The Center for Development of Civil Society (CDCS) has received with serious concern the news that Serbian government discusses on the abolishing Ministry for human and minority rights and Ministry of Religion such as separate ministries.

The intention to put the affairs regarding human and minority rights under jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice is damaging in many aspects.

The CDCS warns that the situation regarding protection of minority rights is not such that managing a possible crisis in relations of potentially opposed groups could be conferred to the ministry which is rather inefficient by the nature of the area it comprises, such as the Ministry of Justice. CDCS reminds that the experience from the period of frequent ethnic incidents in 2003-2005 showed that it is necessary for the Ministry for Human and Minority rights to exist out of these reasons.

The Ministry of Justice has not had capacity yet to successfully ensure the rights of members of national minorities to be educated, informed, to officially use their language and alphabet, preserve national culture and exercise an active participation in public life. It cannot successfully solve the problem of religion-based discrimination. At the moment, it does not have capacity to solve the problem of discrimination of disabled persons, homophobia or neo-Nazi violence.

The abolishing of the mentioned Ministries leads to the decreasing of the achieved level of human rights in Serbia.

The Center for Development of Civil Society, 08.03.2010.

Pešč, 07.03.2010.