolerance and historical revisionism, and hate speech and ethnic intolerance in the media are on the steady rise, the report says.

The Human Rights House Zagreb was established in 2008 by six civil society associations: Women’s Human Rights Group B.a.B.e. – Be Active, Be Emancipated; CMS – Centre for Peace Studies; Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past; GOLJP – Civic Committee for Human Rights; UPIM – Association for the Promotion of Equal Opportunities for People with Disabilities; and Svitanje –Association for Protection and Promotion of Mental Health, with the aim of protecting and promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms, according to information on the organisation's website.