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On Sunday 21 August LGBTI activist Boban Stojanović was brutally beaten by unknown assailants who shouted homophobic slogans in downtown Belgrade. – We urge Serbian authorities and law enforcement to ensure that the attack is properly investigated and that the perpetrators are brought to justice, says Mina Skouen, Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s (NHC) Advisor on LGBTI issues and the Western Balkans.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee publishes a new report today, focusing on how universities can play a positive role in peacebuilding processes in the Western Balkans.
- Supporting and protecting the Belgrade Pride Parade and Pride Week 2013 is an opportunity for Serbian authorities to show its commitment for the human rights for all persons, and in particular, the human rights of those belonging to sexual and gender minorities (LGBTI), Bjørn Engesland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee says. The Pride Parade march in the streets of Belgrade is scheduled for September 28.
Universities and peacebuilding:
The role of universities in peacebuilding has been dicussed in the Western Balkans as part of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee program “Building bridges not walls – The role of universities in peacebuilding”.
Sonia Biserko, Chair of the Serbian Helsinki Committee and author of the book “Yugoslavia’s Implosion” published by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, visited Brussels on 19-20 March to launch the book and take part in discussions around the topic of “Serbian nationalism still alive: what impact for EU enlargement?”.
Serbia and Europe:
Chair of the Helsinki Committee for human rights in Serbia Sonja Biserko will present her book «Yugoslavia’s implosion», as well as views on Serbia with relevance to Serbia’s EU integration, in events in Brussels on 18-20 March 2013. The book, published by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, will be presented to the public on Wednesday 20 March at 13.00. There will also be meetings with the European Parliament Working Group for Western Balkans, representatives of the European Commission, Directorate General of Englargement among others. The visit is organized by the NHC in co-operation with our liason in Brussels, the International Partnership for Human Rights.
Seminar: Serbia at another crossroad:
- The most basic European value that Serbia needs is respect for the rule of law and legal procedure, said Sonja Biserko at the seminar “Serbia at another crossroad” hosted by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, just four days before elections in Serbia.
Tuesday 20.11 Sonja Biserko, founder and President of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia, presented her book
"Yugoslavia’s Implosion" at The Norwegian Helsinki Committee’s seminar "Serbia - stuck in the past or proving EU worthy of
a peace prize?"
The seminar also featured Neil Campbell, head of EU policy development at the Open Society European Policy Institute in Brussels, and Aage Borchgrevink, Norwegian author and senior advisor at the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. Sonja Biserko thanked the Norwegian Helsinki Committee, the publisher of the book, for being one of most important supporters of the HCHRS for two decades.
After the May 2012 elections, former key allies of Slobodan Milosevic became Serbia’s Prime Minister and President. Their declared goal is now EU membership. Is this goal credibly pursued by the new government? Does the process towards EU membership warrant the Noble Peace Price to the European Union? Tuesday 20.11 we launch the book “Yugoslavia’s Implosion: The Fatal Attraction of Serbian Nationalism” by Sonja Biserko, where she traces the roots of Serbia’s situation today.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee condemns today’s decision by the Serbian Authorities to ban Belgrade Pride 2012. This is the third time that the parade has been banned. The parade, belonging to an international movement of peaceful celebrations of diversity, is an important way to attract attention to the rights of equality before the law for all persons defining themselves as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans and Intersex persons (LGBTI). Banning the parade indicates that Serbian Authorities are not prepared to secure the rights to freedom of assembly and expression for one of Europe’s most vulnerable minorities.
(19/12-2007) Regional and local human rights school coordinators from the West Balkan countries are gathered in Oslo this weekend to discuss and plan their work for the upcoming year.
Joint media release on Kosovo:
(10/03-2008) Success will depend on effective scrutiny of human rights record, says Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee.
(12/03-2008) Human rights defenders in Serbia are under pressure after Kosovos declaration of independence.
(02/04-2008) The Norwegian Helsinki Committee's seminar about the situation in Serbia yesterday, was welcommed with great interest. 50 attendants were present to follow the discussions about the current situation in Serbia.
(11/10-2010) The Gay Pride parade in Belgrade was completed Sunday, despite violent attacks and 500 protesters who shouted "Death over gays," and “Serbia, Serbia, Serbia.” More than 1,000 participants walked through the streets of Belgrade, protected by 5,000 police who used tear gas to stop the protesters. Both the march and the planned following party were carried out despite the challenges.
(28/10-2010) State and society in Serbia has yet to face the past. War crimes must be and has been prosecuted before the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as well as before courts in Serbia and in the region. While this is an important goal in itself, it is not sufficient for Serbia to truly face her past and learn the lessons from it. Sonja Biserko, Chair Helsinki of the Committee for Human Rights in Serbia and this years' winner of the Leo Eitinger award will be the main contributor at this seminar co-arranged with the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights.
(08/11-2010) - The ICTY legacy must be imposed on Serbia. Serbian elites won't accept the findings of the court on their own, said Sonia Biserko, Chair of the Helsinki Committee for Human rights in Serbia, and this years' winner of the Leo Eitinger Award, at a seminar today arranged by the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights and the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. At the seminar, Biserko analyzed several of the challenges that Serbia, but also the region as a whole, is facing. - It can look as if Serbia is moving in the right direction. With Prime minister Tadic' new governement and his European orientation, things have changed for the better. But our recent past is very difficult. It is not easy sobering up after 20 years of radical nationalism, continued Biserko. - What Serbia needs is a national commission, that can help us to face ourselves. We need to analyze the tragedies of the 1990s and how Yugoslavia could fall in such a violent, terrible way. Such a commission could also contribute to reconciliation in the region as a whole, said Biserko. Sonja Biserko will be awarded the 2010 University of Oslo's Human Rights Award, the Eitinger Prize, in a ceremony at the University of Oslo, Monday 8 November 18.00. Sonja Biserko is regarded as the strongest voice of human rights in the Balkans today. As the chair of Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia she has stood up against war, ethnic cleansing, strong nationalist currents and corrupted power.
Sunday 6 May citizens of Serbia will vote in presidential, parliamentary, regional and local elections. Even though it is wider support for the need for European integration now than in 2008, it is obvious that the candidates struggle to prevent that this ambition alienates voters.
Invitation to the seminar:
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee has the pleasure of inviting you to our seminar
Parliamentary, presidential and local elections:
- Serbia at another crossroad
Time: Wednesday 2 May 13:30 – 16:00
Venue: Litteraturhuset, Wergelandsveien 29, Oslo,
Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia:
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee held a regional meeting in Sarajevo about the program Build Bridges not Walls that has been
initiated at the universities in Bosnia & Herzegovina and Serbia.
The aim of the meeting was to discuss the role of the universities in peacebuilding with all interested parties in the program, including university professors, student union representatives and NGOs.
Serbia granted candidacy status to the European Union:
Serbia has today been granted candidacy status to the European Union, and the negotiations on membership will start in December if Serbia resumes the stalled dialogue with Pristina to resolve the situation in Kosovo.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee is concerned about the Serbian National Security Council’s decision to ban all public gatherings on 2 October 2011. The decision, as intended, effectively led to a ban on Belgrade Pride 2011. We are concerned regarding the development in this case specifically, and the situation for LGBTI people in Serbia generally. In a letter sent to the President of Serbia Boris Tadić today, we condemn the ban and call for concrete measures to ensure that Belgrade Pride can take place in 2012. The NHC has also encouraged the Norwegian Embassy to Serbia and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to make it clear to Serbian authorities that such a ban is not acceptable. Read the letter below.
The Norwegian Helsinki Committee regrets the decision of the National Security Council of the Serbian Parliament to ban Belgrade Pride 2011. The statement made by the Serbian president Boris Tadić that “This way the citizens and members of the LGBT* population are protected” is a clear indicator that the rights of sexual and gendered minorities are still not being taken seriously by Serbian authorities.
(06/12-2010) In an open letter signed by 104 of Serbia’s leading intellectuals, the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia appeals to Serbs in Kosovo to vote in the upcoming extraordinary parliamentary elections to be held on 12 December 2010.