Croatian report on social exclusion

01 May 2007

The Croatian Human Development Report is about the social exclusion in Croatia. In the foreword of Unplugged: Faces of Social Exclusion in Croatia that was published in February 2007, Resident Representative of UNDP Croatia country office Yuri Afanasiev says that the report is the “first ever comprehensive analysis of social exclusion issues in Croatia” and underlines the importance of the word “unplugged” in the title of the report.

New Horizons - In his very own words, the use of the word “Unplugged” “is probably the best symbolic image illustrating the problem, by no means unique to Croatia. It signifies the very state of disconnectedness, alienation and inability to be part of the social network, just like a modern appliance is inactive when unplugged from the electricity grid”.

The Croatian Human Development Report 2006 is not just about refugees or the unemployed on the contrary to first impression. Indeed it includes the unemployed and the refugees but it is certainly much more than that. It tells the stories of marginalised people who are hidden, out of site, lost or in Yuri Afanasiev’s words “left behind”. People from every groups, marginalised by the society... Taking into consideration that 10-20% of Croatian population is seen as being socially excluded one way or another, this percentage certainly amounts to a large portion of the population even though it may not seem so.

After giving an overview of the rates of social exclusion in Croatia, the report also analyses the socially excluded in a socio-economic context. The report’s scope is quite broad. Among those who are characterized as being socially excluded are: national minorities, refugees and internationally displaced people, people with physical and intellectual disabilities, single parents, the unemployed, youth, prisoners, women victims of family violence, the elderly and the homeless, people with diseases such as HIV, people with dependency problems, the poor and even children to some extent. Moreover, the report not only lists them as the socially excluded but takes each group and analyses them in the context of human rights and their current situation on their access to basic health services, social services, education, employment, housing, communication services and even transportation services. The report also highlights the key challenges they face and sheds a light on policy recommendations.

During the preparation period of this 174 paged report, the human development team surveyed 9000 Croatian citizens from all over the country and asked for their perception of the quality of life in Croatia. Twenty focus groups were formed of which especially included those who are socially excluded and their perceptions and analysis were also asked. The report is written by a large number of the best authorities in their fields. They have not only reported their own perception but of those of the focus groups.