2006 Annual Report on the Status of Human Rights of Sexual and Gender Minorities in Croatia

Summary

Positive shifts in the status of the human rights of sexual and gender minorities in 2006 in Croatia were reflected in the constant active role of the Office of the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality and the introduction of the definition of hate crimes into the Croatian Criminal Code (the definition includes criminal offences motivated by the sexual orientation of the injured party). The definition was implemented on the initiative of the Team for Legal Changes of Iskorak and Kontra, which was supported by the Women’s Network of Croatia and the Serbian Democratic Forum.

A positive trend is also visible in the increasing amount of reporting of violence and discrimination against sexual and gender minorities. More and more people are prepared to report homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes. On-line counselling of the Team for Legal Changes received a total of 27 questions. Of those 10 questions were in relation to punishable behaviour.   The Team for Legal Changes has in the last year worked on 22 cases, including 16 cases of punishable acts motivated by the sexual orientation of the injured party.  

The most serious violation of the human rights of sexual and gender minorities in 2006 was committed at the session of the Committee for Human Rights and the session of the Croatian Parliament during debates on the Registered Partnership Bill. Representatives of the Government and members of Parliament used hate speech against sexual minorities while addressing their colleagues and the Croatian public. For example, Mr Niko Rebić from the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) stated at the session of the Committee for Human Rights of the Croatian Parliament that, “The main message of the Bible on this subject is Sodom and Gomorra. AIDS is one of the signs of what happens in those same-sex unions.” This statement, as well as many others, were reported by the media and therefore had the effect of stigmatizing same sex couples and people who are living with HIV/AIDS.
 
The newly appointed Ombudswoman for Children also used hate speech against sexual minorities in one of the very first interviews she gave to the daily newspapers after she was appointed to this position. In this case hate speech was directed against same-sex couples and children whose parents live in same-sex unions. This is highly alarming, considering the fact that the duty of the Ombudswoman is to protect the rights of children whose parents are members of minorities.

Police officers continued to violate the human rights of sexual and gender minorities while handling cases of discrimination and violence and during organization of the Zagreb Pride event.

Report: .doc, 311KB