Last modified: 2014-03-08 by ivan sache
Keywords: national minority |
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The Constitution of Croatia explicitly lists the national minorities that are considered "autochtonous". The Preamble of the Constitution says:
... [Croatia is constituted as] the national state of the Croatian people and the state of members of autochtonous national minorities: Serbs, Czechs, Slovaks, Italians, Hungarians, Jews, Germans, Austrians, Ukrainians, Ruthenians and others, [...]
The constitutional changes in the beginning of 1998 were rather controversial on this matter, deleting Slovenes and Muslims [Bosniaks] from the list. However, they are now included among "others".
Željko Heimer, 9 August 1999
The Constitutional Law on the Rights of National Minorities, Ustavni zakon o pravima nacionalnih manjina (text), adopted on 13 December 2002 by the Parliament and published on 19 December 2002 in the official gazette Narodne novine, No. 154, determines the organization of local councils for national minorities in the Towns, Municipalities and Counties and enable the establishemnt of the national coordination of such councils to act as a body representative of the national minorities.
Article 14 of the Law determines the use of the symbols, including flags, of the national minorities in Croatia, as follows:
1. The usage of the symbols and emblems of the national minorties and the cerebration of the national holydays of the national minorities is free.
2. The national minorities may, together with the official symbols and emblems of the Republic of Croatia, display appropriate symbols and emblems of the national minorities. When the anthem and/or the ceremonial song of the national minority is played, it should be always played before the national anthem of the Republic of Croatia.
3. The units of local self-government and the regional governments [Municipalities, Towns and Counties] are obliged to prescribe in their Statutes the official use and modes of usage of the flags and symbols of the national minorities.
Article 33 of the same Law prescribes that the symbols shall be adopted by the Coordination of the Councils for National Minorities, the highest representative body of the national minorities, with approval by the Council for National Minorities, the parliamentary institution dealing with minorities' issues (website).
According to an article published in Vjesnik, 21 August 2007, the only two minorities whose symbols have been officially approved are Serbs and Czechs, although others are expected to do so soon [Ruthenians did in 2008].
The article lists some of the criteria for the approval of the symbols, as interpreted by Aleksandar Tolnauer, chairman of the Council:
...the coat of arms of the minority should include some Croatian symbol, as it would make it clear that it is a coat of arms of a minority from Croatia. The flag should not include the national coat of arms or it should include the coat of arms of the minority.
Other minorities are traditionally using the symbols without official approval. Some minorities do not use symbols at all, for the time being. The article further explains that the Italians are also using the national flag and anthem as their symbols. The Bosniaks were expected to apply for the approval the previous flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina as their minority flag.
Željko Heimer, 16 December 2007
Flag and arms of the Czech national minority in Croatia - Images by Željko Heimer, 29 February 2008
Today, the Czech minority is largest in the region surrounding Daruvar in western Slavonia and in larger towns, such as Zagreb, Rijeka, Bjelovar and Virovitica, where the flag is used in accordance to the local legislation and the 2002 Constitutional Law.
The symbols of the Czech national minority in Croatia were approved on 29 June 2007 (text) by the Council for National Minorities.
The flag is exactly the same as the flag of the Czech Republic, white over red bicolour with a blue triangle next to the hoist reaching to the middle of the flag, in overall proportions 2:3.
The emblem is a shield with three vertical fields, red, white and blue with a red-white chequered base and a silver lion overall. Atop the shield is a yellow ribbon inscribed "ČEŠI V REPUBLICE CHORVATSKO / ČESI U REPUBLICI HRVATSKOJ" ("The Czechs in the Republic of Croatia" in Czech and Croatian language, respectively).
Željko Heimer & Anton Řehák (Chairman of the Coordination of Councils for the Czech National Minority in Croatia, website), 31 August 2001
Flag of the Serbian national minority in Croatia - Image by Željko Heimer, 16 December 2007
The Coordination of the Serbian National Minority in Croatia (Koordinacija srpske nacionalne manjine u Hrvatskoj, KSNM) was established on 9 April 2005.
The flag of the Serbian national minority in Croatia was approved the same day by Decision of KNSM Odluka o zastavi srpske nacionalne manjine u Republici Hrvatskoj.
The flag is a tricolour of red over blue over white without any symbol. The ratio of the flag width to length is 1:2. This is by far the most controversial flag in Croatia, as the issue is burdened with memories of recent war, so its use from time to time raises questions in media, although this happens, apparently, ever less and less.
The other symbols of the the Serbian minority were not chosen yet, said Pupuvac, leader of KNSM. The representatives would like to have those symbols representing the Serbian nationality but the belonging to Croatia as well. A committee was formed to elect these symbols and signs as well as an anthem within six months.
Željko Heimer, 16 December 2007
Flag and arms of the Ruthenian national minority in Croatia - Images by Željko Heimer, 12 December 2009
The Coordination of the Councils of the Ruthenian National Minority adopted symbols in 2008, which were approved on 11 September 2009 by the Council for National Minorities on 11 September 2009 (text and images).
The flag of Ruthenians in Croatia is a red-white-blue tricolour with the coat of arms in the centre of it.
The coat of arms of Ruthenians in Croatia is "Per pale azure three bars or and argent a bear rampant maroon and the chief compony gules and argent". This is based on the traditional coat of arms of Ruthenia, established in 1920 when Ruthenia became part of the newly formed Czechoslovakia, and which is nowdays used by Ruthenians worldwide as their symbol. The coat of arms of Ruthenians in Croatia is topped with compony chief, representing their current homeland.
While the general Ruthenian flag is a tricolour of blue over white over red, where the blue stripe is of the double width, in many countries (e.g. Ukraine, Serbia) the Ruthenian national minorities use the host country national flag with the Ruthenian coat of arms in the centre of it.
Željko Heimer, 12 December 2009
Flag of the Ukrainian national minority in Croatia - Image by António Martins, 17 December 2002
The flag used by the Coordination of the Ukrainian National Minority as well as by the Union of Ruthenians and Ukrainians of Croatia is a simple Ukrainian bicolour.
The website of the Union of Ruthenians and Ukrainians of Croatia (on longer online) shows the flag with a trident in canton. The documents available on the website are quite ambiguous but they do not provide details for the flag with the trident; Article 6 of the Statutes of the Union prescribes:
In its public activities and manifestations beside the State symbols of Croatia and the symbols prescribed by the Law, the Union uses, in accordance to the Law also the emblems and symbols of Ruthenians and Ukrainians, specifically: the Ruthenian and Ukrainian coat of arms, the flag and the anthem of Ukraine and the ceremonial song "Ja Rusin bul" by Oleksandra Duhnovica"
The ambiguity is whether "the flag" is meant to be just "Ukrainian" or "Ruthenian and Ukrainian"; as far as I am aware, only the Ukraininan bicolour is being used.
The Statutes of the Coordination of the Ukrainian National Minority includes only one line in Article 2 regarding symbols: " [...] Symbolic of the Ukrainian national minority in the Republic of Croatia is the Ukraininan coat of arms, the "trident". [...]".
Željko Heimer & Valentin Poposki, 26 August 2006
Flag of the Italian national minority in Croatia - Image by Željko Heimer, 16 December 2007
Italians in Croatia live mostly in Istria, Kvarner and Zadar.
The flag of the Italian minority in Croatia is prescribed in the Statutes of the Italian Union, the organization of Italians in Croatia and Slovenia, Statuto dell'Unione Italiana, adopted on 16 February 2002 in Verteneglio.
The is the same as the flag of the mother country, the Republic of Italia. In practice, the flag is used in proportions 1:2, to match the proportions of other flags hoisted at the same time, typically the flag of the Republic of Croatia and the local flags of the County and Town of Municipality. Although the flag has not been officially approved yet in accordance with the 2002 legislation, it has been used in towns and municipalities with significant Italian population together with the national and local flags as a matter of course since the establishment of the Republic of Croatia. This practice was introduced after World War II, although in that period until 1990 the flag included the yellow fimbriated five-pointed red star in the middle.
Željko Heimer, 16 December 2007
Flag of the Hungarian national minority in Croatia - Image by István Molnár, 25 June 2001
Hungarians living in Croatia use the Hungarian national flag as their flag, with or without the Hungarian coat of arms.
Željko Heimer & István Molnár, 16 September 2000
Flag of the Mulsim national minority in Croatia - Image by Željko Heimer, 7 August 2002
The flag traditionally used by Muslims is green with a white or yellow crescent. Mostly confined to mosques, the flag may also have a star, like the Turkish flag.
Željko Heimer, 7 August 2002
Flag of the Roma national minority in Croatia - Image by M. Courbet, 7 August 1997
The various cultural and political Roma associations generally use the Roma national flag, as established in 1971 in London. However, some variations in the design are seen, for instance by the Democratic Party of the Croatian Roma. There are also variations in the colouring of the vheel, some flags in use having it depicted in brown instead of the established red. The use of red-blue-green horizontal tricolour was also reported, at least in form of sash used by some prominent Roma leaders.
Unidentified (Roma?) flag - Image by Željko Heimer, 13 December 2008
A flag vertically divided tricolour of blight blue, green and red was seen hoisted from a flag pole in the yard of a house near Ivanić-Grad. I believe that the flag was meant to represent the Roma population, although I am not aware of a Roma community in this region of Croatia.
Željko Heimer, 13 December 2008