The European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) today published its fourth report on Croatia.
ECRI’s Chair, Mr Jenö Kaltenbach, said that, despite positive developments, there were issues of concern, such as the impact on inter-ethnic relations of the under-representation of persons belonging to national minorities in the public administration and the courts, and in particular the low number of Serbs in the police at local level, and the fact that many Roma still do not have personal identity or citizenship documents.
Since ECRI’s previous report, the new Criminal Code defines hate crime and hate motivation can be an aggravating circumstance in the determination of the penalty. The Anti-Discrimination Act of 2008 designates the Ombudsman as the central body for the suppression of discrimination. Significant resources have been invested in addressing inequalities faced by Roma; pre-school facilities are now available to all Roma children and measures are being taken to put an end to separate Roma-only classes.
However, the drop-out rate among Roma pupils is still high. Integration is a problem for refugees; language classes are provided only at two licensed centres and access to employment and housing is difficult. Failings in the care of unaccompanied migrant minors include lack of appropriate medical screening, age-assessment testing, recording and tracing.
In its report, ECRI has made a number of recommendations to the authorities, among which the following three require priority implementation and will be revisited by ECRI in two years’ time:
- Ensure appropriate training to the judiciary and police on applying the new Criminal Code provisions on combating racism and racial discrimination as well as the Anti-Discrimination Act;
- Improve the Law on Free Legal Aid so that vulnerable groups are not denied access to justice;
- Adopt a comprehensive strategy for migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, paying particular attention to unaccompanied minors.
ECRI is a human rights body of the Council of Europe, composed of independent experts, which monitors problems of racism, discrimination on grounds of ethnic origin, colour, citizenship, religion and language (racial discrimination), as well as xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance, prepares reports and issues recommendations to member States.
For more information on ECRI: www.coe.int/ecri
Press contact: Stefano Valenti, Tel: +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting FREE +33 (0)3 90 21 43 28 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, firstname.lastname@example.org
– downloaded from Council of Europe web site, www.coe.int