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Serbia: Stop the violence against human rights defenders!

Saturday 10 December 2016, by siawi3

Source: WIB-Belgrade / Zene u crnom, Fri, 9 Dec 2016 15:19:36 +0100

Stop the violence against human rights defenders!

Press release regarding 29th November – International human rights defenders day

Regarding 29th November – International human rights defenders day, we remind and warn the public about the concerning situation of human rights activists gathered in organization Women in Black. From its founding Women in Black are facing numerous threats, as well as attacks because they advocate for accountability for war crimes, and assume critical attitude towards any government, further demand for respect for human rights of all of the oppressed groups.

Last violent campaign, which reached its peak these days, began in 2014, when one of the officials of Ministry of Internal Affairs Radomir Pocuca, called for lynching of Women in Black. The trial against the defendant Pocuca is not finished till this day.

In July 2014, activists were attacked in Valjevo. Besides activists, three policemen were also hurt. Higher court in Valjevo overruled the indictment , and granted amnesty for the perpetrators.

Women in Black have been an exposed target for physical and verbal attacks during the public actions they have organized.

Several criminal charges were filed against perpetrators, some of which are the attack during the action in Leskovac, carried out by the members of political party Dveri, from Leskovac, and the one against Nemanja Ristic and other unknown perpetrators members of the organization Zavetnici, for endangering security during the vigil regarding the day of victims of sexual violence in war, in Belgrade.

Till now, none of these attack were resolved nor have the perpetrators been persecuted.

Serbian authorities have directly endangered the security of all activists of Women in Black, by publishing brutal lies about financing of Women in Black, in the tabloid Informer, whose editorial politics is completely influenced. With their shameful statements Prime minister Aleksandar Vucic and Minister of Internal affairs Nebojsa Stefanovic have directly joined the campaign against Women in Black.

By creating the false imagine that Women in Black are working against Serbia, and receiving unrealistic amounts of money from abroad, Serbian authorities have, led by Prime minister Aleksandar Vucic, made the atmosphere where every attack on Women in Black will be expected, justified and desirable. The impunity of past attacks, sends the message to the attackers that they do not need to worry about the consequences of their actions.

Due to all of the stated we consider this situation as a very serious one, bearing in mind that Women in Black activist face both verbal and physical attacks.

For all of the acts and omissions for each of the past and future attacks on Women in Black activist we hold Serbian authorities, led by Aleksandar Vucic, directly responsible.

In Belgrade , 29th November 2016

Women in Black