BELGRADE — The reconstructed House of Human Rights and Democracy opened in Belgrade on Thursday.
It aims “to ensure more comprehensive action in the human rights sector through cooperation between local and international civilian society organizations and thus contribute to the democratization of the society,” Tanjug reported.
The House commenced its work thanks to the facilities provided by the City of Belgrade and the support for reconstruction offered by the Norwegian government. It was officially opened on Thursday by Crown Prince of Norway Haakon Magnus.
Norwegian Ambassador to Serbia Nils Ragnar Kamsvag said that the first House of Human Rights and Democracy opened in Oslo in 1989, and such houses have since opened in Moscow, Istanbul, Sarajevo, Zagreb and other cities.
Since 2011, Belgrade is also on the map of Human Rights and Democracy Houses, he underscored and recalled that the Norwegian Embassy provided assistance in the reconstruction of the facilities.
Serbian Ombudsman Saša Janković said that respect of human rights and rule of law are equally important constitutive values, and noted that the list of political rights does not boil down to political pluralism, freedom of political organization and non-rigged elections.
He congratulated Norway on its success to recognize the need to back the civil society in Serbia.
Janković also congratulated the civil society organizations for strengthening the House, and Serbian citizens for obtaining a better stronghold in the protection of their rights which they need.
Founder and President of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia Sonja Biserko said that Norway is one of the biggest donors for the civil society sector in Serbia.
The House was established in November 2011 and it was founded by the Civic Initiatives, Belgrade Center for Human Rights, Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights and the Center for Practical Politics. The work done by the House of Human Rights and Democracy is organized around three key areas: human rights, transition justice and rule of law.