With the formal opening of the International Conference „Reclaiming human rights in Europe: How to enhance democratic space?“ 25 years of the Ombudsman's Act was commemorated on the 11th May in the Croatian parliament.

In her welcoming address the Ombudswoman Lora Vidović conducted the guests through the institutional development in the past 25 years and its contribution to strengthening of the democracy in Croatia. „What has not been changed during these years, and I firmly believe that it should remain so, is the basis of the institution's work – these are arguments not sanctions, dialogue not orders, advocacy not legally binding decisions. The ombudsman's authority is one of the characteristics of societies with highly developed democracy and strong rule of law. Having that in mind, I am pleased to conclude that our recommendations and words are more and more loudly and clearly heard and that they are more frequently and promptly answered. Of course, with occasional exceptions which will always be present and which require further efforts in obtaining a constructive dialogue“, stated the Ombudswoman, highlighting the role of cooperation in the institution's performance.

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Evelyn Collins, Chair of the Equinet Executive Board (EQUINET) and Chief Executive of the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and Anne Gaspard, EQUINET Executive Director, paid an informal visit to the Ombudswoman's Office in order to discuss the cooperation achieved so far as well as the Office national priorities and plans for 2017. The Ombudswoman's advisers have been for a long time active members of the Network thus Ms Collins emphasised that their participation in various working groups contributed significantly to the EQUINET work. Special recognition to the Deputy Ombudswoman Ms Tena Šimonović Einwalter for her active role as a member of the Network Executive Board was also expressed.

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