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In Serbia Hate Speech Always Precedes Violence

Sunday 20 November 2016, by siawi3

Source: Zene u crnom (WIB-Belgrade), 17.11.2016

18 Nov 2016 17:38:47 +0100

In Serbia Hate Speech Always Precedes Violence

Press Release for Informer

In the period between November 9th and 14th, 2016, the daily newspaper Informer has repeatedly written about donations allegedly received by civil society organizations, including Women in Black.

The November 9th article titled “WOMEN IN BLACK – BIGGEST SPIES: The West Gave Them € 1 587 596 to Accuse Serbia of War Crimes”.
In the text, the Women in Black organization was called obscure, and it was stated that they receive large sums of money for the so-called “Anti-Serb Operations Activities,” insinuating that Women in Black are “traitors,” and “foreign agents,” and that they “work against the state” for money. From day to day, Informer published photos of Staša Zajović, with text next to her name showing the € 1 587 596, insinuating that she has personally received the unprecedented amount of money, and making her a target. Similar text was printed about people from other NGOs that do similar work.

We hereby inform the public that all information presented in the Informer is false – devoid of any factual truth.

As a human rights organization, we do not attach any importance to articles printed by Informer, because this publication is a tool for the regime’s propaganda. We know that a literate and sensible person would not believe these articles, and that they would also reject, with indignation, disgust, and bitterness, what was printed.

This is not meant to, however, diminish the dangers that such allegations produce. What is printed in Informer constitutes an open invitation to a lynching, a shooting, and physical abuse. In Serbia there is a long tradition of an open hunting season on individuals/groups that are critical of the state, and among these groups is Women in Black. The daily journal Informer amplifies an organized campaign of ultra-right, pro-fascist groups against Women in Black and other related civil society organizations.

Since Informer is a publication that supports the regime and publicly endorses Aleksandar Vučić, does this mean that the silencing of this country, regarding the demonization and criminalization published in Informer, is a form of tacit approval for such actions?

The prosecution has not yet, ex officio, been announced in regards to the false rumours and other criminal acts, although the international conventions that the state has signed on to obligates the government to take necessary steps in the protection of human rights defenders, including both governmental and non-governmental actors.

As a civil society organization that upholds human rights, we have informed and reached out to international institutions and networks for human rights, which assist in ensuring that we are able to continue to do our work uninterrupted, along with the goal of holding to account those who spread lies against us.

We inform the public that Women in Black will be seeking judicial justice and accountability for the aforementioned attacks.

Belgrade, November 17, 2016
Women in Black