• 2020-11-04

FCD Joins in Celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the Council of Europe’s Convention on Human Rights

The Center for Democracy Foundation joins in celebrating the 70th anniversary of the European Council’s Convention on Human Rights.

This is a particularly important jubilee for all of Europe, as well as the people of Serbia, which not only ratified this important international instrument, but also incorporated its basic principles into Serbia’s own Constitution. The Convention was signed on this day 70 years ago and represents the very first instrument envisaging the binding nature of the rights established under the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and poses a common mechanism for the protection of human rights in the EU and Council of Europe’s Member States.

Nonetheless, despite certain improvements in this area, Serbia is still far from ensuring the protection of human rights in line with all binding standards. In regards to freedom of speech, namely the respect of plurality of expressed opinions in the media, we have recorded negative trends. Journalists are under constant pressure, media laws are not fully implemented, and the same goes for the independent functioning of the Regulatory Authority of Electronic Media. Impartial financing of media content has never come to life nor has transparency of media ownership and advertising.

It is necessary to amend the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination, which sets out to protect the most vulnerable groups discriminated against on the basis of disability, age, gender and sexual orientation, who are targeted by hate speech, violence or absolute neglect. We are far from ensuring equality among men and women, both in the labour market and in private and public live, as well as in managerial functions. This is why we deem it important to enact a new Law on Gender Equality which would provide all the legal mechanisms required to protect women against domestic violence.

It is difficult to discuss the attainment of human rights standards in a country in which the majority of its citizens is burdened by large social and economic issues. Serbia must stop the trend of deficient respect for individual rights and freedoms, as this would be the only evidence of our advancement into a genuinely democratic and developed society. Anything less is mere demagoguery. For this reason, the coordinated and continual activity of civil society organisations is particularly important in defending the above-mentioned rights. As an organisation, we shall remain devoted to the principles of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Center for Democracy Foundation