Croatia

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Persistent violations
  • Inequality and discrimination in access to education, particularly affecting Roma children [1]
  • Trafficking of children [2]
  • Inadequate provision for children with disabilities [3]
  • Violence against children in state institutions [4]
  • Inadequate protection for displaced children [5]

For more details, go here

Footnotes
  1. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Human Rights Committee, UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Universal Periodic Review
  2. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Universal Periodic Review
  3. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Universal Periodic Review
  4. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, UN Committee against Torture
  5. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Republic of Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing



Introduction

Located on the Central Europe, Croatia lies on the Adriatic Sea. Since declaring its independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, Croatia has evolved into a stable multi-party democracy and became a member of the European Union in 2013. The State has been widely criticised for ongoing discrimination facing Roma children and the difficulties facing refugee and internally displaced persons in accessing education and health care facilities.

Geography

Croatia is situated in Central Europe on the coast of the Adriatic sea and shares borders with Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. The largest city and capital is Zagreb.

Population and Language

The population of Croatia is 4.4 million [1], of which 89 per cent are ethnic Croat and 88 per cent Roman Catholics. The number of children is around 800,000 [2]. The official language is Croatian.

History and Politics

The present Republic of Croatia declared independence from Yugoslavia on 25 June 1991, following which the Croatian War of Independence started. The Croatian forces fought Serb rebels who wished to remain part of a Serbian state. Croatia was recognised by the United Nations in May 1992.

Croatia is a parliamentary republic with a multiparty democratic political system [3]. Following elections in 2011, the ‘Kukuriku’ coalition composed of four center-leftist parties - the Social Democratic Party, the Croatian People's Party, the Istrian Democratic Party and the Croatian Party of Pensioners - represents the majority in Parliament [4].

The country is expected to accede to the European Union on 1st July 2013.

Economy

The currency is the Croatian Kuna. The services sector of economy accounts for 70 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product, tourism being the main contributor employing more than half of the labour force. As a consequence, the global financial crisis has had a negative impact on the country’s economy since 2008 plunging it into recession.

Media and Civil Society

The right to information and freedom of the press is constitutionally recognised in Croatia, but organisations working on media issues have raised concerns about its record on press freedom. Croatia is rated 68th on Reporters Without Borders’ World Press Freedom Index [5] and Freedom House has reported that the state has tolerated harassment of journalists and has used legal action as a weapon against the media [6]. Among the main issues raised is the problem of impunity for the organisers or perpetrators of physical attacks or acts of intimidation of journalists who investigate corruption or organised crime. An Act on the Right to Information is in place, however, obtaining information from the government remains difficult in practice [7]. Furthermore, recent amendments have expanded the definition of ‘classified materials’ which are excluded from the ambit of the Act.

Human Rights and Children’s Rights

The history of Croatia has led to the displacement of many people with refugees on both sides of the conflict. According to Amnesty International[8], the return and reintegration of Serbs remains problematic. In addition, there is the problem of inadequate infrastructure to protect unaccompanied migrant children [9] coming to Croatia. The Committee on the Rights of the Child has also noted concern over the difficult access to education and health care for refugee and internally displaced children [10]. In addition, of major concern is the situation of ethnic Roma children in the education system, as well as the overall discrimination suffered by Roma individuals.

The events which took place during the war are subject to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, established by the United Nations to bring to justice those responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law and thus contribute to the restoration and maintenance of peace in the region [11].

  1. Croatian Bureau of Statistics, 2012
  2. Croatian Bureau of Statistics, 2011
  3. Croatian government website
  4. Croatian Parliament website
  5. RWB World Press Freedom Index, 2011-2012
  6. Freedom of the Press 2012
  7. Ibid.
  8. The State of the World’s Human Rights
  9. Ibid.
  10. Concluding Observations to Second Periodic Report, 20 September 2004 at para. 38
  11. ICTY website

Sources:

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