by Rex Wockner
Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe’s human-rights commissioner, said March 11 that Serbia is doing a bad job of protecting gay people.
“Discriminatory statements made by political figures and the media go largely unpunished,” he said. “Human rights activists in particular are victims of intolerance, hate speech and threats, sometimes resulting in physical attacks. Such instances must be condemned from the highest political level and sanctioned appropriately.”
Founded in 1949, the Council of Europe seeks to develop common democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other texts. Forty-seven nations are members of the body.
On March 10, Human Rights Watch urged Serbia to relaunch efforts to pass a gay-inclusive anti-discrimination bill that recently was removed from active consideration in Parliament following objections from the Serbian Orthodox Church.