Serbia Country Guide The Serbia Country Guide was produced by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) and the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights (BCHR). The Country Guide is a compilation of publicly available information from international institutions, local NGOs, governmental agencies, businesses, media and universities, among others. International and domestic sources are identified on the basis of their expertise and relevance to the Serbiancontext, as well as their timeliness and impartiality. The survey of publicly available, international sources was originally carried out by BCHR in 2013 with significant consultation of local stakeholders. The Guide was now comprehensively updated in 2016. It is part of an on-going effort by the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights to conduct a comprehensive National Baseline Assessment on Human Rights and Business, which could form the basis for a Serbian National Action Plan on Human Rights and Business. The Baseline assessment, which was produced based on the Danish Institute and ICARs National Action Plan Toolkit, will be published in the second half of 2016. The completed Country Guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview, on the basis of the information available, of the ways in which companies do or may impact human rights in Serbia. The current Country Guide is not meant as an end product, or a final determination of country conditions. It is intended to be the basis, and the beginning, of a process of dissemination, uptake and modification. Read the full Country Guide in English here Read the full Country Guide in Serbian here

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Planned power plants in the Balkans need review as EU adopts tougher pollution standards

3 May 2017 — The European Union has...approved an updated set of binding standards for power plants, which include new, stricter pollution limits. The standards, known as the LCP BREF...will help prevent thousands of premature deaths caused by air pollution from coal power plants, by restricting emissions of sulphur dioxide, dust, nitrous oxides, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen fluoride and mercury...[A]s soon as the new standards are published in the EU’s Official Journal later this year, they will also apply to new plants across most of the region. Therefore, governments in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – where planned new coal power plants are most likely to be affected by the updated BREF – need to revisit investment plans to ensure the project designs are indeed in line with the new standards and consider the possible financial implications.

Serbia: Citizens renew protests against Eagle Hills' waterfront development project over concerns about lack of transparency, public consultation & govt. inaction

30 Sep 2016 — "Serbia Waterfront activists renew protest marches", 29 September 2016 ...Activists from “Let’s not drown Belgrade” ["Ne davimo Beograd"] - the civic movement set up to oppose the controversial Belgrade Waterfront project - said a new protest will take which organisers intend to “remind the prosecution of their duties”. "We want to remind them what their job is,” Dobrica Veselinovic, from the movement, said. “Despite the passage of five months since the night-time demolitions in Hercegovacka Street and despite Prime Minister [Aleksandar] Vucic saying that top city officials were responsible for the demolitions, there are still no results from the prosecution," he added...[A] counsellor to the OSCE mission in Serbia, Maurizio Salustro...said it was clear that the demolitions were “planned at a high level”...The government believes the UAE-backed Waterfront project will transform the long neglected riverside area of the capital. Opponents say the deal with developers was not transparent, is against the national interest, while the proposed development will only serve the purposes of the wealthy.  

Les droits des travailleuses et des travailleurs affaiblis presque partout dans le monde en 2016, selon la Confédération Syndicale Internationale

27 Sep 2016 — (Crédit photo : Confédération Syndicale Internationale)

South Korean firm maltreat workers in Serbia

4 Jul 2016 — Yura, South Korean corporation which has several factories in Serbia, has by far the worst attitude toward workers, when compared with other foreign investors in the country. Zeljko Veselinovic, president of the trade union “Sloga”, said this commenting 15 minutes strike in Yura’s factory in Leskovac...“Our battle with Yura lasts already five years”, Veselinovic told “Danas” daily. “They have been hitting (workers) with metal sticks, harassed women, although there were no rape cases. They forbade them (female workers) to go to toilet and suggested them to wear diapers for adults. If someone gets sick, they call ambulance to come to factory and if worker is not hospitalized she is obliged to get back to work”, Veselinovic explained adding that many complaints have been submitted against Yura. However, nothing has been resolved so far, he stressed.

Serbia: YURA Corp.'s factory workers complain about alleged abuses including beatings, sexual harassment, non-payment of wages & denial of freedom of association

4 Jul 2016 — During our mission to Serbia in June 2016, we learnt about alleged abuses against YURA Corporation's factory workers including beatings, sexual harassment, non-payment of wages & denial of freedom of association. The same month we invited YURA Corporation to respond to these allegations, but it did not. In September 2016 we invited Hyundai Motor Group and Kia Motors, firm's reported major customers, to comment on articles alleging workers’ rights abuses at YURA Corporation in Serbia. The companies did not respond. Materials with full information and YURA Corporation's non-response are below.

Serbian workers struggling with ‘widespread’ poor conditions

4 Jul 2016 — Government pandering to investors, inadequate labour legislation and a slow-moving judiciary are some of the reasons for widespread violations of workplace rights in Serbia, trade unions believe. Beating workers with metal sticks if they bend over while working, ordering them to wear nappies so they don’t waste time going to the toilet, asking them to do unpaid extra hours or work on public holidays, and firing them for arguing – these are just some of the complaints that employees of Yura, a South Korean company based in the town of Leskovac, raised...Yura has declined to comment on the alleged violations of workplace rights...Zeljko Veselinovic, the president of the association of Serbian trade unions, Sloga, told BIRN that unfair labour legislation and slow-moving employment tribunals are the key reasons why Serbian workers cannot get protection from bullying tactics by management.

YURA Corporation did not respond

4 Jul 2016

Serbia: Journalists face smear campaigns after exposing corruption by govt. officials related to private companies

23 Jun 2016 — "Serbian Newspaper Attacks KRIK", 19 March 2016 A Serbian tabloid has alleged that a respected journalism non-profit is attempting to overthrow the Serbian government, citing information that appears to have come from secret services, intelligence or surveillance. A number of journalism organizations have condemned the tabloid Informer for what is being viewed as a political attack on a respected online newspaper...In a Television Pink interview...the tabloid’s editor revealed in advance a story KRIK reporters were working on — that the Prime Minister has large real estate assets in Belgrade hidden under names of family Belgrade mayor Sinisa Mali’s alleged involvement in corrupt privatizations, an alleged past murder by Serbia’s Health Minister when he worked as a doctor for the Zemun Clan and footage of Serbia’s Foreign Minister meeting with an associate of convicted cocaine smuggler Darko Saric. 

Serbia: Protesters raise concerns about lack of transparency & public consultation on Belgrade Waterfront development project backed by Eagle Hills

15 Jun 2016 — Belgrade Waterfront is a development project initiated in 2014 between the Serbian government and Eagle Hills, a leading Abu Dhabi-based private investment and development company. The project includes office and luxury apartment buildings, Belgrade Park, Sava Promenada, five-star hotels, Belgrade Mall and Belgrade Tower.

Seven of 15 former Soviet countries have become “consolidated authoritarian regimes”, says new report; fall in oil prices linked to lack of transparency, accountability

13 Apr 2016 — "Nations in tansit 2016: Europe and Eurasia brace for impact", 12 April 2016 While illiberal nationalism rose in Europe, with Central European leaders closing borders and denouncing refugees and migrants as a threat to the nation, financial pressures brought about by falling oil prices and worker remittances undermined the economies of Russia and most former Soviet states. The risk is that these separate developments could converge, with the collapse of Eurasian states adding to Europe’s growing list of troubles...In the Eurasian half of the Nations in Transit region, the collapse in global commodity prices, especially oil, drove Russia into recession and triggered similarly desperate currency crises and budget shortfalls in the petrostates of Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan. The decline rippled through the non-energy economies of the Eurasian periphery that are dependent on Russia through subsidies and migrant labor: Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan...Seven of the 15 countries of the former Soviet Union are now consolidated authoritarian regimes at the very bottom of the Nations in Transit scale, with Democracy Scores approaching the worst-possible 7.00. Over 224 million people live in these countries, accounting for 77 percent of the total population of the former Soviet Union and 55 percent of the total population of the Nations in Transit coverage area.