Friday, 29 July 2022

Milanović Says Did Not Insult Roma

ZAGREB, 29 July 2022 - President Zoran Milanović on Friday dismissed the statement by MP Veljko Kajtazi that in his criticism of the government's energy conservation plan he insulted the Roma community.

Milanović said he had no ill intentions and would not apologize because he did not offend anyone.

"Did I say that Roma were thieves? Did I spread prejudice and stereotypes? It is well known who steals in this country and who steals metal. Did I say that Roma were stealing. What was I supposed to say, that Roma have a PhD? I myself do not. Enough of this affectation and apologising. Where is the end to all this apologising for this and that, for Jasenovac, for Srebrenica. One must apologise all the time. Who should I apologise to and why?" Milanović said in response to questions from reporters during a visit to the southern town of Imotski.

Criticising the government's energy saving scheme on Thursday, Milanović said that if air conditioners would need to be set to 25 degrees Celsius, they had better be sold to Roma. "They will make a profit out of it. Roma are very skilled in these matters," he added.

Commenting on Kajtazi's reaction that he offended the entire Roma community, Milanović said that the question is "whether he is Roma at all".

He recalled saying several times that Kajtazi was the only member of Parliament with respectable voter support because out of some 10,000 Roma in Croatia, he received 3,000 votes in elections. "Given the large number of children among the Roma population, it turns out that almost everyone voted for him," Milanović said.

For more, check out our politics section.

Sunday, 24 April 2022

Roma Killed by Ustasha in WWII Commemorated

ZAGREB, 24 April 2022 - A group of Roma killed in the village of Hrastina by Ustasha units in the night between 24 and 25 April 1945 was commemorated for the first time at the Marija Gorica cemetery on Sunday.

The commemoration was organised by the Kali Sara association of Roma in Croatia, which also refurbished the memorial in cooperation with the Marija Gorica municipality and Roma MP Veljko Kajtazi.

He said one of the biggest Ustasha crimes against Roma and Sinti was committed here at the time of the Nazi-styled Independent State of Croatia and that little was known and talked about it until now.

It was long thought and misinterpreted that the victims were Jews from Germany and Austria, and that the crime was committed by the SS, Kajtazi said. But the crime was committed by Ustasha units from Jasenovac, he added.

"By refurbishing the memorial, we wish to acquaint the public with the historical facts and the tragedy of the Roma during WWII", Kajtazi said.

"The Nazi policy against Roma and Jews resulted in their systematic persecution in these parts, which we must always remember so that it never happens again", he added.

"We have the moral obligation and the political duty to commemorate with dignity all victims of Ustasha crimes and to stamp out everywhere any trace of Nazism and the exclusion of others on ethnic grounds", Kajtazi said.

"This refers in particular to the victims who were anonymous or forgotten until now, such as the 43 Roma killed in Hrastina", he said, adding that the plan was to exterminate an entire people.

The president of the SABA association of antifascists and antifascist fighters, Franjo Habulin, said the truth needed repeating so that it was not forgotten, and that today were being honoured innocent people killed by Ustasha criminals, a regime, he warned, said to have been an aspiration of Croatian citizens.

"But it was not nor could it have been, he said, adding that the victims were innocent people due to a racial law according to which some did not have the right to live."

"It is therefore our duty to keep remembering them so that the darkness of historical revisionism of the past 30 years does not cover them up", Habulin said.

"The people we are honouring as well as many others gave their tomorrow for our today, let's be grateful to them and respect their sacrifice", he added.

For more, make sure to check out our dedicated lifestyle section.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Pope Francis Gifted Dinamo Jersey at Vatican ahead of Friendly Football Match (PHOTOS)

November 24, 2021 - Pope Francis has been gifted a jersey of the Croatian champion Dinamo Zagreb as part of a Vatican trip that featured a friendly football match between the World Roma Organization in Croatia and the Pope's team Fratelli tutti, hosted by Italian club Lazio.

Croatian champion Dinamo was the main sponsor of a trip to the Vatican, organized by the Croatian delegation and the World Roma Organization in Croatia. The Zagreb club was represented by club president Mirko Barišić, reports HRT.

As part of the Vatican trip, a friendly football match was organized between the World Roma Organization in Croatia and the Pope's team Fratelli tutti, and the host of the match was the Italian club Lazio.

Before the match, the Holy Father received both teams and members of the delegations from Croatia and Italy, and on that occasion, Mirko Barišić presented the Holy Father with gifts, including the Dinamo jersey.

The event was organized by Msgr. Melchor Sanchez de Toca, head of the Vatican's Council for Culture and Sports, in collaboration with Nikola Kriković, Toti Dedić's assistant.

"This was an extremely pleasant and beautiful trip. For me as a Christian and a Catholic, this moment of meeting the Pope means a lot, and it means a lot to Dinamo. I was pleasantly surprised that people around the Holy Father know the name Dinamo well from the sports world. Pope Francis is a very simple man, he is very careful, he cares and advocates that "small" people should not be excluded from society, and he especially cares about minorities such as the Roma. He is particularly sensitive to this topic, advocating for all people to be given equality and to be shown that they can participate equally in society. He was delighted with the role of Dinamo as a top football club that actively supported this match as a sponsor and who showed that in addition to sports results, he takes care to respect and appreciate everything that makes a man a man. Dinamo sticks not only to the results but also to the general social values. He gave us great recognition there," said the Dinamo president.

The Holy Father had a special message for the World Roma Organization, which is extremely active in Croatia and which makes great efforts to promote equal opportunities for all, and which Dinamo has repeatedly supported through various projects and cooperation over the years.

"Dear Roma friends, I know that in Croatia you are launching many sports inclusion initiatives to help each other know each other and friendship. It is a sign of hope because big childhood dreams cannot be limited by our barriers. All children have the right to grow up together, without obstacles and without discrimination. And sport is a place of encounter and equality and can build communities with bridges of friendship."

It should be reminded that Dinamo has supported the work of the World Roma Organization countless times by promoting the fight against racism and discrimination. Likewise, the club is continuously committed to providing equal opportunities for all regardless of diversity.

At the competition of the Foundation No surrender, entitled "Equal Opportunities for All", the World Roma Organization received a donation of HRK 40,000.00. The donation was given for the project of football camps for girls and boys belonging to racial and national minorities in several different parts of Croatia.

To read more about sport in Croatia, follow TCN’s dedicated page

Saturday, 6 November 2021

County Prefect Candidate: All Governments Have Pushed Roma Issue Under the Rug

ZAGREB, 6 Nov 2021 - Darko Zver, the candidate of the Fokus party for the Međimurje County prefect in a snap election, told a news conference in Čakovec that all the Croatian governments "have pushed the issue of ethnic Roma in Međimurje under the rug."

One of the planks of Zver's agenda is to address the problems facing a sizeable Roma community in that part of Croatia.

Zver also criticized parliamentary deputy Veljko Kajtazi, who represents ethnic Roma in the national legislature, over his statements on the topics concerning local Roma members.

If elected, Zver promised "drastic changes" in social welfare benefits, education training, and employment.

He said that the county authorities must financially support training and retraining for the most sought-after occupations.

For more on politics, follow TCN's dedicated page.