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SERB COMMUNITY RIJEKA is non-governmental organisation which gathers citizens of Serbian nationality from the Rijeka and Hrvatsko primorje area. The Community was founded in late 1991 and at the time it worked within wider framework of regional Serb Community of Rijeka, Istria and Gorski kotar. Since 1994 it is autonomous, under current name. It was the first organisation of Serbian ethnical community in the Republic of Croatia. The reason for that is also the fact that citizens of Serbian nationality are numerous in Rijeka and Gorski kotar, and the atmosphere, considering the beginning of the war in Croatia, was more favourable than in other parts of Croatia.


The Committee for Human Rights in Serbian Community Rijeka is the member of the Co-ordination for protection and promotion of human rights in the Republic of Croatia. Regardless of its ethnical sign, the Committee does not deal with the problem of citizens of Serbian nationality, but it is open to all citizens of Rijeka and wider area. Rijeka was always multiethnic environment, and after falling apart of former Yugoslavia and forming of new countries, the citizens have faced plenty of problems: regulating status and residence in new circumstances, acquiring citizenship, problems with return of displaced persons and returning of property, nostrification of various documents, evictions, deportations from the Republic of Croatia, problems from economical and social sphere, work and family law, possibility of alternative military service etc. The office is open for citizens every day for different legal advises and information, and there is also an open phone line for communication. Besides providing legal help, the Committee for Human Rights pays great attention to manifestations in the area of interethnic communication and creating atmosphere for joint and tolerant life of the members of different ethnical communities and majority, Croatian ethnicity. The Committee is by all means receiving help by good will and co-operation with local government in Rijeka. Promotion of human rights, as infallible part of political culture in any society, through campaigns, media and other forms of lobbing, are component of the Committee work in sensibilisation of the public for cases of discriminatory procedures and violation of human rights. The Committee continuously works in humanitarian activities, co-operation with other non-governmental organisations in the Republic of Croatia and international institutions. The help is aimed to refugees and returnees mostly, but to other socially endangered citizens. Besides with other members of the Co-ordination, who work throughout Croatia, the Committee also co-operates with the Croatian Helsinki Committee, the Ombudsman of the Republic of Croatia and various non-governmental groups for human rights protection from FRY and BiH and international institutions. The Committee comes for help and intervenes at state institutions and local government organs.

The Serbian Community Rijeka is one of the founders and members of Serbian People's Council, the roof institution of Serbian people in the Republic of Croatia. Working in the town of Rijeka, which has a long tradition of multiculture and which has always reacted to different forms of action and dialogue on all relevant issues for whole Republic of Croatia and wider in more liberal and more open way, was easier than in some other part of Croatia. Besides, "Novi list", the only independent daily newspaper is published in Rijeka and it is open to all political options and numerous civic initiatives. The basic motto of program and work of the Community is civic concept of the society, with preservation and nourishment of national, cultural and religious identity of Serbian people in the Republic of Croatia. In co-operation with the Serbian cultural society "Prosvjeta", which is also active in Rijeka, the Community is involved in series of activities of cultural character, preservation of language autonomy of Serbs in Croatia, historical dimension of the presence of Serbs in this area, studying and protection of cultural monuments and publishing activities. Besides, in Rijeka, within these two organisation, children's magazine "Bijela pčela" ("White Bee") is published.

Working in the town of Rijeka, where members of 11 ethnical communities live and work through different organisational forms, the Serbian Community has never accepted any form of getoization and xenophobia, but in co-operation with Croatian nation majority, other ethnical communities and local government was an instigator and participant in numerous manifestation of interethnic communication and ecumenical dialogue. In spite of tragic war and its consequences, and besides the fact that many of fellow-countryman have left the Republic of Croatia, we persist in mutual understanding and tolerance for all who live in the area where we work, in respect of human and civil rights and freedoms and without discrimination of any kind.

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