Is the state
of Serbia willing to protect all its citizens without exception?
Belgrade, February 8, 2007
The assault by "a group of citizens" at the President
of the Democratic Association of the Roma and his activists on Tuesday,
February 6, 2007, members of the traffic police were not only watching
passively but also inciting through remarks of the "Those Gypsies have
raised their heads too much" type is yet another in the series of
ominous events of the past 10-odd days testifying of the extent to which
fascist ideas and a distorted value system imbue the Serbian society.
The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia
demands police authorities and other state institutions to thoroughly
and responsibly investigate the case that can be hardly labeled an
isolated incident of overt discrimination, and hatred and intolerance
for those who are different. This is yet another test for state
institutions to show whether Serbia - "the state of the Serbs and other
citizens living in it" - is capable of respecting the rule of law to
which it committed herself in her new Constitution. That test is the
more so important since it involves public servants and members of the
police force, who, by the logic of things, should be in the frontline of
the struggle against racism, xenophobia and violence.