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Poslao/la: / Sent by Branislav Đurđević, Beograd   
Saturday, 27 June 2009
Combating Discrimination - An Obstacle to Equal Enjoyment of Human Rights and Freedoms
Not only do human rights belong to every human being, but also each individual has all of the rights which civilisation has reached at this stadium of development. Therefore, the combat against discrimination, through nongovernmental organisations, has to be united. I believe that an uniform act, even union of all NGOs, is not only necessary but also (solely) logical in this fight.
Actions for the implementation of these rights must be equally all-inclusive as the rights themselves, because the idea of human rights is without sense unless they belong to everyone, in complete scope. Therefore, the fight against discrimination must aspire to this goal. In some way, there is also to be fought a combat against discrimination in the fight for implementation of the human rights themselves.
NGOs should direct their acts not only to the fight for the human rights of specific groups but also towards everyone’s rights, against all forms of discrimination.
Therefore, the only sensible activity of NGO must have an international character.
An unequaly disposed material wealth appears to be an expressively severe problem on this worldly level.
It is evident that in social expressively indigent environments possibilities for discrimination of ones rights are higher. In other words, a minimum of standard is a prerequisite for the realisation of human rights. Because of this, I believe that establishing minimum of standard for every society member must precede the victory over all forms of discrimination.

In short-term planning, the most effective measure in fight against discrimination are certainly new, strict laws in that field. The best example from domestic legislation is new Law of eliminating discrimination of disabled persons. Its all-inclusiveness certainly deserves every praise. Therefore, fight against discrimination, at least in this field, leads down to questions of legal state and complete obedience of laws of one country.

However, there still remains a whole set of discriminated categories of population whose situation must be solved by suitable laws. One of these categories is in regard to sexual minorities.
I believe that with this issue a compromise should be reached. Namely, a marriage is an institution which has existed as an union of woman and man for such a long period, therefore, it seems appropriate to create a different legal institution, with somewhat narrower concept of rights and obligations, specially regarding to the possibility of child adoption. Discrimination is evident when persons of the same gender are deprived of something by which human rights of other people are not violated (to conclude some legal institution that bears similar rights and duties as marriage) which is the only (and logical) limitation that needs to be imposed in exercising human rights.

As for the evaluation of human rights’ situation in our country, the relevant international nongovernmental organisations review as the main remark the refusal to extradite the accused for the most severe crimes to the ICTY in the Hague.
As a matter of principles, this is the most serious breach of human rights (not punishing for the gravest crimes), and which is, unfortunately, rather difussed. In a wide spectrum of opinions, it is still unsufficiently accepted the one about prosecution of all potential criminals, no matter how the crimes are labeled, from those undisputed, as Srebrenica, to those more hypocritical, like various „righteous wars“ or the so called „collateral damage“.

One of the long-term measures of combat in reparing the human rights situation should also be the role of this subject in the educational system.
I believe that attaching more importance to human rights in educational system is crucial in long-term planning for creating a socially proper manner of thinking, in other words, it is the most significant measure that could influence on peoples’ conscious.
Namely, unless society does not pay more attention to it, there are much greater chances for the future generations (under influence of their environments) to inherit the way of thinking which stimulates discriminational behaviour.
Therefore, a path for expansion of conscious about need of nondiscrimination will be much harder and longer, unless the society does not pay more significance to it, from the earliest age, in order to raise the members of society in right manner.

I would like to emphasize, regarding the racial discrimination, that there is no satisfactory definition of race. Namely, in the scope of the races themselves there are so expressive differences that it is not possible to reach a satisfactory definition. Therefore, I think that the concept of race itself is unnecessary, that it is racism in embryo, as it does not express properly the characteristics of people who settle different climatic regions, which is the main criteria for establishing this division.

In order to fundamentaly eliminate all forms of discimination, it is insufficient only to pass certain laws in this field, but it is also necessary to eliminate the very causes for which I believe to be more complex and profound, and what greatly hinders this process.
In other words, in long-term planning, the fight against discrimination should unfold on two fields: establishing the minimum of capital standard for each society member and combat on coscious level about the necessity in respecting human rights of each individual.
In the purpose of  executing the previosly mentioned task, a social consensus about necessity of those changes is obliged. In other words, without widely spread conscious about the fact that between human being and his rights must stand an equal sign, there is no equal use of human rights.
Elimination of the cause of discrimination must, as well, include changes in individual consious, as only on that way the great majority could democratizate one society. That is due to the fact that democracy is not consisted only of democratic institutions, but also of a democratic individual, as well as of democratic relations among them. By disrespect of human rights of any individual, the essence of democracy itself, and that is, the idea of equality of all its members, is being violated as well.

Therefore, the successfull combat against discrimination must also include what I would call, the moral intelligence, in other words,  the ability of an individual to comprehend the impropriety of acts which are not of any use to the society. I believe that this is a particular kind of intelligence, and furtherly a key for the welfare of a society, as only individuals who are aware of its significance could make their contribution to its improvement. Only those individuals, the moral intelligent ones, could be aware of a fact that descrimination of one member of society could not be beneficial for the society in its totality.
I would like to emphasize that word „moral“ does not signify a group of customs and opinions of one circle, but its very substance (i.e. deepest) meaning, in the sense of virtue, and especially the most supreme law of preservation of human society (that is, of what is in the interest of its preservation). Therefore, in the most plain words, moral intelligence is consideration of behaviour which clashes with the highest possible goal – the survival of human society.
The society is mainly established on the principle of egocentrism, therefore every individual success is being appreciated and respected, no matter how much it is or it is not of benefit for the society itself.
Instead of the accent being on sociality of individual act, i.e. to „individual“ success evaluates through the prism of its social usefulness.
This kind of contemplation could be counterproductive, especially in long-terms, as by the excessive exhaustion of Earth’s resources, we leave less than it belongs to us to our future generations, which furtherly creates environment more inclined to discrimination. And this kind of behaviour, that is, exhaustion of the resources more than it should, is also a consequence of previously mentioned egoistic way of thinking, I would say morally unintelligent behaviour.

Essentially, problems of discriminations recline in one egocentrical kind of contemplation, which is the couse of a much wider spectrum of the most severe problems that burdens the mankind, a kind of contemplation which society furtherly stimulates by its values.
The society which (only) stimulates fight for its own interests could not be a proper foundation for respecting human rights of others, therefore, it is a permenant source of discrimination. Positive law by its forciability surely can make a certain progress in eliminating discrimination, but I believe that it is immanent to a present social system, i.e. principle on which is it based, and deeply rooted into human conscious. Therefore, I think that fight against discrimination is one painstaking and longlasting process, but whose outcome is equally unavoidable as it has been for all other previous successes on a field of human rights and democracy.

Branislav Đurđević                                             
4th of May, 2006. Belgrade
Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade
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