Lawmakers, judges, prevent referendum on Cyrillic script!

Civil society organisations involved in an initiative called “All of Us – For a Croatia of Us All” appealed to members of the Croatian Parliament and Constitutional Court judges to prevent a referendum on the official use of Cyrillic alphabet.

The organisations asked the lawmakers to ensure protection of national equality in Croatia by addressing the referendum question to the Constitutional Court to assess whether it was in line with the constitution. On the other hand, they asked the Croatian Court to make use of other options for the assessment of the constitutionality of the referendum question and the referendum procedure in case it had not received a formal query from Parliament.

The NGOs sent to the Parliament and the Constitutional Court a submission in connection with the request by an anti-Cyrillic group in Vukovar for a referendum on the right of national minorities to use their language and script, listing international instruments and standards for the protection of the linguistic rights of national minorities.

The referendum would be unconstitutional because it would undermine the structural elements of Croatian statehood and the fundamental values of the Croatian constitution, Marina Skrabalo of the nongovernmental election-monitoring organisation GONG told the press.

Ivan Novosel of the Youth Human Rights Initiative said that if such a referendum were carried out minorities would lose the right to use their language and script in ten local government units. He said that the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, which has been ratified by Croatia, provides that the quota for the exercise of the right of national minorities to use their language should not be 50% of the population of a given area, as demanded by the Vukovar anti-Cyrillic group.