Western Balkans

Regional Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe Focuses on Freedom of Expression

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The Fourth Regional Rule of Law Forum for South East Europe organised by Civil Rights Defenders and the Advice on Individual Rights in Europe (AIRE) based in London, is taking place in the Albanian capital Tirana, over the next two days. This year’s Forum focuses on the right to freedom of expression contained within the European Convention on Human Rights, and in particular its relationship with the right to respect for private life and the right to a fair trial.

Human Rights Defenders School Now in its Third Year Kicks Off in Serbia

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The Human Rights Defenders School, an initiative of Civil Rights Defenders has for a third year in succession opened its doors to young human rights lawyers and human rights defenders from across Serbia. The first lectures were held in Belgrade and Niš and attended by 50 students. Goran Miletic, Programme Director for the Western Balkans kicked off proceedings with an introductory lecture.

Human Rights Defenders Attacked by Members of the Ruling Party in Serbia

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Civil Rights Defenders condemns the recent attack against several human rights defenders from the Youth Initiative of Human Rights (YIHR) of Serbia, a long time partner of Civil Rights Defenders and demands that swift legal action be taken in bringing the perpetrators to justice.The incident occurred on the evening of January 17, involving nine activists from the YIHR, who were brutally attacked by members from a local branch of the Serbian Progressive Party.

Human Rights the Central Topic at the Regional Roma Summit

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The Regional Roma Summit kicked off on 23 November, in the Kosovar capital Prishtina with an opening speech by Ulrike Lunacek, the Vice President of the European Parliament. The event partly organised by Civil Rights Defenders lasts two days and sees human rights defenders from across Europe gather to discuss and analyse current trends and topics relevant to the Roma community especially when it comes to human rights.

Human Rights Defenders Made Scape Goats in Serbian Media

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Freedom of the media in Serbia has seen a significant change in its trajectory since 2010, from being categorised by many watchdog organisations as being on a good path to becoming free and independent to the current situation of instability. There is now an almost total collapse in freedom of expression that has seen media outlets spewing out propaganda targeting human rights defenders regarding trumped up allegations of destabilising the state.

Safe and Secure Freedom of Assembly Must be Guaranteed at Belgrade Pride

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Civil Rights Defenders demands that the government of Serbia puts all measures in place to ensure a safe and secure Belgrade Pride March which is scheduled to take place on September 18. Freedom of peaceful assembly must be secured for all citizens of Serbia regardless of their personal attributes and to guarantee peoples’ fundamental human rights. Belgrade Pride Week 2016 which began on September 12 includes a variety of cultural, debate and community-oriented events, which will take place at several locations throughout the Serbian capital.

Police Brutality Against Human Rights Defenders Must Stop

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Civil Rights Defenders expresses its concern that yet another human rights defenders has been subjected to unprovoked harassment by the police in Prijedor a municipality in Bosnia and Herzegovina in recent days. Nikola Kurida of Kvart, a partner organisation of Civil Rights Defenders had been visiting the residence of a colleague when the police arrived unannounced and started to threaten all those inside.

Stockholm Pride – A Time to Show Solidarity and Support

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This week, thousands of people gather in the capital of Sweden to take a positive stance against discrimination toward LGBT people, and to celebrate dignity, equality, diversity and human rights. While the concept of Pride is widely recognised in many parts of the world, the acceptance is not. In order to draw attention to the environment our friends and colleagues are forced to work in, Civil Rights Defenders is glad to welcome LGBT activists from Belarus, Russia and the Western Balkans to this year’s Stockholm Pride.

“Justice Remains Unreachable” – Annual Report on Judiciary in Kosovo

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The Humanitarian Law Center Kosovo (HLC Kosovo) a partner of Civil Rights Defenders have just presented their annual report entitled “Justice Remains Unreachable”. The report deals with the monitoring of war crime trials and looks at ethically and politically motivated trials. The report was presented at a roundtable discussion involving the judiciary, prosecutors and law professionals from all over Kosovo.

Honouring a Great Human Rights Advocate: Mr. Srdjan Dizdarevic , 29th September 1952 to 16th February 2016

Photo by Goran Pandza: Srdjan Dizdarevic holds a sign which translate to " I want a Bosnia and Herzegovina without discrimination"

Civil Rights Defenders mourns the loss of prominent human rights advocate Srdjan Dizdarevic who died on February 16th in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Viewed as one of the leading human rights defenders in the country Civil Rights Defenders was honoured to have collaborated with him on numerous groundbreaking projects. These included successfully lobbying for the introduction of new laws against discrimination and for his work in dealing with a wide variety of human rights violations in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Belgrade Pride Week: What a Difference a Year Can Make

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In 2014 Belgrade saw its first successful Pride March in several years. After the extreme violence of 2010 and several subsequent bans there was an optimistic but cautious mood surrounding the 2015 event. On the 21st of September all fears were laid to rest as the Belgrade Pride March 2015 became the Belgrade Pride Parade winding through the streets of the Serbian capital. Over 1,200 participants thronged the event in what was a party of openness, inclusiveness and togetherness.

Pride Seminar: Are Recent Improvements to LGBT Rights in the Western Balkans a Smokescreen or a Reality?

Goran Miletic who hosted a seminar regarding recent developments for the LGBT community in the Western Balkans

n recent years the countries of The Western Balkans have made positive legislative changes regarding human rights especially when it comes to anti-discrimination. However questions remain; Are such changes a smokescreen for the international community, or a real sign of change and have they truly improved the reality for LGBT people? Do the governments of the Western Balkans support or just tolerate human rights?

Remembering the Victims at the 20th Anniversary of the Srebrenica Genocide

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On the 11th July Civil Rights Defenders will join the ceremonies to commemorate the victims of the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia & Herzegovina which represents the largest genocide in Europe since World War II.The Srebrenica genocide took place in July 1995 led by members of the Army of Republika Srpska, under General Ratko Mladic, now on trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Open call for a video-sprint in the Western Balkans

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Civil Rights Defenders is issuing an open call for participation in a video-sprint event, which is scheduled to take place in Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia in October 2014. The events will be organised by Civil Rights Defenders in partnership with Youth Initiative for Human Rights Serbia as part of the “Video for Change” project supported by the Swedish Institute within their Creative Force Programme.