Increase in number of complaints in first half of year

Human Rights Ombudswoman Lora Vidovic on Tuesday presented a report on the activities of her office and the human rights situation in 2012 and a report on her work in the first half of this year, saying that the number of people seeking assistance from her office had increased considerably this year.

Vidovic told a press conference that her office had received 1,849 complaints in 2012, which she said was the average in recent years, and as many as 1,624 in the first half of 2013. By comparison, 880 complaints were filed in the first half of 2012.

Vidovic said that the increase in the number of complaints was due to the serious economic and social crisis in the country and the greater presence of her office in the media. She said that most of the complaints concerned the justice system, notably property foreclosures, dissatisfaction with court rulings and lengthy proceedings.

Vidovic said that such a large number of new complaints could overstrain her office, adding that one way of dealing with the problem was to open new regional offices in Rijeka, Osijek and Zagreb. She expressed hope that she would receive the necessary support from the state, noting that this would not substantially increase her office’s budget.