Summary of 2009 Report
Positive advances in the status of the human rights of sexual and gender minorities in Croatia in 2009 are visible, as in previous years, in the increase in reports of violence and discrimination to organisations for the protection of sexual and gender minorities. In 2009 we noted an increase in the number of reports of violations of the human rights of transgender persons. We believe that this was a consequence of the increased activities of civil society organisations in that field and public discussion brought by the Anti-Discrimination Act.
Nevertheless, the great majority of people who experience discrimination and violence never report such incidents because of their lack of confidence in the Croatian legal system, and fearing disclosure of their sexual orientation.
Transgender persons are subjected to discrimination and violence in their everyday lives because of their gender identity or gender expression. Legislation regulating the procedures for change of name and sex in personal documents does not contain protection mechanisms for the protection of the right to privacy of transgender persons and that results in violations of human rights of that extremely vulnerable social group.
The most negative event in 2009 was failure of the state institutions to prohibit the fascist protest named “Anti-Gay Protest Against the Gay Parade – It Is Unacceptable for Them to Impose Their Distorted Lifestyle on Us”, organised by the Croatian Pure Party of Rights and the Croatian Nationalists.
The protest was held on 13 June 2009 at the same time as the Zagreb Pride event on Ban Jela?i? Square in Zagreb. The fact that the protest was held represents a serious setback in the protection of human rights in Republic of Croatia in 2009 and a violation of the constitutional principle of equality before the law.
The protest was announced in the media ten days before Zagreb Pride event was held. The organisers’ stands were based on Nazi ideas on the superiority of the white race, and the organisers’ web site and announcements of the protest were furnished with fascist iconography and instructions on making weapons (Molotov cocktails).
On 3 June 2009 Lesbian Group Kontra requested the competent authorities to prohibit the gathering, or protest named “Anti-Gay Protest” of the Croatian Pure Party of Rights and the Croatian Nationalists because the protest contained all elements of the criminal offence of racial or other discrimination. Considering that the protest was announced by hate speech and invitation to a public lynching, we also filed a criminal complaint with the State Attorney’s Office in Zagreb.
Despite all the above, the protest was not prohibited, and the Zagreb Police Department justified this action by a positive security assessment. The fascist gathering was held in Zagreb. Participants in the protest shouted: “Kill the faggots!” and held their arms in a fascist salute and the police did not react.
Several participants in the gathering tried to attack the participants in Zagreb Pride during the event. One of the participants in Zagreb Pride was attacked after the event. Proceedings in regards to the criminal complaint against the organisers are in progress.
In this we would like to express our public condemnation of the work of the Zagreb Police Department and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. After seeing the announcement and web pages of the organisers that were inciting violence and spreading hatred, further security evaluations were not necessary and prohibition by the competent authorities should have taken place.
The Republic of Croatia did not prohibit the gathering, although it should have done so. Therefore, contrary to the provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Act, it violated constitutional rights guaranteed by Article 39 of the Constitution that prohibits any call for or incitement to war, or resort to violence, national, racial or religious hatred, or any form of intolerance, but also the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 10 and 11 (right to freedom of expression and right to freedom of assembly) in regards to Zagreb Pride and Article 17 (abuse of rights) with regard to this counterdemonstration with Nazi overtones.
We never received answers to our request from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Zagreb Police Department, which in itself constitutes a direct violation of Art 46 of the Constitution. Due to the “silence of the administration” we submitted a motion to speed up proceedings in accordance with the provisions of the General Administrative Proceedings Act and we are going to initiate an administrative dispute at the Administrative Court of the Republic of Croatia in order to draw attention to the serious violation of human rights that occurred as the result of state authorities’ failure to react.
You can read the full report by downloading the attached PDF file: