The Ombudsman as the Central Body for the Suppression of Discrimination (Equality Body)
With entry into force of the Anti-discrimination Act on January 1st 2009 the Ombudsman has become the Central Body for the Suppression of Discrimination (Equality Body).
One of the basic roles of the Ombudsman as the Equality Body is to handle complaints of discrimination. In that sense, according to the Anti-discrimination Act, within the scope of his work, the Ombudsman:
• receives reports of all natural and legal persons
• provides necessary information to natural and legal persons that have filed a complaint of discrimination with regard to their rights and obligations and to possibilities of court and other protection
• if the court proceedings have not yet been initiated, examines individual reports and take actions falling within his/her competence required for elimination of discrimination and protection of rights of discriminated persons
• with the parties’ consent, conducts mediation with a possibility of reaching an out-of-court settlement
• files criminal charges related to discrimination cases to the competent state attorney’s office
Therefore we invite all those who think they have been discriminated against to file a complaint with the Ombudsman!
It is important to accent that the Act has also regulated the mandate of specialized ombuds to handle complaints.
In cases of discrimination on grounds of sex/gender primarily responsible is the Ombud for gender equality, in cases of discrimination on grounds of disability primarily responsible is the Ombud for disability, while in cases of discrimination of children the primary responsibility is that of the Ombud for children.
Aside from handling complaints of discrimination, the Ombudsman also has the role to follow the occurrences of discrimination in society and to report on these, and so, according to the Antidiscrimination Act:
→ collects and analyses statistical data on discrimination cases
→ informs the Croatian Parliament on the occurrence of discrimination in his/her annual and, when required, extraordinary reports
→ conducts surveys concerning discrimination, gives opinions and recommendations, and suggest appropriate legal and strategic solutions to the Government of the Republic of Croatia
These roles the Ombudsman has as the Central Body, therefore in relation to all discrimination grounds listed in the Anti-discrimination Act.
As the Central Body the Ombudsman must also cooperate with civil society. According to the Act, when drawing up regular reports, opinions and recommendations on the occurrence of discrimination, the Ombudsman shall consult social partners and civil society organisations dealing with the protection and promotion of human rights, organisations dealing with the protection of groups exposed to a high risk of discrimination, churches and religious organisations entered in the Register of Religious Congregations of the Republic of Croatia on the basis of the Act on the Legal Position of Religious Congregations, and the National Minorities Council.
We therefore invite civil society organisations dealing with the protection and promotion of human rights and the protection of groups exposed to a high risk of discrimination to cooperate with us, as well as social partners, churches and religious organisations!