The Committee against Torture considered the second periodic report of Serbia (CAT/C/SRB/2) at its 1304th and 1307th meetings, held on 29 and 30 April 2015 (see CAT/C/SR.1304 and 1307), and adopted the following concluding observations at its 1322nd and 1323rd meetings, held on 12 May 2015.
Attacks on journalists, human rights defenders and minorities
- The Committee is highly concerned that human rights defenders, journalists, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons and members of the Roma community continue to be attacked, threatened and intimidated. It regrets the lack of complete statistics on the number of complaints of and convictions for threats and attacks on these groups and on measures taken to prevent such acts. The Committee is also greatly concerned at reports that law enforcement authorities fail to act with due diligence in investigating and punishing these cases and in applying legal provisions for crimes motivated by hate (arts. 2, 12, 13 and 16).
The Committee calls on the State party to publicly condemn threats and attacks on human rights defenders, journalists, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons and members of the Roma community and refrain from supporting, through action or omission, such attacks by ensuring:
(a) The effective protection of these groups against threats and attacks to which they may be exposed on account of their activities, sexual orientation or ethnic origin;
(b) Prompt, thorough and effective investigations of all threats and attacks targeting these groups, including any alleged discriminatory motives that may provoke these actions, and guaranteeing that those responsible are tried and punished in accordance with the gravity of their acts;
(c) Effective training of law-enforcement officials and the judiciary on hate-motivated crimes and the systematic monitoring of such crimes;
(d) Awareness-raising measures to counter prejudice and stereotypes, and policies to combat and prevent hate-related crimes and discrimination, in particular on the basis of sexual orientation, identity or ethnic origin.
- The Committee requests the State party to provide, by 15 May 2016, follow-up information in response to the Committee’s recommendations on taking steps to ensure in practice that detained persons undergo an independent medical examination from the outset of the deprivation of liberty (see para. 9 (a) above) and publicly condemning and investigating threats to and attacks on human rights defenders, journalists, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons and members of the Roma community (see para. 19 above).