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Croatia

NORWEGIAN GOVERMENT WILL SUPPORT OSCE CROATIA'S OMBUDSMAN PUBLIC OUTREACH AND AWARNESS PROJECT

Reference is made to the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs regarding request for the OSCE's Ombudsman Public Outreach and Awareness Project/Ombudsman Institution Support Scheme. 

The aim of the project is to facilitate enhanced outreach by the Ombudsman to local communities, in particular displaced persons and refugees, who encounter difficulties in accessing rights and benefits with various bodies of state and local administration. The outreach should enable these individuals to have access to and make more effective use of the informal dispute resolution mechanism offered under Ombudsman's auspices, thus resulting in the elimination of systematic problems as well as solution of individual cases.

Since displaced persons are a significant constituency of the Ombudsman, increased access to the office should result in improved resolution of legal and administrative issues related to displacement and re-integration. A second objective is to enhance the capacity of the independent Ombudsman Institution in Croatia. 

The Ombudsman Public Outreach and Awareness Project aims to widen the outreach of the Ombudsman office to the most vulnerable groups of local communities. It aims to do so by strengthening the capacity of institution enabling both direct contacts with complainants in their place of living as well as through the development of tools for greater outreach and increasing public awareness on legal issues of concern. 

The project is comprised of four main activities including: a series of Ombudsman visits to various parts of Croatia; funding of six-month internship program for law students; production and dissemination of Ombudsman Brochure; and creation and maintenance of the Ombudsman's Internet webpage. All components shall be implemented and finalised within 13 months starting from 1 December 2002.

International Contacts and Meetings

1.   15-16 November 2002, the Ombudsman Mr. Ante Klarić participated in a meeting which took place in Banja Luka in Bosnia and Herzegovina, organized by Ombudsmen Institution of RS and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation, whose activity is founded by the German Government within its contribution to the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.

The overall theme of the meeting was "The Role of the Ombudsman institution in creating civil society in Bosnia and Herzegovina" 

2.   19-20 November 2002, the Ombudsman Mr. Ante Klarić paid visit to the Human Rights Ombudsman of Bosnia and Herzegovina Mr. Frank Orton. 

During this visit the Ombudsmen discussed many issues of common interest, among other things about international network and cooperation between ombudsmen institutions, financial independence of the institutions and good administrative practices,  in this way learning from each other's experiences. 

3.   4 December 2002, a delegation from the Norwegian Immigration Appeals Board visited the Office of the Ombudsman.

     They asked to be  briefed on the following issues:

       violation of human rights in general

       violation of rights of minorities (Serbs and Roma in particular)

       rights of refugees and returnees

       Amnesty Law implementation 

4.  5-7 December 2002, the Ombudsman Mr. Ante Klarić participated in Annual Meeting of the voting members of the European Region of the International Ombudsman Institute, which took place in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The overall theme of the meeting was "Independence of the Ombudsman"

1.   24-26 January 2003, the Ombudsman  Mr. Ante Klarić participated in a meeting of the National Ombudsmen of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia which took place in Sarajevo -  partly in common, partly in parallel – of their International and Public Relations Officers to analyze issues of common interest. 

2.   31 January 2003, Ms Agneta Johansson, Executive Assistant in the International Legal Assistance Consortium (ILAC) based in Sweden visited our Office. ILAC has been asked by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), to make survey of the Justice Sektor in several countries in the Western Balkans. The purpose of this project is to help SIDA to formulate a regional plan of action for Swedish assistance to the sector of Justice and Home Affairs for the countries of the Western Balkans, for the coming five years.

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