An Interview With Ina Vukic – “Future Member Of Croatian Parliament For The Diaspora”

Candidates for Croatian General Elections 4th and 5th July 2020 on
“Independent List Zeljko Glasnovic” for the 11th Electorate:
From left front row! Marko Juric, Zeljko Glasnovic, Ina Vukic, Mate Knezovic
Back row from left: Milena Matic, Tomislav Sunic, Marina Sunic-Zakman, Elizabeta Mađarevic, Srecko Telar
Candidates not on photo: Marko Perkovic, Martina Curic,
Franjo Miroslav Perkovic, Marina Sabljic, Kresimir Tabak.                    (CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE)

 

 

Interview by: Urbani Desničar

Translated into English from source

To describe Ina Vukic in a few sentences is an impossible task. She gave so much for the Croatian Homeland and the diaspora that I could write a book about it (in sequels). And what did she ask for in return? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Her love for this country is something that is rarely seen. Starting from the war, until today. There are few in patriotic circles who have not heard of her blog: “Croatia, the War, and the Future”. But not to go into long texts about her here, all the information is available to you online. I am extremely honoured to have had her agree to an interview for my humble blog. In short, Ina Vukic has done more for this country and its promotion in the world than all previous Foreign Ministers combined. Free of charge. And that is why she deserves our deep bow of respect.

Croatian emigrants are completely discriminated against and that is a fact. 4.4% of Serbs in the Republic of Croatia (around 86 thousand) are guaranteed the same number of representatives as over 3 million Croats outside the Homeland. Given that the referendums are being stolen from us and it is difficult for us to gather a 2/3 majority in the Parliament, what is left for us?

If we read the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, i.e. the part that looks at the law on the election of representatives for the diaspora and Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) (Croats outside Croatia), then the current law on the Election of Representatives, in practice, greatly discriminates against the right of Croats outside Croatia to be adequately represented in the Croatian Parliament. From the inauguration of the Croatian Parliament in 1990 until 2010, Croats outside Croatia had 12 seats. These, and even more places, Croats outside Croatia deserve not only on the basis of their numbers, but also for their enormous share in the creation of the Republic of Croatia as an independent state. In 2010, a terrible injustice and travesty took place against Croats outside Croatia – their legs on which they stood with utmost sacrifice in the creation of modern Croatia in the 1990’s were simply and abruptly cut off.  Their seats in the Croatian Parliament were reduced to only 3! Well, I ask you, some 3,800,000 Croats up to the third generation live outside Croatia, and even more if we count the fourth and fifth – isn’t this the most blatant of examples of discrimination! A similar number of Croats live in Croatia and have 10 electorates, each has 14 seats in the parliament!! Discrimination against Croats outside Croatia – for sure, and that is catastrophic for Croatia and sad. I think that the best way is to assess the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia and assess whether or not the laws on the Election of Representatives in the Croatian Parliament are in accordance and commensurate with the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia? And you see, we are trying to achieve that right now. I am a member of a group of 30 Croats from the diaspora, who a few weeks ago submitted a proposal to the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia for such an assessment.

You have done so much good for Croatia (especially during the war), that it is impossible to list them all. In 1995, Dr. Franjo Tudjman awarded you the “Homeland War Memorial” and the “Order of the Croatian Trefoil” Medals of Honour. Very few people know about this fact. Is it modesty or do you just think it was a moral obligation for you?

It is not a question of modesty because I deserved the medals with hard work and dedication, so I am proud of my merits for the Homeland and I thank God for giving me knowledge and strength for that. However, I am sad that Medals of Honour for the Republic of Croatia and the Homeland War are gathering dust in the drawers in the homes of people who deserved them with great sacrifice and dedication. No one would be happier than me if, at least at the celebrations of the Day of Croatian Statehood, these medals adorned the chests of those who deserved them in public. It seems to me that, thanks to the former communists (who were and still are in places of authority), who tried to criminalise the Homeland War and sent our heroes to The Hague (twisted political and false accusations of war crimes), that the medals became a matter of recipients’ personal pride rather than a matter of  national pride, which is what the medal should be.

When you mention moral duty, it certainly stands for anyone who has in any way contributed to the success of the creation of the Croatian state. I was raised in a family, for which, from my memory, the independence of Croatia was of essential and vital importance. From my grandfather, my father and myself – the moral values ​​behind it were simply instilled in me, and they gave me and give me strength. And they also make me an exemplary Croat, not close to those who voted for the Istanbul Convention and for the devastation of human morality but close to those who raised and maintained us on solid feet. And now such amoral people from HDZ and SDP parties and their satellites are again competing in the elections for the Croatian Parliament!? The Croatian people, for whom Croatia and everything it represents resides in their minds and souls, will not give them such an opportunity to devastate Croatia further! Morally, economically and politically. The latter two sentences sound like a prayer to me – and it is a prayer!

By profession you are a psychologist, so I would ask you to give a brief diagnosis of the mental state of the nation? Sometimes I really have a feeling, that we are definitely not normal.

Disorientation! Cultural, moral and political. I do not see a clear true Croatian culture being emphasised in Croatia, and the Croatian public is often imposed upon with parameters of “culture”, many of which are unknown to most, foreign and even insulting. Corruption and nepotism create a form of morality (immorality), while honesty and living by Christian morality are constantly waging a war for supremacy in the hearts of many people. Political disorientation is particularly visible in an abnormally large number of political parties and movements. And in the deep sea of ​national vision and mission Croatia’s does not exist. Without a national vision, the nation is disoriented, and that is social psychopathology. The only cure in the case of Croatia is the expungement from the system of everything in the work of the state that is imposed from the former Yugoslavia and brings double standards in almost everything that makes our everyday life.

Is there still a national charge among emigrants and is anyone thinking of returning to the Croatia of today? Especially bearing in mind that a lot of people see the Diaspora only as an ATM.

Yes, it exists, and it is very strong – it envelopes love for Croatian Homeland. There are those who want to or who have already returned, and there are those who have returned and then after a couple of years changed their minds and returned back to the diaspora. Disappointment in among the diaspora is large. Simply put, the laws they encounter in Croatia serve more to repel than to attract return. Problems such as: bureaucracy, tax, investment, property law, health care regulation, etc., simply make the lives of returnees impossibly difficult and frustrating.

Your Blog is an inspiration to Croatians around the world. You also do humanitarian work, work, write, travel…. How do you manage to balance it all?

I sleep five to six hours a day when dear God permits, and I work most of the other hours. Over the week by day I work as in Sydney CEO of a large organisation for government funded services in mental health and disability. I have dedicated my professional life to the welfare of people who have disabilities, to do my very best in breaking barriers so that with support they can live as normal members of our society. And it is a very demanding and responsible job. In the evening, I work for Croatian truth for five to six hours, for the benefit of the Croatian name around the world, for humanitarian, scientific or cultural associations, I write articles in English and Croatian, etc. And this is repeated on weekends. I am a responsible and reliable person, and this is morally instilled in me because I come from a family where the value of a person is instilled in the work they do, honest work. So, balancing comes naturally. And this has been going on for more than thirty years.

General Zeljko Glasnovic is the only politician who actively and tirelessly works on connecting the Republic of Croatia and its diaspora, and at the same time he is not afraid to tell the truth. How much does his support mean to you and is there anyone else you would point out in that respect?

General Glasnovic never loses focus from what is important for Croatian emigrants and Croats in BiH, and that is very important to us. And that focus is the integration with the Homeland and the development of all relevant legislation and regulations by which this integration can successfully be achieved. Especially during the last parliamentary term, he advocated for the pensions of HVO (Croatian Defence Council) veterans. Thanks to his concern for Croats in BiH, in 2017 he brought the Croatian HDZ government to its knees (as it was threatened with collapse at the time) to agree to General Glasnovic’s conditions in return for his vote in parliament; one of General Glasnovic’s conditions was that the government expedite the payment of arrears of pensions to HVO war veterans and that the law on war veterans be put into procedure as soon as possible. I want to say here that these are all actions that demonstrate General Glasnovic’s specific and dedicated work for his constituency as Member of Parliament. Such engaged MPs are a rarity in the Croatian Parliament.

In the end, it could be said that it was because of this desire for unity and integration of all Croats wherever they live that Croatian emigrants gave themselves in the fight for an independent and democratic Croatia. Emigrants in developed democracies have learned what it means to have a representatives in Parliament and what to expect from them, so the way General Glasnovic works is within the sphere of such “team” work they are used to, and what is expected from a member of Parliament or Parliament. You see, we are convinced in the diaspora that it is necessary to DECOMMUNIZE the Croatian public space and public administration, laws and procedures and public services to the citizens, which are still poisoned by the remnants of the ENEMY COMMUNIST REGIME. Here, too, General Glasnovic never disappoints us, even when it means that the mainstream media in Croatia avoid him because of it. So, his support means a lot to us. We are aware that without the share of knowledge, skill and perseverance in love for the Homeland (and these virtues are present in abundance within the diaspora, even life for all Croats cannot progress in the foreseeable future. But official Croatia largely resists that reality. Unfortunately!

Who else besides General Glasnovic do you want to point out?

To achieve the goals that lie in the hearts and minds of Croats outside Croatia, then the people I want to point out as outstanding are all candidates on the “Independent List of Zeljko Glasnovic” for the upcoming elections in Croatia. I myself am among them. I carry this candidature with pride and conviction that General Glasnovic will continue to hold all of us high in the new parliamentary mandate and emphasise the importance that Croats from BiH and the diaspora have for Croatia.

P.S. By chance (or fate) I started this interview with Ms. Ina, as a link between the Homeland and the Diaspora, a humanitarian worker, a psychologist, a blogger but in the end I have to add another title. “Future Member of the Croatian Diaspora in Parliament”. I am absolutely sure of that. After seeing General Glasnovics independent list, I was at the same time delighted with the names on it, but also disappointed. Because out of 14 people on the list, only 3 can get into the parliament. Which is a real disaster, when you look at all the moral verticals and patriots on it. The General is unquestionable, and I personally think that Ms. Vukic can easily get in. Who will be the third doesn’t matter at all, because you just can’t fail. Unfortunately, there will be no room for 11 patriots. Which is all the more reason to URGENTLY seek changes to the Elections law. How can this be achieved? I really have no idea. Because if I did, the General would now be sitting on Pantovcak (Office of President of Croatia) instead of the FRANTIC KHMER. Still, it is important that things slowly change for the better and that instead of one, we will finally have 3 authentic patriots in Parliament. Because (without any insult to anyone) those two Covic’s “heroes” (HDZ in BiH) only came there for a salary, and they didn’t open their mouths for 4 years. So once again I thank Ms. Ina Vukic for agreeing to this interview and I wish her good luck and success in her new position. This also applies to all other candidates from “General Glasnovic’s Independent List”. FOR HOMELAND READY!

Ina Vukic, June 2020

 

ORIGINAL INTERVIEW TEXT BY URBANI DESNIČAR IN THE CROATIAN LANGUAGE FOLLOWS:

Opisati gđu. Inu Vukić u par rečenica je nemoguće. Toliko je toga dala za Domovinu i iseljeništvo, da bi o tome mogli knjigu napisati (i to u nastavcima). A što je tražila zauzvrat? APSOLUTNO NIŠTA! Njena ljubav prema ovoj zemlji je nešto što se rijetko viđa. Počevši od rata, pa sve do danas. Malo je onih u Domoljubnim krugovima, koji nisu čuli za njen blog: “Croatia, the War, and the Future”. Ali da puno ne dužim, svi podatci su vam dostupni na internetu. Izuzetna mi je čast što je pristala na intervju za moj skromni blog. Ukratko, gđa. Ina Vukić je više učinila za ovu državu i njenu promociju u svijetu, nego svi dosadašnji Ministri vanjskih poslova zajedno. Bez ikakve naknade. I zato zaslužuje naš duboki naklon.

1. Hrvatsko iseljeništvo je potpuno diskriminirano i to je činjenica. 4.4% srba u RH (oko 86 tisuća) ima zagarantiran isti broj zastupnika kao i preko 3 milijuna Hrvata izvan Domovine. S obzirom da nam Referendume kradu a 2/3 većinu u Saboru teško možemo skupiti, što nam preostaje?

Ako pročitamo Ustav RH, odnosno onaj dio koji se osvrće na zakon izbora zastupnika za iseljeništvo i BiH (Hrvata izvan Hrvatske), onda sadašnji Zakon o izboru zastupnika naoko i u praksi, naveliko diskriminira pravo na zastupništvo Hrvata izvan Hrvatske u Hrvatskome saboru. Od inauguracije Hrvatskog sabora 1990. godine pa do 2010., Hrvati izvan Hrvatske su imali 12 zastupničkih mjesta. Ta, pa i više mjesta, Hrvati izvan Hrvatske zaslužuju ne samo po svojoj brojčanosti, nego i po svom udjelu u stvaranju Republike Hrvatske kao samostalne države. 2010. godine se dogodila grozna nepravda i travestija protiv Hrvata izvan Hrvatske, jer su im podsječene noge na kojima su stvarali Hrvatsku 1990-tih. Zastupnička mjesta u Hrvatskome saboru su im srozana na samo 3! Pa molim vas, izvan Hrvatske živi nekih 3,800,000 Hrvata do treće generacije, a i više ako brojimo i četvrtu i petu. Sličan broj Hrvata živi i u Hrvatskoj a imaju 10 izbornih jedinica! Diskriminacija protiv Hrvata izvan Hrvatske – sigurno, i to je katastrofalno za Hrvatsku i žalosno. Mislim da je najbolji način ući u sam Ustav RH i ocijeniti jesu li ili nisu Zakoni o izboru zastupnika u Hrvatskome saboru, sukladni sa Ustavom RH? I to vidite, upravo sada nastojimo postići. Članica sam skupine od 30 Hrvata i Hrvatica iz iseljeništva, koja je prije nekoliko tjedana položila prijedlog Ustavnom sudu RH za takvu ocjenu.

2. Toliko ste toga dobroga učinili za Hrvatsku (posebice za vrijeme rata), da je nemoguće sve nabrojati. Dr.Tuđman vas je 1995. nagradio “Spomenicom Domovinskog rata” i “Redom hrvatskog trolista”. Vrlo malo ljudi zna za tu činjenicu. Je li u pitanju skromnost ili jednostavno smatrate da vam je to bila moralna obveza?

Nije skromnost u pitanju jer sam odličja zaslužila velikim radom i ustrajnosti, pa sam ponosna na svoje zasluge za Domovinu i Bogu zahvalna što me podario znanjem i snagom. No, žao mi je što odličja za zasluge za Republiku Hrvatsku i Domovinski rat skupljaju prašinu po ladicama u domovima ljudi, koji su ih zaslužili velikim odricanjem i požrtvovnosti. Nitko sretniji od mene kada bi barem na proslavama Dana hrvatske državnosti ta odličja u javnosti krasila prsa dobitnika istih. Čini mi se da je zahvaljujući bivšim komunistima (koji su bili i koji još jesu na mjestima autoriteta), koji su iz petnih žila pokušavali kriminalizirati Domovinski rat a naše heroje poslati u Hag (uvijenim političkim i lažnim optužbama za ratne zločine), došlo i do toga da su odličja postala osobni ponos primatelja a ne nacionalni ponos, što su stvari i trebala biti.

Kada spominjete moralnu dužnost, to sigurno stoji za svakoga koji je na bilo koji način pridonio uspjehu stvaranje Hrvatske države. Odgojena sam u obitelji, kojoj je od mog pamćenja samostalnost Hrvatske bila od bitne i životne važnosti. Od mojeg dide, moga oca i mene same – moralne vrijednosti za time su jednostavno usađivane u mene, i davale su mi i daju snagu. A čine me i uzornom Hrvaticom, nikako bliskom onima koji su glasali za Istanbulsku konvenciju i za devastiranje ljudskog morala, koji nas je na čvrste noge dizao i održao. I sada se takvi amoralci iz HDZa i SDPa i njihovih satelita, opet natječu na izborima za Hrvatski sabor!? Hrvatski narod kojem je hrvatstvo i sve ono što ono predstavlja u mislima i na duši, neće im dati takvu priliku da Hrvatsku devastiraju i dalje! Moralno, gospodarski i politički. Ovo zadnje mi sliči na molitvu, to molitva i jest!

3. Po profesiji ste psiholog, pa bi vas zamolio da date kratku dijagnozu mentalnog stanja nacije? Ponekad stvarno imam osjećaj, da definitivno nismo normalni.

Dezorijentacija! Kulturna, moralna i politička. Ne vidim jasnu istinsku hrvatsku kulturu, pa se po javnom prostoru nameću parametri “kulture”, od kojih su mnogi većini nepoznati, strani pa i uvrijedljivi. Korupcija i nepotizam stvaraju jedan oblik morala (nemorala), dok poštenje i život po kršćanskom moralu stalno vode rat za prevlast u srcu naroda. Politička dezorijentacija osobito je vidljiva u nenormalno velikom broju političkih stranaka i pokreta. A i u dubokom moru nepostojanja nacionalne vizije i misije. Bez nacionalne vizije i nacija je dezorijentirana, a to je društvena psihopatologija. Kojoj je jedini lijek u slučaju Hrvatske, izbacivanje iz sustava svega onoga u radu države što se nameće još iz bivše Juge, i donosi duple standarde u gotovo svemu što nam čini svakodnevnicu.

4. Postoji li još uvijek nacionalni naboj među iseljenicima i razmišlja li itko o povratku u ovu i ovakvu Hrvatsku? Pogotovo imajući na umu, da dosta ljudi Dijasporu vidi samo kao bankomat.

Da postoji i veoma je jak. Ima onih koji se žele ili koji su se već vratili, a ima i onih koji su se vratili i onda nakon par godina predomislili, I vratili se natrag u iseljeništvo. Razočaranje u iseljeništvu je veliko. Jednostavno zakoni s kojima se susreću u Hrvatskoj, više služe odbijanju nego privlačenju povratka. Problemi poput: birokracijskih, poreznih, investicijskih, imovinsko-pravnih, uređenja zdravstvene zaštite itd., jednostavno čine život povratnicima nemoguće teškim i frustrirajućim.

5. Vaš Blog je inspiracija Hrvatima diljem svijeta. Bavite se i humanitarnim radom, radite, pišete, putujete…. Kako sve to uspijevate balansirati?

Spavam pet do šest sati dnevno kad dragi Bog dozvoli, a ostale sate većinom radim. Preko tjedna po danu na svom radnom mjestu, glavne i izvršne direktorice (CEO) (velike organizacije u Sydneyu za mentalno zdravlje i invaliditet, financirane od strane Australske vlade). I to je vrlo zahtjevan i odgovoran posao. Navečer po pet do šest sati radim za Hrvatsku istinu, za dobrobit hrvatskog imena po svijetu, za udruge humanitarnog, znanstvenog ili kulturnog karaktera, pišem članke na engleskom i na hrvatskom itd. I to se ponavlja i vikendom. Odgovorna sam i pouzdana osoba i to je moralno usađeno u meni, jer potječem iz obitelji gdje je vrijednost osobe usađena u radu, poštenom radu. Pa tako balansiranje dođe prirodno. I to tako traje već više od trideset godina.

6. General Glasnović je jedini političar koji aktivno i neumorno radi na povezivanju RH i iseljeništva, i pri tome se ne boji reči istinu. Koliko vam znači njegova potpora i postoji li još netko koga biste istakli?

General Glasnović ne gubi fokus od onoga što je bitno za hrvatsko iseljeništvo i Hrvate BiH, i to je nama vrlo važno. A to je integracija s Domovinom i razvoj svih relevantih zakona i uredaba kojima se ta integracija uspješno postiže. Posebno se tijekom proteklog saborskog mandata založio za mirovine branitelja HVO-a. Zahvaljujući takvoj njegovoj brizi za Hrvate BiH, 2017. godine je doveo do toga da je HDZ-ova vlada (kako joj je tada prijetila propast), pristala na uvjet generala Glasnovića da za uzvrat za njegov glas u saboru, vlada požuri sa isplatama zaostataka mirovina braniteljima HVO-a,  te da se zakon o braniteljima stavi što žurnije u proceduru. Hoću reći da su to sve postupci koji pružaju dokaz, da general Glasnović kao saborski zastupnik konkretno i učinkovito radi za dobrobit Hrvata koje zastupa u saboru. Tako angažrani zastupnici su rijetkost.

Na koncu konca, moglo bi se reći da je zbog tog priželjkivanog zajedništva i integracije svih Hrvata ma gdje živjeli, hrvatsko iseljeništvo i sebe dalo u borbi za neovisnu i demokratsku Hrvatsku. Iseljeništvo u razvijenim demokracijama se naučilo što znači imati svojeg zastupnika u Saboru i što očekivati od toga, pa je način rada generala Glasnovića unutar sfere takvog “timskog” rada na koji su navikli, i što se i očekuje od zastupnika u Saboru ili parlamentu. Vidite, uvjerenja smo u iseljeništvu da je neophodno DEKOMUNIZIRATI Hrvatski javni prostor i javnu upravu, zakone i procedure i javne usluge građanstvu, koje još i dan danas truju zaostaci NEPRIJATELJSKOG KOMUNISTIČKOG REŽIMA. I tu nas general Glasnović nikada nije razočarao, pa čak kad to i znači da ga mainstream mediji u Hrvatskoj izbjegavaju zbog toga. Dakle, njegova nam potpora puno znači. Svijesni smo da bez udjela znanja, umijeća i ustrajnosti u ljubavi za Domovinu (a te vrline iseljeništvo posjeduje u izobilju), ni život za sve Hrvate ne može napredovati u predvidljivoj budućnosti. No službena se Hrvatska uveliko opire toj realnosti. Nažalost…

Koga još osim generala Glasnovića želim istaći? Za ostvarenje ciljeva koji leže na srcu i umu Hrvata izvan Hrvatske, onda su to svi kandidati na “Nezavisnoj listi Željka Glasnovića” za dolazeće izbore u Hrvatskoj. Među njima sam i ja, što nosim s ponosom i uvjerenjem da će General Glasnović i dalje u novom saborskom mandatu, držati sve nas i isticati važnost koju Hrvati iz BiH i iseljeništva imaju za Hrvatsku.

ps. Igrom slučaja (ili sudbine) započeo sam ovaj intervju sa gđom. Inom, kao sponom Domovine i Dijaspore, humanitarnim radnikom, psihologom, blogericom….ali joj na kraju moram dodati još jednu titulu. “Buduća zastupnica hrvatskog iseljeništva u Saboru”. U to sam apsolutno siguran. Nakon što sam vidio nezavisnu listu Generala Glasnovića, u isto sam vrijeme bio oduševljen imenima koja se na njoj nalaze, ali i razočaran. Jer od 14 osoba sa liste, samo 3 prolaze dalje. Što je prava katastrofa, kada pogledate koje se sve moralne vertikale i Domoljubi nalaze na njoj. General je neupitan, a osobno smatram da će i gđa. Vukić bez problema proći dalje. Tko će biti treći uopće nije bitno, jer jednostavno ne možeš faliti. Nažalost za 11 Domoljuba neće biti mjesta. Što je razlog više da PODHITNO tražimo promjene Izbornog zakona. Kako to napraviti? Stvarno nemam pojma. Jer da znam, sad bi sjedio na Pantovčaku umjesto MAHNITOG KMERA. Ipak, važno je da se stvari polako mijenjaju na bolje i da ćemo umjesto jednoga, konačno imati 3 autentična Domoljuba u Saboru. Jer (bez ikakve uvrede) ona dva Čovićeva “junaka” su samo dolazila po plaću, a 4 godine usta nisu otvorili. Zato još jednom zahvaljujem gđi. Ini Vukić što je pristala na ovaj intervju i želim joj puno sreće i uspjeha na novoj funkciji. Ovo se odnosi i na sve ostale kandidate sa “Nezavisne liste Generala Glasnovića”. ZA DOMOVINU SPREMNI!

Croatian Parliament Declaration On Position of Croats In Bosnia and Herzegovina

From Left:Zvonko Milas, State Secretary, Central Office for Croats living outside Croatia,
Zeljko Glasnovic, Member of Croatian Parliament for the diaspora,
Gordan Jandrokovic, Speaker of Croatian Parliament,
Marija Pejcinovic Buric, Minister for Foreign and European Affairs
Photo: Pixsell

The Croatian Parliament has Friday 14 December 2018 adopted the proposed Declaration on the Position of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) (PDF Declaration). Votes for were 81, against 11 and abstaining 4. Hence, the desired consensus was not reached, which leaves space for ongoing political manipulation and set backs in the lobbying for strengthening of the power in decision making as far as Croat role is concerned there. Issues that stand out particularly relate to the need to change BiH Electoral Act so that Croats are given the prerogative to vote for their own representatives in Presidency and parliament and those relating to the full and deserved status and recognition of the 1990’s war forces Croatian Defence Council (HVO).

Advocating strongly for equality of Croatian people in that country the Declaration (Link for PDF version of the Declaration and Amendments)calls for changes to the Constitution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Electoral Act. It states that “The Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina are a part of one and indivisible Croatian nation, regardless in which country and in which part of the world members of that nation live.”

In its ascent to parliamentary vote the proposed Declaration had given rise to numerous criticisms from the opposition, particularly Social Democrats, who held that it represented meddling in another country’s internal affairs. Accordingly, the original text discussed in parliament on 12 December has partly been changed.

Croatian people of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) are standing on the fence of their survival. Their status as equal people to Bosniaks and Serbs in BiH is continually eroded to the point that, despite protests and attempts to change the Electoral law, their representative in the Presidency of BiH is elected by the Bosniaks. Without a doubt, and based on jurisdiction installed within the 1995 Dayton Agreement and subsequently in the Constitution of BiH, Croatia has an obligation in protecting the constituency, equality and interests of the Croatian people in BiH. Hence, given the developments since 1995 that saw increasing deterioration in the status of Croats in BiH that places their very existence there in jeopardy, the time has arrived when Croatia has no alternative but to formulate its clear political framework that would help achieve and sustain such paramount rights of Croatian people in BiH.

To say that the debate in the Croatian parliament on Wednesday 12 December 2018 on the proposed Croatian Parliament Declaration on the Position of Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina was heated would be a monumental understatement. Not only was the debate that lasted some ten hours into the night heated but it clearly demonstrated the fact that a Croatian parliamentary consensus on the Declaration was almost impossible to achieve. The bottom line to the disparity on whether the Croatian parliament should pass such a declaration lies in the evidently irreconcilable views between the governing majority and parts of the opposition on the role Croatia should play when it comes to its direct stand ad activities regarding Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The “liberal” opposition headed by Social Democrats (former communist league of Yugoslavia) considers the declaration to be damaging and an encroachment into internal political affairs of a neighbouring country while another portion of the opposition, e.g. Hrvoje Zekanovic/HRAST who vied for a third entity (Croatian) in BiH, Zeljko Glasnovic/the MP for the Croatian diaspora who especially emphasised the need to cement the recognition of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) which was instrumental in protecting the borders of Croatia during the 1990’s war, considers that the proposed text is lukewarm and demands more concrete solutions favouring the protection of Croats within BiH. Proposed by the Parliamentary Committee for Croats Living Outside Croatia and the ruling Croatian Democratic Union the Declaration seeks to strengthen the position on Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina; to preserve the political subjectivity of the Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina particularly because of geostrategic influences being a first class strategic Croatian state and national interest.

The Declaration warns of marginalisation of the Croatian people in BiH and calls for changes to the Constitution and Electoral Act of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Declaration, of course, would have no direct power to make constitutional reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina but a consensus on such a political framework would have been likely to strengthen advocacy for major positive changes that would enable the equality of the Croatian people in BiH.

The Croatian Minister for Foreign and European Affairs Marija Pejcinovic Buric rejected criticism by the opposition that the declaration encroaches on internal political affairs in the neighbouring country. “The Republic of Croatia is only asking for the Dayton Agreement to be respected along with constitutional decisions by the Constitutional Court in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Pejcinovic Buric.

While the Declaration would not be binding for Croatia or Bosnia and Herzegovina, the BiH presidency in Sarajevo (for which the Croat representive Zeljko Komsic was recently voted in by majority Bosniak/Muslim vote) already views it as another attack on Bosnia’s sovereignty after the two countries became involved in a previous dispute about the Bosnian general elections in October.

In its current form the Declaration does claim that the election of Zeljko Komsic as the Croat member of Bosnia’s tripartite presidency at October’s polls was not in line with the Dayton peace agreement that ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war because Komsic was elected mostly by Bosniak votes, not by those of Bosnian Croats.

For the successful functioning of Bosnia at all its levels it is essential that all its constituent peoples [Bosniaks, Croats and Serbs] and citizens be equal, to trust and believe in Bosnia’s future,” the declaration says.

With this declaration the Croatian Parliament seeks, among other things, from the appropriate institutions in the Republic of Croatia the following:

In order to realise the constitutional, legal and strategic documents and the international obligations of the Republic of Croatia in relation to Croats in BiH and towards BiH:

– that the Republic of Croatia, as a signatory and guarantor of the Washington and Dayton Agreements, and a member of the Peace Implementation Council in BiH, report to the UN Security Council and the PIC Steering Board members that the imposed amendments to the Entity Laws and the imposed changes to the Election the Dayton Peace Agreement was severely violated. Since the balance between the constitutional position and the rights of the constituent peoples in BiH at the expense of the Croatian people, but also to the detriment of the stability and functionality of BiH, the Croatian Parliament charges the representatives of the Republic of Croatia to seek before the international organisations responsible for implementing the Dayton Peace Agreement respect for the Dayton Peace Accords and that the imposed changes be removed via changes to the Constitution and the Election Law of BiH;

– that the Republic of Croatia, as a member of the Peace Implementation Council and as a member of NATO and EU in multilateral and bilateral capacities, advocates and supports the urgent changes of the Constitution and the Election Law of BiH, which would lead to the harmonisation and standardisation of the equal constitutional position of the three constituent peoples in BiH, in an institutional and administrative territorial view;

– the appropriate institutions of the Republic of Croatia are invited to increase their assistance to institutions of education, health, culture, media and Catholic Church institutions in BiH;

– to include institutions of strategic importance for Croats in BiH in the form of financial assistance from the Republic of Croatia, with full respect for their program and personnel independence and the principles of project business aimed at realising real needs and solving specific problems;

– to establish financial instruments for investment in development and employment in the majority Croatian areas, in areas where Croats lived in significant numbers before the war and from which they were forcefully deported or displaced and thus prevent departure and support the return of deported Croats to BiH;

– to stimulate new investments of Croatian companies operating and investing in BiH, especially in places with the Croat majority, where the number of Croats has been drastically reduced due to the war, due to the discriminatory policy of national majority in the Entities and counties on whose territory they are, their access to employment is disabled;

– to encourage cooperation with all local, county and state entities and representatives of the Republic of Croatia who have experience in using funds from European and other programs in the design of future projects and cross-border cooperation that would respond to the real needs of all media in BiH, especially in the areas of to which economic, scientific, academic, cultural and other subjects fulfilling the needs of Croats have capacities for the purposeful and efficient use of available resources, but also in areas where parts of the Croatian people are in a state of inadequate meeting of the needs in these areas;

– to fully valorise the role of the Croatian Defence Council (HVO) in the defense of the Republic of Croatia and the Croatian territories in BiH, but also in the preservation of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the whole of BiH, and to support the resolution of the status and the existential questions relating to the defence population, especially the disabled and the victims of the Homeland War;

– to give equality to Croatians outside Croatia in exercising their right to vote with other citizens of the Republic of Croatia in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Croatia, by introducing postal, preferably electronic voting, and by considering harmonisation of the number of representatives representing Croats outside the Republic of Croatia with the proportion of that population in the total number of voters.
Ina Vukic

On High Alert – Croats of Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

Slaven Raguz
President
Croatian Republican Party
Bosnia and Herzegovina

With October 7th general elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) approaching fast, preparations have entered into their final phase after all running political parties and independents have submitted their full candidates’ lists to the Central Election Commission (CIK), which among other things verifies candidates. This election comes in the middle of the country’s worst crisis since the 1992-1995 war and may not even lead to the establishment of new governments on all levels due to the broken election law and the competition among local political rivals is fierce, perhaps more fierce than ever.

Given that the BiH Constitution guarantees composition of BiH as a conglomerate of equals, i.e. three constitutional ethnic peoples (Bosniak, Croat and Serbs) and given that the equality status has not so far in practice been afforded to or asserted by the Croats the fierceness of electoral competition naturally takes the battle of asserting Croat’s rights to the highest of levels. It is also a justified high level as Bosniaks keep pursuing the lines of electing Croat representatives «for Croats», clearly towards the agenda of keeping Bosniak superiority over Croats to the level of keeping alive the possibility of renewed conflict. Then, senior officials from the Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic) entity are still denying the federation’s statehood and advocating eventual secession.

The backdrop to BiH crisis and asserting the ethnic equality guaranteed by its Constitution is charged with strong political currents within BiH when it comes to international influence. On the one hand, there is the current espousing of Russia’s prominence in BiH and while Russia’s encroachment in the Balkans is widespread, it’s most pronounced in Republika Srpska, where denial of its 1990’s genocide remains a prominent political weapon. But, regretfully, the Federation (made up of Bosniaks and Croats) also shows strong leaning towards Russia. Current Croat leader in Presidency of BiH, Dragan Covic of Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) party is aligning himself with Russia and Republika Srpska. Although campaigning for Croats’ asserting equal power in BiH, Covic seems to have taken his rhetoric to the extreme nationalist levels that appears a convenient (to him) lip service, instead of sticking to equality of all peoples as a measure of justice; the only measure for future success of BiH. The Bosniaks are and have been pressing on with their allegiance to Turkey and other Muslim forces, thereby significantly increasing Turkey’s involvement in the country. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, wants Bosniaks to recall that their country was once part of the Ottoman Empire!

Personally, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan have oscillated between warm friendship and heated rivalry over the 15 years the two men have held power in Moscow and Ankara. What they now share is resentment of the West − Mr. Putin’s Kremlin has been locked in a sanctions war with the United States and the EU, while Mr. Erdogan believes some Western leaders supported a 2016 coup plot against him − as well as a desire to redraw the international order.

Bosnia and Herzegovina has become their “new” playground and the matter of equality of Croats there is their “sacrificial lamb”. It’s all about their own power and influence, it’s not about enforcing the BiH Constitution and spirit and deed of the 1995 Dayton Accords.

Croats in Bosnia and Herzegovina, still in a subordinate position to the Bosniaks in the Federation, are at these upcoming general elections, once again, in the sharp focus of disappearance or oblivion.

On the street level, the rational reasoning that prevails is that the country must be organised so that it can stimulate the enhanced culture and education that are important for the identity of each of the three ethnic components.

If the concept and backbone of Dayton Accords are to survive, the building of such a Bosnia-Herzegovina is a moral imperative for all its people and nations seeking to remove existing iniquities and realise their individual and common good. International help, especially from the United States and the European Union, would appear indispensable for the realisation of this aim at this time of crisis and foreign interference from Russia and Turkey.

More than 70 parties and scores of independent candidates are set to take a part in the run for positions in the next parliament to be moulded through the results of October 7 general elections. The old worn out phrase when it comes to general elections race there that “the greatest surprise is that there is no surprises” could in fact be toppled this time around when it comes to political parties/candidates representing Croats of BiH.

Croatian Republican Party BiH logo

The Croatian Republican Party, formed in 2014 and mainly active on local government levels has now registered some 70 candidates across different cantons/electoral districts.

Acting with Christian-democratic and right-centre principles the Croatian Republican Party (HRS) of Bosnia and Herzegovina is headed by Slaven Raguz; a seasoned politician determined to achieve that for which HRS is advocating: respect for the legitimacy of the will of all people, not only the Croat but of people from all ethnic backgrounds who live in BiH. Furthermore, the HRS drives home the determination that only Croats have the right to elect their own representatives, even if they choose their representatives wrongly.

In a published statement, August 6, 2018, Slaven Raguz, among other things states: “The exclusive aim of our politics is the entry into the system of government so that, within 4 years, we can send onto the scrap heap of history all of you mental communists who have dispersed us all over the world with your arrogant, greedy, selfish and blind politics. We are not certain if we will succeed, as you have privatised even the electoral process, but one thing is certain – despite everything we will not stray from our course.

These are the kind of determination and dedication to Croats’ rights in BiH that are needed – absolutely. A great deal of the current sub-ordinance suffered by Croats in BiH and shocking inequalities are due to the fact that Croat official leaders in BiH have been and are deeply brushed with the communist mindset that has no room for full assertion of Croats’ rights. It’s akin to a “Men’s Club” for favours and deals which have everything to do with the individual leader and nothing with the people/nation.

The position of the Croat member of the BiH Presidency, Dragan Covic, has triggered in past months a lot of discussion about changes to the Electoral Law (as found necessary by the Constitutional Court some 20 months ago). The problem is that Bosniak voters elect the Croat member and this needs to change. Covic (HDZ) is a candidate in these elections, however, his campaigning for Croat rights and equality appears more like an agenda with ulterior motives than a true dedication to the status of Croats in BiH. Judging by his past performance, his allegiance to Russia and friendship with Serbian Republic’s Milorad Dodik he cannot be trusted to deliver for Croats.

The current political climate in BiH when it comes to Croats appears not to be about Croats or the HDZ in BiH, despite Covic’s loud rhetoric about Croats’ rights, but about Dragan Covic and ensuring there can never be another challenge to him. It appears as a personality cult building assisted by Russia and Serbian Republic.

This is an incumbency agenda masquerading as a collective rights protection agenda. The same stuff communist Yugoslavia was awash with!

Furthermore, the other loud candidate for Croats in BiH in the Democratic Front’s leader Zeljko Komsic whose scandalous history with Social Democrats, former communists, and allegiance with Bosniaks, on whose votes he appears to depend significantly, also leaves no trust nor hope for Croat equality rights in BiH.

With Covic and Komsic in the electoral matrix one can clearly see Russia and Turkey competing for power and influence in BiH and its future.

The question that could be asked is whether the current political impasse in Bosnia and Herzegovina has the potential to become the ultimate litmus test for the fragile political setup and lead to an outbreak of renewed hostilities. Certainly, if a new government is not formed after the elections the scenario would lend itself to a total breakdown of the social and political system. The physical prelude to such a breakdown would inevitably be the inability to pass the budget (due end of March 2019), which in turn would lead to inability to pay out pensions and public sector salaries… What mechanisms and skills would be needed to prevent such a breakdown may yet be a plot that’s unfamiliar to all.

It does appear, though, that if the seats delegated to Croats are won by “right wing” parties, particularly those truly dedicated to Croats’ rights of equality as well as the rights of other Constitutional ethnic groups, placing each on equal footing, who, like the Croatian Republican Party, oppose the political trails Covic and Komsic are taking, there won’t be a conflict or an exacerbation of its possibility in BiH. Ina Vukic

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