Annual Report: Croatia 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Croatia 2010

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  • There was no progress in an investigation of a physical attack on Dušan Miljuš, a journalist for the newspaper Jutarnji List, who was severely beaten in June 2008 by unidentified individuals in front of his house in Zagreb. The journalist continued to receive death threats.
  • In January a criminal case was opened against journalist ?eljko Peratovi? for "disseminating information likely to upset the population". The prosecution was initiated at the behest of the Minister of Interior, whom the journalist alleged was obstructing an investigation into the killing in 2000 of Milan Levar, a potential witness of the Tribunal.
  • In March, Jutarnji List journalist Drago Hedl and a photographer were forcibly removed from a public press conference organized by Branimir Glavaš, a member of parliament (before his conviction in May for war crimes in his capacity as local military leader in 1991 in Osijek). In previous years Drago Hedl had faced intimidation, including death threats, as a result of his investigation of war crimes committed in Osijek during the war.

In October the HRC expressed concerns about intimidation and attacks on journalists. It observed that those alleged crimes were rarely investigated and those responsible seldom brought to justice, which diminished the freedom of the press. The HRC urged Croatia to take measures to prevent the intimidation of journalists and to bring those responsible for such attacks to justice.

Discrimination

Roma

Roma continued to face discrimination in access to economic and social rights, including education, employment and housing. Measures undertaken by the authorities remained insufficient.

In April, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg held a hearing in the case of Oršuš and others. The case involves allegations of ethnic segregation of pupils in Romaonly classes in the Me?imurje region of Croatia.

Both the CERD and the HRC expressed their concerns at the segregation of Romani pupils in the education system.

Croatian Serbs

The Croatian authorities continued to fail to guarantee the rights of Croatian Serbs, many of whom were displaced during the 1991-1995 war.

In October, the NGO Human Rights Watch reported that Croatian Serb returnees continued to face difficulties in repossessing their homes which were occupied by other tenants, often despite court judgements in their favour. Many returnees were not able to benefit from reconstruction programmes and they also faced problems in accessing employment.

In March the CERD expressed its concerns at a substantial number of unresolved cases relating to restitution of property and tenancy rights, and urged the authorities to implement fair and transparent measures to enable the sustainable return of Croatian Serbs.

In October, the HRC urged the authorities to verify the number of people not willing or not able to return, and to explore their reasons for not returning.

Right to health – mental health

In October, the HRC expressed its concerns at the ongoing use of "cage beds" as a measure to restrain mental health patients, including children in social care institutions in Croatia. It called on the country to immediately abolish the use of cage beds and to establish an inspection system in mental institutions.

Amnesty International report

Briefing to the UN Human Rights Committee on the Republic of Croatia (21 January 2009)