Croatia Ombudsman


As the National Equality Body the Ombudsman/woman is responsible for promoting equality and reporting to the Parliament on the basis of 17 grounds stated in the Anti-discrimination Act. S/he has the authority to receive discrimination complaints based on 12 discrimination grounds (e.g. race and ethnic origin, religion and belief, age, health status etc...) since his/her mandate does not include handling discrimination cases based on gender, marital or family status, gender identity and expression and sexual orientation (Ombudsman/woman for gender equality), disability (Ombudsman/woman for persons with disabilities) or handling complaints that concern discrimination of children (Ombudsman/woman for children).

Brief history

The institution of the Ombudsman is established by the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia as independent and autonomous. The Ombudsman reports to the Croatian Parliament. The institution was established in 1992 as an Ombudsman type and has since been changing and receiving additional duties:

  • In its core ombudsman mandate (since 1992, based on the Croatian Constitution and the Ombudsman Act), the Ombudsman protects human rights and freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, laws and international legal instruments on human rights and freedoms ratified by the Republic of Croatia and proceeds upon complaints in cases when constitutional or legal rights have been threatened or violated as a result of illegal or irregular act of governmental bodies and the civil service, local and regional self-governmental bodies and bodies vested with public authority.
  • Based on the Anti-discrimination Act, on January 1st 2009 the institution became the Central Equality Body. In order to liaise and cooperate with similar bodies within the European Union the Office of the Ombudsman entered the membership of EQUINET on January 1st 2009.
  • In 2012 the Ombudsman also started conducting duties as the National Preventive Mechanism under the UN Convention Against Torture (based on the Act on this matter from 2011).
  • In 2013 the Ombudsman was reaccredited as an „A“ status national human rights institution for protection and promotion of human rights by the International Coordinating Committee for Human Rights thus confirming that its status conforms to high extent the criteria of the Paris Principles (these are: independence guaranteed by constitution or law, autonomous status regarding the government, pluralistic membership, a broad mandate for protection and promotion of human rights, sufficient means for independent work and investigative powers).

As mentioned, the institution became the Central Equality Body with the entry into force of the Anti-discrimination Act on January 1st 2009.

The Anti-discrimination Act provides for the protection and promotion of equality as one of the highest values of the constitutional order of the Republic of Croatia, creates prerequisites for the realization of equal opportunities and regulates protection against discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic affiliation or color, gender, language, religion, political or other belief, national or social origin, property status, trade union membership, education, social status, marital or family status, age, health status, disability, genetic heritage, gender identity and expression or sexual orientation.

In the capacity of the Central Equality Body the Office of the Ombudsman has the responsibility to collect and analyse statistical data on discrimination concerning all of the grounds stated in the Anti-discrimination Act as well as to inform the Croatian Parliament on the occurrences of discrimination on the basis of these grounds in his/her annual report (and when required, special reports), to conduct surveys concerning discrimination, to give opinions and recommendations, and to suggest appropriate legal and strategic solutions to the Government of the Republic of Croatia.

Responsibility for dealing with complaints encompasses 12 out of 17 grounds stated in the Act since specialised ombuds are responsible for dealing with complaints based on gender, marital or family status, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation and disability.
According to the Anti-discrimination Act when handling discrimination complaints the Ombudsman/woman has the power to:

  • receive reports of all the natural and legal persons referred to in Article 10 of the Anti-discrimination Act;
  • provide necessary information to natural and legal persons that have filed a discrimination complaint with regard to their rights and obligations and about the possibilities of judicial and other protection;
  • if the court proceedings have not yet been initiated, examine 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, conduct mediation with a possibility of reaching an out-of-court settlement;
  • file criminal charges related to discrimination cases to the competent state attorney’s office.

Also, based on the Anti-discrimination Act, the Ombudsman/woman has the power to start misdemeanour proceedings and to intervene in the court proceedings on behalf of the party that has been discriminated against. Under specific circumstances s/he can also start proceedings in his/her own name when the right to equal treatment of a larger group of persons has been violated.
Professional and administrative services for the Ombudsman/woman are provided by the Office of the Ombudsman/woman. The allocation of funds necessary for the functioning of the institution is apportioned in the annual budget of the Republic of Croatia.

Mandate Type

Combined tribunal-type and promotion-type

Litigation power:

  • Bringing proceedings in own name
  • Intervening before the court
  • Formally deciding on complaints (e.g. decision or recommendation addressed to the parties) Not legally binding


2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Activities aimed at supporting vulnerable groups ( e.g. through trainings )
Activities aimed at supporting duty bearers such as employers and service providers (e.g. through trainings, guidance material, practical support, etc.)
Communication activities (e.g. awareness raising campaigns)
Recommendations on discrimination issues
Publications and reports
Research projects (including surveys)

Our institution has a mandate to deal with:

  • Hate crime
  • Hate speech

Other statistics:

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of inquiries handled per year (all contact even if not resulting in a formal complaint)144147202248263283
Number of cases handled per year (case files opened and processed according to your procedures)144147202248263283
Number of media appearances per year (major newspapers/magazines/websites/blogs, TV + radio channels) - does not include social media40


  • Single headed equality body (led by director or ombudsman/commissioner)

Management details

The institution of the Ombudsman is headed by the Ombudsman/woman and his/her 3 deputies. One deputy Ombudsman/woman deals with anti-discrimination issues and is the head of the Department for Non-discrimination.

Additional details

There are five departments in the Office: Human Rights Protection Department, Department for Persons deprived of liberty and NPM, Department for Non-discrimination, Comunitation, cooperation and Promotion Department and General Service Department.

Procedure for nomination and appointment of management and board

The Ombudsperson, as well as deputy ombudspersons, are appointed by the Croatian Parliament for a term of eight years with the possibility of reappointment.

Number of staff dealing with equality issues

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Grounds and fields of discrimination covered by the equality body

Grounds / Fields Employment Education Housing Social Protection & Healthcare Goods and Services Other
Gender Identity
Race and Ethnic Origin
Sexual Orientation
Religion & Belief

Mandate covers:

  • Public sector
  • Private sector

Operating budget in euros

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

Operating budget in euros for the parts of the organisation dealing with equality issues (all types of functions)

2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019

We are accountable to

  • National Parliament