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Joint NGO Report on key elements of the human rights situation in Serbia

Chapter 23

Joint NGO Report on key elements of the human rights situation in Serbia

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The review of the Republic of Serbia at the United Nations Human Rights Committee is taking place in a tense political climate in Serbia, and after years of continued deterioration of rights to freedom of expression, in particular media rights, and restrictions to the possibility to participate to public life in general. Previous three years in Serbia have been marked by an evermore growing decay of institutions and the rule of law.

Although the country is a candidate to membership of the European Union, in addition to being a member of the Council of Europe, and going through all-encompassing legislative changes, it is well beyond general perception that the changes are less than tangible, as they often only remain ‘changes on paper’. With the Serbian Progressive Party being on a raise since parliamentary elections in 2012, Serbia has since had two more extraordinary parliamentary elections.

With steady majority, the Serbian Progressive Party’s leader and Prime Minister Mr. Aleksandar Vučić justified these elections with a need to test and gain public support for the reforms. Upcoming presidential elections in will take place in April 2017 and another extraordinary parliamentary election is not to exclude. It is with great concern that CSOs, academic community, political parties, independent media and investigative journalists note strong trends: annulation of accountability, narrowing space for debate on issues of public importance, organized campaigns against any critical opinion on Government and its policies, circumventing legal parliamentary procedures, strong political influences as well as attacks on independent bodies and institutions.

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