In solidarity with victims of criminalization of civic solidarity, we are carrying forward the notice of the Platform 112 as a reaction to the recent actions of the Ministry of the interior affairs and the Government of the Republic of Croatia.
"Motivated by last week's not legally binding verdict to Dragan Umičević, the volunteer of Are You Syrious ?, the Platform 112 expresses concern over the pressures that the Ministry of the interior affairs has continuously conducted on activists, volunteers and all those who jointly assist and support refugees. Particularly worrying is that the Ministry of the interior affairs, in a lawsuit filed a private person, wanted a ban of the work of the organization for which the person has volunteered.
Several months ago, citizens of this country could testify to calls for informal talks to activists during the media conference on the issue of police violence against refugees, today we have a non-verbal verdict, non-transparent communication of information, as well as disabling of work of an independent national human rights institution, the Ombudsman, when accessing the data necessary for carrying out examinations.
By restricting the space for the functioning of civil society and, in general, all those who publicly criticize the policies and practices of the ruling, democracy and fundamental rights are undermined. Also, the rule of law is being implemented, and instead of conducting investigations and seriously taking into consideration the warnings of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, UNHCR and other relevant institutions and organizations, the MIA continues to insist on violating national and international legislation. These warnings are a sign that activists, volunteers and all others who help refugees not only show elemental humanity, solidarity and support for those in disadvantage but do so in accordance with the rules laid down by law.
Unfortunately, Croatia is not lonely in such practices among the countries of the European Union, since we can see threats, court proceedings and the punishment of those who help refugees in other member states, such as Hungary, Greece, Italy, France, etc. Hungary has for years been an example of a country that is, along violation of refugee rights, trying to punish and disable work of those who help refugees, which led to the European Parliament voting last month to activate an extraordinary procedure that protects democracy and civil liberties. Governing Italy also decided to punish solidarity, and they went so far as to detain the mayor of Riace, a city that has been recording years of success and the quality of foreigners integration and chased off people who were there. Solidarity, proclaimed as one of the fundamental European values is increasingly losing its meaning, and Croatia joins the countries that punish solidarity and narrow the space of freedom to NGOs that protect human rights.
Platform 112 condemns the behavior of the Ministry of the interior affairs and the Government of the Republic of Croatia that try to intimidate and criminalize, first people on the move, and then all those who support them. The question arises, who will stop other violations of human rights, if it is already apparent that the MIA does not answer questions of independent institutions that seek answers.
Also, the Platform 112 invites Prime Minister Plenković and Minister Božinović to urgently stop these intensive MIA attacks on human rights organizations, that they allow investigations by independent institutions, and punish those who violate human rights, and not those who protect those rights."