“I understand that a draft law on the Ombudsman for Children, prepared by the Croatian Government, is scheduled to be debated today in the Croatian Parliament.
Whereas the Constitutional Court’s decision which abolished the previous law has left a legal gap which needs to be filled, I am concerned that the draft law risks undermining the institution’s independence.
In particular, there is a provision under which the Ombudsman can be dismissed from office if parliament rejects the Ombudsman’s annual report. Moreover, it is unclear why the draft law provides for the election of a new Ombudsman when the current Ombudsman Ms Ivana Milas Klarić’s mandate expires only in 2022.
Recalling the 2014 recommendations addressed by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to the Croatian authorities concerning the strengthening of independence of the Ombudsman for Children to ensure its full compliance with the Paris Principles, I urge the Croatian government to reconsider the draft law taking into considerations the draft amendments put forward by the Croatian Ombudsman and the Ombudsman for Children.”