Human rights in Serbia

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Human rights in Serbia are a product that reflect the country’s social norms, local political processes, state and legal history, and foreign relations with parties such as the European Union. Like human rights more generally, these rights are protected through the ongoing incorporation of global norms into legal systems and enforcement of the law, with the goal of holding duty-bearers accountable for their enactment and redress for victims of their violation. Recent reports by Human Rights Watch note persistent flaws with systemic exclusion of the Roma minority population, harassment of the press and LGBT populations, hesitant prosecution of war crimes, and faulty asylum protections (particularly for children).[1]

Overview[edit]

During the breakup of Yugoslavia Serbia was the perpetrator of several human rights violations, most recognizably in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Many who participated in Serb forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina were brought up on crimes against humanity and eventually indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for The Former Yugoslavia.

The most recent United Nations Human Rights Committee's periodic reports of Serbia note positive aspects such as the adoption of progressively inclusive legislation. However, ongoing matters of concern cited include insufficient implementation and funding of anti-discriminatory measures, persistent exclusion of Roma peoples, discrimination against LGBTI and HIV+ persons, lack of legal protection for those with disabilities, insufficient access to personal identity documents for refugees and displaced peoples, and a general failure to collect information of ethnic and racial minorities to ensure accountable reporting.[2]

By region[edit]

Kosovo[edit]

After the conflict, in fear of their safety, perhaps up to 250,000 Serbs and other ethnic minorities fled their homes to go north.[3]

Timok[edit]

In 2005, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe "regreted that Serbia applies double standards in artificially separating the Romanians of Vojvodina from the Romanians of Eastern Serbia".[4] Since 2004 they are regular clashes between the Serbian authorities and the Romanian community in Timok when Bojan Aleksandrović, a Romanian Orthodox priest decided to build Romanian Orthodox Church, Malajnica where he holds services in Romanian. The priest has been subjected to threats. In Negotin, the Romanian Cultural Association was vandalized in 2004 when Serbian pro-fascist ultra-nationalists wrote "Out of Serbia" on the windows of the main doors.[5][6] In 2002 census, there appears to be 34,576 declared as Romanians, and 40,054 declared as Vlachs.

The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia drew attention to the situation of the Romanian people living in Timok, and to their right to preserve their Romanian identity.[7][8]

Vojvodina[edit]

Vojvodina has been in 2003 and 2004 identified by Human Rights Watch and the European Parliament as region experiencing human rights violation, and a marked increase in ethnic violence since the national elections of 2003. After thoroughly investigating these allegations, and taking into account the long history of ethnic conflict in the Balkans, the European Parliament in September 2005, unanimously passed a resolution summarised on the Europa website as: "In its resolution on Vojvodina, adopted with 88 votes in favour, none against and 2 abstentions, Parliament expresses its deep concern at the repeated breaches of human rights and the lack of law and order in that province."[9]

One instance of effective Police enforcement against ethnic violence involved a recent attack against an ethnic Serb Man, Zoran Petrović from Novi Sad, in Temerin on 26 June 2004. On that day, five young ethnic Hungarian drug users:[citation needed] István Máriás, Zsolt Illés, Árpád Horvát, Zoltán Szakáll, and József Uracs, attacked and tortured (by means of inserting a baseball bat into his anus) Mr. Petrović, and almost killed him the following is not encyclopedic: "which triggered comparisons to a similar event in Kosovo several years ago, when several Albanians inserted a bottle into anus of one Kosovo Serb, which triggered some of the events of the Kosovo conflict. This was interpreted in some media reports as having the symbolic purpose of reminding Serbs of execution by impalement during the period of Ottoman rule. [1] The five criminals were convicted and received a penalty prescribed by the law, namely 11 to 15 years of imprisonment.

Recent United Nations Reporting[edit]

The third periodic report of Civil and Political Rights in Serbia concluded in 2017 and the second periodic report on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights concluded in 2014. They highlight measures taken towards the realization of Human Rights since prior reporting in Serbia, as well as ongoing matters of concern. Positive aspects include:

  • ratification or accession of multiple international human rights conventions and protocols
  • adoption of national strategies towards gender equality and antidiscrimination, and action plans against corruption, trafficking of persons, and domestic violence.
  • Adoption of a national employment strategy with subsidies for Roma employment
  • Changes to Social Welfare and Education System laws that promote social inclusion
  • Legal protections for working mothers and pregnant women
  • A new 2016 law on the prevention of domestic violence, as well as heightened efforts towards finding missing persons.

However, the authors also note persistent hate crimes, discrimination and/or a lack of legal protection, particularly for Roma peoples, LGBTI and HIV+ individuals, persons with disabilities, Internally Displaced peoples, Refugees and Asylum Seekers, religious minorities, and particularly women and children within these groups. They also note concerns in human trafficking and labor exploitation, inadequate application of asylum law and protection of children seeking asylum, a denial of state pensions for previously displaced peoples, inadequate legal accountability for past human rights violations, and low levels of rights protection through government monitoring. These reports contain suggestions on progressive work towards improving Serbia’s protection of human rights,[2] similar to suggestions held as a primary requirement in Serbia’s negotiations for entrance to the EU.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Serbia/Kosovo". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  2. ^ a b "OHCHR | Serbia Homepage". www.ohchr.org. Retrieved 2017-12-16.
  3. ^ "Kosovo: The Human Rights Situation and the Fate of Persons Displaced from Their Homes (.pdf) "
  4. ^ "Respect for the rights of the Timok Romanians (Eastern Serbia)". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  5. ^ "Protests on the Council of Europe". Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  6. ^ http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,850103,00.html April 25, 2003 on Deutsche Welle Archived September 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Extract from the IHF report" (PDF). Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  8. ^ "Debates - Monday, 3 September 2007 - One-minute speeches on matters of political importance". www.europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 10 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Human rights in Nepal, Tunisia and Vojvodina" Parliament of the European Union Resolution on Vojvodina 29 September 2005. (Accessed January 29, 2007)
  10. ^ "COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT Serbia 2016 Report" (PDF).

External links[edit]