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Minorities At Risk Project: Home    

Chronology for Croats in Serbia

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Date(s) Item
Sep 7, 1990 The Serbian parliament adopts a new constitution which eliminates autonomy in the Vojvodina region.
Jul 27, 1991 The Independent reports the existence of an organized campaign by Serb extremists to force Croats out of Vojvodina. The campaign includes the bombardment of Croat villages close to the border with Croatia.
Aug 5, 1991 The Financial Times reports that non-Serbs are being purged from Vojvodina's government.
Sep 29, 1991 The St. Petersburg Times reports that Serbia is trying to settle 100,000 Serbs from Croatia in Vojvodina.
Oct 5, 1991 The BBC reports that authorities in Vojvodina have been using repressive methods against anyone who publicly expresses opposition to the government's policies. In addition to telephone taps and the toleration of threats and intimidation by Serb extremists, the police have begun searching Croatian households in the village of Sren on the pretext of searching for weapons. The US Department of State 1991 Human Rights Report confirms these allegations. Note These repressive actions continue throughout the period covered by this chronology and will not be further noted here unless otherwise noteworthy.
Nov 29, 1991 The BBC reports a Serb media campaign accusing Croats in Vojvodina of being affiliated with the extremist Croatian Ustashe. The President of the Democratic Alliance of Croatians in Vojvodina (DACV) denies these allegations and calls for the protection of basic human rights for Croatians in Vojvodina as well as cultural autonomy. The DACV also complains of the ongoing intimidation campaign by Serb extremists against Croatians. Note The Serb media campaign against the Croats continues sporadically throughout the period covered by this chronology and will not be further noted here unless otherwise noteworthy.
Feb 1992 The US Department of State 1991 Human Rights Report reports that Croats and ethnic Hungarians who have fled from Vojvodina are being forcibly prevented from returning.
May 22, 1992 Agence France reports a campaign of intimidation by armed Serbs in Vojvodina in the town of Hrtkovci to force out all non-Serbs including Croats and Hungarians. It also reports that at least 10 villages in Vojvodina have already been "purged" to make room for Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia.
Jul 1992 There are several reports that many non-Serbs including ethnic Hungarians and Croats have fled the Vojvodina region due to a violent intimidation campaign by Serb extremists including, bombings, gunfire, beatings, death threats, and threats of rape. This campaign seems to focus on the communities in Vojvodina with majority non-Serb populations. The DACV says that most of the Croats in the village of Hrtkovci have been evicted and a similar fate is being prepared in several other Vojvodina villages. Serbia denies all allegations of forceful evictions contending that departing Croats have voluntarily agreed to "swap" their properties for those belonging to Serbs from Croatia. There are also reports of a large influx of Serb refugees from Croatia.
Aug 19, 1992 UPI reports that Hungarians and other non-Serbs in recent months have been forced by threats, beatings and firearm attacks to flee Vojvodina after being coerced into signing house-swapping agreements with Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia.
Aug 27, 1992 Inter Press Service reports that the formerly predominantly Croatian village of Hrtkovci has been renamed Srbislavci ("Home of the Serbs") while only 400 Croatians from the original 1,800 are still living there.
Aug 29, 1992 The Daily Telegraph reports that Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia are demanding the purging of ethically mixed communities in Vojvodina.
Aug 29, 1992 The BBC reports the bombing of Croatian homes in the Vojvodina village of Nikinci.
Sep 3, 1992 The BBC reports a Serb government order that 10,000 Serb refugees must be settled in towns inhabited by ethnic Hungarians and Croats in Vojvodina.
Sep 10, 1992 The Christian Science Monitor reports the arrests of Serbs suspected of leading a three-month ethnic cleansing campaign in Hrtkovci giving the first signs of credibility to Yugoslav prime minister Panic's pledges to curb ethnic violence. Those arrested include the village's mayor.
Oct 29, 1992 The BBC reports DACV complaints that Croats in Yugoslavia are suffering daily from terrorist threats. They also complain that 40,000 Croats have been forced to move out of the Vojvodina area (this is a DACV estimate, the actual number is probably lower), Croats are not mentioned in the Vojvodina statute as are other minorities, there are no Croatian schools, there are no Croatian television or radio programs and there is no Serbian Croatian cultural institution.
May 7, 1993 The BBC reports that ethnic Hungarians and Croats in Vojvodina are concerned by calls by the Serb Falcons, a Serb paramilitary organization, for fighting against minorities.
Jun 17, 1993 The BBC reports DACV demands for cultural autonomy and complaints on the intimidation tactics forcing thousands of Croats to leave Serbia.
Aug 1993 Serb ultranationalists engage in a series of marches in the Vojvodina town of Subotica. Many say that one of the main objectives of these marches is to harass and intimidate local residents, many of whom are Croatians and ethnic Hungarians.
Aug 1993 Serbia expels Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) human rights observers from Vojvodina.
Aug 23, 1993 The CSCE condemns Serbia for human rights violations in Vojvodina.
Nov 6, 1993 The Serbian government rounds up members of radical Serb paramilitary organizations on charges of terrorizing civilians. This appears to be an attempt to undermine and intimidate the government's political opposition before next month's elections.
Dec 27, 1993 The US Department of State 1993 Human Rights Report reports the firebombing of Croatian and Hungarian Catholic churches in Vojvodina.
May 13, 1994 The BBC reports that inter-ethnic tensions are being elevated in the Vojvodina town of Subotica over the town government's decision to force the local radio station to broadcast official programming in the Croatian language. This would be the only such broadcast in Serbia. The town government which is a coalition of the DACV and the Democratic Community of Vojvodina Hungarians has amended the town's statute to make Croatian an official language. This decision has been challenged in Serbia's Constitutional Court.
Jun 9, 1994 The BBC reports that the DACV has protested against Serbian Radical Party chairman Vojislav Seselj's calls for all Croats to be evicted from Serbia.
Mar 1995 The US Department of State 1994 Human Rights Report reports that the harassment and intimidation of ethnic Croats in Vojvodina has continued at lower levels compared to previous years.
May 20, 1995 The BBC reports DACV reports that there has been an increase in violence against Croats in Vojvodina over the past few days.
Aug 1995 Serb refugees from Krajina engage in renewed expulsions of Croats and Hungarians in Vojvodina. This occurs after Croatian troops seize the Krajina region in early August.
Sep 1995 It was reported that 739 Croats from Vojvodina had been sent to Croatia since August 14 to make their homes available to Serb refugees.
Nov 21, 1995 The BBC reports an increase in the intimidation tactics against Croats in Vojvodina.
Jan 13, 1996 The BBC reported that Croatia's stance on the Prevlaka peninsula is that it is an integral part of its territory. It is very firm that there will be no territorial exchanges or border changes. However, Croatia is willing to negotiate the demilitarization of Prevlaka. In return, the Croatian government wants reciprocity on agreements of protection of human and minority rights of Croats in Vojvodina and other parts of Yugoslavia.
Feb 16, 1996 The BBC reported that the DAVC (Democratic Alliance of Croats of Vojvodina) says Croats in Vojvodina "can never be sure whether the police will protect them or not."
Apr 1996 A Vojvodina court sentenced three former members of Serbian paramilitary forces to prison for up to fifteen years because of the murder of four Croats and the incitement of interethnic hatred. The Republic of Croatia suggested a draft agreement on mutual protection of minorities to the FRY government. The FRY is still considering the draft.
Jun 1996 The third convention of the Croatian world Congress was held on the Brijuni Islands. The DAVC, as well as Croats from all over the world, participated. --They demanded a constitutional law on the federal level that would recognize them as a national minority. --They demanded the FRY must have a constitutional law on minorities that would define the status, rights, and duties of all minorities. --They demanded cultural autonomy and self-government with it, which would be realized through a democratically elected Croat national council.
Jul 16, 1996 The BBC reported that Chairman Bela Tonkovic of the DAVC has accused the Yugoslav authorities of neglecting the problems of national minorities. He said the influx of Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia into Vojvodina Province would drastically increase unemployment there and trigger off a crisis.
Mar 14, 1997 The leader of the Serbs in Eastern Slavonia (Croatia), Dr. Vojislav Stanimirovic, has queried figures quoted by the Croatian authorities concerning the number of local people who have taken out the Croatian papers necessary for voting. He also said that the opportunity to have dual citizenship with Yugoslavia would solve many problems.
Jul 27, 1997 The Barbalics, an ethnic Croat family living in Zemun, were shocked to find their five year old son branded as an "Ustasha child" and thrown out of school by the local mayor, Seseij [the leader of the ultranationalist Serb Radical Party]. The family went away for a couple of days and came home to find the locks on their apartment changed, belongings disappeared, and home taken over by the wife of the editor of Mr. Seseij's local party paper. -Several other Croat families also returned from holiday to find their homes occupied by ethnic Serbs, many refugees from Croatia. Police do not enforce the eviction orders. -The violence continued a couple of days later when a grenade was lobbed into the offices of a prominent anti-Seseij activist, who was branded with the Ustashe label.
Aug 13, 1997 The BBC reports the Serbian minister for human and minority rights, Ivan Sedlak, received a delegation of the DAVC at their request. The DAVC delegation presented a request for regulating the status of the Croat National Committee in the Republic of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. They said "Besides strict respect for the human rights of Croats, the DAVC demanded cultural autonomy in the fields of education, culture, and media, which should be managed by a democratically elected body of Croat Republics." They also requested mutual protection of minorities.
Oct 15, 1997 A report by Croatian TV from the BBC says Croats in Vojvodina are still subjected to unnecessary provocation. The Serbian interior ministry has refused to issue a new passport to the chairman of the DAVC and deputy chairman of the Croat World Congress. They have lodged a protest saying that such actions are not conducive to the civilized normalization of relations between Serbs and Croats.
Jan 1998 Croatian police in Vukovar arrested five people who incited a number of incidents which included attacks on Serbs. The threats by Croatian expatriates against Serbs in the region who are living in Croatian homes became most aggressive when Croatian expatriates in groups of fifteen, carrying Croatian flags in their hands, noisily paraded through places that have Serb minorities.
Apr 1998 In the third day of violence, Bosnian Serbs attacked cars of Croats near Plehane. Western Diplomats say the violence was directed by Serbian and Croatian hard-liners to slow the accelerating return of refugees from other ethnic groups to areas under their control. A new party alliance was set up in Novi Sad including the Vojvodina Movement (VP), the Democratic Alliance of Croats of Vojvodina, the Civic Movement of Vojvodina Hungarians, the Pan-national Democratic front of Vojvodina, and the Alliance of Citizens of Subotica.
Nov 27, 1998 The presidium of the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians SVM demands that, parallel with the settlement of the Kosovo crisis, the unresolved matters of other minorities living in Serbia - primarily of the Hungarian community in Vojvodina - should be put on the agenda. The SVM's position is that the settlement of this issue should not be delayed even if it requires amendments to the country's constitution and legal system. (BBC)
Dec 8, 1998 The Croatian People's Party (HNS) holds its constituent assembly in Subotica. The association adopts its program, statute and a decision on its establishment. According to the founding documents the HNS will be an organization of the Croat people, which will promote the establishment of cultural, social and economic ties amid Croats living in Yugoslavia.(BBC)
Dec 29, 1998 The Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians [SVM] introduces new elements in its plan for the arrangement of minority rights in Vojvodina. The new plan deals not only with autonomy for the ethnic Hungarian minority but also with autonomy for the province of Vojvodina.(BBC)
Feb 18, 1999 In his talk with Juri Dienstbier, UN special reporter on human rights in Yugoslavia, Vojvodina Executive Council Chairman, Bosko Perosevic maintains that respect of the elementary rights of ethnic minorities in Vojvodina is at a high level. He observes that all citizens have identical rights as any member of the majority Serbian people; all minorities have collective rights in connection with the use of their language and script; and all national minorities take active part in political life through their political parties and their deputies in the Vojvodina parliament (BBC).
Feb 23, 1999 Premier Orban of Hungary calls for the reinstatement of Vojvodina autonomy. Leader of the Democratic Alliance of Vojvodina Croats Bela Tonkovic says on this occasion that Vojvodina Croats demand political, territorial and economic autonomy for the region. Tonkovic specifies that this means sweeping powers for the provincial and local administration in Vojvodina, control over revenue and a local parliament in which national communities would be represented in an appropriate way. Defense, foreign affairs and common currency should remain in Belgrade, notes Tonkovic. (BBC)
Jun 23, 1999 Hungarian prime minister says that the Hungarian government finds it indispensable that the protection of minority rights in Vojvodina enjoys a special place in the settlement of the crisis, and more specifically, in the implementation document of the (EU-led) Stability Pact for the region. (Agence France Presse)
Nov 15 - 15, 2004 Serbia, Montenegro and Croatia signed an agreement on national minorities, which would grant some cultural autonomy to minorities such as language and education. (BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 05/21/2005, "Vojvodina Croats happy with Belgrade-Zagreb minority protection accord")
Dec 13 - 13, 2004 A Croat party, Croat Civil Initiative, won two seats in the Kotor local parliament. This marks the first time Croats have won seats in 66 years. (BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 12/13/2004, "Croat party wins sits in Kotor local elections in Montenegro")
Mar 18 - 18, 2006 The Croatian national flag, a Croatian crest on the red, white and blue background was displayed in Serbia for the first time by the Croat minority living there. (BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 03/18/2006, "Croats in Serbia display their national symbols for first time")


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Information current as of July 16, 2010