US Embassy in Belgrade on Vulin’s pejorative for Albanians: We know the dangers caused by offensive speech - Gazeta Express

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Gazeta Express

10/02/2021 13:28

US Embassy in Belgrade on Vulin’s pejorative for Albanians: We know the dangers caused by offensive speech

English

Gazeta Express

10/02/2021 13:28

The High Court in Belgrade has rejected as unfounded a lawsuit of the President of Albanian National Minority Council in Serbia, Ragmi Mustafa, suing Serbian Minister of Interior, Aleksandar Vulin, for using a pejorative for Albanians. The decision was interpreted as a legalization of using the derogatory term “Shiptari” against Albanians. The US Embassy in Belgrade told Gazeta Express that using of such demeaning names to describe minority groups might cause pain and lingering division.

Albanian Member of Parliament in Serbia, Shaip Kamberi, said that the Court has already institutionalized the hate speech, intolerance, and xenophobia against Albanians in general, and those living in Serbia in particular.   

US Embassy in Belgrade spokesman, James Hagengruber, told Gazeta Express that the US courts do not say what terms are legal or offensive, adding however, that use of demeaning names to describe minorities is dangerous. “Freedom of speech is a foundational value of the United States.  Our Congress does not legislate what types of speech are considered offensive and our courts do not say what terms are legal or offensive.  But we know from our own national experience about the dangers, pain, and lingering division caused by offensive speech, in particular, the use of demeaning names to describe minority groups,” The US Embassy in Belgrade said.

The president of the National Council of Albanians in Serbia, Ragmi Mustafa, sued Vulin after he used the derogatory term “Shpitari” for Albanians. Mustafa wrote Tuesday that rejection of his lawsuit is legalization of hate speech against minorities by the Government of Serbia. “The rejection of my lawsuit against A. Vulin as unfounded by the High Court, regarding the use of the pejorative term “siptari” is the legalization of hate speech against minorities by the government of Serbia. EU and USA officials, as well regional politicians should react,” Mustafa wrote. Also Albanian MP addressing Serbian parliament on Tuesday said the decision of the Belgrade’s Court on legalisation of the term “Shpitari” should be condemned and called on reaction of international community.  

The decision of Serbia’s court was condemned also by Kosovo politicians. Kosovo’s acting president, Vjosa Osmani, said that the decision should be an eye-opener for all who hoped for Serbia to do better. “State-sponsored Serbian hatred towards our people has been prevalent throughout our history. Today’s court decision to endorse racism against Albanians is another stain on their government’s abysmal record. This should be an eye-opener for all who hoped for Serbia to do better,” Osmani wrote on Twitter. /GazetaExpress/