Croatian law on minorities "not implemented"

Croatia's constitutional law on minority rights remains a "dead letter" even though it was adopted 12 years ago.

Source: Tanjug
Miodrag Linta (mc.rs, file)
Miodrag Linta (mc.rs, file)

This is according to Miodrag Linta, president of the Coalition of Refugee Associations in Serbia, and a deputy in the Serbian National Assembly on the ruling SNS party ticket.

Linta agreed with the view of Serbian Orthodox Metropolitan Porfirije of Zagreb and Ljubljana, who said that, with respect to the problems faced by Serbs in Croatia, there is a big difference between what the legislation says and what is implemented in practice.

Linta said that, according to figures from the 2011 census, Serbs make up more than 33 percent of the population in 21 Croatian municipalities and two cities (Vukovar and Vrbovsko), which means that the Serbian language and the Cyrillic alphabet should be used as official there.

"Unfortunately, a vast majority of these local self-government communities lack bilingual plates on buildings of state institutions such as Croatian Post, Croatian Forests, the state administration, the tax administration, the police, social work centres, primary schools, kindergartens, fire departments, health centres and other institutions," Linta said.

"We particularly note the deplorable fact that none of the said 23 self-government communities have bilingual signs bearing the symbols of settlements, municipalities and cities," he said.

A provision in the constitutional law regarding employment of Serbs in the state administration, the police and the judiciary, which applies to counties where Serbs make up more than five percent of the population and municipalities and cities where they account for more than 15 percent of the population, is also disregarded, LInta said.

In Croatia, there is often a big difference between what is guaranteed by the law and what is implemented in practice, Metropolitan Porfirije said on Serbian Orthodox Christmas Eve.

In a statement aired on prime time RTS news, he also expressed regret that, despite legitimate concerns, Serbs are sometimes reluctant to refer to the Metropolitanate and noted that attempts are underway in Croatia to sabotage the Cyrillic in every way possible.

By striving to eliminate the Serbian Cyrillic, someone is actually trying to eliminate those whose identity it represents, Metropolitan Porfirije noted.

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