COMMITTEE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
10000 Zagreb, I. G. Kovačića 2,
Tel/fax: 01 421 522,
Committee for Human Rights (Committee) is registered in the registry of the Ministry of Administration of the RC from 1994, but already since October 1992 it has been active under the name Committee for Human Rights within the Social Democratic Union.
The Committee was founded by groups of citizens which were working on human rights protection in Dalmatia, Istria, Karlovac and Zagreb. The first activities were in connection with acquiring the status rights, rights to pension and invalidity compensation, the right to purchase apartments and shares. Later, the activities were focused on the fulfilment of the right to conscientious objection and prevention of illegal evictions.
The Committee systematically warned about the language of hatred in the media, manipulation with refugees, sending Croatian citizens into war in a different independent state - Bosnia-Herzegovina, procedures before courts-martial because of the refusal to carry arms, terrorist acts against the monuments to anti-fascist resistance during W.W.II and the property of the citizens of Croatia.
The Committee joined a joint project of the Co-ordination of Organisations for Protection and Promotion of Human Rights in the RC called "Protection of Human Rights and Rebuilding Confidence in Western Slavonia", after the military action "Flash" in Western Slavonia. The Committee has been active in the Pakrac Office since July 1995, and has been running the Office since March 1996. In this office almost four thousand people from this area of the RC have asked for assistance in protecting their human rights, getting information, legal and humanitarian help, the right to assistance in rebuilding, bringing families together, return to their permanent settlements, right to pension. In mid 1996 the Committee's Pakrac office, founded the Office for lending tools needed for reconstruction of houses and apartments, thanks to the donation "Frieden fuer Pakrac" from Switzerland. Each month about a hundred of citizens ask and get this kind of assistance.
Since October 1996 the Committee has been additionally registered with the Ministry of Administration for gathering and distributing humanitarian help. More than 3 thousand citizens in Pakrac, Vojnić and Lika region received humanitarian help.
After the military action "Storm", the Committee started working on the project of human rights protection in the areas of Banija and Kordun, through its Karlovac branch and mobile teams working in the field. The work is the same as in western Slavonija. Due to specific circumstances in the ex- UN sector "North", a shelter for the elderly was opened in Dunjak. This project is working with the support of international volunteers and UNHCR.
The Committee is a member of the Co-ordination of peace groups in Baranja, eastern Slavonia and western Srijem and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and an active participant in the training for non-violent communication, and a number of round tables and debates called "Western and Eastern Slavonia - Challenges of Normalisation".
The Committee, in co-operation with UNTAES, has undertaken its activities in the areas of Baranja, Vukovar and Ilok since August 1996 till the present. The Committee is also a member of the Co-ordination of NGOs working in this area.
The Committee has had fruitful co-operation with the associations of national minorities in the RC, especially with the Italian, Roma and Serbian minorities. The co-operation is also very good with members of the network of Antiwar Campaign Croatia, women's groups, Croatian Helsinki Committee, Amnesty International Croatia, members of the Humanitarian Network, Croatia Law Centre and the Association of Students, Zagreb.
ever since the founding of the Committee, it has been co-operating with international organisations. Especially successful co-operation has been with OXFAM, ADF, Open Society Institute, Austrian Office for Peace (OFD), Swiss organisation "Gemeindem Gemeinsam" and "Frieden fuer Pakrac", as well as with the IRC.
among international governmental organisations, the Committee co-operates on daily basis with the UN agencies and organisations, such as UNHCR, UNDP; UN Centre for Human Rights, International Red Cross, ECMM and OSCE, as well as with the US Embassy, Embassy of the Netherlands and Austrian Embassy. The UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights, Mrs Elisabeth Rehn regularly included the reports on human rights violations written by the Committee, in her reports. Twice, in 1996 and 1997, Mrs Rehn, together with members of the Committee visited western Slavonia and Kordun. In October 1997 our organisation hosted her in the ex-UN sectors "West" and "North".
ever since its founding, the Committee has been taking part in joint campaigns for protection and promotion of human rights, improvement of the proposals of the laws, improvement in implementing legal provisions and a participant of a number of round tables and conferences in the RC and abroad
Members of the Committee are working in branches according to their places of residence, i.e., in Split, Rijeka, Poreč, Umag, Karlovac, Zagreb, Pakrac, and individuals are also working in Okučani, Ilok and Vojnić.
Members of the Umag branch, area where a large number of human rights violations was reported, are one of the most active parts of our organisation. Apart from direct protection of human rights, they have been taking care of the citizens in the refugee camp Borozija, cared for citizens in the detention centres for foreigners in Rijeka, prevented deportations of citizens into Bosnia-Herzegovina and Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. They also gathered and distributed humanitarian help in Lika, Gorski kotar and Banija. They protected the rights of ethnic minorities (Italians, Serbs and Bosnians).
Members of the Committee are also individual members (according to their choice and preferences) of Antiwar Campaign Croatia, Amnesty International Croatia, women's groups and international NGOs. They are also participating in the projects of other NGOs, to mention the latest AWCC's "Step into Tomorrow"
in the future the Committee plans to work on the projects of protection and promotion of human rights in the offices in Karlovac, Vojnić, Pakrac and Ilok, and to establish a network of those offices. Besides, the network of shelters for the elderly and the office for lending tools shall be widening. One of our projects shall be monitoring the language of hatred in the local media and combating it. An other project deals with education for human rights, women's human rights, small economic programs, newspapers workshops and education for living in multiethnic communities.
Center for Direct Protection of Human Rights