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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Tuesday, 12 May 2015 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Represented by 17-member delegation headed by Vesna Pusić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs


To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Croatia page on UPR website

Troika *

Bangladesh, Brazil, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on Croatia page on UPR Extranet **)

  • Croatia had signed the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and was currently considering to sign the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights;
  • In 2013, the Government adopted the National Programme for Protection and Promotion of Human Rights for 2013 – 2016, through which Croatia was assessing the human rights impact of policy measures and laws;
  • Croatia was continuously working to create and implement effective policy actions for advancing and recognizing women’s rights. In 2015, it was established that the State Election Commission would no longer accept list of candidates without a minimum of 40 per cent of either gender;
  • To combat violence against women, the Government and civil society organizations had organized several awareness-raising campaigns and a package of measures adopted in 2010 contained concrete actions in the fight against domestic violence;
  • The new Free Legal Aid Act of 2014 had improved access to the judicial system for the economically vulnerable categories of citizens. Primary free legal aid was available for all Croatian citizens and to foreigners with temporary and permanent residence permits;
  • Under the Protection of Persons with Mental Disorders Act of 2015, the medical approach had been replaced by  a human-rights based approach in line with the CRPD;
  • The Life Partnership act of 2014 introduced civil partnerships for same-sex couples giving   them all rights that married couples had, except that of adoption. However, the Act allowed a parent’s life partner to become the child’s partner-guardian;
  • The Constitution guaranteed equal rights to members of all national minorities and freedom of expression to use their language and script and to exercise cultural autonomy;
  • A working group set up by the Government’s Office for Human rights and the Rights of National Minorities was developing a new National Discrimination Elimination Scheme for 2015 to 2020;
  • Croatia was committed to change the social and economic dynamics of Roma people. The National Roma Inclusion Strategy 2013 – 2020 aimed mainly at improving access to quality education. Since 2002 the number of Roma enrolled in primary education increased from 1,500 to 5,411 in 2014;
  • Due to the war, Croatia had been faced with different kind of human rights challenges. Rehabilitating victims of the war was at the heart of the strengthening process of the society. Croatia continuously investigated and prosecuted perpetrators accused of war crimes;
  • The fate of enforced disappeared persons was, almost two decades after the war, still a focus of the Government’s efforts. They were currently conducting search for 1,600 people. Between 1995 and 2015 a total of 148 mass graves had been found. Croatia had also spent € 5.6 billion to provide accommodation for displaced persons from the war.


In total 68 States participated in the dialogue:  19 HRC members and 49 observers  (Statements available on Croatia page on UPR Extranet)

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Upholding the rights of minority groups, including Serb and Roma communities and LGBT persons;
  • The National Strategy for Roma inclusion;
  • The Law on Protection against Domestic Violence and the National Strategy on Protection against Family Violence 2011-2016;
  • Steps taken to combat human trafficking and the National Plan on human trafficking 2012-2015;
  • Accession to The Hague Convention on adoption;
  • The Act on the Ombudsman in 2011.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Efforts to uphold the rights of ethnic minorities, including the Serb and Roma communities;
  • The implementation of the National Strategy for Roma inclusion;
  • Measures taken to investigate and prosecute war crimes;
  • Post-war reconciliation efforts;
  • Steps to combat domestic violence and violence against women;
  • Promoting and protecting the rights of persons with disabilities.


States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Croatia.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To continue efforts to combat discrimination and ensure equal treatment of all ethnicities and minorities, including the Serb and Roma minorities; To fully implement the Constitutional Act on the Rights of National Minorities; 
  • To continue working to improve the rights of the Roma community; To eliminate discrimination in employment, particularly of women and members of the Roma population;
  • To increase efforts to ensure that children in vulnerable situations, including Roma children, had equal access to education and to end segregation of Roma children in schools;
  • To continue efforts to strengthen human rights protection for LGBT persons;
  • To continue to combat domestic violence and violence against women; To ensure all acts of violence against women were effectively investigated, that perpetrators were held accountable and to provide redress for victims;
  • To dedicate additional resources to enhance the capacity of centres for victims of sexual and domestic violence;
  • To ensure that services for disabilities supported their independence; To step up efforts to effectively implement the provision of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities;
  • To refrain from institutionalising children with disabilities and to ensure sufficient alternative family based and community based care for children with disabilities;
  • To continue efforts to reduce prison overcrowding and improve detention conditions;
  • To finalize the draft Strategy and Action Plan to Combat Corruption and effectively prosecute perpetrators;
  • To step up efforts to effectively investigate and prosecute war crimes; To ensure that women victims of wartime violence had access to justice and reparation;
  • To realize the right to adequate housing by ensuring the right of post-war returnees to recover privately owned housing;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence; the Convention on enforced disappearances; the 3rd OP to the CRC (communications); the OP to the ICESCR; the Convention on the rights of migrant workers and members of their families; and ILO Convention 189 (domestic workers).

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Croatia is scheduled to take place onFriday, 15 May 2015

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts:

Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, [email protected]
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, [email protected]