Serbia partially applies ECRI recommendation on banning MPs' hate speech

Source: REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

Serbia made no progress in implementing the Council of Europe (CoE) Secretariat against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) recommendations to prohibit the hate speech in the Parliament and to proportionately employ Roma population and other minorities in the public sector, N1 reported on Tuesday.

The report concerns “only the specific interim follow-up recommendations and does not aim at providing a comprehensive analysis of all developments in the fight against racism and intolerance” in Serbia.

In the report adopted on April 7 and published on June 2, ECRI says it “regrets that no progress has been made with regard to the adoption of rules by the Serbian Government that would prohibit the use of hate speech by its members and contain sanctions for the breach of its provisions and effective reporting channels.”

 ECRI adds it records some progress in recommendations regarding the denial of war crimes, but says those rules “need further strengthening and that they should contain a coherent and appropriate prohibition of hate speech.”

The Secretariat concluded that “this recommendation has been partly implemented.”

Regarding the second issue, the number of Roma and members of other minorities employed in the public sector, the report says that “Serbia remains far from being proportionate and that the progress made with the implementation of this recommendation remains narrow.”

“Furthermore, ECRI did not receive any information regarding the question of whether they benefit from equally stable working conditions as other civil servants. Given the described improvements, it concludes that this recommendation has been partly implemented,“ the ECRI report adds.

Serbia’s Government has provided some of  the data based on which the report was made, but “at the same time, ECRI gathers relevant information itself.”

Based on this information and the response from the Government, ECRI draws up its conclusions on how its recommendations have been followed up,” the report says.