Second Class Citizens

The Serbs of Croatia

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On January 15, 1998, the United Nations transferred authority over Eastern Slavonia, Baranja andWestern Sirmium (hereafter, Eastern Slavonia) to the Croatian government, bringing the lastremaining Serb-held territory of Croatia back under Croatian control Despite positivedevelopments in terms of the repeal of some discriminatory legislation, and a generally stablesecurity situation, Serbs remain second class citizens in Croatia. They are frequently unable toexercise the most basic rights: to live in their own homes, to receive pensionsand social securitybenefits after a lifetime of work, to be recognized as citizens in the country of their birth, and inmany cases, to return to andlive freely in Croatia. As a result of discriminatory laws, and aboveall discriminatory practices, Croatian Serbs do not enjoy their civil rights as Croatian citizens. Thisis particularly true for Serbs living in the four former United Nations Protected Areas (UNPAs) inEastern Slavonia andWestern Slavonia, the Krajina, and Banija-Kordun (former Sector North),which formed the self-declared "Republika Srpska Krajina," and whichare the focus of thisreport.

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