Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Wednesday, 30 January 2013 (afternoon)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is intended for use of the information media and is not an official record. The note provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review and does not cover all points addressed. An official summary of the meeting can be found in the Working Group report.)

State under review

Serbia
Represented by 21-member delegation headed by Gordana Stamenić, State Secretary, Ministry of Justice.

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit the Serbia page on the UPR website.

Troika *

Republic of Korea, Chile, Switzerland.

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the  opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on the Serbia page on UPR Extranet )

  • In 2009, the reform of the judiciary was initiated on the basis of which the High Judicial Council and the State Prosecutorial Council were established; drafting the National Judicial Reform Strategy was also underway with the aim to build and strengthen the judicial system;
  • In March 2009, the Republic of Serbia adopted the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination which specified a wide range of prohibited forms of discrimination;
  • In 2009 the Law on gender Equality was adopted which defined in more detail gender-based discrimination; the Government also adopted the National Strategy for the Advancement of Women and Promotion of Gender Equality in February 2009; 
  • In 2010, the Government adopted the National Strategy to Prevent and Combat Violence against Women and the Special Protocol of the Ministry of Health for protection and treatment of women exposed to violence has been in force since 2010;
  • The education system did not allow for differences in the education of children with special needs; the Law on Professional Rehabilitation and Employment of Persons with Disabilities of 2009 was introduced as an affirmative action measures;
  • Upon the entry into force of the Law on National Councils of National Minorities in 2009, members of national councils were for the first time elected at direct elections; 16 national minorities fulfilled the legal requirements to hold direct elections for their respective national councils;
  • In 2008, the Government established the Council for the Advancement of the Roma and measures have been taken in the area of education for the Roma; the National Employment Act of 2013 defined the Roma as a category of persons who were more difficult to employ and therefore priority was given to their inclusion in the work force; 
  • On LGBT rights, the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination and the Labour Law explicitly prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation; the Office for the Human and Minority Rights organized a conference in Belgrade in December 2012 to address LGBT rights;
  • On the issue of human trafficking, the new Strategy for the Prevention and Suppression of Human Trafficking and the Protection of Victims from 2013-2018 was underway as well as the Action Plan for 2013-2014;
  • The head of delegation noted that IDPs who were forced to leave their homes in Kosovo and Metohija still could not achieve durable solution as they have not been granted access to their real estate 12 years after Kosovo was declared under the UN administration; as a result the returnees often lacked access to basic services;
  • Since 2008, when the Government commenced implementing the Law on Asylum, the number of asylum seekers has increased; the Criminal Code amendments have introduced a new criminal offence enabling abuse of the enjoyment of the rights of asylum in a foreign State;
  • The Republic of Serbia remained committed to make further progress in the democratization process and to honour international commitments to fulfil the highest standards of human rights.

 

Participants

In total 67 States participated in the dialogue:  25 HRC members and 42 observers  (Statements available on the Serbia page on UPR Extranet).

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • The A-status of the Office of the Ombudsman in compliance with the Paris Principles;
  • The enactment of the law on the prohibition of discrimination;
  • Steps to increase women’s participation in public life and the equal opportunities law;
  • The activities of the Anti-Corruption Agency and measures to reform the judiciary;
  • Measures to improve the condition of the Roma;
  • Cooperation with the ICTY.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • Steps to effectively integrate Roma and minorities into society;
  • Measures to promote and ensure gender equality and avoid stereotypes;
  • Efforts to uphold the right to freedom of the press, expression and association;
  • Steps to ensure the full protection of human rights defenders;
  • To ensure adequate protection for members of the LGBT community;
  • Actions taken to reform the judiciary.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Serbia.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To ensure the full implementation of the Criminal Code and the legal protection of all human rights defenders; to denounce more forcefully all verbal and physical attacks on human rights defenders;
  • To amend and, where necessary, repeal legislation restricting the ability of journalists to carry out their work freely; to follow up with formation of the International Commission for the Investigation of Murders of Journalists ensuring it could investigate alleged cases of murder of journalists;
  • To protect the right to freedom of the press, expression and association; to implement the Council of Europe’s recommendation with regard to freedom of expression and assembly;
  • To ensure adequate protection for members of the LGBT community; to adopt measures to reduce prejudice and discrimination against the LGBT community and respond effectively to related acts of violence; to ensure the freedom of expression and assembly of LGBT persons and ensure the proceeding of the Belgrade Pride in 2013;
  • To address the phenomenon of discrimination based on nationality, ethnicity or religion by criminalizing hate speech; to take measures to implement the Anti-Discrimination Law;
  • To implement existing legislation related to gender equality; to take further measures to eliminate discriminatory gender stereotypes;
  • To take more steps to effectively integrate Roma into society; to ensure fair and equal access to housing, education, employment and government services for Romani individuals; to continue pursuing policies to address the situation of IDPs and refugees in a sustainable manner;
  • To enhance efforts to eliminate violence against women; to fully implement the national strategy to prevent domestic violence and conduct awareness raising campaigns and training for officials; 
  • To ensure access to justice, provisions of compensation and assistance to facilitate reintegration into local communities for victims of trafficking;
  • To provide a clear definition of child prostitution in national legislation; to increase efforts in ensuring the protection of children from violence
  • To establish an independent oversight mechanism for alleged unlawful acts by police ensuring proper investigation; to ensure the definition of torture per domestic law was in line with the CAT;
  • To reinforce judicial reforms initiated in 2009 to ensure the judiciary’s independence, transparency and accessibility; to continue to strengthen efforts to combat impunity for serious crimes under international law by continuing cooperation with the ICTY.

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report of the UPR Working Group on Serbia is scheduled to take place on Friday, 1 February 2013.

The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR. 

Media contact: Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711, rgomez@ohchr.org.

See also

UPR Home

UPR Cycles

UPR Sessions

Documentation
(search by country)

UPR Mid-term reports

UPR Trust Funds

Background documents

Basic Facts about the UPR

NGOs and NHRIs

Parliaments

Accreditation

Contact information

Media & Outreach

Webcast

Related links

UPR Extranet

Human rights in the world

External links

UPR-info

Feature stories

Feature stories

Follow us

UN Human Rights Council on Facebook UN Human Rights Council on Twitter UN Human Rights Council on YouTube UN Human Rights Council on Flickr