Zagreb Pride 2011

As Croatia becomes the 28th member state of the European Union, it’s been praised for improving its policies towards its LGBTI citizens.

On Monday, the country celebrated its final inclusion into the EU after eight years of negotiation.

Among the requirements to join the union is an acceptable human rights policy.

In October last year, the European Commission issued its 2012 Progress Report on Croatia where it stated that “Lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people still face discrimination and even threats and attacks”.

However, according to a 2013 report by ILGA-Europe, Croatian officials have “continued to gradually improve the human rights situation for LGBTI people”.

The organisation noted that the authorities ensured there was adequate police protection for participants in the Split Pride in June last year, which was attended by five government officials.

The event, in Croatia’s second-largest city, was seen as an important gauge of the country’s commitment to human rights after the 2011 Split Pride was cancelled when protesters threw rocks and other objects at participants.

Gay Pride events have been held in the capital Zagreb since in 2002, with a break between 2007 and 2010.

While Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic called for greater rights for same-sex partners, he fell short of supporting marriage equality because of strong opposition from the Catholic Church, said ILGA-Europe. 

Milanovic does, however support the legalisation of registered partnerships, which is pending.

The government also expressed its intention to remove degrading and offensive references to homosexuality in biology and religious education textbooks, while LGBT specific content was included in official curricula of the Police Academy.

ILGA-Europe said that it was disappointed that the country had adopted discriminatory legislation on fertility treatment that explicitly excludes single women and women living in same-sex relations from access to medially assisted insemination.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in Croatia in 1977.

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