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strategic framework 2017-2020


1. Vision, Mission, Mandate & Values

The vision, mission, mandate and values are shared among the YIHR Regional Network member organizations and are defined as presented below. Each YIHR organization applies these values and principles in its national context, referring to the actual social and political situation and needs.

1.1. Vision

To live in responsible and accountable societies that have learned the lessons of the past and strive towards a positive future based on the respect of human rights, civic values and the rule of law.

1.2. Mission

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights is a non-profit, non-governmental organization, convinced that human life is the sole foundation and fundamental value of every open and prosperous society.

1.3. Mandate

Dealing with the past, addressing its legacy in the present, and learning its lessons to build a better future; Support victims of human rights violations and contribute strategically to establishing an institutional framework to prevent (the repetition of massive) systematic human rights violations in the future; Develop capacity and cooperation among young people to lead and drive the creation of peaceful societies in which civic values and human rights are fully respected.

1.4. Values

YIHR is a value led organization. YIHRs mission is defined by its values, and its work aims to imbed these values in society. Responsibility and Accountability; YIHR advocates for responsibility and accountability in society and believes these values are central to societys positive future development. Truth; YIHR advocates for truth and for the clear establishment of facts about wars in the former Yugoslavia because we believe that the crimes of the past should be recognized and named. Justice; YIHR advocates for justice because we believe that dignity must be restored to victims and that victims' suffering must be recognized and addressed through reparations and prosecution of perpetrators. Co-existence; YIHR believes that citizens of different ethnic, religious, racial, social, sexual and other affiliations can and should live together in peace and with mutual respect. Human life and dignity; YIHR strives for human life and dignity to become the foundation of democratic development for the whole region of the former Yugoslavia.

2. Justice Program

Justice Program is a platform through which YIHR Croatia advocates access to justice for victims of human rights abuses and strengthens the institutions, legal and procedural framework to meet the highest standards of human rights protection and rule of law. YIHR Croatia advocates for a victim-centered justice system and against ethnic and national bias. The organization implements research projects, monitors the implementation of transitional justice mechanisms and issues reports for relevant human rights and justice institutions.

2.1. Legal and law-related advocacy

YIHR Croatia is committed to continued advocacy related to the improvement of legal framework in respect to rights of victims and the general strengthening of rule of law. The organization will continue its advocacy efforts for improvement of legal procedural framework in prosecuting wartime sexual crimes and with the efforts related to strengthening of the witness protection provision system. YIHR Croatia will also engage in other related advocacy initiatives that contribute to securing the access to justice for victims of human rights abuses.

2.2. Institutional advocacy

YIHR Croatia will continue exercising advocacy pressure towards the institutions tasked with providing victims with services guaranteeing their rights. This primarily refers to the institutions such as the Administration for imprisoned and missing persons.

2.3 Advocacy for adequate legal framework for prosecution of wartime sexual violence

Since both legal framework and the jurisprudence disallow adequate prosecution

of sexual crimes committed during the war at the courts in Croatia YIHR Croatia will engage in advocacy activities for amending The Croatian criminal proceedings Law. YIHR Croatia will continue with the research and creation of amendments for the criminal proceedings Law and will continue to engage other stakeholder like CSO’s and political parties in the process.

2.4. Investigations and submission of criminal charges for war crimes

YIHR Croatia will resume with research and investigations, collection of statements and crime-related documentation in order to support and contribute to prosecutions of persons responsible for war crimes. In the course of this strategys period, YIHR Croatia will pay special attention to advocating a more open access to state owned documentation. The organization will retain its focus on working on strategic cases that are consistently ignored by the competent authorities.

2.5. Promotion of judicially established facts

YIHR Croatia will regularly monitor the prosecutions of cases of war crimes before national courts and the ICTY and will continue promoting judicially established facts through public advocacy aimed at fostering understanding with victims of abuses.

2.6. Trial monitoring

As in the previous years, YIHR Croatia does not plan to organize an all-covering trial monitoring program. Rather, YIHR Croatia keeps its focus on monitoring specific strategically important cases of prosecutions of war crimes. During the implementation of this strategy, YIHR Croatia will remain an active monitor of selected strategic cases.

2.7. Transitional justice monitoring and reporting

The program of monitoring and reporting on the developments in regard to implementation of transitional justice mechanisms in Croatia remains one of YIHR Croatias flagship programs. YIHR Croatia invested in development of the organizational capacity to monitor, research, assess and analyze transitional justice processes and is one of the central reporting stakeholders in this field in the nation. Such focus will not be amended.

2.8. Human rights monitoring and reporting

Since 2016, YIHR Croatia coordinates with other relevant human rights organizations in terms of monitoring and reporting on human rights issues and the general state of human rights in Croatia. YIHR Croatia will retain its monitoring and reporting focus in the following aspects: (a) rights of national minorities, (c) transitional justice mechanisms and (d) combating racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and related intolerances.

2.9. Advocacy for protection from enforced disappearances

In cooperation with other relevant human rights stakeholder, YIHR Croatia will advocate for the ratification of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and demand the implementation of effective measures in that regard.

2.10. Education and internship programs

Education and internship programs for youth in the field of transitional justice represent steady activity of YIHR Croatia. The organization is committed to annually organize training seminars and internship programs for interested youth.

2.11. Developing policies and policy advocacy

YIHR Croatia will engage in enhancing the quality of political discussion and practice in the area of human rights, transitional justice and the process of facing the past with policy advocacy. Within this cluster of activities YIHR Croatia will empower the role and influence of civil society organizations in the area of advocacy policy, engage in improving diplomatic relations and cooperation between the Western Balkan countries, advocate policy solutions based on legally established facts about war related issues, inform government representatives and decision-makers about alternative policy solutions which are working towards peaceful and sustainable solutions, improve cooperation between CSO’s and academic community and increase the capacity and visibility of the organization in the area of advocacy policy. Policy advocacy is aimed at decision makers and representatives of national, regional and European institutions.

3. Reconciliation Program

Reconciliation Program encompasses all YIHR Croatias activities that contribute to reconciliation, dialogue and strengthening of social democratic capacities. YIHR Croatia focuses on empowering youth to contribute to reconciliation and democratization, organizes exchange programs, memory projects and initiatives focused on victims and crimes that are exposed to relativization and denial.

3.1. Supporting youth involvement in dealing with the past processes

Through educational programs, activism and campaigning, YIHR Croatia will continue engaging youth in dealing with the past processes. YIHR Croatia will continue specifically focusing on youth in areas that were affected by the conflict by empowering them to act as social change agents in the field of dealing with the past and supporting reconciliation programs and initiatives on the local, national and regional levels.

3.2. Regional Exchange Program

This most enduring program of the YIHR Regional Network will continue to be implemented through YIHR Croatias work. The program will continue to be organized both by supporting the participation of youth from Croatia in regional exchanges and visits, as well as by organizing regional exchange events and visits to Croatia.

3.3. RYCO advocacy

At the time of development of this strategy, the third Croatian Government in a row refused to join the process of Regional Youth Cooperation Office. YIHR Croatia organized and coordinates a Coalition for RYCO and will continue, as well as intensify its advocacy and campaigning efforts aimed towards ensuring Croatian participation in RYCO process. YIHR Croatia is deeply committed to working on this until Croatia formally joins RYCO.

3.4. RECOM initiative

YIHR Croatia and other members of the RECOM Initiative will continue their work on gathering publics and political leaderssupport to the establishment of a formal regional fact-finding commission. YIHR Croatia will remain the coordinating organization for RECOM advocacy in Croatia.

3.5. Memorialization initiatives

Due to their utmost symbolic relevance and due to their educational potential, YIHR Croatia will continue with its efforts related to supporting youth to engage in commemorations and memory activism with a view of guarding the memory of victims of human rights abuses. YIHR Croatia will invest even more capacity towards developing commemorative and memory practices that contribute to reconciliation and co-existence.

3.6. Museum for civilian victims of war in Petrinja

The initiative to develop the Museum dedicated to the memory of civilian victims of war in Petrinja on a non-discriminatory ground will remain in YIHR Croatias focus. The organization ensured support for this initiative from numerous relevant stakeholders and will continue facilitating the local public debate about memory and reconciliation.

3.7. Shared Narratives Initiative

YIHR Croatia developed an initiative aimed at bridging the gaps in contested narratives among youth in the region by promoting a critical and multi-perspective approach to history. Further, YIHR Croatia and the YIHR Regional Network will, in the period of implementation of this strategy, facilitate a regional project gathering youth who were taught different narratives and engaging them in the development of narratives that take into account the varying perspectives of different ethnic and national communities.

3.8. Operation Stormrecognition and apology

As in the previous years, YIHR Croatia will remain focused on paying respect to victims of violations committed in the military operation Stormof 1995 and on building public capacity to acknowledge and accept the responsibility of then-Croatian leadership for these crimes and violations.

3.9. Croatian-Bosnian conflict acknowledgement efforts

The most flagrant instance in which Croatia showed complete refusal to acknowledge judicially established facts is the instance of Croatian-Bosnian conflict. To date, Croatia refuses to acknowledge it exercised control over the troops on the ground, whose actions led to numerous crimes and violations of international humanitarian law. YIHR Croatia is the only relevant organization that engages in advocacy for this acknowledgement and will thus invest even more effort towards this during the implementation of this strategy.

3.10. Anti-nationalism campaigning

In 2016, YIHR Croatia initiated the Anti-nationalism campaign in order to change the public perception of nationalism, that still remains largely positive. YIHR Croatia will thus organize a series of local and national events, exhibitions, performances, public actions and media campaigns to direct the attention to the destructive and corrosive effects of nationalism and other exclusive ideologies.

3.11. Social dialogue initiative

YIHR Croatia is aware of the social benefits of dialogue and the organization built its capacity to facilitate such dialogue through initiatives such as the Museum in Petrinja. Thus, during the course of several years, YIHR Croatia will organize local events in small previously war-affected communities in which the organization is actively involved. The events will aim to initiate a space where various perspectives can be heard and where people are able to freely engage in dialogue and reconciliation processes.

3.12. Croatia Serbia policy proposal

The relations of Croatia and Serbia constantly produce political and social tensions. The process of Serbias EU accession negotiations, instead of facilitating partnership, causes frictions in the relations between the two nations. Remaining open questions are not being dealt with in an effective manner. Thus, YIHR Croatia and YIHR Serbia will produce a policy proposal aimed at establishing a formal bi-lateral EU-sponsored diplomatic process that is separate, but complementary to EU enlargement. The process should focus on effectively dealing with the open questions between the two nations, with a special focus on solving the humanitarian issues (such as the cooperation in identifying missing persons), protection of minorities, cooperation in criminal matters and supporting reconciliation.

3.11. Social dialogue initiative

YIHR Croatia is aware of the social benefits of dialogue and the organization built its capacity to facilitate such dialogue through initiatives such as the Museum in Petrinja. Thus, during the course of several years, YIHR Croatia will organize local events in small previously war-affected communities in which the organization is actively involved. The events will aim to initiate a space where various perspectives can be heard and where people are able to freely engage in dialogue and reconciliation processes.

4. Outreach or YIHR.hub

YIHR Croatia formalizes its outreach towards specific social groups that represent its primary targets. The main groups that YIHR Croatia regularly targets with its activities and constantly wishes to engage more in human rights activism are young politicians and students. Outreach also serves an advocacy purpose towards politicians and institutions, as well as the public.

4.1. Political Youth Network (PYN)

Political Youth Network is a regional network operational in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia. The network gathers youth branches of non-extremist political parties from various ideological backgrounds in order to elevate the standard of respect for human rights and put the issues of justice and reconciliation on top of the agenda of young politicians. PYN also provides young politicians with valuable learning and networking opportunities.

4.2. Student Human Rights Union (SHRU)

Student Human Rights Union is YIHR Croatias nation-wide student outreach platform organized to act as a bridge between human rights civil society organizations and students interested to learn about human rights and get engaged in their promotion and protection.

4.3. Network of Towns and CSOs Against Discrimination

YIHR Croatia and the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement established the Network of Towns and CSOs against Discrimination in Croatia. The Network works together with local governments to develop, adopt and implement local anti-discrimination and pro-diversity policies.

4.4. Public and Social Media Campaigns

In order to raise awareness about the main human rights issues in YIHR Croatias focus, the organization implements public and social media campaigns.

4.5. International Outreach

YIHR Croatia engages in international human rights advocacy through a number of networks and coalitions it is a part of. Additionally, YIHR Croatia engages in human rights work, such as fact-finding missions or solidarity actions in other countries to support local human rights and democracy stakeholders to the best of the organizations ability. Finally, YIHR Croatia engages globally with other organizations advocating for the development of international law and international guidelines in the field of peace, democracy, reconciliation and humanitarian principles.

5. Social Innovations Program

YIHR Croatia will launch an IDEAHUB as a platform for a stimulating environment for social innovation. Young people will be able to get to know each other, socialize, develop models of collaboration, participate in trainings and trainings with mentoring support and a network of experts that will enable them to have a creative base for designing social innovations.  YIHR Croatia will develop an internship model in civil society organizations that will provide young people with work experience and skills to work in civil society organizations. Advocacy and awareness-raising campaigns to promote civil society organizations as generators of social innovation will be an accompanying activity over the coming period.

6. Transgenerational Social Research Center

YIHR Croatia formulated a concept of a research center / think-tank to look into sustainability of reconciliation mechanism and policies. We are particularly interested to focus on the potential of transgenerational impact of reconciliation policies. The research focus of this center is understanding the models of transgenerational transfer of ideological, political, social and behavioral patterns in the context of reconciliation. This focus should contribute to understanding on what social actors can do to ensure the sustainability of reconciliation policies and mechanisms spanning over several generations in order to put an end to cycle of violence. This center should provide an opportunity to YIHR Croatia and other relatable organizations to reflect and analyze the impact of their work and to develop efficient strategies.


1. Organizational Structure

As the organization grows and develops, the members make sure to design the organizational structure in a way to best support social impact and to contribute to sustainability of YIHR Croatia. This is why members agreed on the introduction of several changes in the organizations structure over the course of 2017 and 2018.

1.1. Assembly

YIHR Croatias Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the organization. It consists of all members of YIHR Croatia.

1.2. President The President of the Initiative is the administrative and executive body that manages the work of the Initiative between the two sessions of the Assembly. The President of the Initiative is elected by the Assembly of the Initiative among the members of the Initiative or is an employee of the Initiative selected by the Assembly. 1.3. Activist Network 

YIHR Croatias National Network is a nation-wide network of YIHR Croatias activists who engage locally to advocate human rights, democracy, reconciliation and justice. YIHR Croatias office, members and network assist them to contribute to social change on a local level.

1.4. YIHR Regional Coordination

YIHR Croatia is a member of the regional YIHR network. The network connects sister organizations operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia. It is headed by the Regional Coordination that gathers directors / management of each YIHR organization.

2. Sustainability

YIHR Croatia works on programs that contribute to long-term social change and require time to yield most impactful results. Due to this, YIHR Croatia always had a strong focus on ensuring sustainability of its operations and leading the organizations development in a way that supports growth while enduring the test of time. Consequently, YIHR Croatias members and team developed two courses of action in terms of development, to contribute to organizations sustainability.

2.1. Further fundraising diversification

YIHR Croatias fundraising efforts have been steadily diversified in terms of sources. The organization received income from private foundations, government agencies and development programs, project support funds, partnership project funds as well as for provision of services to a UN agency and research institutions. YIHR Croatia deliberately avoided Croatian state budget funds in order to be able to maintain its independence. The organization remains committed to diversification of its funding sources.

2.2. Social entrepreneurship

In 2016, YIHR Croatia had a non-formal working group that developed a social entrepreneurship initiative that would allow YIHR Croatia to secure a part of its budget through social business. This resulted in YIHR Croatia developing an idea of Educational Political Tourism that would allow universities, organizations and individuals interested in history and political affairs in the Balkans to organize visits through YIHR Croatias services. The social business will be started on the principle of 100% non-profit ownership (full YIHR Croatias ownership) as soon as the organization raises funds needed to develop the social business.

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