The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a programme of FIDH and OMCT, requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia).
Brief description of the situation :
The Observatory has received information from the Humanitarian Law Center (HLC) that Natasa Kandic, executive director of the Humanitarian Law Foundation, and Duska Anastijevic, expert co-worker of the Foundation were stopped by the Police on 2nd August 2000, as they were on their way to attend a panel discussion organised by VK Radio, entitled " Human Rights Campaign " in Kikinda (Serbia).
According to the information received, they were stopped at 18H45 in their car, at a checkpoint at the entrance of Kikinda, along with Rasmila Dragicevic, a recently dismissed judge and Branko Ilic, an Otpor activist.
After an identity check the police confiscated the identity cards of the team, and attempted to take them to the Kikinda police station for informative talks. When they refused to go with the Police until they were informed of the reasons for their being taken, the police detained them in the checkpoint without any explanation. At about 8 pm, when people from Kikinda, among which public authorities, came to protest against their detention, they were finally released and were able to attend the meeting.
The Observatory considers these facts as a new illustration of the systematic harassment lead by Serbian authorities and security forces against human rights activists and democratic movements. Moreover, they constitute grave violation of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 9th December 1998, and in particular of its Article 1 which mandates that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels ".
Action requested :
Please write to the authorities urging them to:
i. put an end to any kind of harassment against the above mentioned persons and all defenders of democracy in the country, and ensure that they be allowed to carry out their work without obstacles;
ii. abide by the provisions of the Declaration on the Protection of Human Rights Defenders adopted on the 9th of December 1998, by the U.N. General Assembly ("Declaration on the right and responsibility of individuals, groups and organs of society to promote and protect universally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms"), particularly, Article 1 (see above) and Article 6.c which mandates that "everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on the observance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and through these and other appropriate means, to draw public attention to those matters".
iii. more generally abide by the Universal declaration on Human Rights and Covenants and international Conventions ratified by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Slobodan Milosevic.
The Minister of the Interior. Fax +381113618366
Momir Bulatovic, Federal Prime Minister, Office of the Federal Prime Minister, Palace of Federation, Belgrade, Serbia, Yugoslavia. Fax +38111637185
Paris - Geneva, 3rd August 2000
Kindly inform the Observatory of any action undertaken, quoting the code number of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory, a joint FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
To contact the Observatory, call the Emergency Line:
Fax : 33 (0) 1 55 80 83 92 Tel. : FIDH 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 OMCT : + 41 22 809 49 39 E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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