Ruzica Banda, Human Rights Officer at OSCE Mission to Serbia, reminded that OSCE recognizes protection and respect of human rights as the core issue of security, therefore it acknowledges the need for creating special mechanism for addressing issues of human rights defenders within OSCE, as it was created in 2007, within ODIHR, Warsaw. ODIHR provides support to civil society and to the states – human rights conventions signatories. Recognizing the importance of civil society and human rights defenders, in 2007 OSCE appointed contact person to independent human rights organizations for implementation monitoring by the signatory States, in addition, the contact person is the focal contact point in cases of serious violations of rights of HRDs.
Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM, OSCE and UN OHCHR organized a human rights defenders meeting at the OSCE offices in Novi Pazar. Meeting was attended by 12 representatives of human rights defenders from Novi Pazar, Priboj, Prijepolje and Tutin as well as representatives of Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, OSCE, UN OHCHR and YUCOM.
Milan Antonijevic, director of YUCOM, reviewed briefly the goals of the meeting. As the number of the human rights defenders is decreasing as well as the sensibility of civil society organizations when it comes to protection of human rights, the second consulting meeting outside Belgrade, was held in Novi Pazar, with the aim to spread the network of human rights defenders. It is necessary to work towards creating mechanisms in support of human rights defenders in order to make their work undisturbed.