Human rights defenders in Croatia are increasingly facing police harassment and are being subjected to smear campaigns both in public discourse and on social media. Migrant rights defenders and investigative journalists are being targeted for reporting on and denouncing ill-treatment perpetrated by Croatian law enforcement against migrants trying to cross the border between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and the violent collective pushbacks that go with such actions. Human rights defenders working on migrant rights have been labelled as “smugglers” by some state authorities and often face police harassment, including police surveillance of NGO’s premises dissuading migrants to seek the assistance of human rights organisations in the country
Those working with marginalised groups - national minorities, the LGBTI+ community and victims of domestic and gender-based violence are particularly vulnerable to negative public perception and are viewed as threats to Croatian national and religious values and interests.
Environmental human rights defenders are pressured by private investors and threatened with legal action for their work in defence of human rights and the environment.
The lack of public condemnation for such intimidation and attacks against human rights defenders contributes to impunity and the continued harassment of human rights defenders in the country.