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Croatian watchdogs – September 2013.

Exercise book.Through education to equality

In September, B.a.B.e. held a roundtable „Education to equality“, as a final project activity for the project „Exit the darkness – prevention and support for victims of violence“. After a brief presentation of the project activities, the focus was placed on the discussion about the necessity of introducing modules on gender equality in civic education in Croatian schools. B.a.B.e. presented a module with precisely detailed teaching units for the teaching from school children from 10 till 18 years of age and have demonstrated their expertise in the field of gender equality. The basic aims of the module are to question prejudices and stereotypes that too often lead to discrimination and violence against those who are different, and familiarization with international conventions and regulations establishing standards for the protection of human rights and the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of sex.

At the initiative of the Croatian Youth Network, session of the Council for Social Justice of the Croatian President was held. The session was organized after months of advocacy activities and experimental implementation of the curriculum for Civic education (GOO) in 12 Croatian schools. Featured requests GOOD Initiative (Initiative for the systematic and efficient introduction of education for human rights and democratic citizenship in the educational system): the introduction of Civic education in school as curricular content, but also as a compulsory content from 7th graders, and possibly earlier, development of action plan for implementation of GOO in all schools, revitalization of the National Committee for Education for Human Rights and Democratic Citizenship; securing funding from the state budget and EU funds; teacher education and the development of appropriate teaching materials; cooperation between schools and the education system with civil society organizations; democratization of the schools and actual participation of students, parents and teachers in decision-making processes. For more information watch informative reportage (Croatian language only).

These civil society organizations have showed their expertise in order to, among other things support Charter’s provision on the right to education.

Lithuanian EU Presidency Youth Conference.Young people who are not employed or are educated must be a priority

In Vilnius (Lithuania) from 9th to 12th September EU Youth Conference in the framework of the structured dialogue with young people on the theme of social inclusion of young people was held. The focus of this phase of the structured dialogue were young people who are not employed nor are studying or are in some kind of training. On this subject over 20 000 young people from across the EU, including the Croatian (represented by the Croatian Youth Network), have presented their opinions and recommendations, and the participants of the conference, on the basis on EU consultation, have formulated specific recommendations to the Council of Ministers that will be adopted in November. Croatian Youth Network uses its expert function in order to spoke out of the right to engage in work of youth population, as defined by Article 15 of the European Charter of Rights. The next phase of the structured dialogue under the Greek presidency of the EU will focus on the contribution of culture and entrepreneurship to the social inclusion of youth.

 

Representation and indicators of discriminatory and xenophobic attitudes in Croatia. 

Centre for Peace Studies (CMS) sent an open letter to the head of the National Office for the Croatians outside Croatia. The background of this is that on the website of the State dawned instruction that addresses the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina, urging them to declare themselves on the upcoming census in Bosnia and Herzegovina as Croats, Catholics speaking Croatian. According to the CMS, it is completely unacceptable that the state institutions of neighbouring countries suggests to BiH citizens to speak out about their identity, their religion and the language they speak. Issuance of such “instructions” from the neighbouring sovereign states roughly intimidate the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina and creates even greater atmosphere of tension and fear in the neighbouring country and contributes to the further boost of nationalism which for more than a decade hinders the development of Bosnia and Herzegovina. CMS has requested that the immediately removal of the instruction from the site and requests immediate apology to citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. After the reaction from the Centre for Peace Studies, the National Office for the Croatians outside Croatia has move the disputed text from their web site, and with this reaction CMS has successfully completed implementing change function highlighting Article 22 of the Charter of European Union.

Representation and indicators of discriminatory and xenophobic attitudes in Croatia.Centre for Peace Studies published study Representation and indicators of discriminatory and xenophobic attitudes in Croatia. The aim of this research is to help in making better policies aimed at eliminating prejudices and fears. Overall, the results of the research show that Croatian citizens declaratively are not supporting discrimination of foreigners, supporting multiculturalism and don’t have extreme xenophobic attitudes. On the other hand, the study found non-negligible degree of xenophobia towards certain groups, or a not-negligible proportion of the population that feels that some ethnic, religious and other groups pose a threat to Croatia and its citizens. It refers to attitudes towards Roma, asylum seekers, Serbs, Muslims, Chinese and Arabs. By promoting Article 21 of the EU Charter this research showed expert Capacities of the Centre for Peace STUDIS. Report can be downloaded here.

Following the tension and violence in Vukovar, which in recent days have attracted much media attention and publicity, and after setting multilingual boards, Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past, Centre for Peace Studies, GONG and the Centre for Peace Vukovar expressed their full support for the establishment of democratic standards and civilizational legacy in the protection and promotion of human rights and the rights of national minorities in Croatia. These organisations condemned any expression of hatred towards those who are different, which happened in the case of forcefully removal of boards with inscriptions in Latin and Cyrillic, and stressed the necessity of continuation of the process of dealing with the past, which leads to the establishment of real peace and restoration of the economic strength of Vukovar. Once again, they remind about Article 22 of the EU Charter – The Union Shall respect cultural, religious and linguistic diversity. Open letter in English can be found here.

Personal memories

Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the past as part of on-going project Personal memories of the war and other forms of political violence of the 1941 until today organized a conference aimed at presenting multiperspectivity and different experiences of people during the historical changes in the former Yugoslavia. Through a collection of records, which so far contains about 450 personal memories of storytellers collected through method of oral history, refracted by different and often diametrically opposed experiences and the experiences of people who are related to the history of the Croatia, but also the entire region. Project Personal memories was partly created as a resource for the interested scientific community, and partly is aiming at encouraging social change and public awareness, and can be used as part of educational programs in the teaching of history. With existing website Documenta – Centre for Dealing with the Past, www.documenta.hr and www.civilnezrtve.hr, now is available www.osobnasjecanja.hr, through which you can learn more about the personal memories of the war and other forms of political violence since 1941 to date. This watchdog organization become uncontested expert in the field of dealing with the past.

Lex Perković

Civil society organizations gathered in coalition Platform 112 alert and urged the Government of Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, to initiate repeal controversial provisions on judicial cooperation in criminal matters with EU member states, so-called lex Perkovic, and to initiate extradition of the former head of the Yugoslav and Croatian secret services Josip Perkovic to Germany, in which he is charged with organized political murder. Appeal in English can be found here.

Commissioner neither here nor there

On the occasion of the International Day of the right of access to information and in anticipation of the final decision on the choice of the Commissioner for Information, GONG organized a conference, “Commissioner either in heaven or on earth” in the Croatian Parliament. Stressing the Charter’s Article 11, GONG pressurizes and reminds stakeholders and general public about this important function. Some of the questions that have emerged in the conference are: How to secure and use a new institutional framework for the protection of rights of access to information? Is it possible to contempt contractual safeguard clauses in the culture of trade secrets? What are examples of proactive publication of information and what to do with them? What is the role of the Croatia in the European context of transparency? These are just some of the issues to be discussed with the relevant Croatian and foreign experts. You can read more about this issue in the article. (Croatian language only).

Public transportation in Zagreb

Green Action activists organized an action to alert and remind the public a number of problems in the functioning of public transport. This action happened on the occasion of the European Mobility Week, which is celebrated every year from 16 to 22 September on the main square. Longterm lack of atention to the quality of public transport, such as cost, speed, availability, regularity and punctuality, has resulted in a situation where fewer and fewer people pays the cost of public transportation. More about this action, including photos can be found here.

Logo funduszy szwajcarskich, Ecorys oraz Euroregion Bałtyk.       

 

This text is a result of a research prepared within the project “Powerful Watchdogs” supported by a grant from Switzerland through the Swiss Contribution to the enlarged European Union. The report aims to show the up-to-date information regarding activity of watchdog organizations in a given country. The author refers to the classification on watchdog functions, to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union and the international concepts of the transparent governance.

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