Zagreb - The Croatian Parliament on Wednesday observed a minute's silence for all women victims of violence on the National Day of combating violence against women.
"On this day we also remember all the other women who lost their lives due to violence," Speaker Gordan Jandroković said, recalling that parliament declared 22 September National Day of combating violence against women after the murders which took place on this day in 1999.
On 22 September 1999, during a divorce hearing at the Zagreb Municipal Court, Mato Oraškić killed his wife Gordana, her attorney Hajra Prohić and judge Ljiljana Hvalec as well as wounding court reporter Sanja Cvetković.
By observing this day, we wish to additionally raise public awareness, point to this social problem and send a clear message about zero tolerance to violence and about the importance of protecting victims and punishing perpetrators, said Jandroković.
Special emphasis should be put on recognising and reporting violence, he added.
The crime of 22 September 1999 permanently obliges us to be loud in condemning violence and leaving a more tolerant society to younger generations, said Ljubica Maksimčuk of the ruling HDZ, adding that violence against women and girls was one of the most widespread forms of violence in the world, often going unreported.
This government is resolute in the fight against all forms of violence, she said, underlining the importance of education and prevention from the earliest age.
Ivana Posavec Krivec of the opposition SDP said the aim of observing this day must be to raise public awareness of the problem of violence and to send the message about zero tolerance.
It would be good if we introduced civic education, teaching from the earliest age that violence cannot be tolerated, she added.
Nothing is more pathetic than when a man hits a woman, than a man who commits any violence against a woman, said Marin Miletić of the opposition Bridge.
Violence against women is present in all societies and the low number of reports is a special problem, for which there are many reasons, he added.
Sexual violence is one of the least reported crimes and there are 15 to 20 unreported rapes to every reported one, he said.
Hrvoje Zekanović of the opposition Sovereignists said Croatia adopted the Istanbul Convention in April 2018, when Prime Minister Andrej Plenković assured that domestic and violence against women would go down.
"However, he lied, it hasn't decreased but has even increased," he said, adding that the convention was about something else, not protection from violence.
"The human species is divided into two sexes, male and female, and it is not divided into two genders. Gender is something fluid, subject to change when it crosses your mind. That's what the Istanbul Convention is about," he said.