Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed has warmly congratulated Croatian President-elect Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, 46, on her election, thus creating history of becoming Croatia's first woman President.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, noted that she should now deliver on the changes she campaigned for and the promises she made; including overcoming economic crisis, kick starting the ailing economy and leading Croatia towards prosperity.
Rajan Zed further said that Kolinda's election had raised new hope and was a significant step for gender equality. Zed hoped that Kolinda would successfully address various pressing challenges facing Croatia, including pulling the country out of long recession and bringing down the high unemployment rate of nearly 20%.
We also hoped that Kolinda would work on improving the business climate of Croatia whose economy remained among the weakest in the European Union (EU), reforming administration, lowering taxes, energizing the inefficient public sector and mending relations with the its neighbors, Zed indicated.
Rajan Zed urged Kolinda to end the maltreatment of its Roma population, who reportedly live in apartheid like conditions; and make an all out effort to do something "concrete and real" for Roma upliftment.
Zed pointed out that Roma people in Croatia reportedly frequently faced social exclusion, racism, substandard education, hostility, endemic joblessness, rampant illness, inadequate housing, lower life expectancy, unrest, living on desperate margins, stereotypes, mistrust, rights violations, discrimination, marginalization, hate speech, appalling living conditions, prejudice, intolerance, violence, reduced access to healthcare, human rights abuse, etc.
Rajan Zed argued that reported Croatian neglect was trapping Roma in cycles of persecution and poverty. Roma issue should be one of the highest priorities of human rights agenda of Kolinda and Croatia and EU should ensure that it was undertaken as a matter of urgency.