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Human Rights House attacked in Serbia

This statement was originally published on freedomhouse.org on 22 January 2016.

In response to the vandalism of the Human Rights House office in Belgrade on January 21, Freedom House issued the following statement:

"The property damage at Human Right House is part of the series of violent attacks against journalists, politicians, academics and open-minded government officials in Serbia," said Robert Herman, vice-president for international programs. "The Serbian government seems reluctant to investigate these attacks and unable to prevent them. Authorities are increasingly hostile to civil society as the government turns toward authoritarian rule."

Background:

On January 21, unidentified persons broke windows in the office of Human Rights House in Belgrade. Human Rights House, part of the international Human Rights House Network, includes among its members five prominent Serbian civil society organizations that promote human rights and fundamental freedoms and advocate for government accountability: Civic Initiatives, Belgrade Center for Human Rights, Lawyers' Committee for Human Rights, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, and Policy Center.

As Serbia prepares for EU membership, attacks on the Dean of Political Science Faculty Ilija Vujačić, journalists Davor Pašalić and Ivan Ninić, Assistant Minister of Education Milovan Šuvakov, member of the Anti-Corruption Council Miroslava Milenović, in addition to attacks on several opposition candidates in local elections, remain unresolved.

Serbia is rated Free in Freedom in the World 2015, Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2015, and receives a democracy score of 3.68 on a scale of 1 to 7, with 7 as the worst possible score, in Nations in Transit 2015.

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