Combating hate speech and fostering reconciliation in the countries of Former Yugoslavia

What problem are you solving?:

Hate speech in the countries of former Yugoslavia is very strong since this region emerged from the civil war with embedded misunderstanding towards the needs of others. New countries have the minorities whose mother state is neighboring state which was engaged in the past war. Therefore, some still perceive their fellow citizens as intruders. Politicians are not addressing this problem since they rely on the right wing electorate. Without overcoming the past and achieving reconciliation it is impossible to achieve respect for human rights of minorities living scattered in the region. This project addresses the problem of still present intolerance and misunderstanding among the Balkan nations. The circle of bigotry and chauvinism must be broken in order to bring about positive changes and better future to the region as a whole. This problem is best dealt with on the regional level. That is why this project proposes a regional approach involving several states.

Describe your idea:

The idea is to empower Balkan states citizens to hold their officials’ accountable for pejorative statements towards other nations by collecting signatures condemning the respective statement and generating emails asking for apology. Web site could follow the statements of politicians and initiate a debate on specific questions. A list of politicians in the region could be created disclosing their stance towards the reconciliation process, attitude towards other nations and initiatives addressing the issues related to recent conflict. It would cover Serbia, Kosovo, BIH and Croatia

What country will this operate in?: Serbia

Who are you?:

The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights (Beogradski centar za ljudska prava) was established by a group of human rights experts and activists in February 1995 as a non-profit, non-governmental organisation. The main purpose of the Centre is to study human rights and humanitarian law, to disseminate knowledge about them and to educate individuals engaged in this area. It hopes, thereby, to promote the development of democracy and rule of law in Serbia and other successor states of the former Yugoslavia and societies in transition from authoritarian to democratic rule. The recipients of the services of the Centre and its target groups are members of legislative bodies, law enforcement officers, civil servants, NGO activists, military officers, teaching staff at universities and other educational institutions and their students, journalists, etc.