“We have warned about the cases of hate and prejudicial speech,” Slonjšak said in her annual report.
In one of those cases, a child with autistic spectrum disorder was told to leave a patisserie in the town of Samobor with the explanation that “such children belong to the woods”. In another case, a mother and her daughter with Down Syndrome had to leave a cafe in Zadar as they “are damaging the reputation of the cafe.”
Some incidents of this kind have been the reason to press charges against bullies whose behaviour outraged the public.
The Office of Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities monitors and promotes the rights of over 612,000 persons with disabilities, including 30,000 students with developmental disorders.
In 2021, a number of complaints lodged with the Office increased by a fifth compared to 2020.
Most complaints referred to the conduct of social welfare (502), while 329 referred to difficulties in employment and on the labour market, and 280 concerned access and mobility.
COVID takes lives of 2,500 disabled persons
During the COVID pandemic almost 110,000 of them caught coronavirus, according to the statistics kept until 9 March 2022, and approximately 2,500 died from the infection, while in Croatia so far about this infection has taken over 16,000 lives.
The pandemic has led to the degradation of the rights of disabled citizens, the Ombudsman warns.