Croatia–Universal Periodic Review–Radical Right–October 2019

The Advocates for Human Rights, together with the Autonomous Women’s House Zagreb, submitted a joint stakeholder report on the rise of the radical right in Croatia for the 36th Session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review in May 2020.

Despite progress in some basic rights, Croatia has failed to protect numerous fundamental human rights and meet its obligations under domestic and international law. The government of Croatia has not decriminalized defamation and continues to oppress freedom of speech. Croatia has directed funds away from non-governmental organizations whose objectives do not align with those of the government, constituting a great level of censorship. Croatia has failed to protect the rights of many marginalized groups, including minority groups such as Serbs and Romas. The government of Croatia has remained complicit with hate crimes against LGBTQ+ groups and failed to improve the equal rights of same-sex couples. Furthermore, the government fails to improve the rights of women and has subjected refugees to significant discrimination and harm.

The authors of report make the following recommendations to the government of Croatia:

  • Enhance safeguards for the allocation of public funds to civil society organizations, including policies ensuring the independence of decision makers and separation of allocation decisions from political influence.
  • Fully implement the Istanbul Convention, including passing all laws necessary to fulfill Croatia’s obligations under the Istanbul Convention.
  • De-criminalize defamation.
  • Enhance safeguards protecting the independence of the media and adopt standards setting out transparent policies and procedures for ensuring the independence of public broadcasters from political persuasion and interference.
  • Support public-awareness campaigns and education about refugees and migrants in schools and communities and promote awareness of the positive contributions of refugees and migrants to the economy and society.
  • Develop additional programs and policies to educate the public about minority issues and combat perpetuated stereotypes about the Roma and other minority populations in Croatia.