Committee against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment Finds Serbia in Violation of the Convention against Torture for Extraditing Kurdish Political Activist Cevdet Ayaz

September 2, 2019


The Committee against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment has adopted a decision finding the Republic of Serbia in violation of Articles 3 and 22 of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment for extraditing Kurdish political activist Cevdet Ayaz to Turkey on 25 December 2017.     (more…)

In memoriam Prof. Dr. Lidija Basta Fleiner

July 2, 2019

We have lost our dear Lidija, a member of the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights Council, a true and loyal friend. She lectured at the University in Fribourg, Switzerland, for a long time and led the Institute for Federalism. She cooperated with the Belgrade Centre on several joint projects and headed the expert group drafting the new Constitution of the Republic of Serbia and reorganising the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro (2000-2001). Lidija was also active in the Council of Europe for years and chaired the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention on the Protection of National Minorities.

Although Lidija had lived abroad for years, she never lost touch with the BCHR and often visited us, always keen to help us and cheer us up. She was a friend one must never lose, a friend forever.  

We will always remember this sanguine, sophisticated and noble woman. She was an outstanding lawyer and humanist, a champion of justice and respect for human rights. She always found the time to hear everyone out, to advise us and to instil hope whenever we lost it due to unfortunate circumstances. 


June 20, 2019


We mark the World Refugee Day in 2019 with the highest number of forcibly displaced persons worldwide in the last 70 years. According to the UNHCR more than 70.8 million people are forcibly displaced in this moment with weak or no perspective for return to their countries of origin. This number includes refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced who will spend World Refugee Day away from their homes with unpredictable future.

Belgrade Centre for Human Right reminds the authorities of the Republic of Serbia that they have an obligation to consistently fulfil obligations stemming from the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol as well as to devote more efforts in order to provide efficient application of the national legal framework in the areas of asylum system and migration management.

We believe that the World Refugee Day belongs to all the people who were forced to flee their homes due to wars and severe violations of human rights and today we would like to share voices of those who came to our country seeking for refuge and protection:

We have security and peace, and most importantly, the people of Serbia have accepted us in their own society. Having the citizenship of Serbia in the future would be the greatest honor for us. Our message is: Helping people, despite geographical and racial differences, is the greatest humanitarian action in the world.

 3-member family from Iran, granted refugee status in the Republic of Serbia in 2019.

When I decided to leave my country, I dreamt to reach some safe place where I can build my future. Serbia is a safe place and I feel I’m at home. In order to be fully integrated in this society I need more working opportunities and help to meet new people in order to better understand the culture. The most important thing for refugees is to find a safe place and being able to live freely and fearless no matter where they are. 

Single women from Somalia, asylum seeker in the Republic of Serbia.

I feel safe. Serbia is a nice place to stay, people are polite and it’s close to our culture. I dream about normal and stable life, to improve my skills and have a better future. I need to improve my knowledge of the Serbian language, to have a job, to have Serbian friends, and of course to fall in love with a Serbian girl. My message for the World refugee day is:  no war brought any good to any nation, we are all people, our origin doesn’t matter and intolerance should not be accepted. Also, I hope that every country will have more patience and tolerance towards refugees.

Unaccompanied child from Syria, asylum seeker in the Republic of Serbia.


Belgrade Centre for Human Rights will continue to provide support to refugees and asylum seekers in the Republic of Serbia in order to support their efforts to find a safe place for living and a better future.  


Statement can be downloaded HERE.


Republic of Serbia should immediately provide a system of protection for unaccompanied or separated refugee and migrant children

June 11, 2019

The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights wants to draw the attention of the public to the fact that the existing system of protection of unaccompanied or separated refugee and migrant children is characterized by numerous systemic issues that need to be addressed without delay. In 2017, the Committee on the Rights of the Child stressed that the Republic of Serbia should urgently ensure the full inclusion of unaccompanied or separated children in the existing child protection system, provide accommodation in foster families or other accommodation facilities adequate for their age, gender and needs, in line with best interest assessments conducted on an individual basis. Placing children in separate centres that are provide safe growing environment and are adequate for their needs represent the minimum requirement to reduce the risks of child exposure to persons who might exploit their vulnerability. In light of the Committee’s recommendations to the Republic of Serbia, it is necessary to undertake urgent measures necessary to protect unaccompanied or separated children from smuggling rings.

The latest case of tragically murdered child illustrates that the current state of affairs does not contribute to the reduction of risks to which unaccompanied or separated children are exposed daily. In addition, we are witnessing the several years long practice of all countries on the so-called Balkan mixed-migration route resorting to violence and collective expulsion of refugees and migrants to neighbouring countries. Such situation further creates the lack of trust of unaccompanied or separated migrant and refugee children in existing protection systems.

This case should be observed primarily from the perspective of the rights of the child who escaped the horrors of war, who has been neglected for years and left on his own. The tragically perished child was a victim of arbitrary deprivation of liberty in the Republic of Serbia in January this year. After the Croatian border police returned him to the territory of the Republic of Serbia, his identity and age were wrongly listed in the police and court records. The misdemeanour procedure was initiated and concluded before the Misdemeanour Court in Bačka Palanka in the course of the same day and without the engagement of an interpreter. Moreover, the acting judge stated in the judgement that the child waived the right to appeal, subsequently leading to a decision replacing the fine with a ten-day long imprisonment.

The case also indicated that the security in the asylum centres is not at a satisfactory level, that children are almost completely unprotected from the contact with smugglers and that this tragic case should be a serious warning to the competent authorities in the Republic of Serbia to establish a special child-friendly accommodation capacities that could fully meet the needs of unaccompanied or separated migrant and refugee children.

The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights expresses hope that this tragic case will urge the Republic of Serbia to undertake all measures without delay with the aim of reducing the risks of repetition of such incidents. A shift in this regard can only be achieved through coordinated actions and cooperation between the Ministry of Interior, the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration and the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans’ and Social Affairs.


May 8, 2019

We, the undersigned,

Recalling that all Serbian authorities are under the obligation to respect the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia,[1]  the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,[2] the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,[3] the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment[4] and other ratified international treaties, as well as rules of international customary law prohibiting torture and inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment in all circumstances. (more…)

Announcement – Human Rights Day

December 11, 2018

Exactly seventy years ago, on 10 December 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Declaration, adopted in response to the atrocities of World War Two, is the first document defining human rights as inviolable and as belonging to all people, regardless of who they are and where they live. Although it is not legally binding, it is the cornerstone of the history of human rights and the development of the international human rights system. (more…)