Sunday, 19 August 2018

ECRI: Racist and intolerant hate speech, nationalism and xenophobia are escalating in Croatia

By  May 15, 2018

The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) has just published their report on Croatia in the fifth monitoring cycle. 

In the summary, they say that since the adoption of ECRI’s fourth report on Croatia on 20 June 2012, progress has been made in a number of fields, mentioning things such as National Roma Inslucion Strategy, Housing Care Programme, new Law on Registered Same-Sex Partnerships, etc.

However, despite the progress achieved, some issues are really concerning ECRI.
- Racist and intolerant hate speech in public discourse is escalating; the main targets are Serbs, LGBT persons and Roma. There is a growing rise of nationalism, particularly among the youth, which primarily takes the form of praising the fascist Ustaša regime. In the regional media and on Internet, expressions of racism and xenophobia against Serbs, LGBT persons and refugees are commonplace, as is abusive language when referring to Roma. Physical attacks against these groups as well as their property also occur – it's stated in the summary, adding that the responses of the Croatian authorities to these incidents cannot be considered fully adequate.

Also, the national Roma strategies have not been implemented fully and the situation of the Roma community remains characterised by high levels of social exclusion. The LGBT community is also facing discrimination in their daily lives.
In this report, ECRI requests that the authorities take action in a number of areas. The authorities should introduce compulsory human rights education as part of civic education into all school curricul.
The authorities should condemn hate speech and promote counter-speech by politicians and high-ranking officials. All political parties in the country should also condemn hate speech and call on their members and followers to abstain from using it.

A racist and/or homo-/transphobic motivation in cases of violent incidents should be made an integral part of investigations, particularly through providing clear guidelines between the police and State Attorney’s Office, as well as judicial proceedings from their very beginning. The authorities should also provide training activities for law enforcement officials and the judiciary on hate crime and the application of provisions regarding hate motivation.

Adequate funding should be allocated for the effective implementation of the NRIS. It also should be revised systematically to include more targeted measures and success indicators to measure its impact, in close cooperation with regional and local authorities as well as members of the Roma community.

The authorities should ensure that the Action Plan for the integration of persons who have been granted international protection (2017-2019) has well-defined goals and targets, time-frames, funding, success indicators as well as a monitoring and evaluation system for its effective implementation.

An action plan should be adopted to combat homophobia and transphobia in all areas of everyday life, including education, employment and health care.

If you want to see the full report, click here.

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The Voice of Dubrovnik

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