A report on the country by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance in 2008 noted the existence of a climate of hostility toward national and ethnic minorities, who constituted 25 to 30 percent of the country’s population and included ethnic Hungarians, Bosniaks, Roma, Slovaks, Romanians, Vlachs, Bulgarians, Croats, Albanians, and others. Sixty-eight out of 169 municipalities in Serbia are multiethnic.

Roma, who constituted 1.4 percent of the population in the 2002 census but whose actual number was estimated at 5.4 percent according to the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights, continued to be the most vulnerable minority community. Roma were the targets of verbal and physical harassment from ordinary citizens, police violence, and societal discrimination.

On October 7, the city of Belgrade evicted 36 Roma from an informal settlement on Vojvodjanska Street to clear land for construction. According to NGO reports, the government did not provide alternative accommodation or legal assistance.

During the year there were reports of violence against members of minority groups. In January in Temerin in Vojvodina, there were two separate attacks on two Hungarians, who were beaten after they told assailants they were Hungarians. Police identified assailants in the first incident.

On June 11, following the killing of a Serbian teenager by a Romani resident, violent protests against Roma broke out in the Jabuka village in Vojvodina. For several days, Serbs from the village demonstrated in front of Romani homes, throwing rocks and chanting anti-Romani slogans. The gendarmerie only reacted to protect Roma after four days of protest. Police arrested six individuals for incitement of racial and national hatred and intolerance. Five were being tried at the end of the year.

There were also numerous reports of vandalism and graffiti against minorities. For example, on April 16, unknown assailants in Backi Monostor in Vojvodina sprayed the Democratic Association of Croats in Vojvodina with chauvinistic anti-Croatian graffiti.

There were no developments and none were expected in the March 2009 incidents in which unidentified individuals speaking Serbian attacked Eliot Balog, a Hungarian, in Sombor and approximately 15 youths attacked Congor Ka, also a Hungarian, in Temerin.

The investigation continued into an April 2009 series of attacks on Roma in the town of Cacak.

8 April 2011

The full text of the report is available here.