Posts Tagged ‘Srebrenica’

Ultranationalists attack human rights defenders, including Natasa Kandic, in Belgrade

February 7, 2020

Nataša Kandić, the founder of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), an NGO documenting human rights violations across the former Yugoslavia, along with five other human rights defenders, organized a protest against Vojislav Šešelj’s book launch. Although the International Criminal Tribunal of the UN found Vojislav Šešelj guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced him to ten years in prison in 2018, today he is the leader of the Serb Radical Party (SRS), and a member of Serbian parliament. At the book launch on 5 February 2020, he was promoting his latest book, in which he denies the Srebrenica genocide. The protesters were physically attacked and removed from the event by force.

The human rights defenders (members of the HLC, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights, and Forum ZFD) intended to hand out copies of an HLC report detailing Serbian war crimes committed against Croats, documents that had a crucial role in Šešelj’s Hague trial as well. Speaking to the Belgrade office of Radio Free Europe, Nataša Kandić said that they were pushed to the ground and kicked by SRS members following an order coming from Šešelj, the party’s leader. Ivana Žanić, executive director of HLC, shared a video showing this on her Twitter channel.

The founder of the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC), along with five other activists of HLC, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YiHR) and Forum ZFD, was physically assaulted by members of the far-right Serbian Radical Party at an event promoting books which deny genocide and crimes against humanity in the former Yugoslavia.

The human rights activists attempted to distribute a HLC report detailing war crimes committed against Croats in the Vojvodina province when they were confronted by supporters of the Radical party . On orders of the party’s president, convicted war criminal Vojislav Seselj, they proceeded to push, hit and verbally abuse the activists; violently forcing them out of the public hall.

The attack took place at the premises of the municipality Stari Grad in Belgrade, which is a public space, yet no staff or security personnel attempted to intervene to prevent the confrontation.

Natasa Kandic is the recipient of many (eight) human rights awards including the Martin Ennals Award in 1999 the first award by Civil Rights Defenders 2013. Its Director for Europe, Goran Miletic, commented “it is very concerning that time and again, every discussion on Serbia’s involvement in war crimes during the nineties is met with violent abuse and harassment. Events promoting genocide-denial are completely unacceptable in any democratic society, let alone an aspiring EU member state. Not only should public authorities not provide public spaces for such manifestations, but they should take an active position against the promotion of war criminals.

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/tag/natasa-kandic/

http://www.osaarchivum.org/press-room/announcements/ultranationalists-attacked-natasa-kandic

Attack Against Civil Rights Defender of the Year Recipient Natasa Kandic in Belgrade

 

‘Rights up Front’ presented by Jan Eliason: “It is irrefutable that serious human rights violations are the best early warning of atrocities”

December 26, 2013

(Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras)

Still haunted by its failure to forestall genocide in Rwanda and Srebrenica nearly 20 years ago and confronted by ongoing bloodshed in Syria and the Central African Republic (CAR), the United Nations is revamping its preventive strategies under a new initiative called ‘Rights up Front.’ “The need for early action, and the crucial role of responding early to human rights violations, is at the heart of theRights up Front’ initiative,” Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told an informal session of the General Assembly on 17 December 2013 – as he presented a six-point action plan.

It includes training UN staff on the world body’s core purpose of promoting respect for human rights; providing Member States with the information needed to respond to human rights violations; and ensuring that UN personnel around the world are more attuned to situations where there is a risk of serious human rights abuses and are equipped for the responsibilities that such potential crises entail.

The strategy, initiated by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, also includes achieving a more coherence by strengthening engagement with the General Assembly, the Security Council and the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council and providing earlier and more coherent support to teams on the ground before a crisis emerges; and better organization of human rights staff so that they can identify risks of serious violations of human rights that could lead to atrocities.

Finally, underpinning all these activities will be better information management on threats and risks to populations for planning operational activities and for sharing with Member States.

“. ..It is irrefutable, and needs repeating, that serious human rights violations are the best early warning of impending atrocities.” Eliasson said. “If we fail to act early, the human, political and economic costs can be devastating as we know far too well. This calls for a more alert, flexible and coordinated UN System, both on the ground and at headquarters.”

Horrendous events led us all to say ‘never again’, Mr. Eliasson said. “We said we would have to do more to prevent serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Despite much effort, since 1995 hundreds of thousands of people have died as a result of mass atrocities and tens of millions have been displaced.” But steps forward have been taken. “World leaders endorsed the ‘responsibility to protect in 2005. And Member States have over the years articulated an increasingly detailed agenda for the protection of civilians,” he said. Yet, the crises in Syria, where over 100,000 people have now been killed and 8 million driven from their homes in the nearly three-year civil war, and in CAR, where thousands have been killed and over 600,000 displaced in a conflict increasingly marked by inter-communal clashes between Christians and Muslims, are reminders that serious human rights abuses are often the clearest early warning of emerging conflict, he added.

“When people in today’s world are at risk or subject to serious violations, they expect and request the United Nations to act – and we do,” Mr. Eliasson declared. “However, in practice, our response to crisis often comes when a situation has deteriorated to the point where only a substantial political or peacekeeping mission can deal with the problems.”

via United Nations News Centre – New UN ‘Rights up Front’ strategy seeks to prevent genocide, human rights abuses.