Skip to main content
Amnesty International UK
Log in

Serbia: Human rights defenders attacked and threatened, says new Amnesty report

Gay rights activists attacked with impunity; Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s rights campaigners called “witches” and threatened with lynching

Human rights defenders are under attack in Serbia and the authorities are failing to protect them, Amnesty International said in a new report published today (14 September). Ahead of Belgrade Gay Pride later this week (20 September) the report also looks at threats and attacks against those who defend the rights of LGBTI (LGBT) people.

Since 2001 the LGBT community in Serbia has been unable to hold a Pride Day parade due to serious threats by right-wing and religious organisations. Such organisations have already made unveiled threats against the organisers of this year’s parade.

Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights’s rights campaigners have been portrayed in the media as anti-Serb for favouring the independence of Kosovo, and for demanding accountability for war crimes committed in the 1990s in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo.

Sian Jones, Amnesty International’s Balkans expert, said:

“Over the past year Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights human rights defenders have been attacked in the media including being threatened with lynching. Such attacks are made by parliamentarians, members of ultra-right organisations and members of the security services indicted for war crimes. Other defenders have had their property destroyed, their offices attacked or been beaten by members of neo-Nazi groups.

“Physical attacks and threats to the lives and property of human rights activists are seldom promptly and impartially investigated by the authorities. Few perpetrators are brought to justice.

“The lack of political will on the part of the authorities to fulfil their obligations to guarantee human rights defenders their right to freedom of expression and assembly creates a climate of impunity which stifles civil society.

“The LGBT community is marginalised even within civil society and criminal investigations into assaults on LGBT people, even where the perpetrators have been identified, are rarely resolved.

“The Serbian authorities are obliged to protect the rights of all people to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. They must condemn publicly all attacks on and threats to human rights activists, and provide protection and support during the forthcoming Belgrade Pride later this week.”

Amnesty International calls on the Serbian government to implement in law and in practice the principles of the UN Declaration of Human Rights Defenders, which provides a framework for the protection and support of human rights defenders. The organisation also calls on the embassies of EU member states to provide protection and support to defenders in Serbia.

Download the report Serbia: Human Rights Defenders at Risk (pdf)

View latest press releases