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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.

On July 18, 2003, the Law on Gender Equality was adopted, which established the general framework for the protection and promotion of gender equality as the core values ​​of the constitutional order of the Republic of Croatia. The law also defines and regulates the methods of protection against discrimination based on sex and the creation of equal opportunities for women and men.

July 15, 2008, the country passed the Anti-Discrimination Act (ADA) - the main legal document in this area. The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race or ethnic origin, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property status, trade union membership, education, social status, marriage or marital status, age, condition health, disability, genetic inheritance, gender identity, sexual orientation. The ADA defines the concept of discrimination, its various forms, applicability, as well as the mechanisms of judicial protection, the jurisdiction of the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Republic of Croatia and other ombudsmen (Ombudsman for Children, Ombudsman for Disabled Persons, Ombudsman for Gender Equality).

It is important that Croatian anti-discrimination legislation shifts the burden of proof to the defendant, contrary to previous legislation. In addition, a joint complaint has been introduced, allowing associations, organizations or institutions to represent a certain group, and to file a joint complaint in case of violations of the principles of equal treatment.

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.

In addition, the country has adopted laws on the prevention of violence at sporting events and on public events, which are also a legal mechanism for combating hate crimes.

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.

In 2016, the provision of the Criminal Code defining hate crimes was amended, according to which language is a protected feature.

The Constitutional Court of Croatia, by its decision U-II-6111/2013 of October 10, 2017, recognized that the Nazi Independent State of Croatia (NIC) and everything connected with it is illegal and contrary to the Constitution of the country. Previously, the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia (RC), by decision U-III-2588/2016 of November 8, 2016, defined the Ustashe slogan “For the House of Premni” as a symbol of racist rhetoric and also declared it unconstitutional. On August 14, 2019, the High Arbitration Court of the RoK confirmed the illegality of the exclamation, due to the fact that it provokes hatred on the basis of religion, race and nationality. However, on June 3, 2020, the High Court for Administrative Offenses of the Republic of Xia completely ignored the judicial practice that has developed in Croatia, and, as some publications and politicians note, in this way actually legitimized the Ustashe greeting.

On February 28, 2018, the new Domestic Violence Protection Act was passed and came into effect. A new law has been adopted that regulates the legal framework, bringing it into line with the country's Criminal Code, especially with regard to the classification of crimes related to domestic violence. The Act also implements Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 laying down minimum standards for the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA (OJ L 315/57), as well as some of the rights and standards guaranteed by the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe.

The law establishes the rights of victims of violence, defines protected persons and forms of domestic violence, establishes sanctions for offenses, procedures for collecting data and establishes rules for work a special committee for monitoring and improving the work of bodies involved in criminal or administrative prosecution of crimes related to domestic violence. Special Protection guaranteed for the disabled and the elderly.

On March 6, 2018, Croatia also adopted amendments to the Law on Maternity and Parental Benefits, the main purpose of which was to increase the maximum amount of wage compensation during parental leave for working and self-employed parents from 80% of the estimated budget base per month up to 120%. The budget calculation base is the basis for calculating various benefits. and help. Its size is established annually by an act regulating the implementation of the state budget. In 2018, the budget base is HRK 3,326.00 (EUR 448).

It is important that Croatia has acceded to such international agreements as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination and the Convention against Discrimination in Education. On October 1, 2018, Croatia acceded to the Istanbul Convention of the Council of Europe on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

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