Pučka pravobraniteljica s ostalim pravobraniteljicama kod Predsjednice RHFollowing an invitation from President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, Ombudswoman Lora Vidović participated in a meeting focusing on the work, activities and powers of the institutions of the Ombudsman and the Special Ombudsmen in Croatia. Along with Ombudswoman Vidović, the meeting was attended by the Ombudswoman for Children, Ivana Milas Klarić, the Ombudswoman for the Persons with Disabilities, Anka Slonjšak, and the Ombudswoman for Gender Equality, Višnja Ljubičić.

The Ombudswomen introduced the President with the work of their respective offices as well as with the problems most commonly encountered by the citizens within their areas of work. As a separate topic, they discussed the possibility of cooperation with the aim of addressing the most pressing social problems, the most prominent of which are the protection of the most vulnerable citizens, as well as combating stereotypes and prejudice.

Ombudswoman Vidović warned about a great amount of mistrust towards the institutions prevalent in the Croatian society, as well as about the fact that many of Croatian citizens are still afraid to report discrimination. The Ombudswoman introduced the President with the encouraging results of the work of the National Preventive Mechanism in the year 2014: following the visits of the Office of the Ombudswoman to five psychiatric institutions and the issuing of 131 recommendations based on the Office’s observations, the institutions in question acted on 99 (i.e. 75%) of the said recommendations.

The Ombudswoman reminded the President of the fact that the Office she is heading is the only national institution awarded with the Status A with the UN’s International Coordinating Committee for National Human Rights Institutions in accordance with the so-called Paris Principles, meaning that the institution of the Ombudsman in Croatia fulfills the highest international standards of independence in carrying out its work.

President Grabar Kitarović took the opportunity to announce intensification in the frequency of her meetings with the ombudswomen with the aim of conducting more detailed joint analyses of the issues pertaining to their respective areas of work.

 

27C7DFF500000578-3047013-image-a-1 1429530273746Since January 2015 at least 1,550 people have died in their attempt to cross the Mediterranean, in search of safety or a better life. Just a few months ago (October 2014), the search and rescue operation Mare Nostrum, with a budget of 9 million euros a month, was succeeded by operation Triton, carried out by Frontex, with a budget of only 3 million euros a month. After the last weeks of shipwrecks, the overall death toll has now increased and will continue to rise if proper responsibility and action is not taken by the EU and its Member States. In addition, action is needed by a number of states on the African continent and in the Middle East and their relevant international organisations.

Following this week’s disaster, the European Union’s Joint Foreign Affairs and Home Council has proposed a 10-point action plan on migration. ENNHRI takes note of this effort and acknowledges that some measures go in the right direction, including the strengthening of the joint operations in the Mediterranean, or rethinking emergency relocation mechanisms and resettlement engagements.

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National human rights bodies, bodies for combating discrimination and equality promotion and European ombudsman institutions had the first meeting in October 2013. The representatives of the Council of Europe, the EU Agency for Protection of Human Rights, the United Nations and the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights attended the meeting during which they agreed on necessary further steps in order to improve human rights protection through the cooperation of institutions.

As follows, they agreed on platforms for cooperation on issues of asylum and migration, Roma integration, combating hate crimes, the improvement of social and economic rights and socio-economic equality. Pursuant to the agreements reached and under the leadership of the Council of Europe, the first meeting of the Platform dedicated to the integration of Roma was held in Strasbourg on 30 January 2015.

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