LONDON, September 14, 2009 – Human rights defenders are under attack in Serbia and the authorities are failing to protect them, Amnesty International says in a new report published today
Ahead of Belgrade Gay Pride later this week (September 20), the report also looks at threats and attacks against those who defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Since 2001 the LGBT community in Serbia has been unable to hold a Pride Day parade due to serious threats by right-wing and religious organisations. Such organisations have already made unveiled threats against the organisers of this year’s parade.
And women’s rights campaigners have been portrayed in the media as anti-Serb for favouring the independence of Kosovo, and for demanding accountability for war crimes committed in the 1990s in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.
“Over the past year women human rights defenders have been attacked in the media including being threatened with lynching,” Sian Jones, Amnesty International’s Balkans expert, said last night.
“Such attacks are made by parliamentarians, members of ultra-right organisations and members of the security services indicted for war crimes. Other defenders have had their property destroyed, their offices attacked or been beaten by members of neo-Nazi groups.
“Physical attacks and threats to the lives and property of human rights activists are seldom promptly and impartially investigated by the authorities. Few perpetrators are brought to justice.
“The lack of political will on the part of the authorities to fulfil their obligations to guarantee human rights defenders their right to freedom of expression and assembly creates a climate of impunity which stifles civil society.
“The LGBT community is marginalised even within civil society and criminal investigations into assaults on LGBT people, even where the perpetrators have been identified, are rarely resolved.
“The Serbian authorities are obliged to protect the rights of all people to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. They must condemn publicly all attacks on and threats to human rights activists, and provide protection and support during the forthcoming Belgrade Pride later this week.”
Amnesty International calls on the Serbian government to implement in law and in practice the principles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights Defenders, which provides a framework for the protection and support of human rights defenders.
The organisation also calls on the embassies of EU member states to provide protection and support to defenders in Serbia.
HERE to read Amnesty's report (pdf file)
■ Click HERE to read Amnesty's report (pdf file)
Serbian Football Authorities Have Change of Heart on Anti-Gay Graffiti in Belgrade. The football ‘fans’ whose signatures appeared on gay-hate graffiti in the city over the past two weeks have now been condemned by the two clubs concerned, Red Star Belgrade and Partizan. (UK Gay News, August 12, 2009)
Outraged Gay Community in Belgrade Demand FIFA Action Over Hate Graffiti. Football fans’ graffiti calls for murder of gays. The failure of the Football Association of Serbia and two clubs in Belgrade to distance themselves from homophobic messages and calls to murder gay persons which appear in graffiti across the city, bearing the ‘signature’ of fans from the Partizan and Red Star Belgrade has so outraged gays that they have written to the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the world governing body for football, demanding action. (UK Gay News, August 12, 2009)
Threats to LGBT Population. By Sinisa Boljanovic. [The] LGBT population has been facing plenty of serious threats in the past few months. (Global Voices Online, August 23, 2009)
Anti-discrimination Legislation Is Essential for the Democratic Future of Serbia – Bishop. Calls have been made today for the Serbian government to put back on its agenda the proposed anti-discrimination legislation. The draft legislation is said to have been withdrawn before the vote in the Serbian Parliament following pressure from the Serbian Orthodox Church. (UK Gay News, March 9, 2009)
US State Department Criticises Russia, Serbia for Breaches of Human Rights of Gays. Russia is condemned for breaches of human rights in the US State Department’s annual Human Rights Report, published yesterday. And human rights for gay men and women are highlights by the cases of continued bans on Moscow Gay Pride. The report also criticises other countries, like Serbia and Nigeria, for their attitudes towards gays. (UK Gay News, February 26, 2009)
Transsexual Murdered in Belgrade. A transsexual person was found dead in her flat in Belgrade at the weekend, the Serbian LGBT group Queeria told UK Gay News last night. (UK Gay News, January 20, 2009)
Two Anti Gay Hate Groups in Serbia Zapped by Facebook. Two Serbian “gay hate groups” have been removed by Facebook. Two days ago, UK Gay News revealed that the two Facebook groups, “Queeria, Pederi Marš iz Srbije” and “СТОП ПЕДЕРИМА - КВИРИЈИ!” were posting death threats on Serbian gay men and women – and calling for other criminal activity. (UK Gay News, December 27, 2008)
Please Protect Us, Serbian Gays Plead: Death Threats, Attacks Faced as Facebook Fails to Remove Two Hate Groups. Please protect us. That is the plea from gays and lesbian in Serbia to their government, the police and the wider world this holiday season. (UK Gay News, December 26, 2008)