Remembering Vojin Dimitrijević’s Words and His Topical Book “Reign of Terror – A Study on Human Rights and State Terror”

July 9, 2020

Vojin Dimitrijević, a law professor, intellectual, eminent champion of human rights and democracy and long-standing Director of the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, was born on this day 9 July 1932. We recall what he said in his book “Reign of Terror – A Study on Human Rights and State Terror,” which is just as topical today as it was when he wrote it in 1984.

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Having once written a book on terrorism as a method of political struggle against government, I was left with the impression that the terror exercised by those in power was in fact more dangerous, that it took much more innocent victims, that it diminished human dignity much more and that its existence was a permanent threat to society. This terror, however, remained for the most part neglected, not only by me – but in academic literature in general. Lawyers, in particular, due to dilemmas both contrived and real – an issue that will be discussed further – have done precious little in contributing to the understanding of and clarifying the existence of the reign of fear.

It is clear, beyond any doubt, that a study of this length can only concern the governance through and by introduction of fear and anxiety as a political method alone. Such analysis requires generalization, through identification of the common traits of modern reigns of fear, which are in the focus of this study, and their comparison to occurrences in the past. I recognize that this approach may be contested as ahistorical, since it does not always take into account all the specific and unique circumstances and causes. However, to fully yield to such a remark would mean that the science of politics, as an attempt to establish certain general concepts and determine universal rules, is impossible. That risk, therefore, is one that has to be taken.

Belgrade, 15 November 1984

We should read “Reign of Terror” and refuse to live in it! 

“Reign of Terror” is available in PDF at:


BCHR Files Requests with Protector of Citizens and Serbian Government Re Doubts about the Official COVID-19 Data

June 24, 2020


The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights has filed an initiative with the Protector of Citizens to inspect the work of the Ministry of Health, specifically its information system and disclosure of data on the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Serbia. The BCHR also filed a request with the Serbian Government to provide it with access to the minutes of the COVID-19 Crisis Headquarters sessions, the decision on the establishment of the Crisis Headquarters and information about all members of that body and their functions. 

The BCHR’s requests were prompted by BIRN’s claims that the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths was several times higher than the numbers published officially by the Crisis Headquarters.

To recall, any concealment of data regarding public health in Serbia is not only illegal, but can also cause irreparable and immeasurable harm to the rights of Serbia’s citizens, undermine their trust in the government and cause panic. Independent institutions must report on the above information as soon as possible.

Watch Our Online Campaign #let’sstandbyeachother Marking World Refugee Day

June 18, 2020


The Belgrade Centre of Human Rights initiated its online campaign #let’sstandbyeachother to mark World Refugee Day.

Public figures, refugees, UNHCR and BCHR representatives appear in a series of video recordings, relating their personal experiences, problems faced by refugees, and the challenges and opportunities they have in society and communities they are living in. 

You can follow the #let’sstandbyeachother online campaign on BCHR’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter profiles. Take a look at what actress Nina Janković Dičić, reporter and presenter Dragan IlićZoran Kesić author of “24 Minutes with Zoran Kesić”, refugees from Iran and Burundi Jafar Fatahani and Kathia Katihabwa, “Marka Žvaka”, Dušan Čavić and Dušan Šaponja, Head of the UNHCR Serbia Office Hans Friedrich Schodder and Ana Trifunović and Anja Stefanović of the BCHR have to say about World Refugee Day and the problems faced by refugees.

The campaign aims to raise public awareness of the refugees’ problems and promote solidarity and tolerance to contribute to the equality and life in dignity of all vulnerable groups, including refugees, in our society. 

Online survey – how well young people were informed during COVID-19 pandemic

May 14, 2020

Informisanost mladih covid-19 1The BCHR’s Youth Programme conducted an online survey on how well informed young people were about the situation in the country during the state of emergency imposed in response to the COVID-19. The survey was conducted within the “On an Isolated Youth” campaign in the 31 March – 11 April 2020 period. The respondents were asked to fill a questionnaire on how well they were informed about the situation in Serbia and most of the world and on their mental health and support and solidarity among youths.

The survey results showed that over half (57.4%) of the youths thought that they were well-informed about the situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As many are 25.6% of the respondents thought that there was an overload of information and that they were too well-informed, 13.8% rated their knowledge as middling, while only 1% believed they were insufficiently informed about the situation. Another 1% said that they did not want to be informed of this topic at all.


Stories from Isolated Islands published in Latest Issue of Our Youth Programme’s Newsletter

May 11, 2020

Capture newsletter 3The latest Newsletter brings “Stories from Isolated Islands” our Youth Programme received within the “On an Isolated Youth” campaign. 

The BCHR Youth Programme team invited its friends, young people, to share stories of the time they have spent in isolation and how they have felt in such isolated circumstances. We want to thank everyone on their courage, honesty and willingness to share their stories with others. Feel free to download and read the stories and experiences of Milica J, Goran, Milica C, Vlada, Sofija, Vasil, Tamara, Bojana and Dino! 

The first and second Newsletters focused on providing information about and promoting human rights of youths in this time of crisis.

The Newsletters are part of the campaign the Youth Programme launched during the COVID-19 pandemic.  You can follow the campaign on our social media profiles, Facebook and Instagram, and on the BCHR’s website.   

Please feel free to contact us if you want to share your thoughts or stories from your isolated islands with us or report violations of youth human rights at and in DM on Instagram @mladibgcentar.

The new issue of the Newsletter is available in Serbian HERE.

New periodic report Right to Asylum in the Republic of Serbia for January – March 2020

May 2, 2020

periodic report smallBelgrade Centre for Human Rights has compiled a periodic report covering the first three months of 2020, analyzing the right to asylum and material reception conditions during the state of emergency, as well as the current public discourse on migrants. In addition, the report deals with the the right of access to the asylum procedure with special focus to access to the Belgrade airport procedure, as well as the practice of decision-making bodies in the asylum procedure through the analysis of individual decisions.

The authors endeavored, to point to examples of good practices, but also to certain gaps in regulations and in the work of competent authorities, through the perspective of human rights standards and through the personal stories of asylum seekers. The aim of such an approach is for the Republic of Serbia to develop a more functional asylum system. In this regard, the BCHR team offered recommendations for improving existing solutions.

You can download the report here.