Has freedom of association been derogated?

December 28, 2004

The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights alerts the public, the organs of the state, and especially the media, to another wave of attacks against non-governmental organisations. A part of this ugly campaign was the article replete with defamation, libel and hate speech, published in the daily Internacional under the title Destabilisation. This tabloid attacked all non-governmental organisations in Serbia, alleging that they prepare the media field for an impending “Shiptar* offensive” in 2005. The major part of accusations against the non-governmental sector was arbitrarily constructed and attributed, as many times so far, to so-called “reliable sources”. (more…)

Spectres of the past

December 23, 2004

Malignancy and the ugliness of public discourse in Serbia are bringing us back to the times preceding the criminal wars, which have brought misery to all nations in our region, including the Serb nation. Unfortunately, the writings of lowbrow papers, which cater to the basest passions of their readers and satisfy similar needs of their owners are not meeting any resistance from state bodies which are bound to suppress incitement to racial and national hatred. Vicious and hateful items in the press have become “normal” – they are even interpreted by some as a manifestation of “free speech”. (more…)

Gordana Matković Winner of the Konstantin Obradović Award for 2003

December 10, 2004

The winner of the Konstantin Obradović Award for the Promotion of Human Rights Culture for 2003 is Dr. Gordana Matković, Minister for Social Rights in the Government of Serbia. The award was established by the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights to honour the memory of its founder and deputy director, professor Dr. Konstantin Obradović, one of the foremost Yugoslav and international experts in humanitarian law, and an active combatant for the cause of human rights. Konstantin Obradovic died on 10 March 2000. (more…)

Justice Minister’s Statement harms independence of Judiciary in Serbia

November 29, 2004

The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights expresses its concern over the statement which Mr. Zoran Stojković, the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Serbia, publicly made on 27 November. The Minister questioned the competency and professional qualities of members of the Association of Judges of Serbia, who had only expressed their opinions on the work of the current Government in the field of the administration of justice. The Minister accompanied his statement with threats. (more…)

Improvements in the new Draft of the Law on Religious organizations

October 1, 2004

The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights would like to express its satisfaction with the latest move by the Ministry of religion of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, which replaced the old text of the Draft Law the freedom of the religion, churches, religious organizations and religious associations with the new Draft Law on religious organizations. The Belgrade Centre considers that the Ministry has thusly in the best way possible met with the criticisms of numerous religious organizations and representatives of civil society, including the Centre itself: that it was not ready for dialogue in the process of drafting this very important new law. (more…)

A Comment on the Draft Law on Religious Freedom

August 12, 2004

The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights expresses its concern regarding the Draft Law on Religious Freedom, Churches, Religious Communities and Religious Associations (Draft Law on Religious Freedom), presented by the Government of the Republic of Serbia. The main purpose of this kind of law in a modern civil society should be a recognition of the principle of secular state, the protection of religious freedom and tolerance and equality between all of the  religious communities within state borders, but a great part of the text of this Draft  directly contradicts  those principles. Its adoption and implementation may  lead to violations of the religious freedoms protected  by the European Convention for Protection of Human Rights (which  was ratified by Serbia and Montenegro in April 2004). It is reasonable to expect that numerous individual complaints could be submitted to the European Court for Human Rights as a result of  certain provisions of this Draft. (more…)