STATEMENT ON THE OCCASION OF THE 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE NETWORK OF COMMITTEES FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN SERBIA CHRIS

In Serbia today, rights of vulnerable groups – persons with disabilities, children, women, national minorities and Roma in particular, persons deprived of liberty, refugees and displaced persons, members of sexual and religious minorities, and foreigners – are not sufficiently respected. And yet, a case of human rights violation does not provoke attention of media, not of a wider public either, until it reaches drastic proportions. Consequently, the overall situation has a profound impact on individuals whose rights have been violated and a high percentage of them decides to keep silent about it.

Based on its active participation in the human rights area in Serbia, the CHRIS Network cannot evaluate positively the existing level of respect of human rights and the way the citizens are treated by the state. We believe that human rights must be guaranteed on daily basis and the state and other public authority bodies must act efficiently with punitive measures against everyone who violates these rights and breaks laws.

The state of human rights in a country represents a key indicator of its social and state systems advancement. These systems, however, can only be developed through continuous reforms and advancement of the current legal framework and with raising awareness of all citizens that there is no alternative to the rule of law and respect for human rights for the benefit and progress of Serbia.

To this end, the CHRIS Network will continue - together with all individuals, organisations and institutions that supported its activities - to strengthen the rule of law and respect of human rights and liberties as the pillars of an open democratic society.

Looking back, the CHRIS Network proudly lists its achievements:

Free legal aid provided in 5635 cases since January 1st 2004
75 processes initiated on behalf of citizens before domestic courts
19 processes initiated before domestic courts were resolved in favour of citizens
8 submissions to the European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) made on behalf of citizens of Serbia
2 cases submitted to ECHR completed by settlement in favour of victims: damages paid by the Republic of Serbia amounted to € 3,500 and € 10,000
As a founder member of the Coalition Against Discrimination, the CHRIS Network successfully advocated the development and adoption of the Law on prevention of discrimination of persons with disabilities (adopted April 2006) and the Law on Anti-discrimination (adopted March 26th 2009)
6 Annual Human Rights for All campaigns significantly raised citizens’ awareness of human rights
110 participants from all over Serbia took part in three Summer schools from 2000 to 2002, and benefited from a basic education on human rights
248 representatives of various local institutions/organisations were additionally educated on anti-discrimination legislation and relevant international legal standards in 6 towns in Serbia
Permanent education of lawyers on international legal standards provided; since 2003, the CHRIS Network has systematically organised 22 thematic seminars for its lawyers and paralegals; and, in 2008, the CHRIS network facilitated a training of 29 lawyers of the Niš Bar Association on practical aspects of the European Convention application before the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg;
Minority rights in Serbia monitored; the CHRIS network and the Vojvodina Centre for Human Rights submitted an Alternative Report on the Implementation of the European Charter for regional or Minority Languages in Serbia in June 2007; then, the Alternative Report on the Implementation of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities by CHRIS Network, submitted in September 2007; and the Alternative Report on the basis of Article 15 of the Charter for Regional or Minority Languages based on the second monitoring cycle was submitted by the Vojvodina Centre and CHRIS Network in June 2010
10 years of successful partnership and network building
CHRIS Network has established a shared vision and common working practices, and basic communication and decision-making procedures for the implementation of its joint activities…


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