27 April 2016 marked the centenary of the entry into force of the Act on the Recognition of Islamic Faith in the Kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia – a document granting Islam a status equal to that of the other religious denominations in Croatia.

The Islamic community in Croatia has contributed significantly to the development of the interfaith dialogue and tolerance in the country and represents an important segment of religious and cultural pluralism, thus contributing to the prosperity of the society as a whole.

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Human rights and public security cannot be viewed as opposites, stressed Ombudswoman of the Republic of Croatia and Chair of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) Lora Vidović speaking at the conference Human Rights Challenges Now: The Ombudsman Facing Threats taking place in Barcelona on 26 - 27 April 2016.

Following the recent terrorist attacks the EU countries are witnessing a rise in Islamophobic incidents, which has led to increased fear and feelings of insecurity in the Muslim communities. However, labelling an entire community because of the acts of individuals is counterproductive and encourages human rights violations, additionally fueling conflict in an already inflammatory situation, stated Ombudswoman Vidović.

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Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks arrived on 25 April 2016 for his five-day visit to Croatia. Mr Muižnieks started his visit by meeting the Ombudswoman of the Republic of Croatia, Ms Lora Vidović with whom he discussed the state of human rights in the country. The Commissioner is familiar with the report submitted by the Ombudswoman to the Croatian Parliament at the end of March and has announced he will discuss some of the issues the Ombudswoman pointed out in her report with the members of the government and the representatives of the international organizations and the civil society organizations he will be meeting in the course of the week. Along with Ombudswoman Vidović the meeting was attended by Deputy Ombudswoman Tena Šimonović Einwalter and Deputy Ombudsman Mario Krešić.

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