On 11th March, the hallway leading to the offices of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights – Serbia (grantee since 2018, current grant £75,000 over one year) was marked with the graffiti messages “Ratko Mladić” and “No divisions”, while the office doors were covered in spray-paint and stickers with photographs of 8 prominent women in Serbian history and the writing “A source of pride and a true Serbian woman, you are unworthy of her shadow” (see pictures attached).
This is not the first time the Youth Initiative has been under attack. In January 2017, after organising a small protest at an event organised by the ruling party where an ICTY convicted war criminal was invited to speak, some of the organisation’s activists were physically attacked. Misdemeanour charges were brought against nine of those activists for disturbing public order, and last summer eight of them were convicted and fined. Following the event the Youth Initiative was defamed in the press. The organisation brought a criminal complaint against the far-right newspaper The Informer, which had published an article with the headline ‘War against foreign mercenaries’ and called the organisation ‘domestic traitors’. In July 2018, the editor of the newspaper was convicted of hate speech.
The organization has issued a public statement – http://www.yihr.rs/en/graffiti-messages-ratko-mladic-and-no-divisions-left-in-the-hallway-leading-to-yihr-office/.
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