ZAGREB, March 16, 2018 – Social Democratic Party (SDP) leader Davor Bernardić said on Thursday that his party would support the ratification of the Istanbul Convention only if it was ratified in its integral form, without any reservations, expressing support for the fight against violence against women and discrimination on any grounds.
Speaking at a news conference a week after Prime Minister Andrej Plenković of the HDZ party announced plans for the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), Bernardić said that he was glad the government had realised that, as a civilised and pro-European country, Croatia had to also respect those who by their gender orientation were different from its conservative notion of marriage.
Commenting on the speculation that Croatia would ratify the document similarly to Poland, prompted by Family Minister Nada Murganić’s statement that the government would adopt the convention “with certain reservations”, Bernardić said that the SDP wanted the document to be ratified without any reservations, otherwise it would not support it. “Combating violence against women has no alternative, no one in Croatia must be against others and those who are different, against gay or transgender people,” said Bernardić.
“We are all humans and have similar needs and dreams and share the same wish for success and happiness. There should be no divisions between us, especially not on this ground,” he said.
Asked where he saw the connection between the Convention and gay, transgender and LGBT persons, considering that that population was not mentioned in the document, Bernardić cited Article 4 of the Convention which, he said, noted that parties to the document would ensure the implementation of the convention, notably measures for the protection of victims without discrimination on any grounds, whether sex, gender, race, skin colour, ethnic or social background, property status, disability…
“For us, the first condition is that no one must be discriminated against, and it is our obligation to protect women from violence. However, time has come for us in Croatia, too, to say that ‘we are all human’ and that there must be no discrimination against those who are different,” Bernardić said.