Ombudswomen pleaded for tolerance, Joint press conference of the Ombuds institutions in Croatia on Human Rights Day

Tolerance is not an abstract and formal notion; tolerance means an active advocacy for the respect of equal rights for all and an obligation of each individual and society as a whole to say – NO to discrimination, NO to hate speech, NO to xenophobia and homophobia, NO to denial of freedom, equality and right to family.

This is a joint message of all four Ombudswomen in Croatia on the Human Rights Day, as a reaction to the recent division of the Croatian society based on intolerance, hate speech and violent behavior.

Tolerance does not mean ignoring and passively witnessing the violation of human rights of others. It means an active advocacy for the respect of equal rights for all, regardless of whether they are women or men, single parents, persons with disabilities, extramarital or marital couples, LGBT people, or of this or that nationality, religious belief or social status, highlighted the Ombudswoman of the Republic of Croatia Lora Vidović

We must not turn away when we see that someone is violating other’s the rights, when in the neighbourhood we hear and see battered women. As a society we must be more energetic in prevention, education and punishment of those who abuse the rights of others, stated the Gender Equality Ombudswoman Višnja Ljubičić.

Acceptance of the different capacities of persons with disabilities and full respect of their human rights in practice entails an obligation for society to eliminate all obstacles and ensure support. In that sense the Croatian society should switch from words to deeds, stated the Ombudswoman for Persons with Disabilities Anka Slonjšak

Intolerance in adults' behavior and acceptance of an aggressive communication as commonplace in both the private and public spheres, on the Internet and elsewhere, unavoidably influences children and thus intolerance and non-acceptance of diversity have an impact on peer juvenile violence, said the Ombudswoman for Children Mila Jelavić. We must continuously work on education and the Croatian schools must finally take a hold of civic education in order to bring up tolerant citizens who will be able to respect the diversity of society.

All Ombudswomen emphasized the important role of public figures, politicians, activists and sports players in creating a tolerant environment, because they shape public opinion to a great extent and thus their responsibility for spreading intolerance and hate speech is much greater than that of an ordinary citizen.