Stalled anti-discrimination law sparks outrage in Serbia

(BELGRADE) – A Serbian government decision to withdraw a draft parliamentary anti-discrimination bill at the request of religious authorities has sparked outrage, local media reported Thursday.

The draft, passed by the government last month, was unexpectedly withdrown from the statute book late on Wednesday, a day before the begining of a debate, reportedly after the Serbian orthodox church objected to an article banning sexual discrimination, B92 television reported.

“We should be told that in the future we have to send drafts first to the church and than to the government,” the Minister for Labor and social policy Rasim Ljajic told national RTS channel.

“This seriously derogates democratic institutions and changes political rules of a contemporary world,” he said.

Some of the most prominent Serbian NGOs, including the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights, also protested against the government decision, arguing that the church should not be allowed to interfere with legislative procedures.

The law against discrimination is a key step towards European Union visa-free travel status Serbia hopes to reach by the end of this year.

The draft will be sent back to the parliament within a week, after “the government examines church’s objections,” Beta news agency reported, quoting government sources.

Check Also

Five Things Kosovo Must Know Before Doing a Deal with Serbia

Following the election of the new government in Kosovo, the US special presidential envoy for …