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Croatia - Minorities Flags

Last modified: 2005-04-16 by dov gutterman
Keywords: croatia | hungary | ruthenians | ukraine | muslims |
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Croatia recognize also a minority, at least the Italian speaking Croatians. These can use the Italian flag.  Legal base: part concerning Italian speaking Croats in the various status of the communes of the Istrian county, as well as in the status of the county itself.
Pascal Vagnat, 1 August 1999

Croatia recognitzes minorities (not only one as Pascal said). The constitution explicitly lists the minorities that are considered "autohtonous" . In the Preamble of the Constitution it is said:
"... [Croatia is constituted as] the national state of the Croatian people and the state of members of autohtonous national minorities: Serbs, Czecks, Slovaks, Italians, Hungarians, Jews, Germans, Austrians, Ukrainians, Ruthenians and others, [...]"

The constitutional changes in the begining of 1998 were rather contraversial when from this list were deleted Slovenians and Muslims [we would say today Bosniaks, but in 1990 when the consitution was first made the name was not used]. However, they are now included among "others".

In any case, as it is with Italians in Istria, similarly local legislation give right of use of the national flag in official occasions to other minorities in those communities where they are in larger numbers. Notably, Serbs, mainly in eastern Slavonia. Also, Czecks and Slovaks in several communities in western Slavonia, and Hungarians in several others. I'm not aware of any community with large enough minority of other minorities mentioned. However, all the minorities, mentioned above or not, have constitutional right to use their national symbols, and as far as I'm aware, they are using that right as it seem them to fit.
Željko Heimer, 9 August 1999

The Constitutional Law on the National Minorities Rights (Ustavni zakon o pravima nacionalnih manjina, NN 154/2002, <>), determines the organization of local minorities councils in communities, cities and counties and enable the establishemnt of the national coordinations of such councils to act as the national minority body. The coordination is determined by that law to have the right to choose the national symbols (Art. 33, paragr. 5) of the minority with approval of the Council for the national Minorities, a government consultative body elected from various national minorities representatives. The article 14 of the Law determines the use of the symbols, including flags, of the national minorities in Croatia, so (my translation):
1) The usage of 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 ceremonial song of the national minority is played, before it should be always played also the national anthem of the Republic of Croatia.
3) The uniots of the local self-government and the regional government [i.e. communities, cities and counties] are obliged to prescribe with theirs statutes the official use and modes of usage of the flags and symbols of the national minorities.
In accordance with this Law the minority councils were began to be established in local units since 2002 and slowly the began to form coordinations on local levels. Several national coordinations were by now established, probably a few already determined their flags, as well, but I have not notified it yet.  
Željko Heimer, 10 April 2005

Hungarian Minority in Croatia

[Hungarian flag]
by Istvan Molnar, 25 June 2001

There are Hungarians living in Croatia. They are using only the Hungarian national flag as their flag. this is regulated by law.
Željko Heimer, 15 September 2000

In Croatia, Sovenia and Austria live about 10.000 Hungarians.They use the Hungarian national flag with or without the Hungarian Coat of Arms. In Slovenia, and Croatia, the settlements officially use the state flag, their own flags and the Hungarian National flag . in those countries the Hungarian minorities have got an Ethnic Council.
Istvan Molnar, 16 September 2000

Muslims in Croatia

by Željko Heimer

The traditional flag used by Muslims is green with white crescent (or yellow). This is mostly confined to mosques, and still today is so (it may also have a star, so it may make it like Turkish).
Željko Heimer, 7 August 2002

Ruthenian and Ukrainian Minority in Croatia

by António Martins, 17 December 2002

Ruthenians in Croatia consider themself as Ukrainians, the only difference being that Rusini (as they are called in Croatia) came to these regions around WWI while people that settled around and after WWII prefer the name Ukrainians. In any case, the Ruthenians in Croatia have their organizations and societies "together" with Ukraininans, and they use the same flag - blue over yellow bicolour.
Željko Heimer, 15 September 2000

Serbs in Croatia

Last week the newspapers in Croatia brought forth the annanciation of the leaders of the Serb community in Croatia to for a single coordinative body encompassing all Serb political parties and other organizations. According to the Croatian Consitution such a body could be organized and one of its functions (that is of interest to us) is that it would be respondible for decision on the symbols of the community. Indeed the annunciation of the Serb leaders was such that the Coordination shall among its first tasks choose and adopt a flag for the Serb community in Croatia as well as the coat of arms and the anthem (soon they left the anthem out, since they find it too complicated to start with).
Most of other political parties, especially those from the right wings of the political spectrum jumped on the annunciation, fearing of the Serb flags being used in Croatia, claiming that the war wounds are too fresh and in their eagerness completely forgetting that the Serb flags are already being used publicly and officially on the city hals and community assemblyied where the Serb community is considerable. These flags are, as already reported, the undefaced Serb tricolours. Their use is guaranteed with the Croatian constitution and the agreements Croatia made with remaining rebeal Serbs in Eastern Slavonia, known as Erdut Agreement.
Anyway, these politicians made a scandal out of the issue for their sheer ignorance, and there is no issue in reasoning with any of them - even though some of them are well aware of the fact that these flags are being used since they themselves come from such mixed cities.
The article that brought the matter among the first was published in Globus political magazine (Nr. 703, 28.05.2004) conviniently illustrated with a dozen of different "Republic of Serb Krayina" flags captioned "All the flags of Krayina" they bluntly stole from the FAME page.
As it is said, the Coordination shall issue a public contents for the design of the flag and the coat of arms, and it is also said that they are certain that the flag shall be based on the Serb triclour (probably defaced with some symbol, as I understood). The coat of arms shall probably be based, said Milorad Pupovac, leader of a Serb party for Globus, on some symbol of the Serb tradition from the Military Border (region along the border toward Ottoman Empire to which many Serb refugise setteled since the 16th century, serving as soldiers).
Anyway, the Coordination is expected to be established within a month or so, and how much time it shall take them to adopt the symbols is hard to tell, but it seems so that we should be looking this way for a new minority flag soon.
On the other hand, it seems that the reactions of the public were not very much in favor of the idea, and it may happen that the Serb leaders shall slow down the issue...
Željko Heimer, 3 June 2004

Yesterday (9 April 2005) the Coordination of the Serb National Minority in Croatia (Koordinacija srpske nacionalne manjine u Hrvatskoj, KSNM) was established, reported media in Croatia (various media, e.g. Zagreb newspapers Vecernji list at <>). The KSNM is the top level body of the Serb minority in Croatia, established in accordance with the Constitutional Law on the National Minorities Rights. The KSNM determined that the flag of the Serb national minority in Croatia shall be the tricolour of red over blue over white without any symbols. The delegates decided it cautiously, since they were vitnessing that various Serb symbols have rised questions within the majority regarding the history. They also want to end the confusion regarding the (various) Serb flags used in local communities that were sometimes subjects of critique.   The other symbols of the Serb minority were not yet chosen, said Pupuvac, leader of the Coordinatin. The representatives would like to have those symbols represent the Serb authochtony but also 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, 10 April 2005