Monday, 11 October 2021

Božinović Says Waiting for Results of Investigation Into Violence Against Migrants

ZAGREB, 11 Oct 2021 - Interior Minister Davor Božinović on Monday said that he did not have any new information related to videos of police violence against migrants and that it is necessary to wait for the results of the investigation.

"We'll wait and see what the results of the investigation show. Everything that will happen as part of the relevant procedures will be in line with what the police chief said on Friday," Božinović told reporters.

Protecting the borders in line with the law

Asked about responsibility in the chain of command, Božinović underscored that the orders are to protect the state borders in line with the law.

"There cannot be any order that is not in line with the law. As soon as I receive the report from the police directorate, I will forward it to the prime minister, even though we have already discussed all this," said Božinović.

He said that police officers, particularly those assigned to border control, doing one of the most difficult jobs.

He added that there were cases when the police themselves identified cases of police officers overstepping their powers or unlawful conduct.

He said that disciplinary procedures had been underway from before against eight police officers and that 22 cases had been documented and submitted to the State Attorney's Office (DORH).

"When someone individually breaches or oversteps their authority anywhere, there are services in the police directorate and internal controls to conduct investigations and decide on the penalties," he said.

Commenting on an anonymous letter by a police officer who claimed two years ago that an order existed for violent pushbacks, Božinović reiterated that anything that was reported was always investigated. DORH rejected 13 of the 22 cases for lack of evidence, he said.

The anonymous police officer's letter refers to a specific case, with a specific location and date, which previously was not the case, said Božinović and added that a prompt reaction followed the anonymous letter and that the matter was still being investigated.

Božinović also commented on a recent drug incident in the Croatian Army, underscoring that police offices were exceptionally active regarding the fight against drug smuggling.

"The cocaine market is expanding into the general population, which is concerning. We will meet with the anti-drug commission in the next few days. In 2020, 60 kilograms of cocaine were confiscated whereas in the first eight months of this year more than 667 kilograms were seized," he said.

For more on politics, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

European Parliament For Recognising Same-Sex Marriage Across EU

ZAGREB, 14 Sept, 2021 - A majority of members of the European Parliament on Tuesday endorsed a draft resolution seeking the recognition of same-sex marriages and registered partnerships in all member states.

The draft was endorsed by 387 MEPs, 161 voted against and 123 abstained.

The resolution says same-sex spouses and partners should be treated equally as heterosexual ones, and that marriages and partnerships concluded in one EU member state should be recognised in all.

Of the Croatian MEPs, the draft was endorsed by Biljana Borzan, Predrag Matić and Tonino Picula of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and Valter Flego of the Istrian Democratic Party.

Independent Mislav Kolakušić and conservative Ladislav Ilčić were against, while Sunčana Glavak, Karlo Ressler, Tomislav Sokol and Željana Zovko of the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) abstained.

Ivan Vilibor Sinčić (Human Shield) did not vote as he was in Rome, and Romana Jerković (SDP) could not because of technical difficulties, but her office told Hina that she "supports this resolution."

Speaking to Hina, Matić said the adoption of the resolution was a "civilisational achievement", while Flego said it was unacceptable that LGBTIQ rights were being reduced instead of advanced in many countries, and that it was time to "finally give everyone equal rights."

Ilčić told Hina the resolution "is consciously trying to equate the legal status of same-sex couples in all member states, thus negating the right of the states to independently decide which unions they will recognise and which they won't."

"That would mean that the whole EU must follow the most liberal states to avoid alleged discrimination, which is absurd, contrary to the treaties and the subsidiarity principle," he said, adding that the LGBT lobby was exerting enormous pressure on the European institutions.

The resolution also calls on the European Commission to take action against Romania, Hungary and Poland for violating LGBTIQ rights and fundamental EU values.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 30 August 2021

Digital Activism Solidarity School: Teaching Young People Digital Literacy

August 30, 2021 - If you want to learn more about navigating fake news and contributing to the battle against misinformation, you might want to apply for the Digital Activism Solidarity School in Kaštel Kambelovac. Here's how you can apply by September 10, 2021.

Summer education programmes aren't unusual in Croatia, as TCN reported earlier in May, the five-day Summer Business School organised by Step-Ri Science-Technology Park and the American Embassy in Croatia in June attracted business enthusiasts and entrepreneurs to Rijeka to learn more about the field.

In the final rays of summer 2021, from September 24-26, another education programme will bring its students to learn in the cozy Mediterranean environment of Kaštel Kambelovac. The Digital Summer School, organised by the SOLIDARNA Foundation, aims to promote digital and media literacy to combat the spread of fake news and misinformation.  

As the SOLIDARNA Foundation website states, the three-day workshop will teach the participants to recognise and fact-check fake news. It will also teach people to actively participate in content produced on social media, creating and launching a content alternative to fake news. Finally, the participants will also learn how to use satire in the promotion of human rights and how to communicate their values effectively.

''This workshop is intended for students, socially active individuals and to everyone else under 30 years of age who are interested in manufacturing digital content promoting human rights and fighting against fake news,'' says the public call on the website.

Experts from both Croatia and the wider region will share their knowledge on the subject. The experts include Tijana Cvjetićanin, a journalist at the Bosnian fact-checking site Raskrinkavanje.ba, Emina Bošnjak, executive director of the Sarajevo Open Centre (SOC), Borna Sor, a Croatian satirist (no stranger to TCN) and digital communication expert, Luka Kerečin.

Participation in the workshop is free, with both secured transport, accommodation, and food, but with a limited amount of places. Participants need to bring a laptop with them. Those who want to apply need to send a brief motivation letter about their interests and their past aexperience in activism toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by September 10, midnight at the latest. The title of the mail must be “DIGITAL YOUTH ACTIVISM” and for all additional questions, you can send an inquiry to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Founded back at the end of 2015 and guided by the teachings of Eleanor Roosevelt, the SOLIDARNA Foundation says it wants to return human rights home ''to the hearts, minds, and lives of ordinary people.''

''The SOLIDARNA Foundation for Human Rights and Solidarity creates new opportunities for all citizens to act in solidarity, in our common effort to protect human rights and meet fundamental human needs, reduce inequalities and expand freedoms in all spheres of society,'' explains SOLIDARNA on its website.

With digital nomads and the digital industry being a more and more recognisable source of income and business in the country, digital literacy and being able to differentiate between facts and lies on the internet is ever more important.

Learn more about digital nomads with our TC guide.

For more about education in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 6 August 2021

WEAA Black Lives Matter Croatia Report: TCN Helping American Colleagues

August 7, 2021 - Professor David Marshall arrived in the City of Zagreb to do a WEAA Black Lives Matter Croatia report and TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac meet up with him, providing on-record statements and research assistance as TCN partner up with WEAA to bring this story to the American public.

''So this is the statue of King Tomislav, our first Croatian King,'' I said to the visiting American when we arrived at Zagreb's ''Tomislavac'' (King Tomislav Square). He ruled back during the 10th century and he reigned over the biggest territory that encompassed today's Croatia, as well as what is now Bosnia and Herzegovina.''

''How did you say you pronounce his name?'' asked me the American.

''Tomislav'' I repeated, noticing he had a bit of an issue pronouncing the name, so I broke it down the best way imaginable.

''So, it's Tomi, you know like the name Tommy, and slav, like slavs, as in Slavic people, so its Tomislav,''

''So... Tomi-slav?'' he asked.

''Exactly. Basically, he's a Slavic Tommy,'' I added.

''Slavic Tommy! I love it!,'' said our American visitor to the capital. tcn_reporter_ivor_kruljac_with_prof_marshall.jpg

 Professor David Marshall with TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac in Zagreb

Croatia: Expressing solidarity and understanding global problems

Dr. David Marshall is Professor and Chair of the Department of Strategic Communication in the School of Global Journalism & Communication (SGJC) at Morgan State University in Baltimore, USA.

He worked on an assignment for WEAA, a radio station that, under the slogan ''Voice of the community'', brings its audience a programme of jazz, gospel, reggae, and public affairs. In the sea of many interesting issues WEAA covers, they collaborate with Morgan State University on a project entitled ''WEAA on assignment''. One of these assignments takes a look at the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement around the world, which brought professor Marshall to Croatia.

With TCN writing about the 2020 protest in Zagreb in support of BLM triggered by the horrible death of George Floyd which shocked the world, it was only logical to partner up with WEAA on their story in Croatia. Check it out yourself in the video below:

 

The BLM movement in Croatia may come as a bit of a shock to those who know that Croatia is the most racially pure caucasian country in the entire world (with 99.3% of the population being ethnic Croats). That said, the country still has a black community.

With Total Croatia News being totally about Croatia, we even covered what it's like for black people living in Croatia and listed some unfortunate incidents that black people have experienced in the country. For example, the case of Nigerian students that participated in World InterUniversities Championships who were exiled from Zagreb to Bosnia, as they were thought to be refugees, or the case of two black members of the US Air Force that were attacked at a Nightclub in Zadar (with police reports stating that they were not attacked because of their race, but rather because they were twerking in the club, and attackers thought they were gay, which is just as awful).

Thus, the BLM support protest in Zagreb wasn't just about global solidarity, but about associating the injustice and discrimination in the US with the discrimination in Croatia. Homophobia and the questionable treatment of refugees seeking asylum in Croatia being the most widely known issues of discrimination and inequality here.

Croatia: Full of news stories 

As TCN continues to cover Croatia in the most total sense possible, encompassing both the good and the bad, we were honoured to be recognised by WEAA and we were more than glad to able to assist them in their reporting. If you yourselves are journalists and reporters coming to Croatia to cover a story, don't hesitate to contact us, and we will help as much as we can. The best way to reach us is via e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., but you can also contact us through Facebook.  

Check out our new Total Croatia website that brings you detailed reports on Croatia, covering destinations, culture, history and much, much more.

For more news about Croatia in English, make sure to follow TCN.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

HRW, AI And Other NGOs Criticise Croatian Border Monitoring Mechanism

ZAGREB, 3 Aug, 2021 - Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and six other NGOs on Tuesday criticised the new Croatian border monitoring mechanism, expressing concern about the body's independence and efficiency.

Recent media reports and official statements about the newly established border monitoring mechanism raise serious concerns, especially over the body's mandate, efficiency and independence, Amnesty International, Are You Syrious, the Centre for Peace Studies, the Danish Refugee Council, Human Rights Watch, the International Rescue Committee, Refugee Rights Europe and Save the Children said in a joint press release.

The Croatian government announced that the negotiations on the mechanism have concluded, but has not publicly disclosed further details about its structure or functioning, according to the press release.

The independent mechanism should monitor the treatment of illegal migrants by police officers, following several reports by NGOs of violations of migrants' rights at the border, which the Croatian government denies. The establishment of the mechanism was earlier proposed by the European Commission.

"Any border monitoring mechanism should be independent in law and practice and have sufficient resources and a robust mandate to monitor border-related operations anywhere on the territory of a state," the NGOs said.

The source of contention is the fact that according to the NGOs, the mechanism's mandate would be limited to police stations near the border and border crossings, while most contentious actions of the Croatian authorities take place further away from them, the press release says.

The objection also referred to the involvement of other institutions and organisations.

"To ensure that the mechanism is credible and effective, it needs to involve independent institutions or organisations that have monitoring experience – such as civil society organisations, United Nations agencies, and national human rights institutions – that are not financially dependent on the government;" they said, adding that any mechanisms that do not meet such standards could undermine the European Commission's efforts to end violence on the Union's external borders.

"The Commission should actively review and assess the mechanism to ensure that Croatian authorities put in place a system that can credibly monitor compliance with EU law in border operations and should provide political and financial support only to a system that meets the above standards," the NGOs said.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

European Comission Publishes Rule of Law Report on Croatia

ZAGREB, 20 July, 2021 - A series of alleged ethical breaches and disciplinary violations by judges led to proceedings against them, public procurement procedures remain a high-risk area for corruption, and lawsuits against journalists give rise to concern, the European Commission says in a report on the rule of law in Croatia.

The Commission on Tuesday published its second annual report on the rule of law in the EU member states, a new instrument that should help in early detection and prevention of problems relating to the rule of law.

The report covers four key areas: the justice system, the anti-corruption framework, media freedom and pluralism, and institutional issues relating to checks and balances.

The Commission noted that the report only provides a description of the situation without giving any recommendations and is not designed as a ranking. Its purpose is to raise public awareness and promote open discussion between the member states on rule of law issues both at national and at EU level.

The justice system

The Commission says that the Croatian justice system has seen improvements in reducing length of proceedings and backlogs, but that further improvements are still needed to address serious efficiency and quality challenges.

"The ongoing process for appointing the new Supreme Court President has given rise to controversy and to repeated disparaging public statements against judges", and "the Constitutional Court stressed the importance of cooperation between state authorities" in addressing different views on the appointment of the Supreme Court President.

"The State Judicial Council made proposals to strengthen its role in selecting judges – an issue already raised in the 2020 Rule of Law Report."

Without naming any names, the report says that "a series of alleged ethical breaches and disciplinary violations by judges led to proceedings before the State Judicial Council and Judges’ Councils, as well as to a criminal investigation."

"The level of perceived judicial independence remains very low. Shortages in human resources of the State Judicial Council and the State Attorney’s Councils remain, even if some limited reinforcements have been allocated to verify the newly published asset declarations of judges and state attorneys," the Commission says.

The anti-corruption framework

The reports notes that a new Strategy on the Prevention of Corruption for 2021-2030 is in the public consultation process, envisaging the strengthening of the legal framework on prevention of conflict of interest, which is currently being drafted. Codes of Ethics for members of the Government and for members of Parliament are still missing, while “revolving doors” are only partially regulated.

"Detailed rules on lobbying activities remain to be introduced. While changes to the framework of political immunity of the members of Government were announced, the legislative action has yet to follow. Public procurement procedures remain a high-risk area for corruption, and several cases have been discovered due to reporting by whistleblowers. The prosecution and investigation of high-level corruption continues, but due to protracted proceedings convictions are often delayed."

Media freedom

"Croatia is updating its media legislation to transpose the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, with the revision of the Electronic Media Act to be adopted still in 2021. Concerns about the political independence of the Agency for Electronic Media persist," the Commission says.

"Croatia has a solid framework on transparency of media ownership information and envisages further improvements. While state advertising is partly regulated by the Electronic Media Act, stakeholders report it often undermines the political independence of media outlets which are economically dependent on such funding, notably at local level.

"A legal framework for the protection of journalists is in place, but they continue to face threats. In particular, the high number of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) targeting journalists continues to be a serious concern. Access to information is ensured by law, but delays in the processing of requests from journalists persist."

Checks and balances

The Commission says that although public consultations are embedded in legislative procedures, stakeholders perceive citizen participation to be rather formalistic than substantive.

It notes that Croatia did not declare a state of emergency, and COVID-19 pandemic measures were based on the twice-mended law regarding infectious diseases. "The Constitutional Court has reviewed these measures, finding that they were compatible with the Constitution and also ruled that Parliament should find ways to guarantee its functions during the pandemic."

"The People’s Ombudsperson’s access to the information required to undertake investigations
needs further improvement. The National Plan for Creating and Enabling Environment for
the Civil Society Development 2021-2027 remains in drafting phase since 2016 – an issue
raised in the 2020 Rule of law Report," the Commission says.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Monday, 5 July 2021

Zagreb Gay Pride 2021 Analysis: Issues Still Exist, Pride Celebrates History and Present Equality

July 5, 2021 - Gay rights in Croatia still have challenges ahead, but even if all problems are resolved, Pride should remain a commemorative event. A look at the history of gay culture in Croatia and the current climate in this Zagreb Gay Pride 2021 Analysis by TCN reporter Ivor Kruljac.

Zagreb Pride is the oldest pride in Croatia. First held in 2002, it attracts more and more people every year, from LGBTQ members, straight people that support gay rights to NGOs, human rights activists, and even politicians from the left and liberal specter. Over the years, the event grew from a one-day pride to Pride month, full of educational and entertaining events regarding LGBTQ issues and a chance for people with the same preferences to meet and celebrate who they are.

Pride month is marked in June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan.

„The Stonewall Riots, also called the Stonewall Uprising, began in the early hours of June 28, 1969, when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village in New York City. The raid sparked a riot among bar patrons and neighborhood residents as police roughly hauled employees and patrons out of the bar, leading to six days of protests and violent clashes with law enforcement outside the bar on Christopher Street, in neighboring streets, and in nearby Christopher Park. The Stonewall Riots served as a catalyst for the gay rights movement in the United States and around the world“, reminds History.com.

When it comes to LGBTQ in Croatia, as you can expect with the ideological divide Croatians generally experience, there are mixed feelings on the issue.

From street violence to a family event  

Participating in the first Pride in 2002 required that if you are a man loving a man ready to openly admit it, you had to have balls.

The attacks by skinheads and other „morally concerned citizens were fierce and violent. Participants truly needed police protection which was provided but also needed to be careful to not get hit by the incoming rocks that were thrown among the participants.

skin_arrest.jpg

Police arresting violent skinhead at the first Zagreb Pride in 2002, screenshot / Zagreb pride

But, at least for Zagreb, the situation got better and more open. Today, pride is the forthcoming celebration of love and freedom, and entire families can be seen to join the picnic at Ribnjak park to teach their children tolerance and that people are not sick or different from others because of their sexual preference. Other larger cities in Croatia, such as Split, slowly but surely, do follow that path too, and Rijeka, the pinnacle of liberal Croatia, is also a very gay-friendly city.

Of course, a political counterstrike is expected and quite strong. The first most notable one was the 2013 referendum, where it was voted that the Croatian constitution declares marriage as a „community between a man and woman“. The goal was to deny LGBTQ couples the same rights as enjoyed by straight people.

However, the bill on life partnership outplayed that attempt.

In the meantime, LGBTQ couples can also adopt children in Croatia, as Constitutional Court concluded that gay couples fostering children is not against the Croatian Constitution.

That decision and along with the general openness of Croatia towards LGBTQ was followed by a controversial carnival in Imotski where an effigy of a gay couple was burned. President Zoran Milanović demanded an apology from the organizers, and SDP's MP Arsen Bauk filed charges against the organizers.

Counting pluses and minuses, the report on Croatia being the 39th best country for LGBTQ visitors still seems to uphold. No changes for the better, but at least Croatia is still in the top third for this category of tourists.

 Haters strike back

2020 and 2021 sadly saw the uprise of violence towards LGBTQ in the Croatian capital. Apart from the occasional tearing down or burning of the rainbow flag, Croatia was shocked with an attempt of burning a man in Maksimir Forest Park as well, with his sexual preference being the sole motive for the attack.

 On the other side, this year's pride felt to start stronger than ever. The newly elected mayor Tomislav Tomašević joined the parade, along with stating that Zagreb is a city that is open to everyone. This year arranged a bit differently to adhere to corona measures; around 2500 participated in the event.  

„Twenty of our prides made our city and our republic a better, more democratic, and joyous place for the life of all citizens“, was the main message of the 20th edition of Zagreb Pride.

As reported by Index.hr, the Zagreb Pride association representatives stated that the Croatian LGBTIQ community „became a powerful, responsible and self-aware part of the country, but that the fight isn't over“.

„Our constitution and our laws still do not include in a complete and fair way. Our streets and squares are still not free of hate. We didn't forget nor we will forget victims of homophobic and fascist rampage in this year and all previous years“, stated Zagreb Pride.  

Sadly, while Pride itself went without issues, participants of the pride who walked the streets of Zagreb after pride with rainbow flags faced a series of physical attacks on several locations in Zagreb.  

A week ahead of Pride, conservative MOST Party parliament member Nikola Grmoja complained that commercials displayed during EURO 2020 commercials were LGBTQ propaganda and that kids need to be protected from it and announced that he might include it in his anti-pedophile package. Grmoja's statement caused strong disagreements among the Croatian public, with several people (including celebrities) teasing him that if he wants to start battling pedophilia, he should start from church (as Grmoja is quite clerical). Božo Petrov, president of the MOST party, added more fuel to the fire when he supported Grmoja, stating that „minorities can't dictate what my children can learn in school“. He added that minorities need to be aware that they are minorities and that „we tolerate that," sparking more enrage from the public, with many comparing MOST to the controversial Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Zagreb Pride linked the post-Pride physical attacks with Petrov and Grmoja's public statements, and Petrov and Grmoja announced they would sue Zagreb Pride for slender.

 Nikola_Grmoja_lgbt_article.jpg

Nikola Grmoja, screenshot N1

The Law: "Gay is OK". Popular opinion: "Do it in your homes, not on the streets".

In this political escalation, what does the average Croatian think? Looking at the comments on social networks, it seems the majority of Croatians don't mind gays being gays and living how they like (even if they are not always happy with legal rights the LGBTQ community received). But, one sentiment in that „tolerance“ is particularly worrying.

„Live in your house however you want it. You don't have to wave around, like its a best thing ever“, said one of the online comments on Index.hr beneath the news on Petrov and Grmoja.

So it seems the public does not understand why Pride is important. First of all, as evident, the political climate is such that the battle for equality truly isn't over in Croatia, and Pride is the best way for the community to express what issues LGBTQ still face in Croatia. Additionally, pride month is also educational and supportive, and public presence show to other people who feel the same that they are not alone, as they might feel lonely and unable to find people who feel the same in everyday life.

zagreb_pride_fotka_druga.jpg

© Zagreb Pride

But, even if the law and constitution give the same rights and solves the problem of intolerance of LGBTQ people completely, does that mean that Pride should then be canceled? Well, Croatia won its independence and the war in the nineties. Does that mean we should stop commemorating the Homeland War? Or is it nice to honor and celebrate the victory and triumph over all obstacles Croatia had to face in its independence? Pride is a cultural, commemorative event honoring those who were or still are victims and oppressed for their sexual preference, either in Croatia or in the world. Croatia is a democratic country. Every group, national, ethnical, racial, religious, etc. should have the right to gather and honor its heroes. The right to gather and honor its tragedies and their dates and connect with other people who feel the same. If political elites are so concerned with keeping Croatians in Croatia, then they can't afford to discriminate or attack part of Croatian society solely based on their sexual preference. A preference that, unlike being violent or intolerable, can't be chosen.

Learn more about LGBT rights in Croatia and what LGBT tourists should know on our TC page.

For more about LGBT in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

First Centre For Digital Literacy of the Blind and Visually impaired opens

ZAGREB, 29 June, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović's envoy and human rights advisor Melita Mulić on Tuesday opened the Centre for the Digital Literacy of Blind and Visually Impaired Persons on the premises of the Zagreb Association of Blind Persons.

The centre, the first of its kind in Croatia, is part of the "Network for all" project.

Mulić said that digital literacy would ensure new opportunities for blind and visually impaired persons that previous generations did not have.

"We put great emphasis on diversity as well as on creating new opportunities for blind and visually impaired persons. President Zoran Milanović gladly supports these socially responsible projects and is grateful for the support and love of all those involved," said Mulić.

The president of the Zagreb Association of Blind Persons, Branimir Šutalo, said that the centre needs to be an example of good practice for other associations of the blind and visually impaired.

He said that in addition to Braille, modern times have set digital literacy as a fundamental precondition for the independence of the blind and visually impaired and their full inclusion in the life of the broader community.

"Our association is faced with serious financial challenges because essential IT equipment costs up to HRK 25,000 per user. That is why we particularly want to thank our sponsors, the HEP Group and DM Croatia, which equipped this new IT centre," said Šutalo.

The director of the Apriori World agency, Danijel Koletić, underscored the importance and necessity of adapting web sites for blind and visually impaired persons according to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Unfortunately, despite a European directive, the number of WCAG programmed sites are negligible, particularly those by public administration and public companies, he said.

"The relevant law, which should have been completely adapted to the European Directive, has omitted the obligation for elementary and secondary schools to have access to those web sites," he said, noting that this posed a huge challenge in terms of young people's understanding the importance of the inclusion of people with disabilities.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

President Zoran Milanović: To Encroach on Human Freedoms, Necessary to Have Decision of Parliament

ZAGREB, 16 June, 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Tuesday at the forum "Human Rights in the Coronavirus Crisis" that encroaching on the intimate space of human freedoms required a decision of the parliament, which he would have let it make if he were prime minister during the crisis.

Milanović said at the forum at the Faculty of Law that "in this crisis, we are not talking about human rights but about fundamental human freedoms."

"My right to breathe, to sneeze, to walk, to move - that is my human freedom. In order to affect that deeply intimate space, it is necessary to have a decision of a representative body," Milanović said.

In his presentation, he referred to Articles 16 and 17 of the Constitution and said that the coronavirus situation had met the conditions for declaring a state of emergency.

"Article 17... refers to a state of emergency, imminent danger of war or a natural disaster. It doesn't matter if this virus, and a virus is a natural fact and attacks a living organism, originated as a fact of zoonosis or was released by the Chinese or escaped from the laboratory, it makes no difference. That is a serious matter. It puts lives in danger. If that doesn't meet the conditions (for declaring a state of emergency), nothing does," Milanović said.

He added that if the coronavirus crisis had happened during his term as prime minister, he would have let the parliament vote in the relevant decisions, which would result in greater public trust, instead of having a COVID-19 response team do it.

Everything we watched for a year and a half was surreal, he added. He praised the fact that the vaccine was produced so quickly, adding that everything else was wrong.

Ombudswoman: Citizens had numerous complaints

According to Ombudswoman Tena Šimonović Einwalter, during the pandemic citizens had questions and complaints related to passes, self-isolation, access to health care since family doctors were not available to them and their examinations were cancelled, and they also sent questions related to the right to work, that is, to work from home or work in the office.

In the past few months, the ombudswoman has been receiving questions about vaccination and in the past few weeks, about COVID passports.

She also said that the frequent changes in the anti-epidemic measures and vague recommendations had led to an increase in dissatisfaction and fear among citizens, which had further undermined trust in institutions.

The ombudswoman said that there were solutions and that her report for 2020 had been discussed in the parliament, and now she hoped that the recommendations would be implemented.

For more about politics in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Two NGOs to File Report Over Burning of Rainbow Flag

ZAGREB, 11 May, 2021 - The Rijeka-based LORI lesbian association and the Rainbow Families association of LGBTIQ couples and individuals who have or want to have children will file a report with the local prosecutorial authorities over the burning of a rainbow flag on the City Hall building.

In the night between May 7 and 8, a video of the burning of the flag was posted on the Instagam profile "riječani.1987", which is linked with the Armada football fan group, with the message: "This is the response to the newly-adopted law on adoption by same-sex couples."

LORI and the Rainbow Families said they would file a report for incitement to violence and hate and causing damage to another's property.  

The two associations said they expected a prompt reaction by the competent state institutions, with LORI recalling that in 2020 it filed a report with the Rijeka prosecutor's office over graffiti saying "Kill faggots", sprayed on a window of the Rijeka City Hall after an exhibition dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the association was staged there.

For more about LGBT in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

 

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