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Violation of Women's Human Rights in Croatia

Confronted with the unlawful eviction of thousands of occupants -predominantly women and children- from apartments formerly owned by the Federal Yugoslav Army (JNA) in Croatia, several Croatian Women's groups have joined forces in protesting against the violations. We reprint here part of a press release by the Zagreb Women's Human Rights Group, which outlines the issue:

"(...) These evictions are conducted by the regular Croatian army soldiers and a majority of the victims are women and children.

(...) These women are wives of the JNA officials who left Croatia when the Yugoslav army retreated. Instead of following their husbands, these women decided to stay in Croatia, while some of them were divorced from their husbands many years before the war started.

During the evictions the Croatian army soldiers insulted, mistreated and threatened the women, and some of them said that they were doing this in the name of, "cleansing Croatia of all the impure, non-Croatian blood". These self-proclaimed administrators of justice announced that they will continue to do this to all the "nationally impure" citizens, so that disabled war veterans and the families of soldiers killed in the war could occupy these lodgings.

(...) The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) states, in article 9, the right of women to choose their nationality and citizenship regardless of the nationality or citizenship of their husbands (especially former husbands!). It also points out, in article 15, women's right to choose residence and domicile and their freedom to movement. Even though this Convention was ratified after Croatia proclaimed its independence, it has been neglected [by the Croatian government] and many of the most basic human rights of women have been brutally violated.

In solidarity with independent women's organisations in Croatia, we encourage all groups, organizations and institutions and individuals who are concerned about women's human rights to protest this on-going violation in Croatia".

Statements of protest should be sent to Croatian embassies or directly to Croatian authorities:

President of the Republic of Croatia: Predsjednik Reublike Hrvatske, Dr. Franjo Tudjman, fax: +385 41 443-075; Minister of Defence: Minister Obrane, Gojko Susak, Trg. kralja P. Kresimira IV, br.1, 41000 Zagreb Croatia, fax: +385 41 450-236;

Prime Minister: Predsjednik Vlade, Republike Hrvatske, Nikica Valentic, fax: +385 41 469-222.