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Republic of Croatia[1] [print]

Last edited: January 2006

 

Summary and Analysis

 

The Republic of Croatia has a formal child protective system. Croatia's Law on Family Relations grants the child the right to know of any proceedings affecting his or her rights or interests, to express his or her opinion in those proceedings, and to be informed of any consequences resulting from such proceedings. The Law specifies that the child has a right to a special guardian in cases affecting him or her, and that the special guardian is responsible for submitting a report to the court regarding the child's best interests; the law does not specify whether the child expresses his or her own opinion directly in legal proceedings or whether the special guardian does so. The child's opinion is given weight according to his or her age and maturity.

 

Croatia's Law on Family Relations is in accordance with the nation's Constitution, which guarantees the child, just like any other citizen, freedom of thought and freedom to express his or her thoughts. The child's right to express his or her own attitudes and wishes is ensured by a number of other legal provisions, and is protected directly by the court and administrative proceedings.[2] For example, the law requires that the opinion of the child be heard in the matters of divorce proceedings and adoptions, so long as doing so does not run contrary to the child's best interests.[3]

 

The Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) entered into force in Croatia on August 10, 1991; it was one of the first international instruments that the Croatian government became a State Party to as a newly independent country.  The CRC has strong legal force in Croatia: according to Article 140 of the Croatian Constitution, international treaties that have been signed and ratified are legally more powerful than domestic laws.

 

In 2003, Croatia established the Office of the Ombudsman for Children to monitor and promote the rights of children as they are stated in the Constitution, domestic laws, and international treaties, including specifically the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  Despite our best efforts, we were unable to locate a local contact to confirm our research.

 

Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Original Text

 

Constitution

 

Ustav Republike Hrvatske[4]

 

Članak 140.

Međunarodni ugovori koji su sklopljeni i potvrđeni u skladu s Ustavom i objavljeni, a koji su na snazi, čine dio unutarnjega pravnog poretka Republike Hrvatske, a po pravnoj su snazi iznad zakona. Njihove se odredbe mogu mijenjati ili ukidati samo uz uvjete i na način koji su u njima utvrđeni, ili suglasno općim pravilima međunarodnog prava.

 

International Law

 

Konvencija o pravima djeteta[5]

 

èlanak 12.

1. Države stranke osigurat æe djetetu koje je u stanju oblikovati vlastito mišljenje,

pravo na slobodno izražavanje svojih stavova o svim stvarima koje se na njega

odnose, te ih uvažavati u skladu s dobi i zrelošæu djeteta.

2. U tu svrhu, djetetu se izravno ili preko posrednika, odnosno odgovarajuæe službe,

mora osigurati da bude saslušano u svakom sudbenom i upravnom postupku koji se na

njega odnosi, na naèin koji je usklaðen s proceduralnim pravilima nacionalnog

zakonodavstva.

 

Statutes

 

Obiteljski Zakon, II - Prava i dužnosti u odnosima roditelja i djece, 1 - Djetetova prava i dužnosti[6]

 

Članak 89.

(1) Dijete ima pravo tražiti zaštitu svojih prava pred nadležnim tijelima koja su o tome dužna obavijestiti centar za socijalnu skrb.

(2) Dijete ima pravo na posebnog skrbnika u slučajevima određenim ovim Zakonom.

(3) Posebnog skrbnika imenuje centar za socijalnu skrb za slučajeve kad o povredi djetetovog prava odlučuje drugo tijelo, a sud kad je donošenje odluke o djetetovom pravu u nadležnosti centra za socijalnu skrb.

(4) Poseban skrbnik dužan je podnijeti izvješće o zastupanju djeteta na zahtjev i u roku kojeg određuje tijelo koje ga je imenovalo.

(5) U postupcima u kojima se odlučuje o nekom djetetovom pravu ili interesu, dijete ima pravo na prikladan način saznati važne okolnosti slučaja, dobiti savjet i izraziti svoje mišljenje te biti obaviješteno o mogućim posljedicama uvažavanja njegova mišljenja. Mišljenje se uzima u obzir u skladu s njegovom dobi i zrelosti.

 

Zakon o pravobranitelju za djecu[7]

 

Članak 6.

(1) Pravobranite­lj za djecu:

– prati usklađenost zakona i drugih propisa u Republici Hrvat­skoj koji se odnose na zaštitu prava i interesa djece s odredbama Ustava Republike Hrvatske, Konvencije o pravima djeteta i drugih međunarodnih dokumenata koji se odnose na zaštitu prava i interesa djece,

– prati izvršava­nje obveza Republike Hrvatske koje proizlaze iz Konvencije o pravima djeteta i drugih međunarodnih dokumenata koji se odnose na zaštitu prava i interesa djece,

– prati primjenu svih propisa koji se odnose na zaštitu prava i interesa djece,

– prati povrede pojedinačnih prava djece i proučava opće pojave i načine povreda prava i interesa djece,

– zalaže se za zaštitu i promica­nje prava i interesa djece s posebnim potrebama,

– predlaže poduzima­nje mjera za izgrad­nju cjelovitog sustava zaštite i promica­nja prava i interesa djece te za sprječava­nje štetnih djelova­nja koja ugrožavaju prava i interese djece,

– obavještava javnost o sta­nju prava djece,

– obav­lja druge poslove određene ovim Zakonom.

 

Članak 7.

(2) Pravobranite­lj za djecu surađuje s djecom, potiče djecu na izjaš­njava­nje i uvažava ­njihovo miš­lje­nje, inicira i sudjeluje u javnim aktivnostima usmjerenim na pobo­ljša­nje položaja djece te pred­laže mjere za poveća­nje utjecaja djece u društvu.

 

Translation[8]

 

Constitution

 

Constitution of Croatia[9]

 

Article 140  - Priority Over Law

International agreements concluded and ratified in accordance with the Constitution and made public, and which are in force, shall be part of the internal legal order of the Republic of Croatia and shall be above law in terms of legal effects. Their provisions may be changed or repealed only under conditions and in the way specified in them or in accordance with the general rules of international law.

 

International Law

 

Convention on the Rights of the Child[10]

 

Article 12

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child. 

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

Statutes

 

Law on Family Relations, II - Rights and Responsibilities in the Relations between Parents and Children, 1 - Children's Rights and Responsibilities[11]

 

Article 89

(1)    The child has a right to seek protection for his rights from competent authorities which are responsible to notify the social services office.

(2)     The child has a right to a special guardian in cases assigned by this law.

(3)    The special guardian is assigned by the social services office in cases when the child's rights have been infringed.

(4)     The special guardian is responsible to submit a report for the child's representation on the request of authorities that have assigned him.

(5)    In the procedures deciding any of the child's rights or interests, the child has the right to know of those procedures, to get advice and express his own opinion and to be informed of any consequences. His opinion is based on consideration according to his age and maturity.

 

Law on the Ombudsman for Children[12]

 

Article 6.

(1) The Ombudsman for Children:

- monitors the coordination of the laws and other regulations in the Republic of

Croatia, concerned with the protection of the rights and interests of children, with the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and other international documents concerned with the protection of the rights and interests of children,

- monitors the fulfillment of the obligations of the Republic of Croatia arising from the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international documents concerned with the protection of the rights and interests of children,

- monitors the implementation of all regulations concerned with the protection of the rights and interests of children,

- monitors the violation of individual rights of children and studies general occurrences and manners of violation of the rights and interests of children,

- makes efforts towards protection and promotion of the rights and interests of

disabled children,

- proposes undertaking of measures intended for the creation of the coherent system of protection and promotion of the rights and interests of children and for the prevention of harmful activities jeopardizing the rights and interests of children,

- informs the public on the state of the children's rights,

- performs other activities specified by this Law.

 

Article 7.

(2) The Ombudsman for Children cooperates with children, encourages children to

declare themselves and respects their opinion, initiates and participates in public activities oriented towards improvement of the position of children and proposes measures for the enhancement of the influence of children in the society.

 

Additional Resources and Links

 

Republic of Croatia Ombudsman for Children

http://www.pravobraniteljzadjecu.hr/english.htm

 

UNICEF, Office for Croatia

http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/croatia_contact.html

 

South-East European Child Rights Action Network

http://www.seecran.org/about/about.htm

 

Child Abuse and Neglect in Eastern Europe

http://www.canee.net/index/



Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] Initial report of States Parties due in 1993: Croatia 7/12/94, CRC/C/8/Add.19, available at http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/(Symbol)/CRC.C.8.Add.19.En?Opendocument.

[3] Id.  See also Law on Family Relations, available at here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[4] Constitution of Croatia available at http://www.usud.hr/htdocs/hr/ustavrh.htm, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[5] Convention on the Rights of the Child, available at http://www.unicef.at/kinderrechte/download/crckroatisch.pdf.

[6] Law on Family Relations, available at here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[7] Law on the Ombudsman for Children, available at here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[8] All translations are unofficial and were completed by Agron Zenko.

[9] Constitution of Croatia, available at http://www.oefre.unibe.ch/law/icl/hr00000_.html, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[10] Convention on the Rights of the Child, available at http://www.unicef.org/magic/briefing/uncorc.html.

[11] Law on Family Relations, available at here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[12] Law on the Ombudsman for Children, available at here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

 

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