One Year Late, Croatia Adopts More Liberal Anti-Discrimination Plan

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The plan is a precondition for Croatia to continue receiving money from EU funds.

One year later than expected, Croatia has adopted the new National Antidiscrimination Plan for the period from 2017 to 2019, which is accompanied by an action plan that should ensure the implementation of measures related to the protection of human rights and vulnerable social groups. The documents were adopted by the government at the session in Osijek a few days ago and they include parts related to gender-based discrimination, reproductive rights and women’s health, citizenship education and so on, which were earlier this year removed from the draft document by then Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Davor Ivo Stier, reports Večernji List December 7, 2017.

The drastic delay in the adoption of the plan is the result of a turbulent political period, early parliamentary elections in late 2016 and ruling coalition reshuffle in mid-2017, when Stier left his post as Foreign Minister, Deputy Minister and government’s human rights coordinator. Stier and his then human rights advisor Ladislav Ilčić, both prominent members of Croatia’s conservative movement, were harshly criticized last spring by a part of the NGO sector because they stopped the already completed antidiscrimination plan and proposed a new document, with no parts which would discuss the issues of diversity, LGBT rights, etc.

The whole process was stopped when MOST left the government and was replaced by more liberal HNS. At the time, Stier concluded there was no place for him in such a government and resigned. Marija Pejčinović Burić succeeded him as Foreign Minister, which immediately prompted interpretations that the government’s position on human rights might become more in line with the rest of Europe.

The new antidiscrimination plan includes sections on LGBT and transgender rights, terms such as “gender,” “gender minority” and “gender identity,” parts which guarantee reproductive rights and protect the reproductive health of women. The action plan also includes the measure “Monitoring the availability of legally regulated reproductive rights in public health institutions,” despite protests from some conservative organisations during the public consultation process.

Particularly telling is the fact that the antidiscrimination plan again includes the so-called citizenship education. HNS and its education minister Blaženka Divjak have insisted on this.

By adopting the National Antidiscrimination Plan, there is no longer danger that Croatia could lose 6.8 billion euros from the European competitiveness and cohesion funds, given that this document is a precondition for withdrawing EU money.

Although the government has ultimately adopted all the measures, they had been trying to remove, neither Stier nor Ilčić, who has been appointed as an advisor at the Culture Ministry in the meantime, did not want to comment on the new document because they said they had not yet read it.

Translated from Večernji List.


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