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Report of the UPR Working Group on Serbia
March 19, 2009

UN Human Rights Council Tenth Regular Session

Consideration of UPR Reports

Report of the UPR Working Group on Serbia

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Mark Cassayre

March 19, 2009

The United States appreciates that Serbia’s Constitution bans direct and indirect discrimination. We urge the government to intensify its efforts to enforce this provision, and hope that Serbia’s establishment of a Protector of Citizens as an independent public authority will prove to be an important step in that direction..

The United States expresses continuing concern over the discrimination against minorities in education, employment, housing, and health, and we appreciate Serbia’s commitment to continue current positive steps to promote equality and non-discrimination.

Corruption remains a serious problem in Serbia. We recognize the Serbian government’s efforts to bring to justice several judges and prosecutors charged with corruption. Serbia’s engagement of representatives of civil society in the reform of the judiciary and in legislative policy is a positive development.
We note that trafficking remains a significant problem in Serbia, and we encourage adoption of the draft amendment to the Criminal Code that introduces harsher punishment of traffickers.

The United States shares the concerns of the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Opinion regarding limitations on the independence of the media. We hope Serbia will adopt the recommendation found in the Working Group report to ensure journalists are able to report on sensitive issues without fear of harassment or reprisal.

The United States notes that Kosovo is now independent and that Serbia does not exercise any governing authority over Kosovo. In future reviews, Serbia should focus its UPR report on its domestic situation, and not purport to evaluate human rights in the Republic of Kosovo.

Thank you.