Josip Leko, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović i Ivan Zvonimir Čičak.jpg
Photograph: HINA/ Lana SLIVAR DOMINIĆ/ ik

 The Croatian Helsinki Committee on Human Rights (HHO) presented awards for the promotion of human rights and freedoms at a ceremony in Zagreb on Tuesday.

The Miko Tripalo Award, which is given to office holders and politicians for their outstanding contribution to the protection and promotion of human rights, was presented to the incumbent Speaker of Parliament, Josip Leko.

"At a time when a real war of words was being fought in Croatia, the calm and civilised actions of the person holding the second highest office in Croatia were all too important," the HHO said in its explanation.

An award for the promotion of inter-religious dialogue, ecumenism and religious tolerance went to Father Antun Cvek, the founder of the A Drop of Goodness charity.

The awards were presented under the auspices of President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, who said that the human rights situation in Croatia now was much better than 10 or 20 years ago. "However, there are still a lot of cases of violation of human freedoms, such as the right to work, workers' rights, especially women's rights, and the right to a home," she said.

Grabar-Kitarovic presented HHO chairman Ivan Zvonimir Cicak with a high state decoration, the Order of Stjepan Radic, and conferred the Charter of the Republic of Croatia on the HHO.

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