Sunday, 20 March 2022

Campaign Launched to Raise Public Awareness to Protect Children's Rights

ZAGREB, 20 March 2022 - Children's rights are jeopardised on a daily basis and reports of violence against children and child neglect have been increasingly frequent, it was said at a panel discussion this past week at which a campaign for the protection of children's rights was launched.

"The Office of the Children's Ombudswoman in 2021 received 269 reports of violence against children and child neglect, which is 30 more than in 2020. A total of 448 children and 19 groups of children were exposed to violence and neglect," reads a report by the Office.

Ombudswoman Helenca Pirnat Dragičević said that even though state authorities recognised the importance of comprehensive action to prevent violence against children and child neglect, it was necessary to implement educational and prevention campaigns and continue raising awareness of the fact that violence is unacceptable and that it must be reported, including suspicion of violence against children.

The "Croatia for Children" foundation has thus launched the campaign "Make a small step a big one", to last until the end of the year. The purpose of the campaign is to raise public awareness of children's rights, which are often threatened, and of possibilities to protect them.

The foundation's head, Renata Gubić, said that in the 13 years of its existence the foundation had secured HRK 105 million (€14million) for children in need, with its programmes having covered more than 80,000 children.

Marija Barilić of the Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy Ministry said the government was implementing numerous activities aimed at improving the status of children and their protection, including legislative activities to reduce the risk of child poverty, as was securing funding for children's needs and promoting non-institutional care for children.

"Care for children is in the focus of all policies, notably for children who are in the system of institutional care. In 2021, 145 children were adopted, which is the largest number so far," she said.

For more, check out our lifestyle and politics section.

Monday, 14 September 2020

PM: Absence of Any Religious Content Would be Odd for Country With so Many Catholics

ZAGREB, Sept 14, 2020 - PM Andrej Plenkovic has said that he does not understand the children's ombudsman's statement that religious content being practiced outside Religious Education in some schools is unacceptable, noting that complete absence of any religious content would be odd for a country with so many Catholics.

"As far as content at school events is concerned, I think we live in a free country and that it would be truly unusual in a country with so many faithful, so many Catholics, not to have any religious content anywhere," Plenkovic told the press during a visit to Mostar on Monday.

He was referring to a statement by ombudsman Helenca Pirnat-Dragicevic, who commented on religious content outside Religious Education classes in elementary schools in an interview with Hina.

Pirnat-Dragicevic said that her office "sees a problem in religious content being practiced often in some schools even outside Religious Education classes, for example at school events," adding that she considers this to be unacceptable.

Plenkovic said he did not see what would be achieved with that, noting that religion was part of the Croatian tradition and identity.

"I truly do not see how such content could be eliminated from some plays. I do not understand the statement," said Plenkovic.

The ombudsman for children also commented on problems regarding the organization of Religious Education classes in elementary schools with coronavirus restrictions in force, which recommend that classes not be mixed, which results in some children, who are not enrolled in Religious Education classes, having to attend those classes even though they do not participate in them.

"We consider that Religious Education, just like any other elective subject, should be held at the start or end of the day and we recommend introducing an alternative elective subject for children who do not attend Religious Education classes, similar to the practice in secondary schools, which have ethics as the alternative subject," said Pirnat-Dragicevic.

In a comment on this, Plenkovic said that as far as school schedules are concerned, he believes that each school is making pragmatic decisions that are to the benefit of pupils.

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