HRC46: Croatia should ensure an enabling environment for human rights defenders

On 17 March 2021, Human Rights House Foundation and Human Rights House Zagreb issued a joint statement at the 46th session of the UN Human Rights Council providing recommendations to Croatia that it ensures a safe an enabling environment for human rights defenders.

Human Rights House Foundation and Human Rights House Zagreb are committed to assisting Croatia in the UPR process and welcome opportunities to work alongside Croatia, and other delegations, on implementation.

We welcomed Portugal’s intervention, on moving towards a dedicated ‘national mechanism for implementation, reporting and follow-up, covering UPR recommendations, as well as those made by Treaty Bodies, the Special Procedures and relevant regional mechanisms.

We believe that Croatia would strongly benefit from such a mechanism and recommend immediate steps to develop one alongside civil society partners, and like-minded states.

Madam President.

The public discrediting of the work of human rights defenders and civil society organizations has continued. Those working on the rights of refugees have been the targets of intimidation and violence. Particularly worrying has been the attempt to criminalize their work through a broad interpretation of legal regulations.

In addition, while we welcome Croatia’s efforts on creating a new Protocol on Combating Hate Crimes, further steps must be taken to combat hate speech and hate-motivated violence, including against national minorities and LGBTQI persons.

Finally, journalists and media are exposed to an increasing number of lawsuits, including from high-ranking politicians, for publishing facts, transmitting statements, and defamation. With more than 1000 court cases against 19 media outlets in 2019 alone, these lawsuits have a chilling effect on reporting on prominent individuals and social problems.

We, therefore, recommend that Croatia:

  1. Ensure a safe and enabling environment for the work of human rights defenders and journalists;
  2. Secure public funding schemes for sustainable and long-term human rights work on advocacy and provision of social services;
  3. Create and implement a new, comprehensive plan to combat and counter hate speech, including through civic education;
  4. Enhance educational activities for judges concerning freedom of expression standards.

Thank you.


July 15, 2021

CSP: International community should immediately and strongly react to a new massive wave of repression against civil society in Belarus

We, the undersigned organisations, members of the Civic Solidarity Platform, with increasing pain and anger have witnessed the assault over the past year by the de facto Belarusian authorities on democratically-minded persons, independent media, civil society organisations and professionals that defend human rights, such as lawyers.

July 15, 2021

International standards and mechanisms must protect all lawyers regardless of Bar membership

On 8 July 2021, Human Rights House Foundation joined six other civil society organisations in an exchange of views with the Council of Europe’s (CoE’s) Committee of Ministers’ group of rapporteurs on legal co-operation on the protection and promotion of the work of lawyers.

July 14, 2021

Belarusian authorities must immediately end crackdown on civil society

Human Rights House Foundation (HRHF) strongly condemns today’s actions by the Belarusian authorities against independent civil society and human rights defenders.