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Declaring a State of Emergency: What does it mean for people in Serbia?

The President of the Republic announced today the decision to declare a state of emergency, due to the danger of the coronavirus spreading. Along with the decision, he announced certain measures which would be introduced within the state of emergency. These measures entail closing of schools, kindergartens, faculites, as well as sports activities. A sentence of up to 3 years of prison was also announced for those who violate the decision on isolation, as well as the mandatory quarantine for Serbian citizens coming from abroad.

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Serbia’s COVID-19 Lockdown Takes an Authoritarian Turn

Serbian NGO Lawyers’ Committee For Human Rights (YUCOM) say they have also received similar reports.

“In a state of emergency it is possible to restrict individual human rights, however, if citizens are not adequately informed about their rights and obligations, we have a serious threat to the right to legal certainty,” Milena Vasic of YUCOM told KRIK.

Press releases
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The state institutions should fight against the coronavirus, not the freedom of media

We draw the attention of the domestic and international public to the unacceptable recent moves by the state authorities in Serbia during the state of emergency introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which undermine democracy, rule of law, basic human rights and especially freedom of media. We condemn the arrest of Nova.rs journalist Ana Lalić, to whom the Novi Sad Police Department imposed a measure of detention of up to 48 hours on April 1, 2020 because, as her lawyer stated, she is suspected that she could repeat the crime, publishing articles which are causing panic and chaos.

Projects
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Defending the Defenders

The main goal of the project is to strengthen the capacities of human rights defenders both nationally and locally in Serbia. The project aims to improve the situation for human rights defenders such that they can perform their tasks with more confidence; advocate for greater alignment of the existing legislation to international human rights standards; and develop an early warning mechanism for reporting breaches of rights and pressures.