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TITLE:  CROATIA HUMAN RIGHTS PRACTICES, 1994
AUTHOR:  U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DATE:  FEBRUARY 1995









                            CROATIA


Three years after the Republic of Croatia declared 
independence, one-quarter of its land continued to be occupied 
by rebel Serbs.  No progress was made in 1994 in implementing 
the Vance Peace Plan, and the United Nations Protective Force 
(UNPROFOR) continued its peacekeeping activities in four U.N. 
protected areas (UNPA's).  A March cease-fire created a 
2-kilometer-wide zone of separation and led to a dramatic 
decrease in violence.  In December the Government and the rebel 
Serbs agreed upon a package of economic and confidence-building 
measures, the implementation of which began with the opening of 
the Zagreb-Belgrade highway to civilian traffic on December 21.

Croatia is a constitutional parliamentary democracy with a 
powerful presidency.  President Franjo Tudjman, elected in 
1992, serves as Head of State and commander in chief of the 
armed forces, chairs the influential National Defense and 
Security Council, and appoints the Prime Minister, who leads 
the Government.  President Tudjman's party, the Croatian 
Democratic Union (HDZ), holds the majority of seats in both 
houses of Parliament.  Government influence weakens the 
nominally independent judiciary.  The enormous constitutional 
powers of the presidency, the military occupation of large 
sections of the country, and the overwhelming dominance of one 
political party tend to stifle the expression of diverse views.

The Ministry of Defense oversees the military, while the 
Ministry of the Interior oversees the police.  Both police and 
military personnel were responsible for abuses, including 
physical abuse of prisoners and detainees.

In the Serb-controlled UNPA's, the well-armed police and 
military forces of the self-proclaimed "Republic of Serbian 
Krajina" ("RSK") continued their pattern of egregious human 
rights abuses against both Serbs and non-Serbs, including 
physical violence and "ethnic cleansing."  Of the 44,000 Croats 
who before the conflict lived in what is now UNPA Sector South, 
only 800 to 900 remain.  In Sector North, only 1,000 Croats of 
an original population of 112,000 remain.

Croatia has a mixed economy in which industry is largely state 
owned, and agriculture is mostly in private hands.  The 
Government's stabilization program, introduced in 1993, 
continued to keep inflation low, but little progress was made 
on either privatization or free market reforms.  The continuing 
division of the country, the massive refugee problem, and the 
threat of renewed war all limited economic recovery.

While the use of violence by security forces against Serbs in 
government-controlled areas declined, cases of disappearance 
and harassment continued near the frontline areas.  Ethnic 
Serbs continued to suffer from ever-present, subtle, and 
sometimes open discrimination in such areas as the 
administration of justice, employment, housing, and the free 
exercise of their cultural rights.  In fewer numbers than in 
previous years, Serbs were also victims of anonymous threats, 
vandalism, and--more rarely--physical attacks.  Many Serbs left 
Croatia during the year as a result of the combined economic 
discrimination and physical threats, although the total number 
was impossible to determine.  The Government made only token 
efforts to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of the more 
egregious abuses committed in 1992 and 1993 and continued to 
discriminate against non-Croats in the granting of 
citizenship.  Early in the year, the Government also 
discriminated against Muslim refugees from Bosnia, using 
arbitrary detention and forced repatriation.

In the Serb-controlled portions of the UNPA's, there was no 
improvement in the human rights situation.  The police and 
military forces of the "RSK" continued to use violence, 
intimidation, harassment, and displacement against nonethnic 
Serbs to achieve the goal of ethnic cleansing.  All residents 
were subjected to a totally controlled legal system operating 
in an atmosphere without any of the basic human rights of 
freedom of expression, assembly, press, religion, movement, or 
the right to change their government.

RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

Section 1  Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including 
           Freedom from:

     a.  Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing

There were no substantiated reports of politically motivated or 
other extrajudicial killings in government-controlled parts of 
Croatia.  However, opposition and human rights groups 
criticized the failure of Croatian authorities to bring to 
justice the parties responsible for several cases from previous 
years, particularly those of Serbs killed in 1991 and 1992.   
Those allegedly implicated in the killings include personnel in 
the Defense and Interior Ministries, but the Government 
insisted the charges were baseless.

Reports of political killings in the Serb-occupied UNPA's also 
decreased, although a disproportionate number of homicide 
victims in the "RSK" were non-Serbs.  More than one-third of 
the reported 68 homicide victims in the Serb-controlled UNPA's 
were non-Serbs, according to local (Serbian) police.  Out of an 
estimated remaining Croatian population in Serb-controlled 
territory of perhaps 4,000, 16 ethnic Croats (or one out of 
every 250) were murdered during the year.  Serbian forces 
allegedly committed several murders along the confrontation 
line, including the mass murder of five men in May in Sector 
West, and the killing of a fisherman near the Dalmatian coast 
in August.  Police apprehended no suspects.  A Dutch citizen 
fighting in the Croatian armed forces died while in custody of 
Serbian forces several days after his capture near the front 
lines in April.

Serbian obstructionism continued to block the excavation of the 
mass grave sites in the UNPA's.  In the case of the mass grave 
of presumed murdered Serbs exhumed in Sector West in October 
1993, the Croatian Government has still not brought any charges.

     b.  Disappearance

There were few new cases of disappearances reported.  At year's 
end, the Government reported more than 2,500 cases of missing 
persons still unresolved from the 1991-1992 war.  This figure 
was down from over 7,000 cases at the beginning of the year.  
Progress was made in removing names from the list of the 
missing as a result of prisoner and body exchanges.

     c.  Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading 
         Treatment or Punishment

The Constitution prohibits torture or cruel or degrading 
punishment, but government forces continued to commit such 
abuses.  There were credible reports that security forces 
frequently beat and mistreated prisoners during detention and 
interrogation, particularly early in the year.  The best 
documented cases typically involved Serbian or Muslim 
prisoners.  Helsinki Watch indicated in February that the 
authorities at Lora prison in Split had engaged in the torture 
and beating of prisoners who were former Yugoslav National Army 
(JNA) reservists.  Six Serbs captured in early July, however, 
who the Croats claim had infiltrated across the front lines, 
reported no beatings or mistreatment to the European Community 
Monitoring Mission which visited them.

Detention facilities generally meet accepted standards of 
cleanliness, nutrition, and amenities.  Jails are crowded, but 
not to excess, and family visits and access to counsel are 
available.

Prison conditions in the Serb-controlled UNPA's, however, are 
reliably reported to be abysmal.  Harsh treatment of non-Serbs 
is commonplace, and the Serbian "authorities" do not punish 
abusers.  Two journalists who were detained in December by 
local police and paramilitary forces were beaten, as well as 
subjected to psychological torture, such as death threats.

     d.  Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile

The Constitution contains provisions to protect the legal 
rights of all accused, but the Government does not respect 
these rights in practice.  The Government frequently abuses 
pretrial and investigative detention.  Most cases of arbitrary 
arrest or detention involved Muslim residents and refugees in 
Croatia early in the year, while Croatian and Bosnian 
government troops were fighting in neighboring Bosnia and 
Herzegovina.  There were no large-scale police sweeps nor 
attempted forced repatriations such as took place in late 1993, 
but refugee organizations continued to report instances in 
which police arbitrarily detained Muslim refugees from Bosnia 
and Herzegovina and threatened them with forcible expulsion.

Police normally seek arrest warrants by presenting evidence of 
probable cause to an interrogating magistrate.  Police may 
arrest a suspect without a warrant if they believe he might 
flee, destroy evidence, or commit other crimes.  If police 
arrest a suspect without a warrant, they have 24 hours in which 
to justify their decision before the local interrogating 
magistrate.

After arrest, persons must be given access to an attorney of 
their choice within 24 hours; if they have no attorney, the 
interrogating magistrate will appoint one from a list of public 
defenders.  The interrogating judge must, within 3 days of the 
arrest, decide whether sufficient cause exists to hold the 
arrestee in custody, pending further investigation.  The judge 
must justify the decision in writing, including the length of 
detention ordered.  These decisions may be appealed, either 
immediately or later during the detention period.  The usual 
period of investigative detention varies from a few days to a 
few weeks but by law may be as long as 2 years.  Accused 
persons have the right to have their attorney present during 
the entire investigation as well as during any appeal of 
investigative detention.  While this is typically the case, 
there were instances in which detainees did not have adequate 
access to legal counsel.

In practice, arrestees are almost always bound over for 
investigation unless it is clear no case against them exists.  
Once the investigation is complete, persons are usually 
released on their own recognizance pending trial, unless the 
crime is a major offense or the accused is considered a public 
danger.  There are no provisions for posting bail, although 
police will sometimes retain the accused's passport to prevent 
him from leaving the country.

In the Serb-controlled areas of the UNPA's, virtually no 
safeguards exist against arbitrary detention, and Serbian 
forces continued to use detention to intimidate non-Serbs.  
Many cases involved residents of the Bihac pocket in western 
Bosnia and Herzegovina, who had to transit Serb-held territory 
to reach the outside world.  In August Serbian forces arrested 
a Catholic priest as he fled the fighting in the Bihac pocket 
and held him for several weeks without charge before his 
release could be negotiated.  Serbian forces also commonly 
arrested Croatian civilians in the separation zone created by 
the March cease-fire agreement, charging that they were 
illegally attempting to enter the "RSK."

The Constitution prohibits exile, and it is not practiced.

     e.  Denial of Fair Public Trial

The legal system consists of municipal and district courts, a 
Supreme Court, and a Constitutional Court.  The High Judicial 
Council (with a president and 14 members from all parts of the 
legal community) appoints judges and public prosecutors.  
Judicial tenure is permanent.  The House of Counties nominates 
persons for membership on the High Judicial Council, and the 
House of Representatives elects members to 8-year terms.  The 
11 judges of the Constitutional Court are elected to 8-year 
terms in the same manner.

The judicial process is not free of ethnic bias or political 
influence.  The Government has not yet established the 
Provisional Court of Human Rights, mandated by a 1992 
constitutional law on minorities.  The emergency measures 
established in 1991 are still being applied, despite a number 
of appeals by the U.N. Special Rapporteur that these be 
abolished.  The orders provide for the suspension of certain 
remedies in legal proceedings and give the six-court military 
legal system jurisdiction over a large number of cases 
involving civilians.

Although the Constitution provides for the right to a fair 
trial and a variety of due process rights in both civilian and 
military courts, in practice, the prosecuting attorney has 
leeway in deciding whether to bring a case against an 
individual, and, in cases considered "political," both the 
indictment and the conduct of trials are sometimes subject to 
outside influence.  In the case of nine members of the 
Dalmatian Action Party arrested on suspicion of having plotted 
the bombing of their own political party offices in September 
1993, the local military court took jurisdiction.  Two trial 
sessions were held, the latest in April.  Observers believe 
that, as the case looked increasingly weak, the prosecution 
decided to suspend action.  The prosecution did not dismiss the 
charges, however, which observers decried as an attempt to keep 
the defendants in legal limbo in order to hamper their 
political activities.

The legal system in the Serb-controlled UNPA's remained a sham, 
with its procedures and practices increasingly open to outside 
interference by those in power.

     f.  Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home, or 
         Correspondence

The Constitution declares the home inviolable.  Only a court 
may issue a search warrant, stating the justification for the 
search of a home or other premises.  Police may enter a home 
without a warrant or the owner's consent only if necessary to 
enforce an arrest warrant, apprehend a suspect, or prevent 
serious danger to life or important property.  In practice, the 
authorities often failed to adhere to these constitutional 
requirements.

Military or civil police carried out evictions by force, 
involving several hundred families, ethnic Serbs and Croats as 
well as Muslims.  In Split, 230 families were reported to be 
seeking through the courts to remove soldiers who had seized 
their apartments.  Almost all of these cases involved 
apartments previously owned by the JNA, over which the Ministry 
of Defense asserted ownership.  Referring to property laws 
which remove tenancy rights as a result of any 6-month absence 
or if the tenant is ruled to have acted against the interests 
of Croatia, the Ministry of Defense granted soldiers tenancy of 
occupied flats.  The soldiers then frequently took residences 
by force of arms, either evicting the current tenants or 
forcing them to cohabitate.

During the year, human rights organizations became increasingly 
effective at calling public attention to forced evictions, and 
their members turned up in large numbers at the announced time 
of the eviction.  But in at least two cases, police beat and 
injured human rights monitors seeking to obstruct an eviction.  
In May the Defense Ministry issued public orders to remove any 
soldiers who had illegally forced their way into an apartment, 
using force if necessary.  But military police never carried 
out these orders, reporting privately to observers that their 
commanders had told them to refrain from arresting the 
soldiers.  The tenants of these apartments were typically 
Serbian families or the spouses and children of Serbs in the 
JNA who had left Croatia.  At a July 12 press conference, 
President Tudjman justified the forced evictions by linking 
them to the Serbian aggression against Croatia and eviction of 
one-quarter million Croats.

The Constitution guarantees the secrecy and safety of personal 
data, but it was unclear if such guarantees were adhered to in 
practice.

Serbian authorities in the UNPA's showed no compunction about 
interfering with the privacy rights of the inhabitants of those 
areas, particularly non-Serbs.  UNPROFOR continued to provide 
24-hour patrols of several minority villages to protect the 
inhabitants from armed bands.  The practice of forcibly moving 
Serbian refugees or soldiers into the homes of non-Serb 
residents continued as well, which was clearly designed to 
pressure the non-Serbs to leave.  One couple in Sector West was 
forced to live in their pantry after Serbian soldiers took over 
the remainder of the house and Serbian refugees moved into 
their outbuildings.  Inhabitants were even denied the right to 
talk on the telephone, with the authorities putting severe 
restrictions on international observers who provided mobile 
telephones to villagers during visits to permit them to call 
relatives on the other side of the line.

     g.  Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian 
         Law in Internal Conflicts

On March 29, the Government and the leadership of the "RSK" 
signed a comprehensive cease-fire agreement in Zagreb, the 
capital, which successfully reduced the amount of shelling to 
almost zero and the number of shooting incidents by about 
99 percent.  There were only a handful of fatalities during the 
year from shooting incidents involving cease-fire violations.  
However, occasional shelling did occur from Bosnian Serb 
positions bordering Croatia, most commonly onto the Slavonian 
city of Zupanja and onto the area around the Dubrovnik 
airport.  These attacks caused substantial property damage but 
no reported fatalities.

In October and November, the "RSK" military began a 
concentrated campaign of bombardment and ground attacks against 
the territory held by the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina 
in a region known as the Bihac pocket.  The Krajina Serbs 
coordinated these attacks with Bosnian Serb and rebel Muslim 
forces.  The bombings included both artillery and air attacks 
and were frequently directed against civilian population 
centers such as Bihac town, Cazin, and Velika Kladusa.  Targets 
included the civilian hospital in Bihac.  Numerous civilian 
casualties resulted from the attacks.  In addition, the "RSK" 
used restriction of humanitarian aid as a weapon against the 
population of the Bihac pocket, completely shutting off access 
to government-controlled portions of the pocket for U.N. aid 
convoys from May until late December.

With small steps toward normalization along the confrontation 
line under the March 25 cease-fire, the extent of previous 
mine-laying during the conflict was increasingly evident.  
UNPROFOR troops, as well as soldiers and civilians from both 
sides, were victims of unmarked and uncleared minefields.  A 
particularly dangerous situation arose in August when the 
forces of Bosnian Muslim rebel leader Fikret Abdic were 
defeated by the Bosnian army and tens of thousands of people 
left the Bihac pocket, forcing their way into the separation 
zone to demand entry into government-controlled Croatia.  The 
Government refused to grant entry, and the refugees refused to 
turn back and leave the heavily mined area.  Despite efforts by 
UNPROFOR to clear the immediate area of mines, several refugees 
were injured by mine explosions.

Croatian citizens, originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, 
reported that the Government forcibly mobilized them to fight 
in the Bosnian Croat paramilitary forces during the first few 
months of the year.

For 5 weeks in the summer, Croats displaced from the Serb-
occupied areas of Croatia blocked all checkpoints into the 
UNPA's, protesting the ineffectiveness of UNPROFOR in 
reintegrating the occupied territories into Croatia and in 
assisting the return of the displaced to their homes.  They 
also accused UNPROFOR of supplying the Serbs with 
nonhumanitarian supplies, including fuel.  UNPROFOR accused the 
Government of being behind the blockades and violating its 
international legal obligations.  While it was not clear that 
the Government actually organized the blockades, the protesters 
clearly enjoyed government sympathy and support.  After the 
Government negotiated an inspection procedure to verify that 
UNPROFOR personnel were not transporting any contraband into 
the UNPA's, the blockade was lifted.

In the Serb-occupied UNPA's, expulsions, in the form of ethnic 
cleansing, continued to be used aggressively and with the 
blessing of local "officials" against Croats, Hungarians, 
Slovaks, Czechs, and other non-Serbs.  Throughout the year 
UNPROFOR and other international agencies organized the transit 
of a slow but steady stream of non-Serbs out of the UNPA's.

Section 2  Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

     a.  Freedom of Speech and Press

The Constitution provides for freedom of thought and 
expression, specifically including freedom of the press and 
other media of communication, speech, and public expression, 
and free establishment of institutions of public 
communication.  In practice, government influence on the media 
through state ownership of most print and broadcast outlets 
limits these freedoms.  In addition, government intimidation 
induces self-censorship.  Politicians, political activists, and 
journalists are often reluctant to criticize the Government in 
public forums for fear of harassment, job loss, intimidation, 
or being labeled a traitor to war-torn Croatia.

The Government controls all national television broadcasting 
and all but one national radio station, and retains a 
controlling interest in two of four news dailies and some 
weeklies.  The sale of a majority of shares in the leading 
newspaper, Vjesnik, to a local bank appeared to increase rather 
than reduce government influence at the paper.  The chairman of 
the bank's board of directors is an HDZ Member of Parliament, 
and the editor in chief of the paper was replaced in December 
by a less experienced journalist, who despite claiming no party 
affiliation, had close links with the HDZ.  Although these 
state-controlled or heavily state-influenced media, 
particularly the press, frequently carry reportage critical of 
the Government, government control nonetheless ensures an 
overall editorial slant generally favorable to the Government 
and the HDZ.  Each of the opposition parties is allocated 4 
minutes of television time per week.  Access to the print media 
is minimal, with occasional coverage of press conferences and 
interviews.  Two nationally publicized instances of physical 
threats against journalists by local politicians generated 
media debate but no action by the Government.

A few newspapers continue to guard their independence, 
including the daily Novi List in Rijeka, the weekly Globus, the 
intellectual bimonthly journal Erasmus, the satirical weekly 
Feral Tribune, and the weekly Arkzin, published by "the Antiwar 
Campaign."  A new weekly, Pecat, with an independent editorial 
line began publishing in September.  Even some extremist 
publications, with a virulently antigovernment slant, could be 
purchased at newsstands, although they had very small 
circulation.  The highly popular Feral Tribune, whose material 
continued to push the boundaries of good taste, was 
reclassified for tax purposes as a pornographic magazine and, 
therefore, subject to a 50-percent turnover tax.  The Minister 
of Culture admitted that this reclassification was a result of 
Feral's continuing attacks on the Government.  International 
papers and journals remained available throughout 
government-controlled areas, including Serbian periodicals 
which subscribers continued to receive by mail.

Croatia has four major television channels, as well as regional 
stations in Zadar, Split, Vinkovci, and Osijek.  Zagreb-based 
Channels One, Two, and Four are part of the official Croatian 
Radio and Television enterprise (HTV), headed by a well-known 
HDZ member.  Zagreb Channel Three, OTV-youth television, with a 
signal that reaches only the capital district, has an uncertain 
legal status and operates at the sufferance of the Government.

Parliament in July passed a broadcasting law providing for the 
allocation of radio and television frequencies to new, private 
outlets, but the Government has not yet implemented it.  
Private local radio stations operate under provisional licenses 
in Croatia, but their legal status is open to question until 
the media law is implemented.  The broadcasting law mandates 
that one parliamentary member of the Council for Croatian 
Television be a minority representative, but this person has 
not yet been appointed.  A seven-member council of government 
and nongovernmental representatives, established by Parliament 
in 1993 to protect the freedom of the press, has yet to meet 
because Parliament failed to appoint a chairman until late in 
the year.

In the Serb-controlled portions of the UNPA's, freedom of 
speech and press virtually does not exist.  With martial law 
still in effect, there are no guarantees of press and other 
freedoms, and the authorities control the tone and content of 
the media.  Serbian papers, usually published in Belgrade, are 
generally available, although the supply is sometimes 
sporadic.  There is one small paper published weekly or 
biweekly in Serbian in Sector North.

A few low-powered local radio "stations" broadcast from 
Serb-held territory in some of the UNPA's, and Croatian radio 
and television signals are received in these areas as well.  
The Serbian Television Krajina, whose studios are in Petrova 
Gora and Knin, broadcasts daily.  Two other Serbian mobile 
studios operate out of Beli Manastir and Plitvice.

Academic freedom is generally respected in Croatia.  However, 
there is apprehension within the academic community concerning 
the centralizing effects on faculty and programs of the 
university reform law.  When it became apparent that the new 
government Council for Higher Education could not review all 
the revised academic programs prior to the start of the 1994-95 
school year, the Government delayed introduction of the new 
curriculums.

     b.  Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The Constitution provides that all citizens have the right to 
peaceful assembly and association for the protection of 
citizens' interests or the promotion of social, economic, 
political, national, cultural, and other convictions and 
objectives.  Citizens may freely form, join, and leave 
political parties, trade unions, and other associations.  In 
practice, the rights of peaceful assembly and association are 
respected in Croatia.  The Government requires permits for 
rallies but grants them routinely.  Political parties, refugee 
associations, women's groups, and others held peaceful rallies 
and demonstrations without hindrance or incident.  These 
gatherings included events which both supported and criticized 
government policies.  All citizens enjoyed these rights, 
including members of the Serbian and Muslim communities.

In Serb-controlled areas, however, these rights were not 
respected.  In the fall, local media reported that several men 
were arrested in the Serb-held town of Benkovac when they 
protested a recent military mobilization by local Serbian 
authorities.

     c.  Freedom of Religion

There is no state religion.  The Constitution provides for 
freedom of conscience and religion and free public profession 
of religious and other convictions.  All religious communities 
are free to conduct public services and to open and run social 
and charitable institutions.  Roman Catholicism, Eastern 
Orthodox Christianity, and Islam are the major faiths in 
Croatia, and there is also an active Jewish community.  The 
majority of practicing Croats are Roman Catholic, and the 
Government provides an option of Catholic religious education 
in schools.

There are no formal restrictions on religious groups.  The main 
mosque in Croatia is in Zagreb, where it serves not only as a 
religious center but also as a social aid office for the large 
Bosnian Muslim refugee population.  Croatian Protestants from a 
number of denominations, as well as foreign clergy, actively 
practice and proselytize.  Some foreign religious organizations 
seeking to provide social services reported bureaucratic 
obstacles to their establishment in Croatia, but it was unclear 
if this had any connection to their religious character.  A 
Baptist church seeking to purchase property for a new church 
site also reported problems receiving the necessary approvals.

The close identification of religion with ethnicity had earlier 
caused religious institutions to be targets of violence.  The 
investigation into the bombing of the Serbian Orthodox eparchy 
in Karlovac on December 24, 1993, led to no arrests.  During 
the night of December 20, a bomb exploded inside the Orthodox 
church of the eastern Slavonian city of Osijek, causing some 
damage.  Police have not arrested any suspects.  The Serbian 
Orthodox Cathedral in downtown Zagreb remained open, and 
several other Orthodox churches and monasteries operated freely 
in government-controlled Croatia.  Although the majority of 
Orthodox clergy left at the start of the war in 1991, a few 
priests and nuns, most of them retired, remained to carry out 
religious duties.  International human rights monitors said 
these clergy reported generally good relations with their 
Catholic neighbors.

Most Catholic churches in the Serb-occupied UNPA's have been 
destroyed.  In Sector East, only one active Catholic priest (a 
Slovak) remained.

While most requests for conscientious objector exemption from 
military service were granted, a human rights organization 
voiced concern over the denial of conscientious objector status 
earlier in the year to some who refused mobilization to fight 
in the Bosnian Croat paramilitary forces against the Bosnian 
government army.  Serbian human rights groups also claimed that 
the authorities withheld conscientious objector status from 
ethnic Serbs who were called up for service, including several 
who were awaiting final rulings on their citizenship status and 
were therefore not obligated for military service.  There is no 
provision for conscientious objector status in the 
Serb-occupied areas.

     d.  Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign 
         Travel, Emigration, and Repatriation

Although the Constitution states that anyone who is lawfully in 
Croatia has the right freely to move and choose a residence, 
the Government places certain restrictions on this right.  All 
persons must register their residence with the local 
authorities.  There are no reports that anyone has been refused 
the right to register a change of residence, except in cases 
where the lodging arrangements are irregular (i.e., an 
unauthorized sublet).  One purpose of the law, which is a 
holdover from the previous system, is to ensure that landlords 
are properly declaring rent, and to ensure that individuals 
with "residence rights" to "socially owned" apartments are not 
earning illegal rental income.

Citizens have the right to travel abroad, to emigrate, and to 
return home.  Under exceptional circumstances, the Government 
may legally restrict the right to enter or leave the country if 
necessary to protect the "legal order, health, rights, or 
freedoms of others."  There is no evidence of government abuse 
of this authority.  There are no reports of authorities 
refusing entry or exit to any Croatian citizens, except in 
infrequent cases of military personnel denied leave when 
requested.

There are restrictions on freedom of movement for all 
journalists and all male citizens from age 18 through 55 in the 
cities and areas close to the confrontation lines.  
Journalists, as well as others, must request permission to 
enter the conflict zones.

The Government imposed no significant legal restrictions on the 
movement of refugees, displaced persons, or national minorities 
resident in Croatia.  Many refugees, however, were housed in 
remote locations with little or no means of public transport.  
There were several confirmed cases of forcible return of 
refugees to Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The Government tried to 
enforce strictly a policy of admitting no new refugees unless 
transit to a third country was assured.  In practice, large 
numbers of refugees, primarily Muslims forced from Serb-held 
northern Bosnia by ethnic cleansing campaigns, entered Croatia 
and stayed, although the number was much lower than in 1992 or 
1993.

The Government also continued into early in the year to 
relocate refugees from coastal tourist facilities to inland 
areas.  Often this policy met with resistance from refugee 
groups who did not want to be uprooted and separated from the 
people with whom they had spent the last 2 years.  In one 
highly publicized case, police and military recruits forcibly 
loaded the largely Muslim refugee population of the Savudrija 
camp in Istria onto buses and sent them to three other 
facilities.  The authorities then turned over the Savudrija 
camp to the mainly Bosnian Croat residents who had been living 
at the Pineta tourist resort, which was being returned to its 
Slovenian owners.

The authorities in Serb-controlled areas continued to enforce a 
coercive regime, including curfews and strict travel 
limitations near the front lines.  Threats against the 
non-Serbs in protected villages effectively confined them to 
their homes.  Serbs who crossed over from government-controlled 
Croatia were eagerly welcomed for propaganda purposes.

At year's end, an estimated 20,000 of these refugees remained 
on Serb-occupied territory in Croatia, although some 6,000 men 
from this group had been mobilized by Krajina Serb and rebel 
Muslim forces to fight in the Bihac pocket in neighboring 
Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Up to 5,000 refugees were believed by 
the UNHCR to have left the camps, apparently for territory 
taken by the rebel Muslim forces, but information on their 
numbers or whereabouts was sketchy at best.  When the Croatian 
Government refused to permit entry, the Serbian authorities 
provided temporary shelter to some, while abetting the movement 
of some 15,000 others into a no man's land in a cease-fire zone 
near Karlovac.

Section 3  Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens 
           to Change Their Government

Croatia is a multiparty democracy in which all citizens 18 
years of age and older have the right to vote by secret 
ballot.  The President, elected for 5 years, exercises 
substantial power, authority, and influence but is 
constitutionally limited to two terms.  Parliament is composed 
of the House of Representatives and the House of Zupanije or 
Counties, and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) holds a 
majority in both houses.  Its leader, President Franjo Tudjman, 
was reelected in 1992.  Serbian authorities in the UNPA's 
refused to allow residents in the areas they control to 
participate in the Croatian election.

Although there are no legal restrictions on participation by 
women or minorities in the political process, they are 
represented in only small numbers in Parliament, the executive 
branch, and the courts.  Nine women hold seats in Parliament, 
including one who is the president of the House of Counties and 
two who led opposition parties.  Federal election law requires 
representation for minorities in Parliament, with proportional 
representation for any minority that makes up more than 
8 percent of the population.  The Federal Election Commission 
designated 13 Serbs to "represent" the Serbian community in 
Croatia, which comprises 11 percent of the population, in the 
138-seat House of Representatives.  The Social Democratic Party 
(the reformed Communist party), which had received 5.4 percent 
of the popular vote, obtained 7 of these 13 seats, and the 
Serbian People's Party, constituted to represent the Serbian 
community's interests, which had received over 1 percent of the 
vote, obtained 3 seats.

The "RSK" held elections in December 1993, which neither 
UNPROFOR nor any other international body recognized as 
legitimate.  No international or other unbiased observers were 
present, and the "RSK" authorities clearly manipulated the 
vote.  After "RSK" authorities declared that no candidate had 
received the necessary 50 percent of the votes to win the 
"presidency" (which reportedly required the annulment of many 
ballots), they called for a second round of voting in January.  
With Belgrade's control of local media outlets, the results of 
the second round reversed those of December, and Milan Martic, 
the candidate supported by Serbian President Milosevic, "won" 
the "presidency."  The "parliament" had a strong plurality of 
rival Milan Babic's party members.  No minorities are 
represented in either the "parliament" or the "government."

Section 4  Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
           Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations
           of Human Rights

Human rights groups in Zagreb, Split, Rijeka, and Osijek worked 
to prevent human rights abuses in their respective localities 
and brought their concerns to the attention of local and 
national authorities as well as domestic and international 
media.  Principal areas of activity were problems of forced 
evictions (see Section 1.f.), citizenship rights and employment 
discrimination (see Section 5), and conscientious objectors 
(see Section 2.c.).

Government officials continued to refer to certain prominent 
human rights organizations and activists in highly critical 
terms in public statements and interviews.  Police also failed 
to arrest any perpetrators in cases involving personal threats 
or attacks against them or their property.  But over the course 
of the year, government authorities began to address more 
seriously some of the primary concerns of human rights 
organizations, such as citizenship rights and evictions, 
engaging in a public dialog particularly on the latter issue.  
Police were also ordered to refrain from using force against 
demonstrators at the sites of planned evictions.  Despite the 
increased dialog, however, human rights groups remained highly 
critical of the Government's human rights record.

The situation in Split continued to be most hazardous for human 
rights monitors due to threats from local extremists.  Local 
police beat one monitor as he attempted to prevent a forced 
eviction.  Human rights workers in Zagreb also reported 
receiving threats against themselves and their families.  The 
home of Slobodan Budak, a prominent human rights lawyer and 
deputy chairman of the Croatian Human Rights Committee, was 
severely damaged by a bomb on the day before he was to cochair 
a conference on human rights and the issue of forced evictions.

Major local human rights groups include the Croatian Helsinki 
Commission, the Antiwar Campaign, the Dalmatian Solidarity 
Committee, the Dalmatian Committee for Human Rights, and the 
Center for Peace and Human Rights.  The Serbian Peoples' Party 
and the Social Democratic Union have human rights committees.  
The Serbian Democratic Forum, another local human rights group, 
focused primarily on the concerns of the Serbian community.  
All of these groups have publicly criticized the Government's 
human rights policy.  International human rights organizations 
were also active in Croatia.

The Government cooperated with international investigations of 
war crimes carried out by the U.N. Commission of Experts, 
permitting free access to refugees for gathering eyewitness 
testimony, even in cases in which Croats were the likely 
perpetrators of the witnessed atrocities.  The Government 
pledged its cooperation with the International Tribunal for the 
Prosecution of War Crimes in the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague.

Serbian forces did not permit the formation or functioning of 
local human rights groups and impeded the work of international 
human rights groups.  Many international relief organizations 
refrained from undertaking operations in the Serb-occupied 
territories rather than accept the Serbs' demand that they 
acknowledge the "RSK" as an independent state.  Only U.N. 
personnel and the European Community Monitoring Mission can 
observe human rights practices in these areas.

Section 5  Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, 
           Disability, Language, or Social Status

The Constitution specifies that all citizens shall enjoy all 
rights and freedoms, regardless of race, color, sex, language, 
religion, political or other opinion, national or social 
origin, property, birth, education, social status, or other 
attributes.  It adds that members of all nations and minorities 
shall have equal rights in Croatia.  With the exceptions noted 
below, these rights are observed in practice.  One article 
provides for special "wartime measures" but states that 
restrictions shall be appropriate to the nature of the danger 
and may not result in the inequality of citizenship with 
respect to race, color, sex, language, religion, or national or 
social origin.  Under these measures, these rights have been 
observed in practice.

     Women

The law does not discriminate by gender.  In practice, however, 
women generally hold lower paying positions in the work force.  
The majority of high school and elementary teachers, nurses, 
and clerical workers are female.

Although the Government does not collect statistics, informed 
observers state that violence against women, including spouse 
abuse, is common and that the number of incidents has increased 
in the last few years.  Alcohol abuse is commonly cited as a 
contributing factor.  Centers for the psychological and medical 
care of abused women are open in several cities, and there is a 
24-hour hot line in a Zagreb medical center.  A number of local 
institutions and voluntary agencies offer social, medical, and 
other assistance to abused women and to those traumatized by 
war experiences.  Family crisis associations are also active.

Although the number of female-led organizations has increased 
since the war, most are devoted to antiwar or humanitarian 
causes and are poorly organized and poorly funded.  There is no 
national organization of women devoted to the protection of 
women's rights.

     Children

The Government has made a strong commitment to the welfare of 
children.  Schools provide free meals for children, day 
nurseries are available in most communities even for infants, 
and medical care for children is free.  There is no documented 
pattern of societal abuse or discrimination against children.

     National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities

Other sections of this report address serious human rights 
abuses suffered by persons based on their nationality, 
including cases of government abuse of ethnic Serbs.

Constitutionally, Croatian Serbs enjoy the same protection as 
other self-identified ethnic groups in the country.  In 
practice, however, there continues to be ever-present, subtle, 
and sometimes open discrimination against Serbs in such areas 
as the administration of justice, employment, housing, and the 
free exercise of their cultural rights.  Serbs continue to be 
particularly vulnerable to attack because of the Government's 
reluctance rigorously to protect their rights.  Attacks against 
property owned by Serbs, or even Croats with Serb-sounding 
names, continued in 1994, though at a lesser rate than in 
previous years.  Serbs in Croatia also continued to receive 
anonymous threats by mail, phone, and facsimile (fax), but in 
fewer numbers than in previous years.  Many Serbs left 
government-controlled Croatia during the year as a result of 
the combination of economic discrimination and physical 
threats.

The makeup of the police force, which consists almost 
exclusively of ethnic Croats, some with little experience or 
training in police work, contributed to the problem.  As in 
previous years, the vast majority of cases involving violence 
against Serbs went unpunished.  In one case in Split, an 
eyewitness informed the police of the identities of the 
vandals--all members of the Croatian army, but the police made 
no arrests.  In another case, members of the police force 
abducted a recently retired ethnic Serbian policeman, 
interrogated him for information about Serbian extremist 
groups, and beat him severely before releasing him.

Particularly in the early months of the year, the Muslim 
community in Croatia also suffered from harsh ethnic 
discrimination.  Croatian attacks against Muslims occurred 
particularly on the Dalmatian coast where there was a large 
population of Muslim refugees side by side with Croatian 
soldiers on leave from the front lines in Bosnia and 
Herzegovina (where they had been fighting against the mostly 
Muslim Bosnian army).  International refugee organizations took 
great pains to provide what protection they could to the Muslim 
refugees and rushed through hundreds of cases for resettlement 
to third countries.  With the signing of the Muslim-Croat truce 
and federation agreement in March, Croatian violence against 
Muslims declined drastically.  Muslims report continued 
widespread discrimination in many areas, such as citizenship 
and employment rights.

The Government's practice of discriminating in the issuance of 
citizenship papers toward ethnic minorities, particularly Serbs 
and Muslims, drew sharp criticism.  Human rights groups have 
numerous documented cases in which the Interior Ministry denied 
citizenship papers to long-term residents of Croatia (i.e., 
resident in Croatia long before the country declared its 
independence).  They estimated that the Interior Ministry 
denied over 13,000 applications for citizenship, the large 
majority ethnic Serbs or Montenegrins or persons who had held 
positions of importance in former Yugoslav federal 
institutions, particularly the JNA.

Human rights groups complain that the Interior Ministry almost 
always based its denials on Article 26 of the Law on 
Citizenship, which permits it to deny citizenship papers to 
persons otherwise qualified to be citizens of Croatia if it 
judges there are reasons of national interest to do so.  In 
December 1993, the law was amended to strike language that the 
reasons for denial should not be explained.  But no language 
was added to say that the reasons for denial must be explained, 
and human rights organizations reported that the police 
continued to refuse citizenship applications without full 
explanation.

The Law on Citizenship clearly distinguishes between those with 
a claim to Croatian ethnicity and those without.  The "Croatian 
people" are eligible to become citizens of Croatia even if they 
did not have previous citizenship of the former Socialist 
Republic of Croatia, as long as they submit a written statement 
that they consider themselves Croatian citizens.  Those who do 
not belong to the Croatian people must satisfy more stringent 
requirements through naturalization in order to obtain 
citizenship, even if they were previously lawful residents of 
Croatia as citizens of the former Yugoslavia.  While an 
application for citizenship is pending, the applicant is 
considered an alien in Croatia and is consequently denied 
rights such as social allowances, including medical care, 
pensions, free education, and employment in the civil service.

Serbs and other ethnic minorities also suffered from economic 
discrimination.  The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights 
noted in his report that "it appears that Serbs and Muslims are 
always the first to be dismissed...."  While the difficult 
economic situation in Croatia continued to cause high 
unemployment for all sectors of society, the Special 
Rapporteur's concern was amplified by a large number of 
credible reports that Serbs bore a disproportionate burden in 
layoffs by a broad variety of employers.  Throughout the year, 
human rights organizations continued to receive inquiries from 
Serbs who had been fired from their jobs as far back as 1992.  
While in many cases it was impossible to determine the 
proximate cause for the firing of an employee, there were cases 
in which the employee's ethnicity was the stated reason.  In 
one case, a doctor of mixed background was removed from a job 
in a military clinic because his ethnic background was deemed 
unsuitable for treating wounded Croatian soldiers.  In another 
case, an ethnic Croatian teacher was fired after a pupil 
proclaimed her a "Chetnik" (Serbian extremist), referring to 
her husband, an ethnic Serb who fled Croatia in 1991.  In some 
cases, despite court orders which confirmed the employee's 
right to employment or reinstatement to a previous position, 
the employer still refused to rehire workers who had been out 
of work since 1992.

The Roma minority continued to face societal discrimination and 
official inaction when complaints were filed.  The Croatian 
Roma Party claimed that, although the officially registered 
number of Roma in Croatia was 120,000, the actual figure was 
closer to between 250,000 and 300,000 because many Roma do not 
bother to register.  The population of Bosnian Roma refugees in 
Croatia was difficult to estimate since the Roma population was 
so fluid.  Other minority groups--Slovaks, Czechs, Italians, 
Hungarians--did not report any significant discrimination.

The abysmal treatment of non-Serb minorities in the Serb- 
occupied UNPA's is discussed in other sections of this report.

     People with Disabilities

There is no specific legislation mandating access to buildings 
or government services for people with disabilities.  However, 
people with disabilities face no discriminatory measures, and 
education and job opportunities generally are available.

Section 6  Worker Rights

     a.  The Right of Association

The Constitution provides that all workers, except military and 
police personnel, are entitled to form or join unions of their 
own choosing without prior authorization.  There is an active 
labor movement with three national labor federations and 
independent associations of both blue-collar and white-collar 
members.  In general, unions are independent of the Government 
and political parties.  Unions may affiliate internationally.

The Constitution provides for the right to strike except in the 
armed forces, police, government administration, and public 
services.  Strikes by teachers, textile workers, and others 
occurred frequently, in part over the repeated failure of 
government-owned or government-run institutions or industries 
to pay wages on time.  Few strikes could be termed successful, 
as the Government hewed closely to the austerity program it 
implemented in October 1993 as part of its economic 
stabilization program.

     b.  The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively

Collective bargaining is protected by law and practiced 
freely.  Because of inflation and government austerity 
measures, the major public service unions found themselves 
engaged throughout the year in lengthy negotiations with the 
Government over wages and job security.  Like fellow unionists, 
the federations found that the Government was regularly late in 
meeting its payroll and in ensuring payment of minimum wages.

Many "socially owned" enterprises have been "transformed" or 
nationalized as a first step towards privatization.  In the 
current transition to privatization and a free market economy, 
the unions are under pressure due to job losses, general 
unemployment in a weakened economy, and their own struggle to 
become genuine free trade unions.

There is no formal body of law or practice dealing directly 
with antiunion discrimination issues.  Croatia's trade union 
federations allege that union membership frequently constitute 
grounds for employment discrimination through transfers to 
lower paid jobs, suspensions, disciplinary proceedings, 
dismissals, and forced retirements.  They also allege that 
management interferes in union elections.  The unions have 
taken some cases to court.

There are no export processing zones.

     c.  Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor

The Constitution prohibits forced or compulsory work, and there 
were no documented instances of it.  The Ministry of Labor and 
Social Welfare enforces this prohibition.

     d.  Minimum Age for Employment of Children

The minimum age for youth employment is 15 years, which the 
Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare enforces.  Under the 
Constitution, children may not be employed before reaching the 
legally determined age, nor may they be forced or allowed to do 
work that is harmful to their health or morality.  Workers 
under 18 years of age are entitled to special protection at 
work and are prohibited from heavy manual labor.  Education is 
mandatory up to age 14.

     e.  Acceptable Conditions of Work

There are national minimum wage standards.  Public service 
unions are pacesetters for the rest of the work force, and they 
were in the forefront of continuing efforts to encourage the 
Government to honor its commitments.  The minimum gross monthly 
wage was roughly $92 (536.91 kuna).

National regulations provide for a 42-hour workweek, overtime 
pay, a half-hour daily break, and a minimum of 18 days of paid 
vacation annually.  It is standard practice to provide a 
24-hour rest period during the workweek.

The Government sets health and safety standards, and the 
Ministry of Health is charged with enforcing them.  In 
practice, industries are not diligent in meeting standards for 
worker protection, and the Ministry does not enforce them 
effectively.


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[end of document]

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