A delegation led by Serbia’s Human and Minority Rights Minister, Svetozar Ciplic, has been presenting Belgrade’s rights’ records to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Serbia’s national report reflects the joint work of several ministries and non-governmental organisations and highlighted the benchmarks of human and minority right issues in Serbia.
Most of the report was welcomed by almost all of the 47 participating countries.
However, numerous member states urged Serbia to meet all its obligations with the UN’s War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague as well as to better protect human rights activists and journalists.
Ciplic noted that many recommendations by the Council will be taken into account and implemented. He went on to say that Serbia is now about to show its maturity in the human rights field.
“There is awareness that we are not responsible only to our citizens but also to the international community. Therefore, we are obliged to fully implement all the standards which we as a state took over and signed.”
Some member states of UN Council for Human Rights raised their concern over frequent attacks on the Roma community and other minorities urging Serbia to institutionalise their protection.
Ciplic said Serbia has planned a significant increase of about one billion Serbian dinars for the Roma community. He expects that this will lead to the better integration of this marginalised community.
Ciplic went on to say that Serbia has accepted numerous laws in order to adjust its legislation to meet European standards on human rights.
State secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Social policy, Snezana Lakicevic-Stojacic pointed out that the set of laws on discrimination is one of the priorities of this Government.
“The highest law in this set is the Law against discrimination which is being fully adjusted with the civil and NGO sector, and we hope it will be adopted by the beginning of next year. In the frame of that law, special place is given to gender equality and the issue of homosexuals and transsexuals,” concluded Lakicevic-Stojacic.
The Universal Periodic Review, UPR, is a mechanism set up in 2006 to enable all 192 UN member states to report and revise the situation of human rights over a four year-term.
The review is conducted by the 47 member states from the Working group of the Human Right Council, led by the president of the Council.
The report by the UN Human Rights Council on its UPR will be completed by Wednesday, December 10, while Serbia should respond to the given recommendations by March 2008.