Wednesday, October 5, 2011

CoE asks why Serbia banned public gatherings

STRASBOURG, 04.10.2011
Council of Europe (CoE) Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland expressed his surprise over the decision of Serbia to ban all public gatherings on October 2, including the Pride Parade, and requested from Serbian President Boris Tadic to offer a clarification regarding the reason for such a measure.

In a letter to Tadic, Jagland pointed out that the Serbian authorities “have been making steady progress towards full compliance with the obligations resulting from the membership” in the CoE, noting last year's holding of the Pride Parade as an illustration of that.

“The attitude of your authorities before and during the Belgrade Pride in 2010 was a very clear and much appreciated illustration of the resolve of your authorities to uphold the standards and values of the Council of Europe,” Jagland said.

“This is why I was surprised to learn about the decision of the National Security Council to ban all public gatherings on October 2, 2011, including the Pride Parade which had been planned and authorized well in advance,” said the CoE secretary general.

Jagland said he would be grateful if Tadic could provide him with “information on what measures the Serbian authorities have taken in order to allow the Parade to take place” and “for what specific reasons they subsequently considered that it could not take place.”

He also requested clarification on what measures the Serbian authorities are planning to undertake to guarantee the freedom of assembly and association for all groups of society in full compliance with the letter of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Concluding the letter, the CoE secretary general said the information would “without doubt, dispel any concerns about commitment of your authorities to respect, promote, and effectively enforce the high standards of human rights and fundamental treatments.”

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