The Centre for the Education and Counselling of Women (CESI) and the Centre for the Direct Protection of Human Rights

Round Table - Human Rights and How to Realise them

In the premises of the Union of Roma of Croatia, Kozari Put

September, 14 1998

Is it necessary to ask why?

Activists of the Centre for the Education and Counselling of Women (Cesi) organised and implemented a number of activities for Roma in Kozari Bok. One of their projects was a lecture and discussion on basic human rights and how to realise them. An activist from the Centre for the Direct Protection of Human Rights was invited by CESI to talk about human rights and to answer questions. "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights". Some of the participants in the round table, have, perhaps for the first time, heard those words.
We discussed how to demand, realise and protect rights in the Republic of Croatia. Therefore, it seemed logical to start the discussion with the Constitution of RH, since the Constitution is the basic and highest legal document which guarantees freedoms and rights (personal, political, economic, social, cultural, minority and ecological).

When we realise our rights they seem natural to us. As natural as breathing, moving around or sleeping in a warm bed. Then we do not talk about rights, just as we do not talk about whether we see or hear. This seem to be something normal, taken for granted. Yes, of course, I can move freely. Do I have the right to education? Of course. Could it be different? It is raining, so I can not be bothered to go to the polling station voting office although I am the citizen of this country with the right to vote. Who could deny to me the right to vote and to get elected?

Unfortunately, not all the people know or realise their rights. Some are not aware that the governing structures are in place to serve the interests of citizens. They do not know who to turn to. In Croatia, there are a number of state institutions entrusted with the task to protect citizens and support them in order to realise their rights. In addition, there are a number of Non Governmental Organisations handling the same issue.

Our message for the round table participants was: Do you need support? Get in touch with us? Come or telephone us. The most important thing - demand your rights - that is the only way to realise them!

Centar za direktnu zaštitu ljudskih prava
Center for Direct Protection of Human Rights