Sunday, 13 June 2021

Deputy PM: Hate Crimes Should be Recognised, Prevented, Prosecuted and Punished

ZAGREB, 13 June, 2021 - Deputy Prime Minister Boris Milošević on Sunday commented on recent incidents, saying that there were indications that they were motivated by ethnic hatred and stressing that one should not get used to such incidents but recognise, prevent and prosecute them.

"It is important to speak and write about the topic (of crimes motivated by ethnic hatred) because we must not tolerate or get used to hate crimes as something inevitable and common. It is important that we do not downplay violence and hate as part of a subculture, for example football fans or any other group, but work on recognising, preventing, prosecuting and punishing them," Milošević said in a Facebook post.

He was commenting on a recent attack by unidentified perpetrators on two nationals of Serbia in Split, which reminded him of an attack of a couple of years ago on Serbian water polo players in Split.

"That such things are happening and that they are happening now, at the start of the tourist season, when every guest is precious, is horrible and shameful. It is even more worrying that this happens constantly in Vukovar, where in the central city square a group of several men attacked a group of minors, calling them Chetnik bandits. I stress that the victims were minors," Milošević said.

He strongly condemned both incidents, saying that he expected police to identify the attackers from Split and the prosecutorial authorities to prosecute the attackers from Vukovar, who, he said, already have a criminal record.

The deputy PM thanked the mayor of Split for publicly condemning the incident, noting that Split did not deserve to be considered a problem city because of thugs. "Vukovar deserves even less not to be a safe place for all young people, Serbs and Croats alike," he said.

Milošević considers it important for politicians to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric and to help build an atmosphere of dialogue and tolerance, as well as condemn any incident targeting others because of their race, religion, ethnicity, language, background, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other characteristic.

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Thursday, 22 April 2021

Croatia's Authorities Strongly Condemn NDH Crimes Against Roma

ZAGREB, 22 April, 2021 - Prime Minister Andrej Plenković on Thursday strongly condemned the atrocities committed against 17,000 ethnic Roma during the 1941-1945 Independent State of Croatia (NDH), while he paid a visit to the Roma Memorial Centre in Uštica, situated near Jasenovac.

This centre is in memory of nearly 17,000 Roma killed in the war and we condemn the crimes committed during the NDH regime, Plenković said after visiting the memorial complex.

Plenković and the government's delegation held a wreath-laying ceremony at the Uštica cemetery for Roma victims.

The Roma Memorial Center was built to permanently commemorate ethnic Roma members killed in the genocide committed by the Nazi and Ustasha regimes during World War II.

Plenković recalled that this memorial complex was unique in Europe, and that the construction of the centre had cost eight million kuna, and that the Croatian government had covered nearly 90% of those costs.

According to the Croatian premier, in this way, a contribution was made to efforts to enable dignified marking of the suffering of ethnic Roma in Croatia and to build a memorial centre where all others can come to pay tribute to war victims.

The parliamentary deputy of ethnic Roma, Veljko Kajtazi, said that constructing this memorial centre was the least one could do for killed Roma.

He also called on Roma from other parts of Europe and the world to visit this centre and thus pay tribute to war victims.

The Uštica memorial centre was officially opened last August, and its formal opening coincided with the occasion of Roma Holocaust Memorial Day, or the Samudaripen, observed on August 2.

This memorial complex is set up in Uštica, located about 110km southeast of Zagreb, which used to be the site of mass executions of Roma who were deported to the Jasenovac concentration camp during the Second World War. The Memorial Centre includes a cemetery with 21 mass graves.

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Tuesday, 29 December 2020

Horrific Hate Crime Reported in Zagreb Against a Gay Man

December 29, 2020 - Croatian media report today about a horrific hate crime perpetrated against a gay man in Zagreb's Maksimir Park last weekend. 

Hajdi Karakaš-Jakubin reports the entire story for Jutarnji list: a 50-year-old man was taking a night walk in the Zagreb's biggest park, Maksimir, close to his home, this Saturday evening. Two unknown assailants first asked him if he had a cigarette lighter, and when he said he didn't, they started asking him various questions to find out what he was doing in the park. He started feeling uncomfortable, so he told them he was there to meet a friend (although he was just taking a walk in the evening!), and the assailants threw a Molotov cocktail on him and started running away. Soon his jacket caught on fire, and he was saved by brave passers-by, who ran to help him and contacted the emergency services. 

He's currently hospitalised in the Trauma Clinic in Zagreb, with second-degree burns to his body, arms, neck, and face. Zagreb police department reported that they're determining all the relevant information about this case, but it will be very difficult to find those responsible, because they had surgical masks on, so the victim will probably not be able to identify them, even if some suspects are found. 

Zagreb Pride association sent a strongly-worded letter to the Croatian media, condemning the attack. They say that they're terrified with the crime and that it's probably the worst anti-gay hate crime ever reported in Croatia. They demand a swift and decisive investigation into the crime, and that once the assailants are prosecuted, they are prosecuted for hate crime, and not a lesser crime. They also demand stronger protection for various minority groups (LGBTIQ community, Serbian, African, Romani minorities, as well as refugees and migrants) in the public spaces, which are often attacked by "right-wing gangs". They're offering their support to the victim, and are willing to provide legal and psychological help, if he wants that. They refuse the situation in which the victims of the homophobic violence get blamed for the crimes committed against them. Zagreb Pride stresses that each member of our society has the right to take a free walk in the public park for any reason whatsoever: to get some fresh air during the pandemic, to meet a friend or to set-up a date. They conclude their statement by adding that gay people are not to be blamed for anything just because they are who they are, while the right-wing gangs are to blame.