Saturday, 10 December 2016

Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality Committee Chairman Meho Omerovic on International Human Rights Day

Human rights are the cornerstone of every democratic society. However, the times we live in are full of challenges, both globally and in our own country.

Today’s word is interconnected and the fallout of wars, human rights violations and poverty in countries which at first glance seem far away, leave a mark on our society. Just like our citizens showed humanity to the numerous refuges and migrants that travelled and continue to travel through our country, such understanding should be shown to the many marginalised groups living among us whose human rights suffer the most.

We have an excellent legal framework, very detailed and precise strategies and action plans, we have built the foundation for institutions in charge of protecting human rights, but the fact remains – we have to do more. Unfortunately, we still have people who are discriminated against, women who suffer violence, children victims of sexual abuse and peer violence and other violations of human rights.

We do not pass laws to meet international obligations. Laws have to be enforced efficiently so as to prevent human rights violations. But if those do happen, which is far from rare, those whose rights are threatened should have efficient legal protection, and those in violations should be held accountable and sanctioned.

As an EU candidate country, by assuming the obligations it did through the action plans for chapters 23 and 24, Serbia has demonstrated its resolve to harmonise its regulations with EU standards and advance the state of human rights. However, each of us should work on building a society of equal opportunities and raising the level of human rights, and the chief preconditions for it are mutual respect and understanding, dialogue and tolerance. I truly believe that, despite all the treats and challenges of the times we live in, we can achieve these goals.

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