Croatia is a Member State of the Council of Europe (COE) and of the United Nations (UN), and has human rights obligations at the regional and universal levels.
Regional: European System
As a Member of the COE, Croatia has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights and is subject to the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. Croatia has also ratified the European Social Charter, and has authorized the European Committee of Social Rights to decide collective complaints against it. Its human rights policies and practices are also monitored by the COE Commissioner for Human Rights, who identifies gaps in human rights protection, conducts country visits, engages in dialogue with States, and prepares thematic reports and advice.
Individuals and groups have submitted complaints of human rights violations committed by Croatia to the European Court of Human Rights. For example, the Court held that there had been a violation of the right to life in the case of an individual who was arrested and killed by the Croatian police. See ECtHR, Jularić v. Croatia, no. 20106/06, ECHR 2011, Judgment of 20 January 2011. Additionally, the Court may grant interim measures to protect people in urgent situations of risk in Croatia.
As a State party to the European Social Charter, Croatia must submit regular reports to the European Committee of Social Rights on its implementation of the Charter’s provisions. The Committee has also decided collective complaints against Croatia. For example, the Committee held that the failure of Croatian schools to provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education for young people constituted a violation of the right to health. See ECSR, International Centre for the Legal Protection of Human Rights (INTERIGHTS) v. Croatia, Complaint No. 45/2007, Merits, 30 March 2009.
Croatia is a party to the following regional human rights treaties:
- European Convention on Human Rights and several of its protocols
- European Social Charter
- COE Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence
- COE Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
United Nations System
As a UN Member State, Croatia is subject to the oversight of various UN human rights bodies, including the Human Rights Council and its Universal Periodic Review and thematic special procedures. As a party to specific universal human rights treaties, Croatia’s policies and practices are monitored by UN treaty bodies. It has accepted the complaints procedure of four treaty bodies.
Croatia has ratified the following UN human rights treaties:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)
- Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT)
- Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)
Croatia has also ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aimed at abolishing the death penalty, and optional protocols to the CRC addressing children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prostitution, and child pornography. Croatia has a duty to submit State reports to the UN treaty body associated with each UN human rights treaty Croatia has ratified. These reports must be submitted on a periodic basis and describe the steps Croatia has taken to implement the treaty provisions.
Croatia has also ratified optional protocols and made appropriate declarations allowing individuals to submit complaints against the State alleging violations of the ICCPR, CEDAW, CAT, and CRPD. Additionally, certain UN treaties contain inquiry procedures, which allow the UN treaty body to consider allegations of grave or systematic human rights violations. Croatia has accepted the inquiry procedures of the CAT, CEDAW, and CRPD.
On March 13, 2003, Croatia extended a standing invitation to UN special procedures, which means that any such mandate holders are welcome to conduct visits in Croatia. For example, the Special Rapporteur on health went on a mission to Croatia in 2016 and published a report on that visit in 2017.
For more information on Croatia’s engagement with UN human rights bodies, visit http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/HRIndex.aspx.
Last updated: January 2020