Thank you chair
Ambassador Brass welcomes you back to the Permanent Council in your new role as responsible for the OSCE mission to Serbia, and thank you and your team for your detailed report.
It is clear that the mission continues to provide valuable support to Serbia, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. Thanks to the OSCE Democratic Organization Human Rights Authority (ODIHR) for postponing the April elections in Serbia during these extraordinary times and sending a special election evaluation mission for the elections rescheduled on June 21 To do.
Please note that the Serbian government has re-established a working group to address the recommendations of ODIHR. We welcome both the mission and ODIHR to be ready to support efforts to implement these important recommendations prior to the 2022 elections.
Today I would like to focus on three areas covered in your report. Minority community; fight serious and organized crime.
Media freedom is essential for democracy to function effectively. It is important that journalists be able to do their jobs without threats or physical attacks. We are grateful for our commitment and expertise as an honest broker to promote the development of a healthier media environment in Serbia. We welcome continued support for implementing the 2020 Media Strategy based on the agreed action plan.
Without implementation, the strategy makes little sense. We strongly support the Permanent Working Group on the Safety of Journalists and the role of continuing advice and facilitation of your mission in analyzing criminal law. The Republican prosecutor then introduced a 24-hour deadline to begin investigating cases of attacks on journalists.
About Ethnic Minorities – Missions are well-positioned to provide expertise and support, placing great value on local offices in southwestern and southwestern Serbia and their activities at the local level. One of the achievements of this reporting period is the cooperation with the Albanian National Minority Council and the Ministry in providing elementary school textbooks in Albanian. It also emphasizes your work by facilitating dialogue on the further integration of ethnic minorities between southern Serbia and central institutions and encouraging them to participate in future censuses.
Serious and organized crime and corruption devastate communities and ruin their lives. It should be a priority for all national governments to protect their citizens, confuse the criminals involved and bring them to justice. We welcome the Serbian Government’s expressed commitment to address existing issues and recognize the scale of future challenges.
Missions play a valuable role here. We provide expertise and support to build police capabilities, including tackling corruption, cybercrime, money laundering, and identifying early signs of radicalization that can lead to terrorism. In particular, highlight your work with the Serbian Task Force on the fight against trafficking between Hungarian and North Macedonian counterparts, which led to the arrest and conviction of 14 suspects.
I also thank the UK for your work on gender that underpins everything you do. In particular, highlight your publication on “Sexual Harassment in Serbia” and your work on the mission documentary “Language and Reality” that highlights the role that language plays in creating attitudes, including attitudes towards women and men. I will.
Finally, it emphasizes the UK’s support with international partners in the EU-promoted dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo. It is working towards a comprehensive and sustainable normalization agreement that benefits the people of both countries.
Thanks again to Ambassador Brass for reporting the mission. We would also like to thank the team.
OSCE Serbian Mission Head: UK Response
SourceOSCE Serbian Mission Head: UK Response