Human Rights Defenders under attack | Den norske Helsingforskomité

Human Rights Defenders under attack

(12/03-2008) Human rights defenders in Serbia are under pressure after Kosovos declaration of independence.

In a report on Serbia presented to the UN Human Rights Council this week, Hina Jilani, the UN Special Representative for Human Rights Defenders expressed concern for “the hostile environment defenders, particularly those working on transitional justice and minority rights, who are constantly under attack, mainly in the media, and portrayed as enemies of the country.” She called for the government of Serbia to “Take forceful action on investigating, prosecuting and sentencing cases regarding violations against human rights defenders and provide adequate protection and redress ”. She further called for an institutionalized interaction and consultation between the government and civil society.

-The recommendations of the Special Representative on Human Rights Defenders have become even more relevant with the upsurge of nationalist sentiment in Serbia following Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence. Their implementation will hinge primarily of political will. Serbia’s political elite has yet to demonstrate consistent resolve for the protection and support of human rights defenders, says Balkan adviser Ole Benny Lilleås.