Bodies for the promotion of equal treatment (Article 13 Directive 2000/43)

AuthorBojic, Ines
a) Body/bodies designated for the promotion of equal treatment irrespective of
racial/ethnic origin according to Article 13 of the Racial Equality Directive
The Anti-discrimination Act grants the People’s Ombudsperson (hereafter the
Ombudsperson) powers as the principal body for the elimination of discrimination and
promotion of equal treatment, irrespective of racial or ethnic origin.409 The
Ombudsperson is the main body for the elimination of discrimination based on other
grounds as well, with the exception of disability, which falls within the responsibilities of
the Disability Ombudsperson, and gender and sexual orientation, which is dealt with by
the Gender Equality Ombudsperson. Further, when the victim of discrimination is a child,
it falls within the responsibility of the Ombudsperson for Children. The latter three
ombudspersons have similar powers in connection with discrimination based on the
grounds covered by them (they receive individual complaints, issue recommendations,
publish annual reports etc).
The duty of the People’s Ombudsperson, as a commissioner of the Croatian Parliament, is
to protect the constitutional and legal rights of citizens in their dealings with the state
administration and bodies vested with public authority. The Anti-discrimination Act has
given it the role of the specialised body for the promotion of equal treatment.
The Ombudsperson’s scope of action includes activities regarding the conduct of all state
bodies, bodies of local and regional self-government units, legal persons vested with
public authority, and the conduct of all legal and natural persons, especially in the
following fields:
- work and working conditions, access to self-employment and occupation, including
selection criteria, recruiting and promotion conditions, access to all types of
vocational guidance, vocational training, professional improvement and retraining;
- education, science and sports;
- social security, including social welfare, pension and health insurance and
unemployment insurance;
- health protection;
- judiciary and administration;
- housing;
- public information and the media;
- access to goods and services and their provision;
- membership and activity in trade unions, civil society organisations, political parties
or any other organisations;
- access to participation in cultural and artistic creation.
b) Political, economic and social context of the designated body
The Ombudsperson, as a commissioner of the Croatian Parliament, submits regular
annual reports on the status of human rights and freedoms in the Republic of Croatia,
after which the Parliament conducts a debate and votes on whether to accept the
Ombudspersons report. At a session in May 2016, the Parliament rejected the
Ombudspersons annual report (for 2015) for the second time since the Office of the
People’s Ombudsperson was established. Rejection of the report did not have any formal
consequences for the Ombudsperson’s mandate, although it was mentioned in the media
that the procedure for the Ombudspersons dismissal would be initiated. The fact that the
Parliament did not accept the Ombudspersons report could be interpreted as political
pressure on the independence of the Ombudsperson and it certainly diminishes the
409 Anti-discrimination Act, 9 July 2008, Article 12(1).

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