European network of legal experts in the non-discrimination field
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The information contained on this page represents the situation as of 1 January 2014 and is a summary of the country report produced by the country expert from the network. The summary can be downloaded here as well.

Lovorka Kusan

Country context

Croatia has a population of 4 284889.

In 1992 Croatia was recognised by the UN as an independent state. From 1991 to 1995 Croatia was in a state of war. After a period of rather authoritarian leadership and isolation from the international community, Croatia changed direction in the late nineties and especially after 2000. In 1996 Croatia became a member of the Council of Europe. In December 2011 Croatia’s Treaty of Accession to the European Union was signed. Croatia has been a Member State of the European Union since 1 July 2013.

Main principles and definitions

The Anti-discrimination Act (further: the ADA) prohibits discrimination based on race or ethnic affiliation or colour, gender, language, religion, political or other belief, national or social origin, property, trade union membership, education, social status, marital or family status, age, health condition, disability, genetic heritage, gender identity and expression and sexual orientation without defining in any way any of these grounds.

Enforcing the law

A victim of discrimination can seek protection through judicial proceedings – civil and/or criminal (both adjudicated by ordinary courts) and/or misdemeanour (for less serious offences adjudicated by misdemeanour courts).

In civil proceedings a victim of discrimination can file a claim seeking protection of his/her individual rights claiming that a right has been violated on account of discrimination (incidental anti-discrimination protection) or a claim seeking a ruling on the existence of discrimination as the main issue (special individual anti-discrimination action). 

Main legislation

Croatia has ratified all anti-discrimination treaties that are part of international law with the exception of the Revised European Social Charter, which has been signed and is in the (long) process of ratification (European Convention on Human Rights + Protocol 12; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities; International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women; ILO Convention No. 111 on Discrimination; Convention on the Rights of the Child; and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).

Material scope

The Anti-discrimination Act has very wide scope of application – it applies to both the public and private sector and to all areas without any limitation while explicitly enumerating ten areas to which special attention is to be paid: 1) work and working conditions; access to self-employment and occupation, including selection criteria, conditions of recruitment and promotion; access to all types of vocational guidance, vocational training, professional development and retraining; 2) education, science and sports; 3) social security, including social welfare, pension and health insurance and unemployment insurance; 4) health care; 5) judiciary and administration; 6) housing; 7) public information and the media; 8) access to goods and services and their provision; 9) membership of and activities in trade unions, civil society organisations, political parties or any other organisations; 10) access to participation in cultural and artistic creation.

Equality bodies

The Anti-discrimination Act grants the Ombudsman powers as the central body for the elimination of discrimination and promotion of equal treatment irrespective of racial or ethnic origin. The Ombudsman is the central body for the elimination of discrimination based on other grounds as well, with the exception of disability, which falls within the competence of the Ombudsman for Persons with Disabilities, and sex and sexual orientation, which are dealt with by the Gender Equality Ombudsperson.

Go to the European Commission - Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities This initiative is financed by the EC Programme Progress. But the views expressed in this website do not necessarily reflect the official views of the EU institutions.