Monday, 25 November 2013

Cotric in Vukovar: Positive Developments, Yet Still Insufficient

The Chairman of the Committee on the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region, Aleksandar Cotric visited Vukovar on 22 November 2013 to learn about the current situation, status and problems of the Serbian community in the city.

In the course of his visit to Vukovar, Aleksandar Cotric said that “we commend the decision of the Croatian Ministry of Public Administration to rescind the implementation of the article of the Statute of the City of Vukovar according to which, at the beginning of the month, the city was exempt from the implementation of bilingualism and to return the bilingual Latin/Cyrillic script sign, two days ago, on the police station in Vukovar”.

Cotric said these were “the first encouraging actions by the Croatian authorities since the beginning of the three-month protest by the so-called Headquarters for the Defence of Croatian Vukovar organised because of the instalment of bilingual signs in Latin and Cyrillic script in Vukovar which is currently collecting signatures throughout Croatia asking for a referendum to amend the Constitution and limit the guaranteed rights of the Serbian and other national minorities”.

Aleksandar Cotric stressed that “the parliamentary Committee on the Diaspora and Serbs in the Region is concerned to see the numerous instances of physical and verbal attacks on the Serbian people in Vukovar and throughout Croatia”.

Several days ago a graffiti saying “Serbs, move away!” appeared in the main street of Vukovar which was a cause of concern for many Serbs in Vukovar since the ominous message appeared on the same building previously containing the first Serbian establishment to be bombed in 1991, in the night between 2 and 3 May, long before the beginning of armed conflicts in the city in August of the same year. Serbs have recently been physically assaulted, without provocation, in Trpinja, warned Cotric.

That is why, on the behalf of the Committee he chairs, Cotric urged the relevant authorities in Croatia to “guarantee the safety of the Serbian people, to duly discover and sanction the perpetrators of ethnic hate crimes, and, as stipulated by the Constitutional Law on the Rights of National Minorities, allow Serbs to receive information, install signs and be educated in the Serbian language and using the Cyrillic script”.

In Vukovar, Aleksandar Cotric spoke with Dr Vojislav Stanimirovic, President of the Independent Democratic Serb Party, Dragan Crnogorac, Croatian MP, Djordje Macut, President of the Council of the Serbian National Minority of the City of Vukovar, Milenko Zivkovic, SKD “Prosvjeta” Council President and Zivorad Simic, Consul-General of the Republic of Serbia in Vukovar.

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