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Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the situation of human rights defenders, A/HRC/7/28/Add.3, 4 March 2008: Serbia and Kosovo


D. The human rights defenders community

53. Other areas of work include the rights of minorities, discrimination, women’s rights, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights, disability, and children’s rights. Defenders provide legal aid, monitor and report on prisoners’ rights, and conduct human rights education and training. Some defenders file cases at the European Court of Human Rights and refer to the decisions of the Court at the national level.

E. Recommendations

77. Adopt a national plan or strategy on human rights with specific measures for the protection of human rights defenders and their activities. The plan or strategy should include the protection of defenders in vulnerable positions, like women defenders in rural areas and defenders working on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights. The Government should engage non-governmental organizations and other members of civil society in the process of discussion of such a strategy at the national level.


B. The Ahtisaari status proposal

2. Human rights defenders today

107. Defenders working for the rights of lesbians, gays, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons are in a particularly vulnerable situation. They have chosen not to register as an association for fear of being then identified as individuals and harassed or attacked. In the recent past, members of this group were confronted with homophobic episodes at the hands of the police, who did not protect their privacy when they reported cases of attacks. The Special Representative was reassured by the Ministry of Interior, who was aware of these episodes, acknowledged the problem, and was committed to addressing it. Improvements in the attitude of the police were confirmed by defenders working on LGBTI rights, who stressed the need to train the police on these issues. They also pointed to the ostracism they face vis-à-vis other human rights organizations, which, with few exceptions, are openly against considering LGBTI issues as human rights issues.

E. Conclusions and recommendation

10. The role of the international community

153. The process of consultation with civil society and human rights defenders should be institutionalized and systematized so that their active participation in legislative and policy decision-making is ensured, particularly that of defenders working on the human rights of people discriminated against or marginalized. These include defenders working on Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian rights, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) rights.

Link to full text of the report: Mission report-SR Human Rights Defenders-Serbia-2008-eng