Wednesday, 27 April 2022

Human Rights in Croatia Stagnating, 2021 Report Shows

ZAGREB, 27 April 2022 - Human rights in Croatia are stagnating and last year they were not high among the government's priorities again, which is a serious problem in the context of new social challenges, it was said on Wednesday at a presentation of a Human Rights House Zagreb report on human rights in Croatia in 2021.

The annual report was presented by programme director Ivan Novosel, who said the state of human rights should be viewed in the context of the 2020 earthquakes in Zagreb and Banija as well as the epidemic.

"Reconstruction was slowed down, de facto there wasn't any. That had a very negative impact on the exercise of citizens' socio-economic rights - the respect for the right to adequate living standards and a home," he said.

Last year again, COVID protocols had a negative impact on access to health and public services as well as social life due to restrictions of the human rights to assemble and move, he added.

Human rights have stagnated or eroded in many other areas also, and Croatian institutions remain unprepared, without ideas or coordination in coming up with clear and quality human rights protection policies, Novosel said.

Despite the establishment of the government's human rights council, human rights were not high on the government's list of priorities again last year, and 2021 ended without valid public policies protecting and promoting human rights and the fight against discrimination as well as without policies on gender equality and civil society development, he added.

Judicial independence perception among lowest in EU

Besides the low trust in institutions, there remain serious problems relating to the efficiency and quality of the justice system.

The perception of its independence remains among the lowest in the EU, and although the perception of corruption in public bodies remains high, the government is reducing the powers of the Conflict of Interest Commission.

Deputy human rights ombudsman Tatjana Vlašić said most of citizens' complaints last year were about discrimination, the exercise of the right to health and the right to work, and about the work of the judiciary.

For more, check out our lifestyle section.

Friday, 16 April 2021

Human Rights in Croatia 2020 Overview: Serbs, Roma People, and LGBTQ Hate Speech Targets

April 16, 2021-  The Human Rights in Croatia 2020 Overview report by Human rights house Zagreb shows hate speech and poor living conditions of Serb returnees and Roma people still being problematic. The judicial system and the lack of a legal frame for civil society development remain problematic too.

In a battle against the Coronavirus, many agree and fear that human rights were put in second place, triggering the debate of security vs. liberty and justification of limiting movement, work, etc.

But human rights and their respect in Croatia was an issue, long before Covid-19. As Jutarnji List warns, the situation is not good. 

Croatia doesn't have a defined politics of making a supportive environment for the civic society development. Citizen participation in decision making is still relatively weak and the judicial system is a special problem," says Jutarnji List referring to the new report by Human Rights House in Zagreb titled „Human Rights in Croatia: 2020 Overview“.

Regarding the judicial issue, a specific example can be found in the ever-controversial  "Za Dom Spremni!"(For the Homeland Ready) salute which is recognised as a fascist salute and punishable by law but it's tolerated as part of the song „Čavoglave“ by Marko Perković Thompson and can frequently be heard during his concerts both by the singer and the audience.

„Circumstance that the salute is part of the song doesn't change the fact that it's an ustasha (Croatian fascist) salute that symbolizes criminal Naci-fascist ideology and is the violation of article 39 of Croatian constitution that prohibits any call or encouragement on national, racial or religious hatred or any form of intolerance“, continues Jutarnji List.

Still present in public space, hate speech in Croatia is also very alive on the Internet, with the Serb LGBTQ community and Roma people being the prime targets. As Jutarnji reports, last year's research show this as well as the lack of appropriate response. 

„Children and adolescences do not learn enough about human rights, equality, and solidarity, given that civil education is conducted as one of six intercourse themes in elementary and high-schools. Such approach to civil education does not secure enough time in the curriculum for quality development of civil competence of pupils“, concluded for Jutarnji List Human Rights House in Zagreb.

Educational segregation for Roma people, isolated Serb returnees migrant treatment controversies, C+ grade for LGBTQ travelers

The article also adds that Roma people in Croatia are still facing many obstacles in achieving their rights, which include employment, access to services, and adequate living standards, and there is still segregation in the education system too.

Furthermore, many Serb returnees live in undeveloped rural areas, which are isolated and offer poor living conditions. Additionally, they still struggle to achieve their asset rights, and their possession is still tangible to devastation.



When it comes to LGBTQ rights, as TCN previously reported, Croatia „has an index of 188 points and a grade C+ from most safe to highest dangerous places (A to F), placing it among the first third of the best countries in the world in terms of LGBTQ+ safety“. There are controversies regarding the migrants' treatment on which we recently reported on too.

Learn more about Croatia's global rankings and many more fun facts about the country on our TC page.

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