The Serb National Council (SNV) presented its annual report on Tuesday, warning of cases of hate speech and violence targeting ethnic Serbs, including physical assaults, threats and property destruction, and expressing concern about a slow and inadequate reaction from the state authorities.
The SNV said that historical revisionism and views denying the legacy of the anti-fascist struggle during the Second World War were not rare and were mostly directed against the Serbs, resulting in hatred and violence.
SNV president Milorad Pupovac noted that the legislative framework included provisions that should prevent such manifestations, but they were not applied systematically and uniformly. He cited inconsistent court practice in the treatment of the Ustasha salute “For the Homeland Ready.”
Pupovac said that the legislative changes were not sufficient if not supported by appropriate education and media policies. He said that other people too were targeted by hate speech and historical revisionism.
“Rudeness, intolerance and hatred are the three worrying types of discourse when it comes to any differences, opposed views or identity. They can be stopped only if we fight for tolerance and discussion,” Pupovac said.
The author of the report, Tihomir Ponos, said that the findings were similar to those from previous years, but that the number of attacks was lower than in 2019, possibly partly due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A total of 214 cases of historical revisionism, hate speech and violence against Serbs were recorded in 2020, compared to 400 in 2019 and 381 to 2018.
The most frequent were insults and threats made against Serbs and Serb institutions in Croatia (50 cases), hate speech and ethnic intolerance in the media (3), ethnic intolerance and historical revisionism in statements by public figures (35), graffiti and insignia expressing hate speech and ethnic intolerance (30), physical assaults (21), hate speech and ethnic intolerance at sporting events (8), damaged or stolen property of individuals and Serb institutions (8), damaged or destroyed anti-fascist monuments (7), damaged or destroyed bilingual boards (3).
The SNV also expressed concern about a growing number of ethnic-based physical assaults in the eastern town of Vukovar, and the spraying of Ustasha insignia on the walls of public buildings and monuments.