Security Council seeks end to ethnic incidents in Croatia


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Subject: Security Council seeks end to ethnic incidents in Croatia

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Security Council seeks end to ethnic incidents in Croatia


2 July 1998
 
United Nations Press Release
SC/6543
 
-------------------------------------------------------------
SECURITY COUNCIL SEEKS END TO ETHNIC INCIDENTS IN CROATIA, URGES
GOVERNMENT TO IMPROVE POLICE RESPONSE, STRENGTHEN CONFIDENCE 19980702
-------------------------------------------------------------

- Presidential Statement Says Continuation of Current Trends Could
Have Negative Effect on Restoration of Multi-Ethnic Society

The Security Council this afternoon called on the Government of
Croatia to improve police response to ethnically related incidents,
evictions and housing-intimidation cases and to take measures to
strengthen public confidence in them, including through public
information and police prevention action.

In a statement read on its behalf by its President, Sergey V. Lavrov
(Russian Federation), the Council expressed concern about those
incidents and stressed the importance of the implementation of
guidelines issued on 9 January by the Minister of Interior and its
institution of a community policing programme.

It expressed grave concern that a large number of Serb residents and
displaced persons had emigrated from Croatia since late 1996, mainly
because of continued security incidents, ethnically related
intimidation, a dire economic situation, bureaucratic hurdles,
discriminatory legislation and a stalled return programme. A
continuation of that trend could have a seriously negative effect on
the restoration of a multi-ethnic society in Croatia.

Welcoming the adoption by the Government of Croatia of a "Programme
for the Return and Accommodation of Displaced Persons, Refugees and
Resettled Persons", the Council called for its prompt and full
implementation, including the abolition of discriminatory property
laws and the establishment of effective mechanisms to allow owners to
recover their property. It also stressed the importance of preventing
and responding to incidents of harassment and unlawful evictions and
the prompt and full implementation of the Programme on Reconciliation
at all levels throughout Croatia.

The Council expressed full support for the activities of the United
Nations Police Support Group and the United Nations Liaison Office in
Zagreb, and welcomed the decision of the Permanent Council of the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) of 25 June
to deploy civilian police monitors to assume, by 15 October, the
Group's responsibilities.

Further, the Council welcomed plans for the intended transfer of the
police monitoring function in the region to the OSCE and expressed
support for the establishment of a timetable for that purpose. The
Council agreed with the Secretary-General's intention to reduce
gradually the number of police monitors and looked forward to his
report by mid-September detailing the arrangements for the termination
of the Support Group mandate by 15 October.
 
The Council's meeting, which began at 1:11 p.m., was adjourned at 1:19
p.m.
 
Presidential statement
 
The full text of the presidential statement, to be issued as document
S/PRST/1998/19, is as follows:
 
"The Security Council has considered the report of the
Secretary-General of 11 June 1998 (S/1998/500) pursuant to its
resolution 1145 (1997) of 19 December 1997.
 
"The Security Council notes that the overall security situation in the
Danube region is relatively stable. It also notes that the generally
satisfactory performance of the Croatian police in the region is
largely due to comprehensive monitoring by the United Nations Police
Support Group and the special attention paid to the situation by the
Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Croatia. However, the
Council is concerned that, despite the large presence of the Croatian
police, ethnically-related incidents, evictions and housing
intimidation cases have not been stopped, and that such incidents have
increased in the recent period.

"The Security Council expresses its grave concern that a large number
of Serb residents and displaced persons have emigrated from the
Republic of Croatia since late 1996, mainly because of continued
security incidents, ethnically-related intimidation, a dire economic
situation, bureaucratic hurdles, discriminatory legislation and a
stalled return programme. A continuation of this trend could have a
seriously negative effect on he restoration of a multi-ethnic society
in the Republic of Croatia. The Council, therefore, welcomes the
adoption by the Government of Croatia, on 20 June 1998, of a
nationwide "Programme for the Return and Accommodation of Displaced
Persons, Refugees and Resettled Persons" (S/1998/589) and calls for
its prompt and full implementation at all levels, including the
abolition of discriminatory property laws and the establishment of
effective mechanisms allowing owners to recover their property. It
stresses the importance of the prompt and full implementation of the
Programme and Reconciliation at all levels throughout Croatia and of
preventing and responding to incidents of harassment and unlawful
evictions.
 
"The Security Council reiterates the continuing obligations of the
Government of Croatia under the Basic Agreement on the Region of
Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Sirmium (S/1995/951, annex), as
well as under international conventions and other agreements. It notes
with satisfaction that the Government of Croatia has met the majority
of its obligations concerning the provision of public services and
employment within the public sector, set out in the Basic Agreement.
The Council, however, reiterates that a number of obligations have yet
to be fulfilled in such areas as the implementation of the
Convalidation Law and the Amnesty Law, the functioning of local
municipalities and the permanent funding of the joint Council of
Croatia has met the majority of its obligations concerning the
provision of public services and employment within the public sector,
set out in the Basic Agreement. The Council, however, reiterates that
a number of obligations have yet to be fulfilled in such areas as the
implementation of the Convalidation Law and the Amnesty Law, the
functioning of local municipalities.

"The Security Council calls upon the Government of Croatia to improve
police response to ethnically-related incidents, evictions and housing
intimidation cases and to take other measures to strengthen public
confidence in the police, including through public information and
police preventive action. In this context, the Council stresses the
importance of the implementation of the guidelines issued by the
Ministry of the Interior on 9 January 1998...

"The Security Council fully supports the activities of the United
Nations Police support Group and the united Nations Liaison Office in
Zagreb. It welcomes the decision of the OSCE Permanent Council of 25
June 1998 to deploy civilian police monitors to assume, from 15
October 1998, the responsibilities of the United Nations Police
Support Group. It also welcomes the invitation by the Representative
of the Secretary-General to the Head of the OSCE Mission in Croatia to
begin planning for the intended transfer of the police monitoring
function in the region to the OSCE. It supports the establishment of a
timetable for the handover of the functions of the Support Group to
the OSCE and agrees with the intention of the Secretary-General to
reduce gradually the number of civilian police monitors, under the
conditions specified in his report. The Council looks forward to a
report by the Secretary-General by mid-September detailing the
arrangements for the termination of the Support Group mandate by 15
October 1998."

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