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Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Anti-Discrimination Legislation The Constitution of Croatia

Croatia has a well-developed anti-racism legislation, which with a few exceptions specified in Section 1 fully complies with the European norms. In addition to the Constitution, which guarantees equal rights and freedoms for every person and citizen of the Republic of Croatia regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social background, anti-racism and anti-discrimination provisions are contained in the constitutional law on the rights of ethnic minorities, the Anti-discrimination Act, the Act on teaching and learning of the languages and literature of ethnic minorities, the Act on the Election of Deputies to the Croatian parliament and the Criminal Code.

The Constitutional Law on the Rights of Ethnic Minorities ensures the exercise of special rights and freedoms of members of ethnic minorities, which they enjoy individually or together with other persons belonging to the same national minority, as well as the right to cultural autonomy (preservation and expression of their cultural identity, preservation and protection of their cultural values and traditions), the right to self-organization and association for the purpose of pursuing common interests and the right to access the public media and communications in the language they use. Any form of discrimination based on the status of a national minority shall be prohibited (Article 4). Members of national minorities are guaranteed equality before the law and equal protection on behalf of the law.

Article 23 of the Constitutional Act foresees that in order to improve the preservation and protection of the rights of national minorities, members of national minorities elect their representatives to participate in public life and conduct affairs at the local level through the councils and representatives of national minorities in the local and regional government.

The law also guarantees minorities the right to be represented in parliament. In 2013, changes were made to the Aliens Act, which introduced a simplified procedure for obtaining citizenship for foreigners who were born in Croatia, at least one of whose parents had Croatian citizenship.

Since 2012, Croatia also participates in the programme “Integration of Roma 2005-2015”, which can have a positive impact on its status in the EU.

In summer 2012, the authority of the Ombudsman has increased substantially. Croatian Parliament had strengthened the role and importance of this institution, giving it more autonomy and independence compared to other government agencies. In addition, the Office of the Ombudsman merged with the Centre for Human Rights, becoming the central government body responsible for human rights.

It is important to note that propaganda of racism is a crime in Croatia, defined as “public statements about inferiority or superiority of any race, ethnicity, religion, gender or other characteristics aimed at inciting racial, religious, national or ethnic hatred or hatred based on skin colour or sexual orientation” In 2013, Croatia adopted amendments to the Criminal Code that increased the punishment for hate crime. Croatian Prosecutor’s Office issued a special instruction to increase the focus on hate crime.

Croatia has a developed (by European standards) anti-discrimination legislation. To it belongs: the Act on Gender Equality, Act on Free Legal Aid, Labour Act, the Act on Foreigners, Act on Asylum, Act on Government Officials, the Gender Equality Act. Moreover, Croatia is one of the few countries that have adopted the law on same-sex partnerships, which regulates the issue of same-sex unions and the legal consequences of such unions and also prohibits any form of discrimination, both direct and indirect, on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The right to education with the use of languages and scripts of national minorities is regulated by the Education Act of National Minorities, which foresees the learning with the use of languages and scripts of national minorities, the establishment of schools that operate using the languages and scripts of national minorities, hiring employees who are members of ethnic minorities with the aim of teaching, publication and translation of textbooks in the language and script of national minorities and the implementation of special programs for the preservation of linguistic and cultural identity.

Minorities in the Republic of Croatia choose the form of education which uses their own language and script, i.e. they choose a program of complete training using their language and script, provided the compulsory study of the Croatian language or “preservation form” - the study of language and culture as an additional educational program, which includes five national subjects (language, history, geography, music and art of national minorities).

Roma in Croatia profit from all rights of minorities, but the schooling of Roma is not carried out on any of the Roam dialects.

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