Second Class Citizens: The Serbs of Croatia

Human Rights Watch, Second Class Citizens: The Serbs of Croatia, 1 March 1999, D1103, available at: 

On January 15, 1998, the United Nations transferred authority over Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (hereafter, Eastern Slavonia) to the Croatian government, bringing the last remaining Serb-held territory of Croatia back under Croatian control Despite positive developments in terms of the repeal of some discriminatory legislation, and a generally stable security situation, Serbs remain second class citizens in Croatia. They are frequently unable to exercise the most basic rights: to live in their own homes, to receive pensions and social security benefits after a lifetime of work, to be recognized as citizens in the country of their birth, and in many cases, to return to and live freely in Croatia. As a result of discriminatory laws, and above all discriminatory practices, Croatian Serbs do not enjoy their civil rights as Croatian citizens. This is particularly true for Serbs living in the four former United Nations Protected Areas (UNPAs) in Eastern Slavonia and Western Slavonia, the Krajina, and Banija-Kordun (former Sector North), which formed the self-declared “Republika Srpska Krajina,” and which are the focus of this report.

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