Appeal Zero Evictions in Croatia
We, associations of inhabitants, international networks, voluntary groups, NGOs, public agencies, citizens of the world,
We are profoundly disturbed by and condemn the Republic of Croatia for the Lease Law (ZNS) of 22 October, 1996, which has deprived occupants (40,000 people) of nominally owned privatised apartments of their long-held right to occupy such apartments in perpetuity, such rights being inheritable and which they had enjoyed since 1945.
They signed the petition 3680 people!
In 1998 the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia upheld that law but in doing so deleted the requirement for provision of suitable alternative accommodation. Hence, families are being evicted from their apartments onto the street with all their possessions and with no compensation for generations of investment in their apartments. Old people are being consigned to old folk’s homes, their upkeep being paid for from individuals’ pensions.
Rents for occupants of nominally privately owned apartments were increased by 60% effective 1 November 2005. Many such apartments are occupied by the impoverished and the elderly. Such rents are beyond their means. Where an occupant is unable to pay such a rent, the family can be evicted.
This law, one which was even beyond Orwell’s imagination, also means that occupants must obtain permission from a nominal owner for the following:
- a.to have a child (and in the case of an unplanned pregnancy, what then? Abort the foetus, or be evicted?)
- b.for a spouse whose partner has died to live with his or her new spouse in the apartment in the event that he or she remarries. Where a family has a child, or where a person re-marries and brings his/her spouse into the apartment, without such permission the whole family is evicted.
- c.where the son or daughter of an occupant wishes to marry and to bring his or her wife/husband into the apartment and to form a family. Where the family does not have permission from the nominal owner to do so, it is evicted.
Families have been victims of forced entry into their apartments, of intimidation, of physical violence and psychological pressure at the hands of nominal owners, as well as being intimidated by surprise raids by police without a court order.
the Government of the Republic of Croatia. Evictions contravene the following International, European Treaties, or National Law ratified by Croatia: Article 12 of the Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Article 11 of the International Covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 27 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 16 of the European Social Charter, article 4 of the Additional Protocol of European Social Charter, Articles 2, 4 and 6 of Annex G to the International Agreement on Succession Issues in the Former Yugoslavia, Articles 3 and 14 of the Croatian Constitution, according to which citizens of the Republic of Croatia are equal before the law,
We firmly demand
the Government of the Republic of Croatia:
- to immediately stop such evictions by imposing an official and publicly declared moratorium on all court proceedings, both present and future, related to such evictions
- to provide for the relocation of the already evicted, in agreement with the interested persons and in accordance with international norms
- to guarantee the right to compensation for all previous victims of the evictions, including the right of access to justice, restitution, recovery, compensation, amends and a guarantee that these violations will not be repeated in the future
- that a commission of inquiry be set up immediately to investigate the evictions that have so far been made and accordingly, ensure that erring offenders are brought to book
- to repeal the norms of law in contrast with the International Treaties protecting the human and housing rights
The Local Authorities of Croatia:
- to declare their territories “free from evictions areas” to forbid the evictions without suitable relocation and agreement, also with ordinances of requisition.
The European Union to take immediate action:
- to exert pressure on the Croatian authorities to redress wrongs in Croatia where EU obligations are not being fulfilled
The European Parliament:
- To prepare a Petition t to be submitted to the Board of International Union of Property Owners
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe:
- to apply the same standard to all nationalities in Croatia with regard totenancy/occupancy rights and not to actively promote discrimination by championing the rights only of Serbian nationals returning to Croatia
The European Committee of Social Rights:
- to examine the complaints of violations of the European Social Charter on housing rights
- to supervise the respect of international norms protecting the housing rights with the sending of fact finding mission of the UN-Habitat Advisory Group on Forced Evictions to help and act as mediators
This appeal has been supported by:
Croatian Union of Tenants
BABE – Croatian Women’s Rights Organisation
Helsinki (Croatian) Committee for Human Rights
Alliance of Invalids’ Organisations of Croatia
Croatian Union of Pensioners
Confederation of Independent Unions of Croatia
Croatian Association of Unions
Alliance of Independent Unions of Croatia
Coordination of Croatian Unions of Public Servants and Employees
Mr. Ivica Račan, President, Social-Democratic Party of Croatia
Croatian Christian Democrat Party
Croatian People’s Party
Social Democrat Party of Croatia
Croatian Pure Party of Rights
Croatian Social Liberal Party
Croatian Peasants’ Party
Socialist Party of Croatia
Istrian (Croatia) Democratic Union
Serbian National Party, Zagreb
Dalmatian (Croatia) Action Party
Slavonia-Baranja Party, Osijek, Croatia
Prof. Yves Cabannes, Harvard University Cambridge, UN-AGFE convenor, USA
Cesare Ottolini, International Alliance of Inhabitants
Vincenzo Simoni, Massimo Pasquini, National secretary Unione Inquilini, Italy
Giuseppe la Biunda, President Coralli cooperative, Italy
Cristina Almazán, UCISV-Pobladoras. México
Roger Muro, GIU, Perú
International Union of Tenants, Stockholm, Sweden
Edward McMillan-Scott MEP, Vice-President of the European Parliament
They signed the petition 3680 people!