Minister: Croatia Is an Example for National Minority Rights

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, February 20, 2018 – Public Administration Minister Lovro Kuščević said on Tuesday that national minorities in Croatia have a great status and that Croatia can be an example to all countries in the region.

“I would be satisfied if the Croat minority in Serbia had those rights,” Kuščević said in a comment on a declaration by the Serb National Council (SNV) on the rights of Serbs in Croatia.

“National minorities are a special value for any country, including Croatia, and for that reason in fact, they have a special place in the Constitution, the (Constitutional) Law (on Ethnic Minorities’ Rights) and by-laws. It is for that reason that the government adopted the 2017-2020 operational programme for national minorities, which is being implemented and which guarantees all national minorities in Croatia the realisation of their rights,” Kuščević said.

With regard to the SNV’s demands, he said that the possibility of autonomy or some kind of local self-government was not provided for either by the Erdut Peace Agreement or the Constitution. “I don’t think that is even a matter for discussion at all,” he said.

“In fact, representatives of national minorities, including the Serb minority, are represented very well at the local and regional government level. They have several dozen deputy municipal heads, deputy mayors and deputy county prefects. They have a lot of municipal councillors and are represented in government bodies. Therefore, I think there is no legal basis for any of this,” he underscored.

The minister also said that the voting rights of national minorities were not compromised. “They can vote in all local and regional government units where they live,” he stressed. “Whether electoral rolls need to be designed differently or the actual voting process should be organised differently, can be discussed. However, what is important is that they all can declare their ethnicity and exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote and have their representatives at the local, regional and national level,” Kuščević said.

He underscored that he in particular supported the SNV’s last request to urgently include all neighbouring countries in European integration processes. “Here in particular I have in mind Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Once we all live together in the same state, with the same rules, in the European state, that will contribute to a better understanding and better mutual relations,” Kuščević said.

The SNV recently released a declaration on the rights of Serbs in Croatia, which was adopted at its third grand assembly last week and which identifies 13 tasks in the fight for rights that are yet to be acquired and in the preservation of those that have been acquired.


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