We are currently witnessing verbal attacks and condemnations of the deputies from the Serb national minority in the Croatian Parliament by the Prime Minister, members of the Government and MPs from governing and opposition parties, who blame the very representatives of minorities for the climate of hatred and violence in society.
At the same time, there is no condemnation of numerous statements, actions and absence of actions which result in the glorification of hatred, violation of human rights and celebration of violence, crime and criminal regimes from the past.
The President of Croatia advocates the reassessment of the number of victims of the Ustasha concentration camp Jasenovac, brags about having never attended official commemorations for the victims of Jasenovac, pays respect to Ustasha soldiers, and announces her candidacy for new term in office in a pro-Ustasha weekly. The Prime Minister advocates erecting a monument to the member of the joint criminal enterprise in Zagreb; ministers show sympathy and support to convicted war criminals, while Deputy Speaker is euphorically visiting a convicted war criminal while he is serving sentence for the gravest crimes. Thanks to President’s decision, war criminals still have the highest decorations of the Republic of Croatia.
No explicit, clear and unambiguous condemnation of the use of the greeting ‘For Home(land) – Ready’, with a remark that this is nothing but the greeting of criminal Ustasha regime, could be heard from the Presidential Palace, Government or the rostrum of the Parliament. At the gatherings of the governing Croatian Democratic Community, one can regularly hear the songs by the performers whose lyrics are contained in the convictions of the High Misdemeanour Court, while glorification of war criminals is not rare. Members of the Croatian Defence Forces (HOS) units line up, shouting Ustasha greetings of hatred and intolerance, without reaction from the police and competent authorities.
Clear, persistent and continuous condemnation of any of the above cases is missing. This brings us to the conclusion that it is the members of national minorities who are not allowed to talk about social fall, although all citizens are responsible to point out and react to everything that is problematic in the country. It is a pity that President, Prime Minister, Government and the majority of MPs are not interested in the fact that minimum standards of human rights in our society are sinking, which has been concretized recently in the form of beating, stoning and cursing people because of their ‘wrong’ national origin. They are more troubled by the fact that a person talking about this is – a Serb.
It is shameful that almost all political actors see human rights violations committed recently as an opportunity for manipulation and their own political profit, and not as a need to stand in defence of fundamental values of our state, and restore the trust of citizens of all national identities in the rule of law.
The Ombudsman, as well as international organisations and bodies whose mandate is to protect and advocate the rights of national minorities, regularly issue serious warnings that the increase of hate speech and criminal offences and misdemeanours motivated by hatred threaten the stability and progress of society, but unfortunately to no avail.
For all the above, we suggest that the President, Prime Minister, members of the Government, members of the Croatian and European Parliament, and mayors do not look for culprits for violence and hatred among national minorities, but among themselves. We demand that they propose and pass laws which clearly and precisely define bases for sanctioning the perpetrators of criminal offences and misdemeanours relating to the use of the symbols of hatred, including fascist and Ustasha symbols; we demand that they refrain from statements and actions promoting violence, hatred and crimes, strongly condemn publicly anyone who make such statements, and to do it directly and on a regular basis. We urge them to stop spending public money on sponsoring commemorations and concerts which glorify hatred, crimes and criminal regimes, and remove Ustasha marks and symbols of Ustasha and fascist ideology from the facades of buildings on your institutions and towns. We urge them to finally unite in stopping intolerance and hatred that prevail in our society.