The Ombudsperson for Children is required by law to submit her annual report to the Croatian Parliament by 31 March each year. The Report on the Work of the Ombudsman for Children for 2019 summarises the activities related to individual complaints about the violations of children’s rights and other activities in the monitoring, advocating and promoting the rights of children in Croatia.
In May the Ombudsperson for Children Helenca Pirnat Dragičević has published the Summary Report on the Work of the Ombudsman for Children for 2019 in English. The Report is available here.
In 2019 the Office of the Ombudsman for Children received almost 10% more new complaints, inquiries and requests than in the previous year. In total, 1,741 new cases were opened, and 933 cases were transferred from the previous years. The largest increase in the number of complaints, inquiries and requests was registered in the area of children’s safety and protection and in the area of educational rights.
The majority of the complaints received in 2019 concerned educational rights (391), the exercise of parental responsibility (340), violence against children and child neglect (281), health care rights (137) and the right to safety and protection (130). These were followed by the complaints related to violations of children’s rights in judicial proceedings (81), the right to protection of privacy (76), economic rights (74) and social rights (46) as well as the complaints of discrimination (42), violations of cultural rights (34) and the rights of children as members of society (32). The rest of the complaints concerned violations of children’s status-related rights: the right to registration of birth, registration of residence and acquisition of citizenship (20) and violations related to foster care, adoption, custody issues and other issues (25).
In the conclusion of the Report the ombudsperson pointed out:
No matter where they live, children have to be given equal opportunities. The unequal accessibility of a wide range of services still has a negative effect on ensuring equal opportunities to all children.
Children want to be and can be part of the solution if we give them more opportunity for that. …
Children cannot grow up believing that they live in a just society if they do not feel that justice in their lives. Children cannot trust people who do not care about them. Listen to what they have to say and help them find solutions for their problems. Build up your relationships with children showing care and respect for their needs and vulnerabilities.
Our society has good resources and regulations as well as quality human resources, but we still have to do our best to protect children and their welfare. Let us join efforts and expertise to cooperate and improve the status of children’s rights, which is especially important in these challenging times.