10 December 2020 National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic addresses the conference

10 December 2020 National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic addresses the conference

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Dacic: Republic of Serbia Strongly Committed to Constant and Engaged Protection of Fundamental Human Rights

The Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic addressed the conference “Impact of the Corona Virus COVID-19 Pandemic on Human Rights in Serbia”, organised by the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights and Social Dialogue to mark 10 December, International Human Rights Day.


At the very beginning of his address, Dacic congratulated everyone on the International Human Rights Day and pointed out that 72 years since its adoption, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights still represents the civilizational foundation of every society and every state.

"It obliges us to always keep it in front of us as a guide on how to constantly improve the society that we live in," said Ivica Dacic.

The National Assembly Speaker said that the year that is coming to an end has been a year of enormous challenges for the whole world, for all nations that strive for progress and constant improvement of the lives of all people and the protection of all of their rights.

"The foundation modern societies were built on was also hit by the natural disaster, and it is contained in the list of 49 basic human rights mentioned in the Universal Declaration. Many of these inalienable and indivisible rights are still threatened today - above all the right to life, the right to work, dignity and social security. Under the impact of the pandemic, the world community, which the Republic of Serbia fully belongs to, has faced a great test of the values it is based on. We still do not know if we passed the test, because it is still bot over, but we know that we have been ready at times and that we defended the fundamental values and human rights, because we recognized that they were endangered ", said Dacic and reminded everyone that, immediately after the outbreak of the epidemic at the beginning of the year, the Republic of Serbia set the protection of the health and lives of its citizens, especially the elderly, sick and endangered, as the main priority of its struggle.

"Serbia has put all of its resources, human, material, financial, in the function of protecting public health, followed immediately by protecting jobs, social rights, the right to education and other fundamental rights, which have come under attack around the world. We have succeeded in that, we can already say that with full responsibility. We have preserved health, as well as social and economic well-being to the extent that we could be the envy of many more developed and wealthier countries with better social resources at their disposal with which they themselves set out to fight all the consequences of the pandemic," said Dacic.

He said that in difficult times, Serbia has not only preserved the fundamental values and rights that define it as an advanced, humane and orderly society, but has also managed to improve its overall social environment.

As a special value, Dacic pointed out a boon we rediscovered during the current crisis, and that is solidarity at all levels. "This somewhat forgotten virtue, which we have been proud of for centuries, has been fully expressed by our society during these difficult months, and we should be proud of it as a community."

"We helped each other, we cared for the elderly, the poor and the sick, our doctors and medical staff are still investing great efforts into fulfilling their humanitarian duty… Without such unity, solidarity and responsibility towards others, we would not be able to cope with the pandemic, and that should stay with us as a permanent common virtue after the crisis is over", said the National Assembly Speaker.

Speaking of the institution he heads, Dacic said he was more than satisfied that it was clearly indicated at the very beginning of his mandate that the area of human rights would be one of the priorities of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

"On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, I would like to reaffirm the strong commitment of the Republic of Serbia to the constant and engaged protection of fundamental human rights. I am sure I am speaking on behalf of all the MPs, whom I represent here, as well as on behalf of the political party I belong to and our friends and partners from the Serbian Progressive Party, because the values we are talking about here today and whose further promotion and protection we once again commit ourselves to, are fundamental for our political activity ", said Ivica Dacic, Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

The following is the speech of the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia in its entirety:

“Dear Prime Minister,

Dear members of the Government of the Republic of Serbia,

Distinguished representatives of independent human rights bodies,

Distinguished ambassadors and representatives of international and domestic human rights organizations,

I congratulate you on International Human Rights Day, when, together with the whole world, we reaffirm our commitment to achieving the goals and obligations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UN Declaration, even after 72 years since its adoption, represents the civilizational foundation of every society and every state. It obliges us to always keep it in front of us as a guide on how to constantly improve the society that we live in.

The year that is coming to an end has been a year of enormous challenges for the whole world, for all nations that strive for progress and constant improvement of the lives of all people and protection of all of their rights. The foundation modern societies were built on was also hit by the natural disaster, and it is contained in the list of 49 basic human rights mentioned in the Universal Declaration. Many of these inalienable and indivisible rights are still threatened today - above all the right to life, the right to work, dignity and social security. Under the impact of the pandemic, the world community, which the Republic of Serbia fully belongs to, has faced a great test of the values it is based on. We still do not know if we passed the test, because it is still bot over, but we know that we have been ready at times and that we defended the fundamental values and human rights, because we recognized that they were endangered.

I would like to remind you that, immediately after the outbreak of the epidemic at the beginning of the year, the Republic of Serbia set the protection of the health and lives of its citizens, especially the elderly, the sick and the endangered, as the main priority of its struggle. Serbia has put all of its resources, human, material, financial, in the function of protecting public health, followed immediately by protecting jobs, social rights, the right to education and other fundamental rights, which have come under attack around the world. We have succeeded in that, we can already say that with full responsibility. We have preserved health, as well as social and economic well-being to the extent that we could be the envy of many more developed and wealthier countries with better social resources at their disposal with which they themselves set out to fight all the consequences of the pandemic.

In difficult times, Serbia has not only preserved the fundamental values and rights that define it as an advanced, humane and orderly society, but has also managed to improve its overall social environment. Above all, its economy, which has continued to grow in almost impossible conditions, thus preserving the foundation that many fundamental human rights are based on. We owe this primarily to the many years of responsible management of the economic environment, public finances and all those mechanisms that make a system stable and resistant to unexpected challenges.

On the day we emerge from the unprecedented epidemiological crisis, and that day is approaching, we will be able to pride ourselves at the fact that during that crisis, and even after it, we will not narrow or revise any of the rights our citizens enjoyed before the crisis. Because Serbia managed the crisis by taking care primarily of the citizens, their rights and well-being, and not interests in some other spheres - such as politics, global economy and competition in that field, as many countries in the world did.

As a special value and, I would say, a boon that we rediscovered during the current crisis, is solidarity at all levels. This somewhat forgotten virtue, which we have been proud of for centuries, has been fully expressed by our society during these difficult months, and we should be proud of it as a community. We helped each other, we cared for the elderly, the poor and the sick, our doctors and medical staff are still investing great efforts into fulfilling their humanitarian duty… Without such unity, solidarity and responsibility towards others, we would not be able to cope with the pandemic, and that should stay with us as a permanent common virtue after the crisis is over.

As for the institution I am heading, the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia, I can only express my satisfaction that at the very beginning of its mandate it clearly indicated that the area of human rights will be one of the priorities in its work. As you know, one of the first decisions of this parliamentary legislature was the election of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, to whom I would like to wish success on this occasion and reiterate my readiness for full cooperation. Of course, the same goes for the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance, as well as for the Ombudsman, because I am convinced that neither their, nor the work of the parliament can be efficient and to the benefit of the citizens, without close mutual cooperation. Also, these days we have renewed the work of the Women's Parliamentary Network, an informal, but very important and influential political body, which systematically deals with the protection of women's rights, especially the eradication of violence against women.

Ladies and gentlemen,

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, I would like to reaffirm the strong commitment of the Republic of Serbia to the constant and engaged protection of fundamental human rights. I am sure I am speaking on behalf of all the MPs, whom I represent here, as well as on behalf of the political party I belong to and our friends and partners from the Serbian Progressive Party, because the values we are talking about here today and whose further promotion and protection we once again commit ourselves to, are fundamental for our political activity. We are convinced that the vast majority of our citizens share our goals and are ready to work diligently with us on their preservation and constant improvement. Having already shown this in these difficult times of the health crisis, which I believe is mostly behind us, we will show it even more convincingly in the period ahead.

Thank you!"



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