Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia – Periodic Report for October-December 2016

February 9, 2017

Belgrade Centre for Human Rights provides free legal assistance and monitors the situation in the field of refugee law in the Republic of Serbia within the project Support for Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Serbia. The Belgrade Centre puts effort in raising awareness of citizens and institutions on the position of asylum seekers and refugees, and promotes solutions to problems observed in practice.

The report in front of you refers to the period of October to December 2016, and it portrays only data relevant for this period, whereas a more comprehensive analysis of the rules and practice for 2016 will be published in the report Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia in 2016 at the beginning of 2017.

Report is available here.

Lisbon Forum “Migration and human rights: How to structure effective collective action? Best practices and shared knowledge in the Mediterranean and European space”

November 30, 2016

31071035452_7f941eda8c_kBelgrade Centre for Human Rights took part in Lisbon Forum 2016, which was organized by the North-South Centre of the Council of Europe. On behalf of Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, Ms. Sonja Tošković participated in Panel I – Human rights of the people on the move, presenting the situation in Republic of Serbia, with special focus on migration and asylum system in Serbia. 

The focus of this year’s Lisbon Forum was increasing awareness and understanding of the global dimension of the migration crisis and enhancing cooperation at regional and international level for the management of this key issue through exchange of experience and good practice from across CoE member states and Southern Mediterranean partner countries. 


Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia – Periodic Report for July – September 2016

October 27, 2016

JUL SEPTEMBAR ENGLESKIThe Belgrade Centre for Human Rights (BCHR) continued implementing the project involving the provision of legal aid to refugees and asylum seekers with UNHCR’s support in the latter half of 2016. BCHR lawyers continued regularly visiting Asylum Centres and extending legal advice to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants with a view to familiarising them with their rights and obligations. The BCHR has also been occasionally visiting Reception Centres and informal venues at which persons in need of international protection have been rallying. The project activities include advocacy of improvement of the asylum system in the Republic of Serbia, monitoring of the asylum procedures and analysis of the practices of the Asylum Office and Commission, as well as the monitoring of the work of other state authorities dealing with asylum seekers. The BCHR has also been investing efforts in raising public and institutional awareness of the issue and promoting adequate solutions to problems identified in practice.

This Report covers the July-September 2016 period and includes only data relevant to that period. Comprehensive information about the asylum system in Serbia is available in BCHR’s 2015 annual report Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia.

Report is available here

ECRE Annual General Conference

October 26, 2016

Representatives of the Belgrade Center for Human Rights participated in ECRE Annual General Conference in Berlin, from 12 to 14 October. ECRE, an alliance of 90 organisations in 38 countries protecting refugee rights across Europe, expresses deep concerns about Europe’s growing emphasis on externalization of migration control, which has now moved center stage. The EU is outsourcing its responsibilities on refugee protection and giving financial incentives to countries to stop refugees reaching Europe. Making deals with countries with poor human rights records will not address the root causes of why people flee and it leaves refugees in life threatening situations, ECRE states during its Annual General Conference in Berlin.

Agreements such as the EU-Turkey deal cannot be a blueprint for what the EU does on refugee protection. It is clear that the deal is failing on the most basic level: the respect for the human rights of people fleeing war and persecution. EU externalization policies also make refugees – and the human rights violations against them – invisible to the European public. ECRE believes that it is critical to counter this dangerous trend by retaining human rights as a key objective of all European external action.

The EU is now a global diplomatic actor as well as the world’s biggest donor and a major player in the humanitarian sector. Europe has the normative power to significantly improve the situation of refugees,” says Catherine Woollard, ECRE’s Secretary General. “It could do so much more to ensure refugee protection in regions of origin, through promoting stability, resilience and human rights. But never as an alternative to the right to asylum in Europe.”

 ECRE seriously doubts that this deal-making approach will be effective. And overall, the credibility and identity of Europe depends on it being true to its values. Collectively, Europe must therefore assume its fair share of global responsibility for refugee protection.




Utrecht Declaration on Academic Freedom

September 30, 2016





Meeting at Utrecht University for our annual conference, we, the Association of Human Rights Institutes ( AHRI), deplore the actions and threats of actions of an increasing number of States to restrain and even foreclose academic freedom, in the name of security, public order, counter-terrorism, counter-crime or counter-extremism, through a variety of measures, including disciplinary actions, dismissals, criminal prosecutions, physical violence, travel restrictions and widespread intimidation of numerous scholars, teachers, students and academic institutions.

As a global network of academic human rights institutes, AHRI strongly believes that academic freedom, as defined in the  Lima Declaration on Academic Freedom and  Autonomy of Institutions of Higher Education, adopted by World University Service in 1988, constitutes a fundamental element of vibrant democracies and is essential to advance economic and social development and to generate sustainable peace and prosperity. This is essential with regard to both the content and method of academic research.

The intimidation and repression of scholars, teachers and students violates their individual freedoms of expression and opinion as well as their right and freedom of education, guaranteed under both universal and regional human rights instruments, including the two United Nations Covenants, the fiftieth anniversary of which is celebrated at this AHRI conference.

Moreover, such practices generate a climate of fear in which any form of creative and critical thinking is being suffocated, at great cost for current and future generations and for society as a whole. In that sense, they also go against the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030 which the international community has adopted a year ago at the United Nations, and in which quality education at all levels and scientific research and innovation occupy a central place.

We unanimously condemn these practices and express our full solidarity with our colleagues in their struggles for knowledge, truth, peace, human rights, freedom and tolerance in their countries.

We invite the international community and authorities at all levels to take a clear stand against these practices, to assist scholars, teachers and students at risk, and we urge governments to respect scrupulously their international and constitutional obligations.


Utrecht, 3 September 2016

Seminar: Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion

September 22, 2016

Representatives of the Belgrade Center for Human Rights participated in the seminar Social Innovation for Refugee Inclusion in Brussels. Seminar was organized by theEuropean Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) in cooperation with Council of Europe and the U.S. Embassy to the European Union. The increase of refugee arrivals in a short period of time and the lack of a coordinated EU political response have on one hand caused political and societal crisis in Europe and on the other hand encouraged social creativity with the aim to provide response-social innovation to social needs. The seminar was an opportunity for practitioners and new stakeholders to reflect on these new dynamics in European societies. Some of the questions that participants tried to answer to are: What does social innovation mean in the context of refugee inclusion? What is the novelty here, and how can we ensure that existing expertise can feed into these new processes? How can we ensure that social innovation will not replace States’ obligations? For more details, visit www.ecre.org