Stop fascism!

Marking the 10th of December, International Human Rights Day

Recently, we have experienced an increase in hate speech, as well as a rise in violence motivated by ethnic, religious, racial, sexual and cultural exclusiveness. Proponents of this ideology and practice that promotes the erasing of all differences, often openly declare themselves followers of various neo-Nazi and clero-fascist ideas and worldviews. Contrary to truly democratic countries, in which such fascism is illegal and publicly shunned, the authorities in Serbia weakly plead for the establishment of European democratic standards. (The aforementioned opposition to ideologies of exclusion, hate and violence is included in those standards.) In practice, authorities are too often indifferent, which creates a space for abuse of pluralism and freedom of speech.

Therefore, on this occasion, we demand:

- The consistent enforcement of the laws which criminalize the provocation of nationally, racially- and religiously-motivated hatred (Article 134 of the Criminal Code prescribes a prison sentence from one to eight years for this felony, but this sentence is enacted very rarely in practice);
- A ban on the abuse of freedom of the press, when the media promotes exclusion, hatred and violence, including the justification or relativization of war crimes;
- A ban on the activities of all organizations (political parties, non-governmental organizations and informal groups) whose activities are motivated by fascist, neo-Nazi, clero-fascist and other totalitarian ideologies;
- The removal from schools of educational material that glorifies violence and contributes to the creation of a society that is defined by national, racial, religious, sexual and other exclusions;
- An increased awareness of the importance of freedom of expression and tolerance. Freedom of speech should not protect calls for the abolition of others’ freedom (or violence against them). Tolerance that produces passivity towards proponents of hate and violence is false tolerance.

In a year in which a democratic world celebrates the 60th anniversary of the victory over fascism, we are inviting all conscientious citizens, as well as all responsible community and political leaders, to stop being afraid that someone will denounce them as intolerant or undemocratic if they consistently demand the standards of European democracy. There should not be a place for ideologies of hate and violence in the public sphere or for their proponents in a democratic society.

Organizations that make these demands:
Anti-Fascist Front, Novi Sad
Anti-Trafficking Center, Belgrade
Center for Cultural Decontamination, Belgrade
Center for Peace and Democratic Development, Belgrade
Center for the Development of Civic Consciousness, Babusnica
Center for Women’s Studies, Belgrade
Center for Youth Recognition, Dimitrovgrad
Civic Action for Human Rights, Priboj
Civic Iniciative, Belgrade
Embers, Kikinda
Fund for Human Rights, Belgrade
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
Impulse, Tutin
Incest Trauma Center, Belgrade
Labris, Belgrade
Modern Woman, Orahovac
National Democratic Movement, Vojvodina
NLO – Novi Sad Lesbian Organization, Novi Sad
Novi Sad Roma Community, Novi Sad
Osmeh, Vrbas
Peščanik, Kruševac
React!, Vojvodina
Reconstruction Women’s Fund, Belgrade
SDU, The Social Democratic Union
SMILE, Vrbas
Social Democratic Alliance, Vojvodina
SOS, Vlasotince
Taboo, Zrenjanin
Vojvodina Regional Party, Novi Sad
Voice of Difference, Belgrade
Women at Work, Belgrade
Women’s Center, Leskovac
Women’s Forum, Prijepolje
Youth Iniciative for Human Rights, Belgrade
YUCOM Lawyers’ Committee, Belgrade
ZMIG, Pancevo

Statement Prepared by:
Women in Black,Belgrade
Esperanca, Novi Sad

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