Croatian Authorities Must Tackle Homophobic and Transphobic Crime

Press Release
June 6, 2012

Croatian Authorities Must Tackle Homophobic and Transphobic Crime

Ahead of Split Pride, Human Rights Organization Documents Inadequate Protection Against LGBT Hate Crimes

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @spksingh

(Washington, D.C.) -- The Croatian government must take further steps to combat homophobic and transphobic hate crimes in the country, Amnesty International said today as it released its new briefing, Inadequate Protection: Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crimes in Croatia.

Despite legal improvements, including a new criminal code entering into force in January 2013 that explicitly acknowledges that hate crimes can be perpetrated on the ground of gender identity, flaws persist. Inadequate Protection documents cases where alleged homophobic or transphobic motives were not appropriately taken into account in the investigation and prosecution of physical violence. In addition, victims of hate crimes were not duly informed on the progress of their case, faced discriminatory treatment by the police and were inadequately protected from violence during Pride marches.

Amnesty International is launching Inadequate Protection ahead of the 2012 Split Pride, which will be held on June 9. The Croatian police and the Split city authorities must ensure that participants in this peaceful demonstration are able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly without fear of discrimination or violence. Amnesty International will monitor activities around Split Pride. We call on the Croatian authorities to ensure that participants are adequately protected from hate-based violence.

Incidences of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes traditionally spike around Pride events in Croatia. In 2011, the first Pride in the city of Split was marred by violence, when more than 3500 counter-protestors threw rocks, bottles and other objects at participants. Eight people were injured, and 44 hate crimes on the grounds of sexual orientation were recorded by the police. Although the police managed to prevent direct physical confrontation between violent counter-demonstrators and Pride participants, they failed to develop appropriate plans to secure the event.

In Inadequate Protection, Amnesty International calls on Croatia to ensure that victims of hate violence can effectively seek redress and that hate crimes are systematically and thoroughly investigated and prosecuted. Legislation on minor offenses should be amended to take account of hate motives. Clear guidelines must be applied consistently as to when physical violence resulting in bodily injuries should be processed as minor or criminal offenses.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.