Fathers Protest Against Discrimination after Divorce

By 15 May 2018

ZAGREB, May 15, 2018 - On the occasion of the International Day of Families marked 15 May, the Croatian Association for Equality of Parenting organised a protest rally on Tuesday at St Mark's Square by fathers whose parental rights have been denied.

About a dozen members gathered in the square between Government and Parliament houses, with banners warning that fathers are systematically discriminated against by social welfare centres in divorce cases.

"Similarly to last year, we want to send a message to the public that the system has double standards – one for mothers and another for fathers, and no one cares about the children," the association's president, Oliver Čanić said.

Čanić warned that the system expects fathers to use paternal leave, care for children, change their nappies, feed them and help them fall asleep, however, when parents divorce then that same system sends a message to the child that they no longer need their father.

The association said that about 1,500 children in Croatia do not see one of their parents or get to see them a lot less frequently than ordered by the court, and this generally refers to fathers.

He warned that the association had an idea what the new Family Bill should look like. "We recommend that the bill includes provisions of joint parental care as long as one of the parents request this and not that both parents have to agree. That's not good," he underscored.

The association has about 350 members and for years it has been organising protest rallies on the International Day of Families in an effort to turn attention to the fact that many men in Croatia are stripped of their fundamental right – to see and spend time with their children.