News - April 2014

 - 24 April 2014: In today’s press release, Minority Rights Group Europe (MRG) expressed concern about the lack of action by the Croatian Parliament to have the demand to review the legality of a referendum on the right to use minority languages in public life in Croatia sent to the Constitutional Court.
MRG encourages the Croatian Parliament to measure whether the referendum demand complies with national and international minority rights standards and the country’s Constitution.
The statement, inter alia, states that the referendum could contribute to narrowing of guaranteed language rights of national minorities and increase divisions in society.

Press release can be found here.
 

 - 16 April 2014, Borovo: Center for Peace, Legal Advice and Psychosocial Assistance - Vukovar organized a roundtable discussion Women of National Minorities and Human Rights - Presentation of the brochure "A short guide through human rights for women of national minorities", with technical assistance from the SDSS women’s section in Borovo Municipality and with financial support of the Office for Human rights and Rights of National Minorities of the Croatian Government.
This event was organized within the framework of the project "Raising awareness of women of national minorities in Vukovar- Srijem County on human rights", which aims to contribute to the improvement and enhancement of social status and participation of women of national minorities in public life in Vukovar-Srijem County. The purpose of the event was the presentation of the brochures on human rights with a focus on specific human rights of women and the rights of national minorities and non-discrimination issues, published with the aim of raising the awareness and level of knowledge of women of national minorities on issues of general and specific human rights.
Introductory presentations and welcoming speech were given by Mrs. Dragana Bošnjak, member of the SDSS Women’s Forum, Mrs. Milena Babić, who presented the brochure, and the co -author of the brochure, Mr. Branislav Tekić, an expert in the field of human rights and combating discrimination, who spoke about the concept of discrimination and manifestations of discrimination throughout the history of mankind.
Roundtable discussion was attended by representatives of national minorities in Borovo Municipality, representatives of associations, representatives of the local self-government, interested individuals and the representatives of the local media.


 

 

- 15 April 2014, Stari Jankovci: Center for Peace, Legal Advice and Psychosocial Assistance - Vukovar organized a roundtable discussion Women of National Minorities and Human Rights - Presentation of the brochure "A short guide through human rights for women of national minorities", with technical assistance from the Gender Equality Committee in Stari Jankovci municipality and with financial support of the Office for Human rights and Rights of National Minorities of the Croatian Government.
This event was organized within the framework of the project "Raising awareness of women of national minorities in Vukovar- Srijem County on human rights", which aims to contribute to the improvement and enhancement of social status and participation of women of national minorities in public life in Vukovar-Srijem County. The purpose of the event was the presentation of the brochures on human rights with a focus on specific human rights of women and the rights of national minorities and non-discrimination issues, published with the aim of raising the awareness and level of knowledge of women of national minorities on issues of general and specific human rights.
Introductory presentations and welcoming speech were given by Mr. Dragan Sudarević, Mayor of Stari Jankovci Municipality, Mrs. Branka Lučić, President of the Gender Equality Committee in Stari Jankovci Municipality, Mrs. Milena Babić, who presented the brochure, and the co -author of the brochure, Mr. Branislav Tekić, an expert in the field of human rights and combating discrimination, who spoke about the concept of discrimination and manifestations of discrimination throughout the history of mankind.
Roundtable discussion was attended by representatives of national minorities in Stari Jankovci Municipality, representatives of minority associations, representatives of the local self-government, interested individuals and the representatives of the local media.

 

- 10 April 2014, Ilok: Center for Peace, Legal Advice and Psychosocial Assistance - Vukovar organized a roundtable discussion Women of National Minorities and Human Rights - Presentation of the brochure "A short guide through human rights for women of national minorities", with technical assistance from the Town of Ilok and the County Council of Slovak national minority and with financial support of the Office for Human rights and Rights of National Minorities of the Croatian Government.
This event was organized within the framework of the project "Raising awareness of women of national minorities in Vukovar- Srijem County on human rights", which aims to contribute to the improvement and enhancement of social status and participation of women of national minorities in public life in Vukovar-Srijem County. The purpose of the event was the presentation of the brochures on human rights with a focus on specific human rights of women and the rights of national minorities and non-discrimination issues, published with the aim of raising the awareness and level of knowledge of women of national minorities on issues of general and specific human rights.
Introductory presentations were given by Mrs. Renata Banožić, member of the County Assembly Gender Equality Committee in Vukovar-Srijem County, Mrs. Milena Babić who presented the brochure, a the co -author of the brochure, Mr. Branislav Tekić, an expert in the field of human rights and combating discrimination, who spoke about the concept of discrimination and manifestations of discrimination throughout the history of mankind.
Roundtable discussion was attended by minority representatives of Slovak national minority in Ilok and Slovak Heritage Association.

 

- 4 April 2014, Geneva (Switzerland) – Center for Peace – Vukovar communicates today’s UNHCR Press release:

“The UN Refugee Agency is today recommending that the process of ceasing refugee status of refugees displaced from Croatia in the 1990s begins. Almost 20 years after the conflict in the former Yugoslavia ended, the circumstances that triggered displacement have fundamentally changed. Regional cooperation has intensified, voluntary returns have taken place, different ethnic groups have proven able to peacefully co-exist and economic and political progress is increasingly visible.
The cessation clauses are built into the 1951 Refugee Convention. They provide for refugee status to end once fundamental and durable changes have taken place in the country of origin and the circumstances that led to flight no longer exist. Many host countries have also generously granted their citizenship to Croatian refugees. The protection provided by international refugee law is thus no longer required. There are exceptions foreseen in UNHCR‘s recommendation such as witnesses of war crimes. The cessation of refugee status applies only to refugees and not to those who were internally displaced within their own country.
Host countries can now end refugee status for refugees from Croatia based on their own assessment of the situation in the country of origin. UNHCR has recommended that cessation come into effect by the end of this year. All States hosting refugees from Croatia do have the option to extend until the end of 2017. Today there are 49,056 refugees from Croatia registered in the region, almost all ethnic Serb.
UNHCR is also making recommendations for the further advancement of the Regional Durable Solutions process, to which countries in the region have agreed in order to find solutions for displacement. The process includes the Regional Housing Programme (RHP), which aims to provide housing to 27,000 families of refugees and IDPs in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.
“It is clear that the majority of these refugees from Croatia are no longer in need of international protection, but many still need support. UNHCR has received firm commitments from all participating states and donors that they will continue to remain engaged in the Regional Durable Solutions Process which we welcome,” said Vincent Cochetel, Director of UNHCR’s Bureau for Europe.
The successful integration of former refugees is a long term process which continues after refugee status has ceased. In the Western Balkans challenges remain related to opportunities of minority groups to access employment, housing, public services and infrastructure and to overcome discrimination. UNHCR remains committed to assist host States to implement the cessation recommendation.

The Text of the UNHCR Recommendation


Related to the abovementioned UNHCR Recommendation, bearing in mind our past commitment to a fair, comprehensive and sustainable solution of the refugee issue in former Yugoslavia, Center for Peace – Vukovar wishes to express full support to the public statement of the Humanitarian Center for Integration and Tolerance (HCIT) from Novi Sad, on the occasion of the initiative for ceasing of refugee status to refugees from the Republic of Croatia, which, among other, states: “The refugee dossier cannot remain permanently opened. It can be closed only by consistent application of international legal standards and carrying through assumed commitments to protect and promote rights of refugees. It is a dangerous illusion and deception that refugee issue can be solved only by formally ceasing the refugee status and “sweeping the problem under the carpet”, or, by reducing it to a humanitarian level.”

HCIT Public Statement
 

 

- 1 April 2014, Vukovar: Center for Peace, Legal Advice and Psychosocial Assistance - Vukovar organized a roundtable discussion Women of National Minorities and Human Rights - Presentation of the brochure "A short guide through human rights for women of national minorities", with technical support from the Joint Council of Municipalities and with financial support of the Office for Human rights and Rights of National Minorities of the Croatian Government.

This event was organized within the framework of the project "Raising awareness of women of national minorities in Vukovar- Srijem County on human rights", which aims to contribute to the improvement and enhancement of social status and participation of women of national minorities in public life in Vukovar-Srijem County. The purpose of the event was the presentation of the brochures on human rights with a focus on specific human rights of women and the rights of national minorities and non-discrimination issues, published with the aim of raising the awareness and level of knowledge of women of national minorities on issues of general and specific human rights.

Introductory presentations were given by Mr. Đorđe Ćurčić, deputy county prefect and the president Commission for Gender Equality in Vukovar- Srijem County and Mrs. Ivana Ćurković, secretary of the Commission for Gender Equality in Vukovar- Srijem County. Project Manager, Mrs. Milena Babic presented the brochure, a the co -author of the brochure, Mr. Branislav Tekić, an expert in the field of human rights and combating discrimination, spoke about the concept of discrimination and manifestations of discrimination throughout the history of mankind. After the introductory speeches, the attendees participated in the discussion on issues pertaining to general and specific human rights and instances of discrimination.

Roundtable discussion was attended by minority representatives and representatives of national minority councils, members of the Commission for Gender Equality, units of local self-government, civil society organizations and the local media.