On the occasion of Human Rights Day 2016, the United Nations Country Team in Serbia, the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade, and the OSCE Mission to Serbia have taken the opportunity to recall their commitment to equal dignity and rights for all.
As elsewhere, the health, vibrancy and resilience of Serbian society depend on human solidarity and mutual understanding. Respect for pluralism and the celebration of diversity enrich democracy and strengthen society.
Legitimate and mutually-recognising democratic institutions; an efficient and independent judiciary; independent, pluralist and responsible media; freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and freedom of association; and inclusive societies constitute the fundamental building blocks of democratic security. Participation in democracy makes society dynamic and better able to counter new challenges.
Pluralism, broad-mindedness and a genuine commitment to advancing equality are fundamental to development. The protection and promotion of human rights defenders, as well as the inclusion of vulnerable groups, are intrinsic to human rights-based democracies.
A range of forces including those resulting from xenophobia, racism, populism, and other forms of intolerance pose real threats now to human rights.
The United Nations Country Team in Serbia, the Council of Europe Office in Belgrade, and the OSCE Mission to Serbia remind that they stand side-by-side with Serbia’s institutions and its people in building and maintaining a strong and vibrant democracy. International human rights law and standards provide the basis for these efforts.
We call on all people to stand up for someone’s rights today. Without concerted action to uphold human rights close to home, we shall look in vain for progress in the wider world. It is only through common efforts and solidarity that human rights will prevail.