The Youth Initiative for Human Rights welcomes the vote of Serbian representative to adopt a UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

 This important decision must be accompanied by concrete peace messages and actions in Serbia that are against the war, and therefore we call on the highest representatives of the institutions of the Republic of Serbia and representatives of all pro-democratic electoral lists and parties to condemn the rally in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and to support anti-war gathering against the Russian invasion of Ukraine which will take place on Sunday, March 6, at 2 pm in front of the Cultural Center of Belgrade.

The rally in support of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which is announced for Friday, March 4, in Belgrade, is being organized by the extremist organization People’s Patrols. The People’s Patrols, an organization of right-wing extremists led by Damjan Knežević, is known for the violence that often aims at migrants and refugees, as well as glorifying convicted war criminals and Vladimir Putin’s autocratic regime.

At a time when the number of civilian victims of the war in Ukraine is growing day by day, we believe that representatives of both the government and the opposition are obliged to condemn any kind of celebration of the destruction of this country that the public in Serbia has been witnessing for several days. Additionally, Serbian politicians must express a clear stance that Serbia’s future is not in Putin’s Russia but in the European Union.

At this moment, there is no place for tacit support for extremists who wish to expel all those who do not fit into their nationalist-patriarchal framework, and the reactions of political actors, state bodies and institutions to such gatherings must be timely, clear, and unambiguous.

It is the duty of those who declare themselves as pro-democratic and pro-European political options in today’s Serbia to show solidarity with the victims of the war in Ukraine as well as with the victims of autocratic regimes in Russia and Belarus. They have the opportunity to do so on March 6, by coming to a rally against the invasion of Ukraine, where a message of support will be sent to all those who are disempowered by war and violence.