2005 Annual Report on the Status of Human Rights of Sexual And Gender Minorities In Croatia

Introduction

In 2005 some advancement in perception of human rights of sexual and gender minorities in Croatia was reflected in more frequent calls for help by the victims of discrimination and violence to the non governmental organisations (hereinafter “NGOs”) as well as in the active participation of these NGOs in implementation of legislation addressing gender issues and issues concerning sexual minorities.

The most serious human rights violations in respect of sexual and gender minorities were perpetrated by regional Police officers when violence against persons of homosexual orientation was reported to them and during the organisation of the 2005 Zagreb Pride manifestation.

Also, in the past year violations of children’s rights had continued in the context of their education in schools since there was no sexual education or education on gender equality. To the contrary, schoolbooks mostly represented discriminatory practices and stereotypes, which were in contradiction to the obligations of Croatia as a signatory of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms Discrimination Against Women.

1. Legislation

Draft Programme on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Croatia from 2005 to 2008

In January 2005 the Government Office for Human Rights (Ured za ljudska prava Vlade Republike Hrvatske) drafted and presented before the Parliament their Draft Programme on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Croatia from 2005 to 2008. In chapter “Priorities in the Protection of Human Rights” there was no coverage on the protection of human rights of sexual minorities. After the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra had pointed it out at a session of the Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality, the Committee gave the following recommendation: “It is necessary to include prohibition of discrimination of persons of different sexual orientation in chapter on Prohibition of Racial And Other Discrimination.” The chairperson of the Government Office for Human Rights supported our amendments and the document finally included protection of the rights of sexual minorities.   

Draft Act on Medically Assisted Conception

In October 2004 the Government presented to the Parliament their Draft Act on Medically Assisted Conception. The said Draft was discriminatory against women in respect of their marital status. Act on Gender Equality guaranteed protection of women against discrimination in all spheres of life, including the reproductive rights and particularly in respect of their family and marital status. In our view the said Draft Act was in contradiction to the Act on Gender Equality and international legal standards. During public debate on the Draft Act there was abundance of sexist and homophobic Statements, headed by the Committee members in charge of drafting the Act.

Of special concern was the fact that the Committe members, relying on strong homophobia present in Croatian society, invoked example of women living in same-sex units as their main argument against giving the right of medically assisted conception to single women. Such was also the comment of Mr ?oroši? saying that allowing artificial insemination to the same-sex couples would have been contrary to the Croatian national spirit because “we are not like that”. We deemed such Statemts to be uterly insulting for citizens of Croatia who were concerned with the protection of human rights in their country. In the end, the Draft Act was withdrawn from the Parliamentary session without any public explanation, but most likely under the pressure by the Catholic Church since their representatives had been vigorous opponents to any kind of medically assisted conception during the previous public debate. They went so far as to refer to the children conceived by artificial insemination as “things”. Meanwhile, medically assisted conception remained so called “grey zone” within the framework of Croatian legislaiton and consequently apt for manipulation

Act on State Officials

Public debate on enactment of the Act on State Officials was launched in June 2005. We supported the initiative to include sexual orientation while regulating principle to prohibit discrimination in Section 6 of the Draft Act on State Officials and also in Section 11 of the same Draft Act while regulating the right to equal treatment and equal possibilities of promotion. The drafters thus showed clear stand towards protection against discrimination. However, there was also a drawback because provisions regualtiong prohibition of unjust promotion (Section 18), obligation of reporting on  conflict of interests (Section 34 para. 1) and provisions on prohibition of endorsing certain decisions (Section 37 paras. 1 (a) and 1 (g)) did not acknowledge a same-sex partner a possible victim of the said said provisions. To the contrary, a co-habitant of a heterosexual partner was mentioned in these provisions.

In our view the same-sex partnership should have been acknowledged as a category within the context of regulation on conflict of interests since it was based on same principles as marriage or heterosexual partnership of co-habitants (emotional bond, mutual support, understanding and respect) nonwithstanding formal differences among thise unions.

Our amendments to the Draft Act were not included. The same had happened before with our amendemnts on other drafts regulating various areas of life. Therefore, we concluded that the State institutions had intentionally failed to implement Act on Same-sex Partnership and had constantly violated prohibition of discrimination based on same sex partnership regulated by Section 21 of the said Act.

Draft Act on Registered Partnership

On 15 June 2005, almost two years after the Act on Same-sex Partnership had come into force, the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra organised a round table discussion presenting Draft Act on Registered Partnership. We decided to address competent State institutions demanding abolishment of discrimination of same-sex couples throughout Croatian legislation. Within past two years it had been shown that the Act on Same-sex Partnership functioned only as a declaratory document and was not able to ensure the rights included in the Act to the same-sex couples. Provisions of that Act were in contradiction among themselves. Section 21 para. 1 prohibited discrimination on the basis of same-sex partnership and homosexual orientation while at the same time the Act itself introduced such discrimination because it guaranteed a very limited spectrum of rights to the same sex couples.

Ever since the Act was introduced, the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra had been receiving a number of calls from persons living in same-sex partnerships asking which rights they really could have enjoyed in practice. We had to explain that in reality they had no rights on the basis of same-sex partnerships – they had no right to take loans together with their partners on the same terms as, for example, married couples; they did not have the right to social benefits in relation to their partners; they were not allowed to visit their partners in the intensive-care sections in hospitals; and they had no inheritance rights. The right to claim their part in assets gained together during their partnership was limited only to couples that had actually lived together. Having in mind real-life experience, we drafted amendments to the Family Act, Draft Act on Registered Partnership and demanded the State institutions to adopt at least one of our several proposals to abolish discrimination of the same-sex partners in Croatian legislation.

We were aware that the Draft Act on Registered Partnership entailed some drawbacks because it also included some form of discrimination of same-sex couples and accepted that same-sex partnership should have been regulated out of Family Act. It also did not include parental rights for the same-sex couples. Furthermore, it was not possible for a partner of the same-sex couple to adopt his/her partner’s child. Thus, this other partner was not in a legally recognised position to enjoy rights and duties in respect of a child of his/her partner. A child of one partner had no inheritance rights in respect of its parent’s same-sex partner. However, having regard to the political climate in Croatia, we agreed that for the time being such an Act still provided partners in a same-sex union with a number of rights. In that context, we saw the Draft Act as the first step in enhancing the position of same-sex couples in Croatian society. Draft Act on Registered partnership was presented by representatives of two parties, Šime Lu?in of Social Democratic party (SDP) and Ivo Banac of Liberal party (LS). The Draft Act was scheduled to be discussed on 18th Session of the Parliament.

Amendments to the Criminal Code
 
In Croatia, there was no statistical data on motives of crimes. Our attempts to introduce notification of crimes motivated by victim’s religion race, ethnic origin, skin colour, assets or sexual orientation were not successful. The answer was that these values were protected in the context of crime of violation of equality of citizens (Section 106 of the Criminal Code) and crime of racial and other discrimination (Section 174 para 1 of the Criminal Code). On the basis of the data given by the State authorities to the OSCE (OSCE 2005, Combating Hate Crimes in the OSCE Region: An Overview of Statistics, Legislation, and National Initiatives), Croatia was categorised in a group of countries that did have regulations on hate crimes (Section 174 of the Criminal Code – Racial and other Discrimination). On the other hand, the State authorities did not collect data on hate crimes committed against specific group. Collecting data was particularly problematic when it concerned hate crimes against sexual minorities because victims of such crimes mostly did not report acts of violence and discrimination against them due to fear of revealing their sexual orientation and their distrust in respect of legal protection afforded to them in Croatia.
The Criminal Code itself afforded protection of sexual minorities against some crimes but not all hate crimes. Crime of violation of equality of citizens or crime of racial and other discrimination did not cover homicide committed against a transsexual which was motivated by a victim being a transsexual person. Therefore, the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra, with support of Croatian Women’s Net and Centre for Peace Studies drafted and presented to public three draft amendments to the Criminal Code which included definition of hate crime.

Another serious problem of the Criminal Code referred to its Section 174 para. 3 which was designed to address hate speech.

“Act on Amendments of the Criminal Code (Official Gazette no. 129/00)
Section 26
In Section 174 para. 1 after the words “race” words “religion, language, political or other belief, assets, birth, education, social status or other characteristics” shall be added.”
Paragraph 3 shall read:
“(3) A person who, with the aim of propagating racial, religious, gender, national or ethnic hate or hate on the basis of skin colour or with the aim of degrading another person, publicly presents ideas of supremacy or subordination of one race, ethnic or religious group, gender or nation or ideas of supremacy or subordination on the basis of skin colour, shall be punished with prison sentence from three months to three years.”
Interpretation of paragraph 3 indicated that direct intent was to be proven in each instance Therefore, it was impossible to implement this provision in practice. All hate speech cases that had so far been presented to our Team for Legal Changes were dismissed by the Public Attorney’s Office because direct intent of offender was impossible to prove. The reasoning was that the suspect stated his/her opinion about the topic in question without any intent to propagate hatred on the basis of someone’s sexual orientation. Therefore, we suggested that words “with the aim of propagating racial, religious, gender, national or ethnic hate or hate on the basis of skin colour or with the aim of degrading another person” be deleted from Section 174 para. 3 of the Criminal Code, so as to exempt the requirement to prove direct intent in respect of the hate speech offenders.

2.Cooperation With State Institutions and Bodies

We established meaningful cooperation with the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality Office, Ombudswoman for Children Office, Government Office for Human Rights, Parliament, Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities as well as with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ombudswoman for Gender Equality

Our Team for Legal Changes established permanent cooperation with the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality. She heard individual cases of human rights violations and participated in public events organised by our Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra, aimed at education on sexual minorities rights.

She actively participated in public debate on model of sexual education at schools in Croatia and sent a note to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport saying: “In the present day conditions, having in mind in particular the harmonisation of the Croatian legislation with the European Union standards, it is unacceptable to promote a life in family with both biological parents as the only desirable family model, because our life experience shows that it is legitimate to live with only one biological parent as well as without any biological parent and the modern European society has legitimised and accepted families with same-sex parents.” She stressed that the implementation of Programme Teen STAR violated Section 6 of the Act on Gender Equality and Section 21 of the Act on Same-sex Partnership.

Some of the activities of Ombudswoman for Gender Equality Office were presented on the Office’s web page. The web page also published all annual reports issued by the Ombudswoman’s Office. Our suggestion was that activities of the Ombudswoman’s Office be presented on the web page in their entirety.
 
Since the Ombudswoman’s Office is in charge of addressing issues concerning protection of human rights of sexual minorities, additional resources should be allocated to the Office, both in respect of money and human resources. The Office should employ persons who would address only human rights violations against sexual minorities.
Our experience so far showed that the Office answered letters concerning their activities with delay. On the other hand, the Office personnel showed a great deal of will to discuss all issues of our interest and to exchange information.
The Ombudswoman’s Office significantly contributed in making visible problems of sexual education at schools. It is desirable that the Office be more present in media coverage of human rights violations of sexual minorities.

Ombudswoman for Children
The Ombudswoman for children positively reacted to our note concerning “Programme of Catholic Religious Teaching in Primary and Secondary Schools in Croatia” and demanded that the Programme be accorded with positive legislation in Croatia and Convention on the Rights of a Child. She also actively participated in public debate on Teen STAR Programme and model of sexual education at schools in Croatia. She sent her recommendations to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport where she confirmed our observations and pointed out that the Teen STAR Programme was in contradiction not only with the Croatian legislation but also with the Convention on the Rights of a Child. She demanded that the implementation of that Programme be conditioned by its harmonisation with the domestic legislation and the said Convention.

Unfortunately, after resignation of Ms Ljubica Matijevi? Vrsaljko from the position of Ombudswoman for children in October 2005, a new Ombudsperson has not yet been appointed. Ms Vrsaljko explained that she resigned because she did not want Ombudsperson for Children to be a body of the State administration apparatus since the rights of children were inadequately protected in the State institutions. The appointment of a new Ombudsperson became a ground for the battle of political parties and the position has been emptied for a period of longer than three months.

Government Office for Human Rights
The Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra established a successful cooperation with the Government Office for Human Rights in the past year.
Initially the Draft National Programme on Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in Croatia from 2005 to 2008, in its chapter Priorities in the Protection of Human Rights, which was discussed in the Parliament, did not include protection of the sexual minorities’ rights. However, after the discussion in the Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality, the Head of the Government Office supported our comments and the Draft Programme finally included protection of the rights of sexual minorities.
Head of the Office supported public events organised by our Team for Legal Changes and positively reacted against individual human rights violations against members of sexual minorities. The office financed publishing of a second edition of the Manual for the Implementation of Anti-discriminatory Provisions and Laws in Croatia and establishing of the Team for Legal Changes hot line.
Parliamentary Committee for Gender Equality and Committee for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities
Despite their nominal duties and powers, these Committees were not truly involved with the legislative procedures of the Acts of their concern because drafts of such acts were not submitted to them in due time. In addition, these Committees were preoccupied with partisan battles and thus did not dedicate adequate time and energy towards their main function: analysis of documents produced in Parliament and giving initiatives in respect of human rights protections.
Nevertheless, the Committees supported legislative initiatives of our Team for Legal Changes in respect of our amendments to the Criminal Code and Media Act from 2004. During 2005, the Committees, together with our Legal Team, organised a round table discussion on the Act on Registered Partnership.
We encountered difficulties in our attempts for cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport as well as with the Zagreb Municipal State Attorney’s Office and Police. They showed a significant degree of misunderstanding of issues concerning the rights of gender and sexual minorities and disrespect for the NGO’s activists, but also for the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality.

3.Media

In 2005 we noticed a negative trend in media coverage of topics related to LGBT population and propagation of hatred on the basis of sexual orientation.

One of the heaviest human rights violations of a homosexual person was media coverage of sexual violence against a child placed in an orphanage in Pula. Most media identified paedophilia and sexual abuse of children with homosexuality. The most homophobic attitudes were expressed in TV programmes “Otvoreno” and “Dnevnik” broadcasted on 6 July 2005 on Croatian Radio Television. These programmes, headed by presenters Ozana Baši? and Hloverka Novak Srzi?, left an impression of deep intolerance and included certain discriminatory elements. Ms Novak Srzi? when referring to the case of sexual abuse against a child placed in that institution, twice reprimanded the headmaster of the Pula Orphanage for giving children into care of a person of homosexual orientation. She knew that the perpetrator had been registered as a previous offender and could have formulated her questions so as to refer to his previous criminal activity, without blaming him solely as a homosexual. Equating criminal acts of sexual violence against children with homosexuality was extremely offending. Furthermore, when such an idea was presented through media, in a discriminatory context, it enticed others to discrimination and should, as a consequence, hold persons responsible criminally liable. It also reflected derogatory attitude towards homosexuals and created atmosphere where such attitude was justifiable and even desirable. Such practices were in contradiction with principles of equality in civilised society and represented true degradation of all results so far achieved in protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra, in cooperation with the Croatian Women’s Net sent a note of protest to the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality Office and the Croatian Radio Televison Committee and its Director. Ms Novak Srzi? made an attempt for an appology in her next programme but still added in the end : “… but he was a homosexual…” when reffering to the ofender.

The Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra also reacted to a homophobic incident during Big Brother Show broadcasted on 18 November 2004 and again on 19 November 2004 on RTL Net. In that show one of the participants, Mr Zdravko Lamota, said: “If I found out that any of my friends were a fag I would kill him, I would personally kill him!” Broadcasting of such statements openly enticed violence, animosity and intolerance towards persons of sexual minorities. After Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra had sent a note of protest to the RTL Net, Electronic Media Committee, Parliamentary Committee for Human Rights and Rights of National Minorities, Parliamentary Committee for Gender Equality, Parliamentary Committee for Information, Informatisation and Media, Ombudswoman for Gender Equality Office and Ombudswoman for Children Office, the RTL Editors Board apologised through an open letter to the members of sexual minorities. Unfortunately, however, this did not prevent RTL from broadcasting further offensive, insulting and deprecating statements of participants in 2005 Big Brother Show. They even chose the most homophobic, transphobic and misogynist statements in order to enhance the popularity of the show. The Croatian Women’s Net and the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra notified on many occasions RTL television of such discriminatory practices against women and sexual minorities in the context of Big Brother Show, relying on Croatian legislation which prohibited derogatory presentation based on gender, but that time to no avail. It appeared that the RTL Net, since we had not brought legal action against them in the first place, completely ignored our further notes concerning broadcasting of discriminatory statements on their part. In our view, such practice primarily offended the TV audience because it presupposed their tolerance towards propagating of hatred and primitive insults.  

The “Iskorak” and “Kontra” Legal Team filed a complaint with the Croatian Journalists Council of Honour, a body of the Croatian Journalists Society, against Slobodna Dalmacija journalist Davor Mladoši? because of his article “Viganj is not Vigay”, published in Slobodna Dalmacija on 31 July 2005. The article addressed topic of tourism in a small place called Viganj where the author unnecessarily made references to homosexuals in derogatory terms. The author used vulgar expression “fag” (“peder”), and subtitles “Pederast Colony” and “So, Where Are These Fags?”  On 7 December 2005 we received the Croatian Journalists Council of Honour answer saying that the said article violated Section 19 of the Croatian Journalists Society’s Code of Honour according to which journalists were to avoid publication of intimate details and pejorative expressions referring to race, skin colour, faith, sex and sexual orientation, if such expressions had not been of public interest. Mr Mladoši? was warned pursuant to Section 7 (a) of the Rules of the Croatian Journalists Council of Honour and it was stressed that he was to show more sensibility and no prejudice when addressing topics concerning sexual orientation.

TV Nova Net disseminated disinformation in informative programme 24 hours and enticed hatred towards sexual minorities. The latest such example was their coverage of “Iskorak” action for a Coming Out Day, when the journalists minimised violence against members of sexual minorities and accused LGBT persons for not being ready to make a come out.

Despite our recommendations sent in November 2004 to the Croatian Radio Television, RTL Net, TV Nova Net and OTV Net, concerning translation of foreign programmes where we pointed to the positive legislation in Croatia which sanctioned discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, the TV nets continued to promote discrimination of sexual minorities in translation of foreign programmes using terms such as “fags (pederi) and dykes (lezbe) which had derogatory meaning in Croatian language and labelling as “normal” only heterosexual couples in contrast to gay couples. Although in November 2004. We received answer of the Croatian Radio Television Director’s Office that our objections had been well founded and that in the future they would do their best to avoid such terminology, we had not noticed any positive changes in that respect.

We constantly encountered signs of superficiality and lack of education in respect of sexual minorities in the press. There was only a slight attempt to treat LGBT rights as human rights. Most media, however, when covering sexual minorities related issues, focused on sensational aspect, “homosexuality as a social phenomenon” or direct sexual aspect.

In February 2005 the media coverage of distribution of “Gay Directory”, providing names of persons supposedly of homosexual orientation, via Internet, was considerable. Reports were done in sensationalistic and exaggerating manner. The whole media coverage caused panic among persons who suspected that their names were in the Directory, which resulted in many calls to our hot lines. On 14 February 2005 “Iskorak” and “Kontra, together with the Croatian Women’s Net, published a public statement whereby we refuted false information that the Directory included more than 800 names together with addresses and phone numbers. We issued a conclusion that dissemination of such information contributed to spreading of panic and sensationalism and that certain excerpts of media coverage fell under crime of abuse of personal data from Section 133 of the Criminal Code. Also, the whole media coverage created atmosphere in public which only increased demand for the copies of Directory.

On 18 February 2005 a weekly magazine “Globus” published an article titled “Listing of Croatian Homosexuals Stolen”, referring to so-called “Gay Directory”. The editor in chief, Mr Igor Alborghetti published photographs of the Directory which revealed identity of some persons. The Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra filed a complaint with the Croatian Journalists Council of Honour. Conclusion of the Council’s meeting of 21 March 2005 gave a serious warning to Mr Alborghetti stating that he had violated the Croatian Journalists Society’s Code of Honour. The warning was published in the Croatian Journalists Society’s Gazette. The Council concluded that the article in question failed to provide phenomenological analysis and focused on sensationalism on any price.
 
In 2005 we witnessed yet another scandalous media coverage of a marriage of an intersexual person. Media often used derogatory terms such as “hermaphrodite” and reported on the event with a great deal of xenophobia.

4.Education

In our view the education system in Croatia did not fulfil basic conditions for education on human rights. Schoolbooks were still plentiful of gender stereotypes and were not sensitive to the rights of sexual and other minorities.

According to the National Politics for the Promotion of Gender Equality from 2001 to 2005, adopted by Parliament, development of the systematic education on gender equality and raising awareness on gender equality in the context of regular education was one of the highest priorities. However, the personnel of the competent Ministry did not undertake adequate measures for the implementation of the National Politics on Gender Equality and thus it stayed a dead letter.

Despite the objections filed by the human rights NGOs and the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality Office, Programme on Catholic Religious Teaching was still the main educator on sexuality in primary schools. In this context homosexuality was presented as sinful, thus teaching discrimination. Furthermore, homosexuality was put in the same category as incest and prostitution.

Another problem with Catholic Religious Teaching was that a number of schools scheduled these classes in the middle of daily schedules so that pupils who did not attend such classes had nowhere to go during these classes, and were left to wander in school halls. In our opinion Catholic Religious Teaching belonged to religious institutions and not to schools. If schools included Catholic Religious Teaching in their programmes (which was obligatory) than these classes should have been scheduled in the begging or the end of a school day. Thus, pressure on pupils who did not choose Catholic Religious Teaching would have lessened.

In Croatian schools there was no sexual education as a separate class. There were only programmes led by NGOs, such as MEMO AIDS and Teen STAR. MEMO AIDS referred to health issues and did not encompass all aspects of sexual education. Teen STAR promotes abstention from sex and was influenced by Catholic Church. Many schools adopted this programme.

Our analysis of Teen STAR Programme showed its discriminatory attitude towards gender, sexual orientation and marital or family status. Therefore, it was in contradiction with the positive legislation in Croatia. The Programme was included as optional subject in 70 % of primary and secondary schools in Croatia. It was approved by the Croatian Schooling Institute and supported by the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport. We sent our observations on the Programme to the Ombudswoman for Children Office and Ombudswoman for Gender Equality Office, with recommendation to bring the Programme into line with positive legislation in Croatia or to withdraw it from implementation in schools. The Programme also did not comply with basic pedagogical criteria.  

On 2 November 2004 Ombudswoman for Children, Ms Ljubica Matijevi? Vrsaljko, sent her opinion and recommendations in respect of the Teen STAR Programme to the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport. She agreed with most of our allegations and pointed out that the Programme was not only in contradiction with the positive legislation in Croatia, but also with the Convention on the Rights of a Child. She demanded that further implementation of the Programme be conditioned with its harmonisation with the Croatian legislation and the said Convention.

After the activists of the Teen STAR Organisation, being in charge of the implementation of that Programme in schools, publicly stated that heterosexuality was better than homosexuality because a homosexual relationship was incapable of procreation, we asked for their public apology, which was rejected on their part. Therefore, in December 2005 we filed a criminal complaint with the Zagreb Municipality Public Attorney’s Office against the president of the Teen STAR Organisation, Ms Kristina Pavlovi? and their vice-president, Mr Ladisalv Ili?i?. In our view, their public statements, which expressed opinion on superiority on the basis of sexual orientation, qualified as criminal offence described in Section 174 para 3 of the Criminal Code. Furthermore, implementation of the Teen STAR Programme in schools deprived children of some rights guaranteed by the Convention on the Rights of a Child and thus qualified as criminal offence of violating the equality of citizens described in Section 106 para 1 of the Criminal Code.

The Teen STAR Programme included also some religious teaching, although in principle regardless of specific faith, but having regard to the religious composition of pupils in particular school. Therefore, it was also an alternative programme of Catholic Religious Teaching if we took into account the fact that more than 90 % of Croatian population declared themselves as Catholic. In our view, such practice aggravated the problems related to sexual education in schools which should have been based on scientific facts and not on religious dogma. The Programme put moral imperative of Catholic religion as criteria for personal maturity and as a value judgment of a person and his/her choices. Such a Programme proved problematic in respect of providing adequate information on sexually transmitted deceases. It was shown that programmes based on religious teachings and promotion of abstinence from sex was in general insufficient in respect of protection of young people form STD. The supporters of this Programme openly opposed the use of condoms. Their attitude also showed that in their view every sexual intercourse which was not aimed at procreation was of less value and that persons having sex with condoms were not whole and mature.

In January 2005 the Ministry of Science, Education and Sport founded the Commission on Evaluation of All Programmes on Sexual Education for Primary and Secondary Schools in Croatia. The Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra together with the Croatian Women’ Net were dissatisfied with the members of the Commission. The president of the Commission was Mr Vladimir Gruden (a psychiatrist) who had already been warned by the Croatian Physicians Association, because of his attitudes towards homosexuality. It was said that if he expressed such homophobic views in public, he were also to stress that such Statements were contrary to the opinion of the Croatian Physicians Association and the scientific truth. This showed that Mr Gruden was a person whose views were in contradiction with those of the profession that he represented. The Commission also included five representatives of catholic theological institutions which, in our view, was unacceptable because it excluded representatives of all other religions and provided space for the institution which proclaimed discriminatory and homophobic views and obstructed access to scientific information. At the same time there were no representatives of the NGOs engaged on protection of women’s’ rights or institutions concerned with gender equality (Ombudswoman for Gender Equality was included after objections put by the NGOs, but later on she left the Commission because she was not content with its work), as well as the experts on sexual education and the rights of sexual minorities.

 
On 23 March 2005 the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra, together wiht the Croatian Women’s Net, organised an action aimed at provding pupils with information on their right to scientifically based information through sexual education in schools and to raise public awareness on this issue. The action included dissemination to pupils of II Gymnasium in Zagreb of mouse pads with a written text stating: “Sexual education to schools and not only on porn pages!”. During the action the headmaster of the school, Ms Ljilja Voki? (a fomer Minister of Education) showed a great deal of misunderstanding. She shouted at the activists and present journalists and forbade dissemination of mouse pads to pupils in the school. Some pupils, however, took the pads in front of the school.

On 2 May 2005 the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality sent a warning letter to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, where she stated, inter alia: “In the present day conditions, having in mind in particular the harmonisation of the Croatian legislation with the European Union standards, it is unacceptable to promote a life in family with both biological parents as the only desirable family model, because our life experience shows that it is legitimate to live with only one biological parent as well as without any biological parent and the modern European society has legitimised and accepted families with same-sex parents.” She stressed that the implementation of Programme Teen STAR violated Section 6 of the Act on Gender Equality and Section 21 of the Act on Same-sex Partnership. Furthermore, she observed, it was not clear which criteria and laws served as basis for introduction of optional subjects to schools and whether there existed any contracts between those in charge of the implementation of the programmes on sexual education and the schools or other relevant institutions.

After a number of contradictory decisions, the Ministry for Education, Science and Sport finally came out with the proposal to include sexual education in schools in the subject of health education. In December 2005 Commission for Health Education was founded with the task of evaluating all programmes applying on competitions of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport. The Commission did not include any representative of the institutions concerned with gender equality, or any expert on gender equality (for instance from the Zagreb Centre for Women Studies), or any expert on human rights

In our view, health education does not suffice to cover sexual education in schools. It should be organised as special subject, based on scientific truths, principles of gender equality and respect for human rights, as it is envisaged in the National Politics on Promotion of Gender Equality.

Accordingly, on 17 December 2005 we sent an open letter to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport, whereby we demanded that the above-said Commission included experts on and representatives of the institutions concerned with gender equality and human rights. We also demanded that the Commission be actively involved in creating a programme on sexual education for primary and secondary schools. This open letter we also forwarded to the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality Office and the Government Office for Gender Equality.

On 29 December 2005 the Government Office for Gender Equality published an open letter addressed to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport whereby they expressed their support to our views.  It stated that one of the highest priorities of the said Ministry, having in mind their obligations in connection to the implementation of the Act on Gender Equality and other laws and documents,  was introduction of gender-sensitive education. It also demanded involvement of the experts on gender equality and human rights in the working of the Commission on Health Education.

On 6 December 2005 the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality asked the Ministry for Education, Science and Sport to provide her with their official accurate information on what had been done in respect of introduction of health education to schools; the current phase of the project; and what they saw as further steps. She also asked whether the responsibility for the introduction of heath education to schools lied with the Commission on Evaluation of All Programmes on Sexual Education for Primary and Secondary Schools in Croatia or whether a new Commission for that purpose had been founded. If so, she asked the names of the members of the new Commission and whether a competition had been opened for heath education in schools. She asked further information on education of educators on health education which was, according to the articles published in media, led by Mr Gruden. She asked for an explanation on status of disputed Teen STAR Programme in schools.
Ombudswoman did not, however, received any reply.

Until the very end of 2005 the public was not informed about any clear decision concerning sexual education in schools. After a number of disputable decisions of the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Commission on Evaluation of All Programmes on Sexual Education for Primary and Secondary Schools in Croatia, nothing changed to better. Only one of the Commission members publicly accused the said Ministry for lack of transparency in decision-making process and disrespect towards the Commission.

5.Homophobic Attitudes Expressed by Public Figures

In past few years the issues concerning sexual minorities became more present in media and public in Croatia. In this context public figures were on many occasions asked about their attitudes towards LGBT population and their rights. Media often exaggerated homophobic attitudes of public figures, giving these statements unnecessary importance and the press had been putting huge sensationalistic titles concerning homosexuality on their cover pages, in order to gain publicity, without having second thoughts of any negative effect that such hate speech could have on inciting violence towards sexual minorities or on the quality of text that they served to their readers.
Public figures giving homophobic Statements in 2005 were: Jadranka Cigelj, Jadranka Kosor, Damir ?ehok, Živko Kusti?, Josip Bozani?, Jacques Houdek, An?elko Ka?unko and some of the participants in Big Brother Show.
We demanded replacement of Ms Jadranka Cigelj from the position of Director of the Government Office for Associations due to many of her public statements which culminated with her interview given to journalist Vlado ?utura for the Glas Koncila (Catholic Church newspaper) no. 43 (1635) of 23 October 2005 when she denied any rights to sexual minorities or any human rights to women. Her hate speech was directed against NGOs concerned with the protection of the rights of sexual minorities (one of the most marginalised group in Croatian society). She accused such NGOs of «aggressive homosexuality which was becoming a political option». She also asserted that some of these NGOs' activities had been close to treason, but had passed with no sanctions» and warned that «donors had their own agenda and some of them even political ambitions» and that they demanded services in exchange for the money they had given to these NGOs.
In our view, the public activities of the Government Office for the Associations were in direct opposition to the aims and tasks that the Office was established for and which were stated in the Directive on the Office for the Associations. The said Office was founded by the Government in order to perform expert and other work from the Government's jurisdiction, and aimed at creating conditions for establishing partnership and cooperation with the non-governmental, non-profit organisations in Croatia. The Office, however, through lack of transparency and their insulting and ignorant public statements showed that it lacked basic understanding of civil society and the processes which made such society existent. The «Iskorak» and «Kontra» Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra together with the Croatian Women’s Net and the Civil Society Forum, pointed out to all these elements of the Office's activities and demanded the replacement of the Office Director Ms Jadranka Cigelj. We demanded the Government to re-examine their priorities in respect of civil society associations and undertake measures to provide public space for dialogue

We believe that the above-described attitudes were primarily the reflection of ignorance of the public figures in question about human sexuality.

7.  Violence and Discrimination

Violence and Discrimination against sexual minorities continued to be a regular aspect of Croatian society. Forms of violence differed, from psychological and verbal to physical violence. The burning issue in this respect was victims’ fear of being stigmatised which prevented them from reporting acts of violence against them. Persons belonging to sexual minorities were mostly not aware of their rights and mechanisms available to them for protection of these rights. Fort that particular reason, the real occurrence of violent acts was impossible to register. Until very recently cases brought to prosecution authorities referred only to violent acts against activists.

However, in spite of all obstacles, we noticed certain improvement in this area. Victims of violence more often to contacted our hot line asking for help. There was also a case where victims openly spoke in public about violence they went through. We received the first request for making a contract regulating property rights between homosexual partners. That was the first case where the Act on Same-Sex Partnership was implemented. All this testified that LGBT persons begun to show more interest for their rights and for the actual use of these rights. In order to assist such attempts the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra published, with aid received from Government Office for Human Rights, second edition of the Manual for Implementation of Anti-discriminatory Laws in Croatia. The Manual’s aim was to instruct the LGBT population on positive legislation in Croatia and the mechanisms of the protection of their rights and to advise them where to seek help.

In the past year the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra received a number of calls concerning the acts of violence against gender and sexual minorities. Most cases concerned attacks on gay men, and few on lesbians. Attacks mostly occurred at night in the centre of Zagreb.

We contacted relevant Police authorities and asked for regular meetings in order to exchange information and work together on the improvement of the protection against violence. The meeting in the Police Department was not held by a person in charge of these issues and we were questioned in a manner directed at inducing fear among activists and there was no interest of the Police officers for the problems that we wanted to address. We were not allowed another meeting. Such approach of the Police towards violence against sexual minorities and their disinterest for the data concerning hate crimes was disturbing.

In the past year, the Police officers of local Police stations also showed serious disrespect for human rights of sexual and gender minorities while dealing with reports on violent acts against homosexuals.

In the beginning of 2005 the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra was contacted by a homosexual from a smaller town in Croatia reporting on long-term abuse against him and his same-sex partner with whom he had been living together for a number of years. Their house was attacked by a group of allegedly under-aged persons who threw stones and fire-cracks and drew obscene messages on their car. They also cut tires of the car. That person also reported on physical attack which occurred in November 2004 and a few particularly violent attacks on their house in December 2004. The November incident was reported to the local Pore? Police Department. Although the Police officially opened an investigation in respect of these acts (allegedly they interviewed one of the suspected perpetrators) the investigation produced no results. The December incidents were also reported to the Police and one of the perpetrators was identified. The Police made report on one of the incidents. On 5 January 2005 the victim sought the Police report but was informed that he, as a private person, could not have been provided with it. On the same day Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra contacted the Pore? Police Department and after we inquired about the case, we were told that the victim was to be given a copy of the report.

All these events raised doubts in respect of the Police reaction and whether it was in accordance with their duties and obligations. Section 3 of the Police Act (Official Gazette no.129/00) prescribed Police activities: protection of property, prevention and discovery of criminal acts, offences and misdemeanours and apprehension of perpetrators and bringing them before the justice. The fact that prosecution for the criminal offence described in Section 222 of the Criminal Code was to be undertaken by the initiative of a private person (victim) did not relieve the Police of their duty to act within their powers from Section 3 and Section 4 para 1 of the Police Act when there was a threat of imminent danger for people and their property.

In the past period the man mentioned above sought Police protection on twenty separate occasions and received it on only three occasions.

Section 51 para 1 of the Police Act prescribed that a Policeman was obliged to register a report on any crime to be prosecuted ex officio and if the report concerned a crime to be privately prosecuted the Police officer had to inform the victim. In respect of the Police intervention in November 2004, the victim was informed by the Police officer in charge that he was to file a criminal complaint against an unknown perpetrator because “if he perpetrator was not known to him (the victim) then Police was also unable to identify the perpetrator.”

However, according to Section 51 para 4 of the Police Act, a Police officer was obliged to undertake necessary measures, in connection to crimes prosecuted privately, aimed at discovering the perpetrator. The statement of the Police officer that Police had no means to identify a perpetrator not known to the victim was unacceptable and contrary to Section 51 para. 4 of the Police Act.

Another example of inadequate reaction of Police officers happened in August 2005. A same-sex couple was attacked in Gajnice, a part of Zagreb, and one of the violent perpetrators was a woman. The attacked consisted of verbal insults and physical violence and involved four perpetrators. One of the victims suffered physical injuries and was transferred to Holly Spirit Hospital’s Emergency Room. The other victim was also attacked but he managed to run away. The incident was reported to the local Police station but the officer in charge, who was also verbally threatened by the perpetrators for his alleged assistance to the victims, did not take any steps leading to proper sanctioning of the perpetrators. Instead he told one of the victims: “What kind of man you are since you are afraid of women and children!” The victims contacted Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra and we forwarded their criminal complaint alleging the crime of violent behaviour against all of the perpetrators and in respect of the mother of under-aged perpetrators also a crime of negligence and abuse of a minor (her children) pursuant to Section 213 para. 1 of the Criminal Code. The proceedings before the Public Attorney’s Office were instituted.
 
In addition to several cases of violence against LGTB persons (violent behaviour and domestic violence) we also received a number of calls concerning threats, blackmailing and discrimination on work place.

In October 2005 the first ever judgment was adopted by Croatian courts in respect of a homosexual. On 15 October 2005, after that judgment, we received three e-mails containing threatening messages against the «Iskorak» president, Mr Dorino Manzin, as well as the other members. These messages fall under criminal offence of «threat» from Section 129 para. 2 of the Criminal Code. We traced the message and established that it had been sent from the IP address no. 194.152.240.10 which belonged to the Ministry of Defence Office for Informatics. We forwarded the information in our possession concerning the incident to the local Police station. On 21 October 2005 we also filed a criminal complaint against an unknown perpetrator with the Zagreb Municipality Public Attorney's Office. With the assistance of the Government Office for Human Rights we received the Ministry of Defence report stating that the members of Military Police had undertaken an internal investigation and established the identity of the perpetrator. Pursuant to Section 186 para. 6 of the Code on Criminal Procedure, they filed a special report with the Zagreb Municipality Public Attorney's Office. On 10 October 2005 the Zagreb Municipal Court sentenced one J.K. to a conditional sentence of one-year imprisonment for criminal offence described in 129 para. 1 and 2 of the Criminal Code.

We had very positive experiences with the Zagreb Police Department’s Division for Organised Crime in respect or distribution of the so-called «Gay Directory».

In June 2005 the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra, with financial support of the Government Office for Human Rights, opened a new hot line for LGBT persons where they could receive all information on our work.  

Our recommendation is to undertake systemic education of Police and judiciary in respect of the protection of the rights of sexual minorities, in order to enable them to adequately sanction violence and discrimination against sexual minorities. We also recommend legislative amendments by introducing qualified hate crimes.

8. Public Events

In 2005 there were two significant public events concerning sexual minorities – Zagreb Pride 2005 and Queer Zagreb 2005.

Zagreb Pride 2005.

Zagreb Pride 2005 took place on 10 July 2005. It was the fourth such event in Zagreb. The main topic of 2005 Zagreb Pride was the Draft Act on Registered Partnership, drafted by Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra. This year organisation of Zagreb Pride fell with the feminist group Epikriza. Their intention was to organise a short walk on the usual route in the Zagreb City Centre. Logistic support was provided by the lesbian group “Kontra” and the Centre for Peace Studies. “Kontra” provided financial support.
Unfortunately, the organisers were from the very beginning faced with unfair treatment by the Police. When they attempted to register the event with the Police Security Department (as required under domestic provisions), Mr Tihomir Rai?, head of the Preparation and Planning Division, tried to frighten them describing an unfortunate event in Warsaw where the activists had been beaten up. Mr Rai? told the organisers that “the Warsaw Municipality did not provide them with the necessary licence but they still had gay parade and see what happened!”. Then he repeated for several times that “the Police would not be able to protect the participants in the event as they did previous years.” Mr Zdenko Gali?, head of the Security Department, also attended the meeting. The activists understood these statements as threats and an attempt to make them give up the organising of Zagreb Pride.
The organisers had several meetings in the Zagreb Police Department with Mr Rai? and Mr Gali?. The two of them tried to impose impossible conditions in order for Zagreb pride to be held. At the first meeting they asked for a doubled number of paid Police officers. Finally it was agreed that twenty Police officers would follow the event. There was the same number of Police officers and the participants in the event.
The question to be asked was whether the Police was really that incompetent to provide protection for a peaceful annual gathering which took place for the fourth time in row without doubling the number of Police officers to be engaged (and paid by the organisers) or were they trying to impose impossible conditions in order to impede the event? We were not sure that it was very democratic to demand citizens to pay a large sum of money for the Police assistance to a peaceful event aimed at raising public awareness in respect of human rights. How did such practices, which showed that it was seemingly impossible to organise public gathering for promotion of human rights without protection of Police cordon, comply with the requirements of the European Union where human rights were one of the basic foundations?
We recall that the Police are, according to the Act on Public Gathering, obliged to protect freedom of speech and public appearance on a peaceful public gathering and public protest. Everyone has the right of freedom of expression on a public gathering, unless such freedom is abused in order to entice war or violence or any form of intolerance.
Queer Zagreb

Queer Zagreb was held for the third time. This year the main topic was Herteronormativity of Childhood. In addition to the regular festival programme, Queer Zagreb continued with the events throughout 2005, thus increasing the cultural offer for gender and sexual minorities in Zagreb. During the festival one of the technicians of the Zagreb Youth Theatre insulted an artist from Brazil on the basis of his sexual orientation. Due to that incident Zagreb Queer withdrew one of the shows from the Zagreb Youth Theatre. The head of the Zagreb Youth Theatre separated herself from the incident claiming that it had happened out of the Theatre premises.

The positive aspect of the festival was that there was no need to organise additional protection of private security agencies. However, the Police discreetly supervised the events during the festival in order to prevent incidents.

The Zagreb Municipality financially supported the festival with 30 % of the total festival budget. It remained to be noted that the Ministry of Culture, however, participated with only 4 % of the budget, the same as the previous two years. Therefore, the festival mostly depended on foreign donations. Furthermore, this year the Ministry of Culture refused their financial support for publishing a book “Queer Fairy Tales”, the first book in this region dedicated to children which did not reflect gender stereotypes in fairy tales. The Government Office for Gender Equality also refused to finance the publication of the book.

Group Domino and group Kontra cooperated in the organisation of the festival. Lesbian group Kontra, with the financial support of the Zagreb Municipality, organised the first lesbian book fair in Croatia. Many of the writers and publishers from Croatia and abroad participated in the fair

Transgender Conference

In October 2005 the first Transgender Conference was held in Zagreb. It was an important contribution to the promotion of the rights of transgender persons. The Conference was organised by groups CESI and Women's Room from Zagreb, Q from Sarajevo and Deva from Belgrade. It was the first time in Zagreb that someone spoke more comprehensively about the problems of transgender persons, in speech called "Two is Not Enough For Gender Equality".  Thus the topic of transgender issues was introduced to Croatia, at least through an academic discourse. Mostly foreign donators financially supported the Conference. During the Conference, one of the participants was physically attacked. The attack, however, was not reported to the Police and thus, remained officially unregistered.

Protest Against Death Penalty in Iran

On 18 August 2005 we addressed Iranian Embassy and presented a protest to the Iranian Government in respect of execution of Mahmud Asgari (16 years old) and Ayaz Marhoni (18 years old) and the announcement of executions of two other men, Farbod Mostaar and Ahmad Chooka, scheduled for 28 August 2005. The victims were sentenced to death because they had engaged in homosexual acts. We forwarded our protest to the Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On 23 August 2005 we held a peaceful protest in front of the Mission of the Republic of Iran in Zagreb expressing our further discontent with the Iranian politics towards homosexuals.

Once again, the officers of the Zagreb Police Department Security Division acted in an unfair manner when we were registering the meeting. The officer in charge treated the activists with disrespect and scorn. He intentionally delayed the registering of the meeting. He read the entire questionnaire and told the activists what they should have written and openly insulted them with sexist and homophobic remarks. The activists then asked whether they had been allowed to fulfil the questionnaire on their own, since it had been published on the Ministry of Interior official web-site and they could have printed it beforehand and brought it to the Police Department. The officer asked them “if they wanted problems?” However, the registering of the meeting was finally completed.

It is important to mention that some other NOGOs participated in the activities concerning the death penalty in Iran, although their main occupation was not connected to the protection of human rights.

9.Health

In respect of the violation of human rights of sexual minorities, in the sphere of health protection, we noticed that the Croatian Physicians Association failed to react in the case against Mr Darko Labura.

On 17 November 2004, the weekly “Zadar Regional” (Zadraski regional) published an article where Mr Darko Labura, a psychiatrist, head of the Ugljan Psychiatric Hospital, said that homosexuality was a certain disturbance and he relied on his profession, although such opinion had no scientific ground. The Croatian Physicians Associating had already condemned such views in the case of Mr Vladimir Gruden, a psychiatrist, and thus showed that such opinions had been contrary to those of the Association. In our opinion Mr Labura’s statement violated Section 1 para 4 of the Code on Medical Ethics and Deontology (Official Gazette no. 47/04) and Section 2 para. 2 (5) of the Medical Profession Act (Official Gazette no. 121/03). Therefore, on 23 November 2005, we filed a request for disciplinary proceedings to be instituted against Mr Labura with the Croatian Physicians Association.  We also sent a statement, denying of Mr Labura’s statement that homosexuality had been a disturbance, to the Zadar Regional, supporting our statement with official statements of medical associations. Our statement was soon published.

So far, we haven’t received any information in respect of the proceedings we instituted against Mr Labura with the Croatian Physicians Association. On 21 February 2005 Slobodna Dalmacija published an article where Mr Labura again said that homosexuality was a disturbance. Croatian Physicians Association, being an executive body in charge of ensuring principle of legality within medical profession, showed lack of competence in dealing with such cases and its inability to ensure implementation of relevant laws.

Rules on Blood and Blood Contents

Analysis of the content of the Rules on Blood and Blood Contents, published by the Ministry of Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Act on Medication and Medical Products, showed that Section 16 of the said Rules permanently excluded homosexuals as possible blood donors. Since the said Ministry had legal obligation to issue a new version of the Rules, on 13 October 2004 we sent to them a recommendation asking that Section 16 be amended so as to read “persons of risk sexual behaviour” instead of the words “persons of homosexual behaviour”. We argued that homosexuality did not represent the only risk for the transmission of HIV/AIDS virus, and that the above mentioned Rules both discriminated against homosexuals and failed to include all risks in respect of potential blood donors. In our view category of persons that represented high risk in this respect were to be “homosexuals of risk sexual behaviour” and not just all homosexual persons in general. We also pointed out to the recommendations of the World Health Organisation.

So far, the above-mentioned Rules, however, have not been enacted despite legal obligation of the Ministry of Health and Social Care. As a consequence, old Rules are still to be implemented. We forwarded our recommendation, previously sent to the Ministry of Health and Social Care, to the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality Office.

10.Sports

A year ago, the first lesbian soccer club “Bura” in Croatia was founded. Bura was fourth at the Eurogames, held this year in Kopenhagen. This year appeared initiative for organising LGBT swimming, volleyball and basketball clubs under common name “Queer Sport.

11.Future Activities of the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra

In order to ensure better protection of human rights of sexual and gender minorities in Croatia we invite:

– Parliament and the Government to include prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the Constitution and all relevant laws. Thus, a path for true equality of all citizens of Croatia would be opened;

– Competent bodies to bring to an end discrimination of same-sex couples by introducing registered partnership for same-sex as well as heterosexual couples, where partners would have same rights as a married couple;

– Parliament to introduce an adequate definition of hates crime in the Criminal Code;

– Competent bodies to enhance institutional protection of the rights of sexual minorities;

– Ministry of Science, Education and Sport to introduce sexual education to primary and secondary schools that will openly address sexuality and sexual minorities and to redefine discriminatory Programme of Catholic Religious Teaching for Primary and Secondary Schools;

– Croatian television as well as all the other independent television networks to actively implement our recommendations for translation of foreign programmes and thus eliminate discriminatory and derogatory expressions. We further invite them to include programmes on LGBT identities. We expect that such programmes be scheduled for broadcasting in early evening hours when most people watch television. We demand all media to block out any attempt at dissemination of hate and enticing of violence against sexual minorities;

– Members of sexual minority groups to use the legal instruments in Croatia on their disposal in order to fight for their rights and protect their identity;

– Competent institutions to acknowledge the rights and needs of transsexual persons and to introduce prohibition of discrimination on the basis of gender expression and identity into Croatian legislation.

Sanja Juras    
Coordinator of Lesbian group Kontra and Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra

Kristijan Gr?an
Coordinator of Iskorak – Centre for Sexual Minorities Rights