As in previous years, Human Rights House Zagreb this spring as well publishes its report Human Rights in Croatia: Overview of 2019. The report is based on a systematic year-round monitoring and collecting of information from relevant civil society and academia stakeholders.

This year’s report is being released during the time of global pandemic of coronavirus, whose impact on human rights is already unprecedented. Worldwide the pandemic will have far-reaching social, economic and political consequences and negative impact on the realization of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.

In these circumstances in Croatia we can minimally expect the stagnation in the areas of human rights where the progress was recorded in 2019, and it is realistic to expect significant deterioration in areas where there has been no progress in the previous year.

Despite last year’s positive economic indicators, in 2019 Croatia was still lagging behind EU Member States with respect to wage growth. Every fifth citizen of Croatia is at risk of poverty at the end of the year. Croatia has a problem with regional inequality in income as well as access to health, education and social protection. It is likely that the economic stagnation and the upcoming economic crisis will further increase economic inequalities that especially affect vulnerable social groups such as the elderly and children, who are particularly exposed to the risk of poverty.

The need for keeping physical distance made a normal social life impossible and social life almost entirely moved to the internet. However, here we are again faced with the problems of intolerance and hate speech, which are social problems that were not systematically resolved in 2019 but were only superficially addressed. No significant progress has been made on the systematic inclusion of minority and vulnerable social groups, which continue to be frequently discriminated against and unable to exercise their fundamental human rights. Poor capacities and inertia have also in 2019 negatively affected the willingness of state institutions to maintain a system of protection and promotion of human rights, which has been collapsing in many areas since the EU accession.

We hope that the positive experience so far and quality, systematic and professional approach to fighting the epidemic and protecting the health of citizens will also be applied to address the consequences of this crisis. It is imperative that economic, social and political solutions to end the crisis are based on human rights, especially the protection of endangered social and marginalized groups.

The entire report is available here: Human Rights in Croatia: Overview of 2019.