The 54th Session of the Human Rights Council
11th September-14th October 2023
Item 6: Universal Periodic Review Serbia
Joint Statement of Meezaan Center for Human Rights and GICJ
3rd October 2023
Delivered by Charlotte Maher / GICJ
Thank you Mr President,
We recognise Serbia’s cooperation with this UPR cycle and commend its efforts to implement previous recommendations, particularly starting its ratification process for the CRC Optional Protocol, as well as the strategy for improving the positions of disabled people. Despite protection measures to house some migrants in Serbia, action is sorely lacking towards ratification of the Migrant Worker Convention. This should be reconsidered.
Of greater concern are the deadly clashes that took place in recent weeks which pose a grave threat to the security of the region. Serbia has assured the Council of constructive amendments to its Criminal Code and the Law on Weapons Ammunition to ensure: independence of judiciary, protection of citizens’ rights and that the RULE of law is upheld. Such measures must be now utilised for impartial investigation into these most recent attacks in order to prosecute perpetrators and identify weapon sources. Thorough investigation must be carried out into all those potentially culpable, which includes high-ranked officials.
Efforts have been made by the EU among other nations to propose agreements for normalising relations between Serbia and Kosovo. It is regrettable that such attempts at cohesion have been abandoned by both presidents. We emphasise that cooperation plays an indispensable role in the realisation of human rights. Eleven thousand, three hundred and sixty four cases of missing persons remain unresolved in the region, which is just one example illustrating the inherent need for cross-regional efforts.
Meezaan Centre for Human Rights and Geneva International Centre for Justice support requests for withdrawal of Serbian troops from areas surrounding Kosovo. We join other member states here today in encouraging Serbia to continue in its efforts to eliminate violence on civil society and eliminate discrimination of minority groups.