Almost 70 years ago, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Two years later, the Assembly pronounced the 10th of December the International Day of Human Rights. This year it is being observed around the world under the motto “Our Freedoms. Our Rights. Always!”, with an emphasis on the importance of making further efforts to protect and promote human rights and freedoms as well as on the numerous challenges still present in these areas.
The four freedoms underpinning the international human rights documents are the freedom of speech and expression, the freedom of worship, the freedom from fear and the freedom from want. The freedom from want entails the enjoyment of various rights, such as the right to social security, the right to education, health care and work.
According to the data published by the Croatian Bureau of Statistics, almost one half of the citizens of Croatia live in rural and semi-urban areas. This means that a little less than 2 million of them are facing the risks connected with living outside of the cities. The complaints received by the Office of the Ombudswoman, as well as the data collected though the Office’s fieldwork, point to the problems such as the inaccessibility of health care and social services, remote and poorly equipped facilities, inadequate public transportation networks, as well as the lack of proper employment opportunities. These are just some of the problems encountered by the population of the rural areas, which disproportionally affect the most vulnerable social groups: the elderly, children, persons with disabilities and women.
For this reason Ombudswoman Lora Vidović, the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality, Višnja Ljubičić, the Ombudswoman for Children, Ivana Milas Klarić and the Ombudswoman for Persons with Dissabilities, Anka Slonjšak, organized the conference titled “Far Away from the City – Far Away from the Rights? Human Rights in Rural Areas” in the Croatian Parliament of December 8 as an introduction to this year’s International Human Rights Day commemoration in our country.