EU must press Croatia to tackle homophobic hate crime
(Brussels, 6 June 2012) As Croatia prepares for this year’s Split Pride, Amnesty International has pressed the Croatian Government and the European Union to ensure that homophobic and transphobic hate crimes are systematically and thoroughly investigated and prosecuted.
“Violence against people because of their assumed sexual orientation or gender identity is despicable”, said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. “The EU has a duty to ensure Croatia tackles this scourge by ensuring that officials respect everyone’s right to freedom from discrimination and by ensuring that victims can seek effective redress for violent attacks by private citizens.”
Despite improvements in Croatia’s legal protection for victims of homophobic and transphobic hate crime, flaws persist. A new report, Inadequate Protection: Homophobic and transphobic hate crimes in Croatia, shows the need for laws on minor offences to be amended to take account of hate motives. The Croatian authorities must apply guidelines so physical attacks based on hate motives and which result in bodily injuries are handled as criminal offences.
In June last year, following the 2011 Split Pride, one participant and his boyfriend were beaten to the floor by three drunken men making homophobic comments. Despite this, the hate motive was reportedly not taken into account by the police and the perpetrators were instead tried in the minor offences court.
In Croatia, homophobic and transphobic hate crime peaks around Pride events. Amnesty International is also asking the Croatian authorities to ensure that participants at this year’s Split Pride on 9 June may fully exercise their rights to freedom of expression and assembly without fearing discrimination or violence.
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