The richness of the society grows with its diversity and the variety of cultures, nations and religious communities it is comprised of. It is this last element – religious pluralism – that is the focus of the Religious Freedom Day (30 January).

Religious Freedom Day is being marked at the initiative of the International Association for Religious Freedom, a non-governmental organization holding a consultative status with the UN, UNESCO and the Council of Europe. While in Croatia this day is marked every year on the last Saturday in January, various states around the world commemorate it on different dates. All commemorations, however, have the same goal – to nurture the tolerance and respect for individuals belonging to all religious communities as well as those identifying as irreligious.

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Discriminatory speech and hate speech have in the course of the past several years predominantly been directed at the members of national minorities, said Ombudswoman Lora Vidović speaking at a public forum titled National Minorities and the Electronic Media held on 18 December 2015 at the Bogdan Ogrizović public library in Zagreb. The main focus of the forum was the (dis)respect of the rights enshrined in Article 18 of the Constitutional Act on the Rights of National Minorities as well as the fact that the inclusion in the news reports of the topics discussed from the viewpoint of the national minorities is important both for the national majority and for the minorities in order to be able to jointly combat all forms of intolerance.

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Izbjeglice Tovarnik Pixsell Željko LukunićDuring the three months of the refugee crisis in Croatia over half a million of refugees and migrants have passed through our country. Since the first days of the crisis, several teams from the Office of the Ombudsman have been paying daily and nightly visits to all of the key spots of the refugees’ transit and stay, monitoring the respect of the human rights of refuges and migrants and issuing recommendations to that effect.

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