Serbia has not done enough to promote and protect human rights

The platform of organizations cooperating with UN human rights mechanisms submitted a report to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the status of fulfillment of recommendations sent to Serbia in 2018 within the third cycle of the Universal Periodic Review before the United Nations Human Rights Council. Out of 175 recommendations related to the promotion and protection of human rights that Serbia accepts, the report analyzes the degree of fulfillment of 56 recommendations. Only three recommendations were assessed as partially fulfilled, while the remaining 53 were assessed as not fulfilled.

The report states that Serbia has not amended the current Constitution in order to eliminate the possibility of political influence on the holders of judicial functions and strengthen their independence, nor has it conducted a substantial public debate. Although the work on amending the Constitution from 2017, it is taking place in contradiction with the provisions that regulate this process, in a climate of limiting essential public debates and complete disregard for the views of the judiciary (nationally and internationally) on the proposed solutions.

It is necessary to align the legal framework with the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment of the United Nations. This primarily refers to the harmonization of the definitions of torture in our Criminal Code with the definition provided for in the Convention.

Not enough efforts have been made to ensure a more favorable position for women in the field of work and employment. The gender gap in employment rates and wages is constant, the labor market is characterized by gender segregation by sectors and occupations. Women are exposed to poor working conditions, especially the difficult position of textile workers in Serbia. Discrimination against women in Serbia is present and quite widespread. Discriminatory gender stereotypes are particularly present in public discourse.

Social exclusion and discrimination against Roma continued. Discrimination and segregation in the education of children belonging to the Roma national minority is a systemic problem, and the legislative framework is ineffective in responding to these challenges.

The Republic of Serbia has not made enough efforts to provide inclusive education to every child. There is still a high rate of early school leaving, especially for Roma children. An explicit prohibition of corporal punishment of children is still not provided by law.

The level of social distance towards LGBTI people is still pronounced. Intersex persons remain invisible both legally and socially. No concrete steps have yet been taken under the Law on Prohibited Discrimination.

Although the Strategy for Improving the Rights and Position of Persons with Disabilities has been adopted, an action plan for its implementation has not yet been adopted. It is necessary to further strengthen the institutions responsible for the protection of persons with disabilities in order to spread the numerous violations of the rights of these persons that are common in practice.

In the Republic of Serbia, there is still no sufficiently regulated and efficient system of integration of refugees in society, which is a consequence of the fact that there are numerous challenges in relation to migration management. Everything about the hatred towards this population on social networks and in the digital media indicates that it is necessary to react urgently institutionally and prevent possible incidents.

Having in mind the complexity of the process of implementation of these recommendations that refer to all areas of human rights, in 2018 the Platform sent an appeal to the Government of the Republic of Serbia that it is necessary to make a concrete and detailed implementation plan. To date, the members of the Platform have not been informed whether the plan has been made and published. Although Serbia is obliged to present a report on the status of fulfillment of the received recommendations to the Human Rights Council only at the beginning of 2023, it is worrying that no serious steps have been taken to make progress in certain areas of human rights, or steps have been taken that cannot be assessed, are aimed at fulfilling the recommendation.

The platform uses this opportunity to invite the newly formed Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue to continue as soon as possible the activities carried out by the Council for Monitoring the Main Recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms until the formation of the new Government. Also, it is necessary to multiply the efforts to get the recommendations fulfilled, not only the formal fulfillment of international obligations, but primarily because the possibility of exercising and protecting the human rights of Serbian citizens depends on that. 

 

You can download the report from this link.

Tags: