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Title:  Serbia-Montenegro Human Rights Practices, 1995   
Author:  U.S. Department of State    
Date:  March 1996    
 
 
 
 
                        SERBIA-MONTENEGRO 
 
 
The United States and the international community do not recognize 
Serbia-Montenegro as the successor state to the former Yugoslavia and do 
not permit the participation of the "Federal Republic of Yugoslavia" 
(FRY) from participation in the United Nations, the Organization for 
Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and other international 
organizations.  At year's end, the Government was cooperating with the 
international community to end the crisis in the former Yugoslavia, in a 
step-by-step process set out in the accords on ending the war in Bosnia 
which were negotiated in Dayton, Ohio in November. 
 
Serbia-Montenegro is dominated by Slobodan Milosevic, who is serving his 
second 5-year term as President of Serbia.  He controls the country 
through his Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), which lacks majorities in 
both the Federal and Serbian Parliaments but holds the key 
administrative positions.  The SPS abolished the political autonomy of 
Kosovo and Vojvodina in 1990, and all significant decisionmaking since 
that time has been centralized under Milosevic in Belgrade.  As a key 
element of his hold on power, Milosevic wields strong control over the 
Serbian police, a heavily armed force of perhaps 100,000 which is guilty 
of extensive, brutal, and systematic human rights abuses. 
 
The economy continued to limp along under the impact of the fourth 
successive year of U.N. economic sanctions.  An estimated 1.5 million 
unemployed or redundant workers, in a workforce of 2.3 million, 
struggled to make ends meet by smuggling gasoline and other contraband 
goods.  Industrial production, hampered by lack of raw materials and 
markets, sputtered along at an average 30 percent of capacity.  Largely 
due to the central bank's continued tight monetary policy, the 
Government managed to avoid the hyperinflation that wracked the economy 
during the winter of 1993-94.  In November the central bank devalued the 
currency in an attempt to stabilize the exchange rate, but rising prices 
continued to erode living standards.  Despite initial euphoria, the 
suspension of U.N. sanctions in late December with the signing of the 
Dayton Agreement produced no noticeable improvement in the economy.  
 
The Government's human rights record continued to be poor.  The police 
committed numerous serious human rights abuses, including carrying out 
and condoning torture, brutal beatings, and arbitrary arrests.  Police 
repression continued at a high level against the ethnic Albanians of 
Kosovo and the Muslims of Sandzak and reflected a general campaign to 
keep the one-third of the population who are not ethnic Serbs 
intimidated and unable to exercise basic human and civil rights.  Police 
elements routinely monitor opposition leaders, human rights workers, and 
political dissidents. 
 
The Government put some 150 ethnic Albanian former security personnel on 
trial in Kosovo for conspiring to undermine the Government, using as 
evidence confessions obtained by torture.  In Sandzak similar 
politically inspired trials targeted Muslim community leaders.  The 
President of Montenegro at year's end freed his Republic's political 
prisoners.  Denial of fair trial and abuse of the judicial system were 
serious problems.  The Government severely restricted the freedom of 
assembly and association, and tacitly condoned societal violence against 
religious minorities.  The Government hindered the activities of human 
rights monitors.  Discrimination and violence against women were serious 
problems, as was discrimination against ethnic minorities.  
Nongovernment affiliated unions are circumscribed in their attempts to 
advance workers' rights.  
 
An important factor in Milosevic's rise to power and almost total 
domination of the political process is his control and manipulation of 
the state-run media.  Freedom of the press is greatly circumscribed.  
The Government discourages independent media and resorts to 
surveillance, harassment, and even suppression to inhibit the media from 
reporting its repressive and violent acts. 
 
Opposition politicians and minority ethnic groups are routinely denied 
access to the state-run mass media; they are vilified in the government-
controlled media, and their positions misrepresented.  This year the 
government-controlled press mounted a campaign against nongovernmental 
organizations (NGO's) and international humanitarian organizations.  In 
some instances personnel of United Nations and religious organizations 
were not granted visas to continue their work; in at least one case, the 
Government revoked the registration of a major NGO. 
 
Beginning in June, the police assisted in rounding up men of fighting 
age, mostly refugees but also some citizens.  The police sent them 
against their will first to serve in Serbian forces in the Krajina and 
Bosnia, and later to training camps in Eastern Slavonia.  The Government 
of Montenegro refused to allow refugees within its borders to be 
forcibly mobilized. 
 
Already burdened with refugees from the 1991 conflicts in the former 
Yugoslavia, social services were almost overwhelmed by the arrival of 
some 170,000 largely ethnic Serb refugees from the Krajina in August.  
In contrast to 1991-92, the police acted to prevent the refugees from 
commandeering the homes of ethnic minority citizens in Serbia and housed 
them in public buildings.  While relatives and acquaintances took in 
many refugees, the Government sent the majority to areas inhabited by 
ethnic minorities, principally Vojvodina and to a much more limited 
extent Kosovo, further intensifying the ethnic tensions within the 
country. 
 
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS 
 
Section 1   Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom 
from: 
 
   a.   Political and Other Extrajudicial Killing 
 
Political violence in Serbia-Montenegro, including killings by police, 
resulted mostly from efforts by Serbian authorities to suppress and 
intimidate ethnic minority groups.  Leaders of minority communities in 
Kosovo and Sandzak, and to a lesser extent Vojvodina, reported numerous 
acts of violence and intimidation aimed at repressing non-Serbs and 
Muslims.  The level of violence was most severe in the Albanian-
populated region of Kosovo, where police repressed expressions of 
political and community life, and in the Muslim-populated region of 
Sandzak. 
 
According to the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms 
(CDHRF), a monitoring organization based in Pristina, Kosovo, Serbian 
authorities killed 16 ethnic Albanians during the year.  Ten persons 
were shot by police or soldiers and six died as a result of mistreatment 
or beatings while in police custody. 
 
Serbian police beat Shefka Latifi on June 27, both in his home and at 
the police station, where he was also thrown down the stairs.  A friend, 
who had also been beaten, took him to the health center where police 
later threatened the medical staff who were treating him.  He was taken 
home where he died.  Photos after the autopsy showed that he had been 
severely beaten on the body and about the head.   One of the policemen 
identified in his beating was recognized as the same man who was 
involved in the beating death of Sabiat Vlahia in Podujeva in 1994. 
 
On June 18, soldiers shot a 10-year-old boy on the grounds of a military 
barracks in Kacanik.  Family members were notified that they could find 
his body at the hospital.  They said that he had gone to fetch a stray 
goat as he had many times before; the soldiers later claimed that they 
thought the boy was trying to steal cigarettes. 
 
Crimes against citizens of minority groups were rarely investigated, nor 
were police held accountable for their excesses.  On the rare occasion 
when a policeman was detained, the case never came to trial.  Kosovar 
Albanian Abedin Ahmeti was arrested on April 12 in a village near 
Mitrovica and taken to the police station.  He was then brought to his 
home where he was beaten into unconsciousness in front of his family and 
then taken again to the police station.  When his brother inquired after 
him the next morning, he was told Ahmeti had died on the way to the 
hospital.  The physician's report showed that the victim had a broken 
finger, injuries on his hands, head, and genitals, and hemorrhaging in 
the brain.  On April 19, two Serbian policemen were arrested at the 
behest of the public prosecutor of the Mitrovica District Court and 
charged with the murder of Ahmeti.  The case had not come to trial by 
year's end. 
 
On July 11, Serb policeman Boban Krstic was brought to court for having 
shot dead a 6-year-old boy and wounding his parents in July 1994.  
Krstic, who had been released pending a trial and received a promotion, 
was charged with "posing a threat to the community" rather than a more 
serious charge.  The case was  
adjourned by the judge pending a "reconstruction of events."   
 
b.   Disappearance 
 
Aside from the temporary disappearance of young men aribtrarily 
mobilized to serve in Krajina and Bosnian Serb forces (see Section 
1.f.), there were no reports of disappearances.  
 
   c.   Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or 
Punishment 
 
While the law prohibits torture, police routinely beat people severely 
when holding them under detention or stopping them at police 
checkpoints, especially targeting ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.  According 
to human rights agencies, while some Sandzak Muslims, Roma, and even 
ethnic Serbs and Montenegrins suffered beatings at the hands of police, 
thousands of Kosovar Albanians were beaten and tortured during supposed 
searches for illegal weapons.  Police extracted "confessions" during 
interrogations that routinely included the beating of suspects' feet, 
hands, genital areas, and sometimes heads with fists and nightsticks, 
and the use of electric shocks.  Apparently confident that there would 
be no reprisals and expecting to have a broader impact, police often 
beat their victims in front of their families.  The police also used 
threats and violence against family members and sometimes held them as 
hostages. 
 
Observing the trials of former security personnel in Prizren, the 
Belgrade Helsinki Committee noted that while the accused had been taken 
into custody in late November and early December 1994, it was not until 
March 6 that they were indicted for criminal offenses.  To obtain 
confessions, the committee noted, "torture was used extensively and 
liberally" by the security forces.  The committee charged that security 
forces refused to allow medical attention to the detainees either when 
they were ill or when they were badly injured by beatings and torture. 
 
During his trial in Prizren in June, Blerim Olloni testified that he had 
been interrogated 14 times by state security forces since his arrest on 
November 20, 1994, and tortured on almost all the occasions, sometimes 
with electric shock.  Rexhep Oruci told the court on June 14, that after 
his arrest on November 17, he was beaten for 100 hours until November 
21, when he signed a statement the police gave him.  He said that the 
Serbian security officers had threatened his children with "liquidation" 
unless he confessed. 
 
During the trials in Pristina in June, Avdi Mehmedoviq testified that he 
had been beaten bloody several times by security forces.  His brother 
had also been arrested and their elderly father was beaten and brought 
to their cells, on one occasion with blood visible on his head.  Zeke 
Bekaj stated that he was injured so badly he had to be taken for medical 
treatment and was threatened that his brother and young son would be 
harmed if he did not confess. 
 
In May journalists in Montenegro reported an increasing number of police 
brutality cases, some of which they termed torture.  According to the 
weekly journal Monitor, whereas Muslims and ethnic Albanians had been 
the usual target of the Montenegrin police, many of the newer cases were 
against orthodox Montenegrins and members of the Roma community.  The 
Podgorica police chief was dismissed, in part in response to public 
protests against police brutality stemming from a case in the town of 
Spuz where police apprehended a man suspected of planting explosives at 
the homes of Muslim refugees.  Local police beat him until he confessed, 
only to have a second person come forward and admit to the crime.  He 
was then also beaten.  In June the Interior Minister was replaced, and a 
new head of Montenegrin state security appointed. 
 
Police often administer their own brand of justice without regard to due 
process.  On March 5, police broke up a quarrel among neighbors in the 
village of Seqeva in Kosovo and arrested four men, beating two of them 
on the spot.  After the men had been sentenced to 30 days imprisonment, 
one policeman, unsatisfied with the sentence, again beat them severely. 
 
Police in civilian clothes broke down the door of the home of a 60-year-
old woman on May 7 and threatened to cut off her head with a hatchet if 
she did not deliver weapons they claimed belonged to her son who lived 
in Germany.  Police took her to the police station in Istok where she 
was held for 6 hours before being freed.   
 
The use of excessive force in Kosovo and Sandzak was both routine and 
capricious.  The Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), the leading 
political party in Kosovo, reported that over 4,000 persons had been 
beaten by police in 1994.  In early March, two Kosovar Albanians waiting 
for a bus in Mitrovica were searched by police and then taken to the 
police station and beaten, apparently because the police were unable to 
find foreign currency on them.  Police beat Nehat Krasniqi in the town 
of Kacanik for failing to halt at a stop sign while driving his tractor.  
On June 5, an apparently drunken Serb policeman hit the car of Sedat 
Bajrmi near Prizren and then pointed his gun at him and began to beat 
him.  Other police arrived and beat him badly, seized his 
identification, and left him by the side of the road. 
 
Prison conditions in Serbia-Montenegro are adequate, and there were no 
reports of abuse of prisoners, once sentenced and serving their time.  
The Government permits prison visits by human rights monitors. 
 
   d.   Arbitrary Arrest, Detention, or Exile 
 
Arbitrary arrest and detention carried out by the police are the most 
common abuses of state power in Serbia-Montenegro.  Police often apply 
laws only against ethnic minorities, using force with impunity.  Laws 
regarding conspiracy, threats to the integrity of the Government, and 
state secrets are so vague as to allow abuse by the state. 
 
Federal law permits police to detain suspects without a warrant and hold 
them incommunicado up to 3 days without charging them or granting them 
access to an attorney.  After this period, police must turn a suspect 
over to an investigative judge, who may order a 30-day extension and, 
under certain legal procedures, subsequent extensions of investigative 
detention up to 6 months.  Police often beat people without ever 
officially charging them and routinely held suspects well beyond the 3-
day statutory period.  It was generally during this initial period that 
detainees experienced the worst treatment and abuse.  During 
investigative detention, detainees theoretically have access to legal 
counsel, although in practice access was granted only occasionally. 
 
Defense lawyers and human rights workers complained of excessive delays 
in filing formal charges and opening investigations.  The ability of the 
defense to challenge the legal basis of their clients' detention was 
further hampered by the difficulty they encountered in gaining access to 
the detainee or acquiring copies of the official indictment and the 
decision to remand the defendant into custody.  In some cases, judges 
prevented defense attorneys from reading the court file.  The 
investigative judges often delegated responsibility to the police or 
state security service and rarely questioned their accounts of the 
investigation even when it was obvious that coercion had been used to 
obtain confessions. 
 
Arrests and detentions for alleged crimes were carried out in an 
arbitrary fashion against members of ethnic minorities.  In a country 
where the majority of ethnic Serbs are armed, police selectively 
enforced the laws regulating the possession and registration of firearms 
so as to harass and intimidate ethnic minorities.  In March 19 ethnic 
Muslims of the Sandzak region were brought to trial in the local court 
at Plav for illegal possession of weapons.  The most frequent 
justification given for searches of homes and arrests was illegal 
possession of weapons; Serbs were rarely charged with similar crimes 
although the weapons they possess are typically unregistered or 
otherwise illegal. 
 
Family members were sometimes held hostage by police.  On January 7, 
when Serbian police failed to find a man they sought in the town of 
Vitia, they arrested his son, age 18, held him and allegedly beat him.   
 
Exile is neither legally permitted nor routinely practiced.  No specific 
instances of the imposition of exile as a form of judicial punishment 
are known to have occurred, although the practical effect of police 
repression in Kosovo is to cause many ethnic Albanians to go abroad to 
escape persecution. 
 
   e.   Denial of Fair Public Trial 
 
The Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, but in practice 
it is largely controlled by the Government and rarely challenges the 
will of the state security apparatus.  The authorities frequently deny 
fair public trial to non-Serbs and to persons they believe oppose the 
regime. 
 
The court system comprises local, district, and supreme courts at the 
republic level, and a federal Supreme Court to which republic supreme 
court decisions may be appealed.  There is also a military court system.  
According to the Federal Constitution, the Federal Constitutional Court 
rules on the constitutionality of laws and regulations, relying on the 
republic authorities to enforce its rulings.  The Federal Criminal Code 
of the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia still applies.  
There is some confusion and room for abuse in the legal system because 
the Constitution of Serbia (1960) has not yet been brought into 
conformity with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia 
(1992). 
 
Under federal law, defendants have the right to be present at their 
trials and to have an attorney, at public expense if needed.  The courts 
will also provide interpreters.  The presiding judges decide what will 
be read into the record of the proceedings.  Both the defendant and the 
prosecutor may appeal the verdict.  Defense lawyers in Kosovo and 
Sandzak have filed numerous complaints about flagrant breaches of 
standard procedure which they believed undermined their clients' rights.  
Even when the judges have admitted that the lawyers were correct, the 
courts have ignored or dismissed the complaints. 
 
Mass trials were held during 1995 in the district courts of Kosovo of 
ethnic Albanian former security officers who were accused of conspiring 
to overthrow the Government (see Section 1.d.).  In spite of widespread 
searches of homes and businesses, police turned up no credible evidence 
of such a conspiracy, and the cases presented in court were based on 
confessions obtained by force.  The largest trial was held in Pristina 
where 72 were charged and 61 brought to trial, the others having escaped 
arrest.  The trials in Pec, Pristina, and Gnjilane were perfunctory.  
Interpreters were provided, defense attorneys were present, and 
observers, including family members, were permitted if they identified 
themselves to the court. 
 
The egregious abuses of the justice system took place before the trial 
when confessions were obtained by torture (see Section 1.c.).  In 
Pristina, Muhamet Ninami told the court that he had signed a confession 
after being tied in a bent position for 90 hours, mentally and 
physically exhausted, with no opportunity to see a lawyer.  At the 
Prizren trials, the Helsinki Committee noted a long list of abuses of 
correct procedure including searching defendants' homes without warrants 
and ignoring the legal stipulation that two witnesses and the defendant 
must be present during a search.  Although the defendants testified to 
brutal beatings and torture used to obtain the confessions, and the 
prosecutors did not deny their charges, the court took no action.  In 
Pristina the judge backdated the documents after the legal period for 
detention had expired. 
 
Ethnic Serb lawyers who were part of the defense team for the trials in 
Prizren attempted to force the court to follow proper procedures.  Among 
other things, the lawyers asked, to no avail, that the president of the 
District Court be disqualified because he had conducted the 
investigations against some of the accused and because he refused to 
allow testimony given by the defendants about police torture to be 
recorded in the minutes of the trial. 
 
The Government charged targeted groups, under article 116 of the 
Yugoslav Criminal Code, of jeopardizing the territorial integrity of the 
country and, under article 136, of conspiring or forming a group with 
intent to commit subversive activities.  The Fund for Humanitarian Law 
found that proceedings on charges of subversion were initiated 
exclusively against Kosovar Albanians and Sandjak Muslims.  
 
Police investigated over 250 Kosovar Albanian former security personnel 
and convicted 129, handing down sentences ranging from 18 months to 8 
years, on the unsubstantiated grounds of conspiring to undermine the 
integrity of the state.  Those given sentences of over 5 years, and thus 
not freed pending appeal, are in prison.  Over 200 Kosovar Albanians and 
Sandzak Muslims are now serving prison terms for similar charges.  
Insofar as the real grounds for these charges appear to have been that 
these persons were active in ethnic political parties, they may be said 
to have been prosecuted for their political associations rather than for 
criminal activity.  The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 
treats them as political prisoners.  In December President Bulatovic of 
Montenegro freed 82 individuals, 50 of whom were considered to be 
political prisoners.  
 
   f.   Arbitrary Interference with Privacy, Family, Home or 
Correspondence 
 
Federal law gives republic Ministries of the Interior sole control over 
the decision to monitor potential criminal activities, a power routinely 
abused.  Authorities regularly monitored opposition and dissident 
activity, eavesdropped on conversations, read mail, and tapped 
telephones.  The federal post office registered all mail from abroad, 
ostensibly to protect mail carriers from charges of theft. 
 
Although the law includes restrictions on searches, officials often 
ignored them.  In Kosovo and Sandzak, police systematically subjected 
ethnic Albanians to random searches of their homes, vehicles, shops, and 
offices, asserting that they were searching for weapons.  CDHRF records 
showed that Serbian police raided 2,324 Kosovar Albanian homes.  Photos 
of homes which had been searched by police showed chaos--furniture 
broken, bedding tossed around, drawers emptied out.  On May 21, the home 
of Heset Vishi, who was living abroad with his family, was raided by the 
police, and in his absence the police arrested his brother, ransacked 
his home, and confiscated his typewriter and a computer. 
 
Authorities entered a clinic ward in Djakovica on May 31 and 
interrogated a woman about the activities of her husband 4 hours after 
she had given birth.  Two plainclothes detectives entered the apartment 
of Hava Mustafa in Pristina on June 11 without a search warrant.  They 
beat the daughter who asked who they were and why they had burst into 
the apartment.  When the mother intervened, she was struck by the 
police. 
 
Serb paramilitaries evicted Muslims from land near Priboj on the Bosnian 
border, claiming they might be in danger.  The Muslims were not allowed 
to harvest their crops but told that they must pay property taxes or 
lose their medical benefits.  Several of the Muslim-owned homes were set 
on fire in June. 
 
In June the Serbian police began to round up men of military age, 
including official and undocumented refugees and some citizens, to fight 
with ethnic Serb forces in Croatia (the Krajina) and Bosnia.  The men 
were summarily placed in busses and against their will transported 
across the border without being allowed to communicate with their 
families (see also Section 2.d.).  One refugee from Sarajevo, whose 
mother was a  
 
Muslim and father a Serb, said that he felt like an animal being hunted 
down.  A woman who took part in a hunger strike staged in front of the 
Serbian presidency building by relatives of the men who had been 
forcibly mobilized, said that her husband had been taken away in the 
middle of the night by police on June 20.  Although he showed his valid 
Serbian identification card, he was seized because he had spent his 
school years in Rijeka (now Croatia, but then part of Yugoslavia).  In 
late summer, police continued to stop young men for document checks, 
reportedly sending some to training camps run by the notorious criminal 
and paramilitary "Arkan" in Erdut in Eastern Slavonia. 
 
The laws regarding desertion from the military lent themselves to abuse.  
While compulsory military service was the norm in the former Yugoslavia, 
there were large-scale desertions when the war broke out in 1991 by men 
of all ethnic groups who chose to walk away from the military rather 
than take part in interethnic conflicts.  Men of military age continued 
to be stopped on the street for identity checks and subjected to 
arbitrary harassment and possible forced recruitment.  Young men of 
Croatian or Albanian descent, in particular, refused to fight against 
Croatia; many of them fled the country under the threat of recruitment. 
 
After doing little for several years to enforce universal military 
service or track down those who had deserted the military during the 
1991 conflict, the military and police began in 1995 once again to 
recruit members of minority communities, who were understandably 
reluctant to support conflicts in the former Yugoslavia.  Leaders of the 
Kosovar Albanian community believe that the reintroduction for ethnic 
Albanians of forced compliance with universal military service was an 
attempt to induce young men to flee the country.  Almost two-thirds of 
the small 10,000-member community of Croats who had lived in Kosovo for 
over 700 years emigrated over the past 5 years because of pressure from 
Serb nationalists and the refusal of the Government to exempt young men 
from the military. 
 
   g.   Use of Excessive Force and Violations of Humanitarian Law in 
Internal Conflicts 
 
The Government officially closed the border with Bosnia in August 1994, 
exempting only food, clothing, and medicine.  There were many reports of 
unofficial support for the cause of ethnic Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia 
ranging from political rallies held by ultra-nationalist leaders who 
traveled from Serbia, to calls for volunteers by paramilitary groups who 
took men to the battle areas in Bosnia and Croatia.  The Serbian 
Government actively assisted in the forced mobilization by police of 
refugees and other men for the conflicts in Bosnia and Croatia (see 
Section 1.d.). 
 
Ethnic tensions were high elsewhere in Serbia, and ultra- nationalist 
Serbian elements encouraged hostile acts by private citizens against 
members of minority ethnic groups.  In earlier cases, the local 
authorities in Vojvodina ignored threats to members of ethnic minorities 
who felt that they were being pressured to leave their homes.  However, 
when Serb refugees arrived in August, fleeing western Krajina after it 
fell to Croatian attack, special police from Belgrade stepped in to 
prevent the refugees from taking over the homes of ethnic Croats in 
Vojvodina.  Elsewhere as well, Serb refugees vented their anger on 
ethnic Croats.  In the Kotor Bay region of Montenegro, citizens of 
Croatian descent were also subject to threats as were Roman Catholic and 
Muslim Albanians in Kosovo.  Leaders of Hungarian communities in 
Vojvodina and Kosovar Albanians complained that the Government's policy 
of refugee resettlement was planned to change the ethnic composition of 
areas with significant non-Serb populations. 
 
Section 2   Respect for Civil Liberties, Including: 
 
   a.   Freedom of Speech and Press 
 
Federal law provides for freedom of speech and the press, but in 
practice most of the media were controlled by the Government.  Serbian 
state-run radio and television (RTS), the prime source of news for the 
populace, especially outside of Belgrade, has long been under the direct 
control of President Milosevic's regime and was his most powerful tool 
for the manipulation of public opinion.  The main emphasis of the prime 
time news program was on the activities of the President, the ruling 
SPS, and JUL (Yugoslav Leftist League), whose leader is President 
Milosevic's wife, Mirjana Markovic. 
 
Economic pressure was the usual weapon of the regime against the free 
press.  For example, state-owned enterprises were not allowed to 
advertise in independent media.  A shortage of newsprint continued to be 
a problem for the press.  The main newsprint producer in Serbia, Matroz, 
supplied newsprint to the state-controlled press at subsidized prices 
and made independent publications pay the much higher market price; the 
independent press claimed that newspapers approved by the Government 
received priority shipments.  Matroz cut production from time to time, 
reportedly due to unpaid electric bills, tax problems, or a shortage of 
fuel.  When the independent publications established their own sources 
of newsprint, helped by donations from NGO's, customs sometimes delayed 
or halted border entry.  In Pristina, the newsprint donated by the 
international community to the Albanian-language daily Bujku was 
appropriated by the Serbian-language daily, leaving Bujku chronically 
short of paper. 
 
The state agency for property transition was used on several occasions 
to limit the free media.  On December 23, 1994, it cancelled the 
registration of the Borba stock company and, in a hostile takeover, took 
control of the outspoken daily, appointing the Federal Minister for 
Information as its new editor-in-chief.  The Borba journalists in 
protest founded a new daily called Nasa Borba using their own financial 
resources.  Subsequently the Government initiated a criminal 
investigation against the managers of Nasa Borba in a transparent 
attempt at intimidation. 
 
In August President Milosevic abruptly dismissed the head of the state-
run radio and television for apparent pro-Serb nationalist bias.  Also 
in August, the Kragujevac weekly Svetlost, one of the few independent 
publications outside Belgrade, became the target of the Government.  The 
local city assembly, allegedly on orders from the ruling Socialist 
Party, nationalized the paper and sent dismissal notices to the staff.  
Members of the editorial board refused to leave their offices and 
continued to publish under the name Nezavisnost Svetlost (Independent 
Light) with material assistance from the independent weekly Vreme.   
 
The electronic media also experienced varying forms of harassment from 
the Government.  Radio and television not under state control were able 
to broadcast only within a limited range in the Belgrade area.  
Obtaining a frequency allocation was a complicated procedure for 
Serbia's 40 private radio stations.  Independent radio B-92, greater 
Belgrade's main source of information not subject to government control, 
was never officially allocated a frequency from the Government, thereby 
making its operations "illegal" and vulnerable to a shutdown.  The 
Belgrade independent television station Studio B endured similar legal 
pressures and continuing problems with its property status.  It 
cancelled a program about refugees in August, apparently under pressure 
from the Government.  Late in the year, Studio B broadcast the BBC five-
part documentary "The Death of Yugoslavia" which was critical of the 
Serbian regime and Serbian political leaders such as President Milosevic 
for causing the outbreak of violence in Yugoslavia in 1991-92. 
 
In Montenegro, journalist Seki Radoncic was convicted in May for 
defamation of a high ranking army official after he criticized the 
Yugoslav army for war and human rights abuses in the independent 
magazine Monitor.  He received a 1-year suspended sentence and a 2-month 
prison term.  On July 25, a member of Montenegro's state security 
service bought and burned all the copies of the Belgrade magazine 
Interview because it reprinted information from Interpol's most wanted 
list regarding the notorious Serb criminal and paramilitary leader 
Arkan. 
 
In the Sandzak region in March, Muslim town officials in Tutin accused 
the Government of imposing an embargo on information concerning 
infectious hepatitis in the region and appealed to the independent press 
to investigate the extent of the epidemic.  Also in March, a 
correspondent for the Albanian-language newspaper, Bujku, was told by 
police that he would be killed if he reported about Serbian police 
repression in the town of Mitrovica. 
 
While the ruling SPS exercises control over university and student 
organizations, instructors are generally free to teach their subjects, 
and some of them are active in opposition party politics outside the 
classroom.  In Kosovo ethnic Albanians have rejected the Serbian 
education system and established their own parallel system of schools 
and administration.  This educational structure is not recognized by the 
Serbian Government and is subject to harassment.   
 
Police raided the home used for a teachers' training college in Prizren 
on May 31 and seized administrative materials.  On June 19, Haz Rexha 
was arrested by police and charged with holding lectures in the Albanian 
language.  In September police ordered 13 teachers and the principal of 
a primary school in Tankosiq village to report to the police station.  
The teachers were soon released, but the principal and the owner of the 
home where classes are conducted were held for 4 hours and mistreated. 
 
   b.   Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association 
 
Although the Federal Constitution provides for freedom of peaceful 
assembly and association, the authorities severely restricted these 
freedoms, applying the laws and regulations in a capricious manner.  The 
FRY Government continued to treat political association by members of 
ethnic minorities as a threat to the Government, harassing and arresting 
leaders and members of ethnic Muslim and Albanian parties.  On February 
24, four members of the Democratic Action Party (SDA) who had been 
circulating a petition for the return of an exiled leader were beaten by 
Montenegrin police in Rozaj.  On May 26, Serbian police prevented a 
meeting of the LDK committees in the village of Banulla and confiscated 
their documents.  The home of Murat Riza Sylaj, chairman of the local 
LDK branch in the village of Dubrave, was raided on June 4 by a Serbian 
police squad which confiscated all LDK documents, took Sylaj to the 
village graveyard and beat him so severely that he had to seek medical 
care for his injuries.  In September police arrested and held the 
bodyguard and the driver of LDK head Rugova.  Also, the Radical Party of 
Serbia was prevented from holding a rally in Kosovo in June and two of 
its leaders were jailed (see Section 3). 
 
Police also engaged in petty harassment of events in Kosovo organized by 
Kosovar Albanians.  On April 16, Serbian police broke up 2 soccer 
matches with some 4,000 fans in attendance.  On June 11 in the Kacanik 
region, police prevented a soccer match, and brought charges against the 
captains of the two teams. 
 
   c.   Freedom of Religion 
 
There is no state religion, but the Government gives preferential 
treatment, including access to state-run television for major religious 
events, to the Serbian Orthodox Church to which the majority of Serbs 
belong.  Although there are no legal restrictions on the practice of 
religion, police condoned periodic violence against religious facilities 
used by ethnic minorities (see Section 5).   
 
The State has encouraged the building of Orthodox churches on public 
land in Kosovo, including an Orthodox shrine in the center of Djakovica, 
a town almost completely ethnic Albanian.  Work has begun on an Orthodox 
church in the center of Pristina on university land.  On June 19, the 
imam of the mosque in Kacanik was taken to the police station for 
questioning because he had prayed by name for a child who had been shot 
by Serbian soldiers (Section 1.a.).  On several occasions, Muslims have 
been ordered to remove loudspeakers from mosques. 
 
   d.   Freedom of Movement Within the Country, Foreign Travel, 
Emigration, and Repatriation 
 
The Constitution provides for freedom of movement, and the Government 
makes passports available to most citizens.  Many inhabitants of Serbia-
Montenegro who were born in other parts of the former Yugoslavia, as 
well as large numbers of refugees, have not been able to establish their 
citizenship in the FRY,  leaving them in a stateless limbo. 
 
The Government continues to deny issuance and renewal of passports to 
many Kosovar Albanian intellectuals and political activists.  For travel 
to Albania, all citizens are required to have an exit visa which is 
difficult to acquire, with the result that Kosovar Albanians often 
travel to Albania by way of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; 
they are then subject to police harassment and the seizure of their 
passports when they return to Kosovo.  In May Zeke Gecaj, a newspaper 
editor accompanying a delegation of the Liberal Party of Kosovo to the 
United States, was stopped at the border and prevented from leaving by 
police who seized his passport because he had traveled without a visa to 
Albania 3 years ago. 
 
Citizens who were born in other parts of the former Yugoslavia also 
reported difficulties at borders and occasional confiscation of their 
passports.  Ethnic Albanians frequently complained of harassment at 
border crossings.  There have been numerous reports of border guards 
confiscating foreign currency or passports from travelers as well as 
occasional complaints of physical ill-treatment.  Serbian authorities 
have generally allowed ethnic Albanian leaders, including LDK head 
Ibrahim Rugova, to leave the country and return, even though they 
consider his party and other ethnic Albanian parties illegal.  The vice 
chairman of the LDK, Fehmi Agani, was held at the Macedonian border on 
May 8 for 4 hours by officers who questioned him and seized his books, 
papers, and the abstracts from a conference he had attended in Germany. 
 
Although exit visas are required only for travel to Albania, the cost of 
exiting the country rose rapidly during the year.  At the height of the 
summer vacation period the exit tax was 60 dinars per person plus 150 
dinars for a car, a real impediment to foreign travel in a country where 
the average wage was 300 dinars per month. 
 
Police stepped up their checks within Serbia during the summer, asking 
for documentation of citizenship and seizing men of military age with 
unclear or refugee status for mobilization (see Section 1.f.).  Citizens 
complained that police frequently took foreign currency from those whom 
they stopped. 
 
Serbian police routinely searched citizens of minority groups for hard 
currency.  The Serbian police of Prizren on January 26 stopped each 
pedestrian at a public square for identity checks, searched many of 
them, and took the hard currency they found.  In June police blocked off 
the market place in Podujeva on market day and took hard currency as 
well as many goods.  The police did not disturb Serb merchants or 
confiscate their goods.  On July 11, Serbian financial police 
confiscated 3 kilograms of gold and 1 kilogram of silver, as well as 
other goods, in Prizren, a town known for its jewelry workshops.  Only 
Albanian-owned shops were targeted by the financial police.  During 
holiday periods, police seized passports from ethnic Albanian workers 
who returned home from abroad, giving them the choice of waiting for a 
court process or paying the police large sums of hard currency for the 
return of their travel documents.   
 
The Government has been very slow to issue passports to refugees.  
Kosovar Albanians also have problems with issuance and renewal of 
passports and are sometimes called in for interrogations by state 
security officers before passports are issued.  In June the Government 
sent to Parliament a new citizenship law which would in practice 
adversely affect the rights of many inhabitants, including those who had 
been born in other parts of the former Yugoslavia, refugees, and 
citizens who had migrated to other countries to work or seek asylum.  
The U.N. human rights rapporteur noted that the new law would give the 
Ministry of the Interior almost complete control over the granting of 
citizenship.  Although the law had not been enacted by year's end, the 
Government served notice that it will severely limit the granting of 
citizenship to refugees from the conflicts in Bosnia and Croatia.  The 
Government also planned to revise the eligibility status of a large 
number of people, chiefly refugees, who have been granted citizenship 
since 1992.   
 
Government policy toward refugees and asylum seekers has been uneven.  
Refugees are often treated as citizens of Serbia-Montenegro for labor 
and military purposes but denied other rights such as employment and 
travel (see Section 1.f.).  The Government has cooperated with the U. N. 
High Commissioner for Refugees to provide help for the more than 600,000 
refugees in Serbia-Montenegro. 
 
Section 3   Respect for Political Rights:  The Right of Citizens to 
Change Their Government 
 
The Constitution provides for this right, but in practice citizens are 
prevented from exercising it by the Government's monopoly on the mass 
media and the electoral process.  While there were no elections in 1995, 
in past years the authorities denied opposition parties equal access to 
the state-run media and omitted many voters from the registration lists.  
Observers have also noted numerous voting irregularities and raised 
serious questions as to the accuracy of the vote count. 
 
Slobodan Milosevic dominates the political system in Serbia-Montenegro.  
Although formally President of Serbia, one of the two constituent 
republics in the so-called Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Milosevic 
first weakened the authorities of the Federal Government through his 
control of the Serbian police, the army, and the state administration, 
and then placed his followers in key positions, including the Federal 
President and the Federal Prime Minister.  In November Milosevic 
abruptly removed from their positions five senior party officials who 
were apparently purged for their continued support of Serbian 
nationalist aims in Croatia and Bosnia, a position Milosevic has now 
discarded.  Milosevic greatly circumscribes the Montenegrin Government's 
sphere for independent action and does not tolerate significant 
divergence from the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia line. 
 
The domestic political opposition continues to be obstructed by these 
extralegal means of political control and has proved incapable of 
providing an effective alternative to the SPS.  Many citizens are afraid 
to join opposition parties unless they are economically self-sufficient 
because of SPS control over many jobs.  Although the SPS does not have 
an absolute majority of seats in the Serbian Parliament, it has managed 
to coopt one of the smaller opposition parties to allow the Socialists 
to form the Government.  In Montenegro, the ruling Democratic Party of 
Socialists enjoys an absolute majority.  In both Serbia and Montenegro, 
the ruling parties have effectively blocked legislation that would 
loosen their control over the state-run media.  In July the SPS ended 
television coverage of parliamentary debate which had been part of the 
agreement worked out when the Government was formed.  Although the 
opposition initially walked out, and later demanded an extraordinary 
session to debate the Government's action, its protests were ignored. 
 
The Government has taken no action when threats have been made against 
the personal security of members of the opposition parties, including 
death threats to parliamentary deputies and their families.  The 
authorities did move against the notorious ultra-nationalist leader of 
the Serbian Radical Party, Vojislav Seselj, who was detained in 
Gnjilane, Kosovo, in June on a misdemeanor charge but was put in jail 
and given a stiffer sentence, apparently upon orders from Belgrade.  At 
the same time, his parliamentary immunity was stripped from him in an 
irregular proceeding. 
 
Ethnic Serbs dominate the political leadership in Serbia.  Few members 
of other ethnic groups play any role at the top levels of government or 
the state-run economy, although there are no legal restrictions 
preventing advancement.  Ethnic Albanians, as a matter of principle, 
have refused to take part in the electoral process and therefore have 
virtually no representation. 
 
Women are greatly underrepresented in party and government positions, 
holding less than 10 percent of ministerial-level positions in the 
Serbian and federal Governments.  As with ethnic minorities, there are 
no legal restrictions on their participation, and women are active in 
political organizations.  An exception to the lack of women in leading 
positions in politics is the controversial Mira Markovic, wife of 
Serbian President Milosevic.  She is the leading force in the neo-
Communist United Yugoslav Left Party, through which she exerts 
considerable influence on policymakers.  
 
Section 4   Governmental Attitude Regarding International and 
Nongovernmental Investigation of Alleged Violations of Human Rights 
 
The Governments of Serbia and Montenegro formally maintain that they 
have no objection to international organizations conducting human rights 
investigations on their territories.  However, they hindered such 
activities and regularly rejected the findings of human rights groups.  
A number of independent human rights organizations exist in Serbia-
Montenegro, researching and gathering information on abuses and 
publicizing human rights cases.  The Belgrade-based Humanitarian Law 
Fund and Center for Antiwar Action researched human rights abuses 
throughout the FRY and, on occasion, elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia.  
The Belgrade-based Helsinki Committee published human rights studies and 
cooperated with the Pristina-based Helsinki Committee in monitoring 
human rights abuses in  
 
Kosovo.  In Kosovo the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and 
Freedoms collects and collates data on human rights abuses and publishes 
newsletters.  In the Sandzak region, a similar council monitors abuses 
against the local Muslim population and produces comprehensive reports.  
All of these organizations offer advice and help to victims of abuse. 
 
Local human rights monitors (Serbs as well as members of ethnic 
minorities) and NGO's which supported their efforts worked under 
difficult circumstances amid public insinuations by ultra-nationalist 
leaders and the government-controlled media that they were traitors.  
The constant stream of invective levelled against human rights activists 
and NGO's left personnel vulnerable to public animosity.  In May members 
of the antiwar Belgrade Circle who had visited Sarajevo received 
threatening phone calls, and one young woman was called to the police 
station for questioning.  Young nationalist thugs trashed the offices 
shared by the small Civic Alliance Party and the Center for Antiwar 
Action.  A Serb told the weekly Interview that he would like to "kill 
all the humanist grandmothers," naming the female head of the 
humanitarian law fund.  NGO's had their equipment held up by customs 
officials, and financial police combed through their records.  The 
Government revoked the license of the Soros Foundation in May, after 
subjecting it to sustained attacks in the government- controlled press.  
The Soros Foundation appealed to the Supreme Court of Serbia but no 
action has been taken on the case. 
 
Serbian authorities refused to issue visas to representatives of a 
number of human rights organizations, including Amnesty International 
and the rapporteur for the United Nations Committee on Human Rights.  
The new U.N. rapporteur, Elisabeth Rehn, was allowed to visit areas of 
her choice, including Kosovo, during her second trip to the country in 
December.  In general, the Government continued to deny visas to 
visitors whom it believed would visit the ethnic minority areas of 
Serbia, or to delay the issuance until visitors agreed to a restrictive 
program of meetings with Serbian officials.  FRY authorities refused 
numerous approaches by OSCE representatives to allow the reintroduction 
of the OSCE long-duration missions to Kosovo, Vojvodina, and Sandzak, 
maintaining that the FRY must first be "reinstated" in the OSCE. 
 
In spite of a previous agreement that it could visit detainees, the ICRC 
waited 7 months for permission to visit men detained in Kosovo awaiting 
trial for conspiracy to overthrow the Government (see Section 1.d.).  
The ICRC continues to seek permission to visit detainees from the time 
they are held, when most human rights violations are thought to occur. 
 
FRY officials stated in 1994 that they would offer limited cooperation 
with the U.N. war crimes tribunal, to the extent that the local law 
allowed.  Both the Serbian and Federal Constitutions forbid extradition.  
Although Serbian authorities promised that they would try war criminals 
within the country, suspected war criminals were never the targets of 
formal investigations.  The paramilitary leader Arkan, suspected of war 
crimes and wanted by Interpol for other crimes, carried on his 
flamboyant lifestyle with impunity, traveling between his home in 
Belgrade and his paramiltary activities in Serb-held areas of Croatia. 
 
Section 5   Discrimination Based on Race, Sex, Religion, Disability, 
Language, or Social Status 
 
While federal and republic laws provide for equal rights for all 
citizens, regardless of ethnic group, religion, language, or social 
status and prohibit discrimination against women, in reality the legal 
system provides little protection for such groups. 
 
   Women 
 
The oppressive nationalism fostered by years of conflict in Bosnia, 
reflected in the suppression of the rights of non-Serbs in Serbia-
Montenegro, and the precarious financial situation of most families have 
exacerbated the traditionally high level of domestic violence.  Life in 
cramped apartments, often with the added burden of refugees from the 
conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, led to quarrels which often erupted 
into violence, particularly wife beatings.   
 
The few official agencies dedicated to coping with family violence have 
inadequate resources and are limited in their options by social pressure 
to keep families together at all costs.  Few victims of spousal abuse 
ever file complaints with authorities.  The Center for Autonomous 
Women's Rights offered the SOS rape crisis and spousal abuse hot line 
together with a number of self-help groups.  The Center also offered 
help to refugee women, many of whom experienced extreme abuse such as 
rape during the conflicts from which they fled. 
 
Traditional patriarchal ideas of gender roles, which hold that women 
should be subservient to the male members of their family, have long 
subjected women to discrimination.  In some rural areas, women are 
little more than serfs without the right to control property and 
children; in a few villages, brides are still bought and sold.  Women 
are entitled to equal pay for equal work and are usually granted 
maternity leave for 1 year.  According to the Helsinki Committee of 
Serbia, the collapse of the former State and 4 years of war have 
exacerbated discrimination against women.  Also, women have lost 
benefits they enjoyed under socialism and thereby their social safety 
net.  Women are active in human rights organizations; women's rights 
groups continued to operate with little or no official acknowledgement.  
"Women in Black," formed in 1990 to protest the war in Croatia, held 
weekly silent demonstrations for which police permission was sought and 
given.  When that organization attempted to host a regional conference 
in August in northern Vojvodina, government officials intimidated local 
supporters to keep them from providing logistical support and refused to 
issue tourist visas to participants from other countries.   
 
   Children 
 
Children in Kosovo have been particularly disadvantaged by the political 
struggle for control of the school system.  Kosovar Serb and Albanian 
elementary children are taught in separate areas of divided schools or 
attend in shifts.  Older Kosovar Albanian children attend school in 
private homes.  A 1995 U.N. Children's Fund report found that the health 
situation for children in Kosovo, already the worst in Europe, had 
deteriorated further.  Humanitarian aid officials blamed the high rate 
of infant and childhood death, as well as increasing epidemics of 
preventable diseases, primarily on poverty which led to malnutrition and 
poor hygiene, and to the deterioration of public sanitation.  Ethnic 
minorities in some cases fear Serb state-run medical facilities, which 
results in a low rate of immunization and a reluctance to seek timely 
medical attention. 
 
There is no pattern of governmental or societal abuse against children, 
nor is child prostitution condoned.  However, violence against girls 
within the family is rising, with human rights centers reporting that 
some 1,000 girls approached them to report abuse during the year.  
Children are not conscripted into the army.  Police violence against 
non-Serb children was the primary abuse (see Section 1.c.).  A 14-year-
old boy looking for livestock in the Glogovac area of Kosovo was chased 
down by a police car and beaten, supposedly because he had whistled.   
 
   People with Disabilities 
 
There is no discrimination against disabled persons in employment, 
education, or in the provision of other state services.  The law 
mandates access to new official buildings for people with disabilities, 
and the Government enforces these provisions in practice.  The new metro 
station in downtown Belgrade provides access for the disabled. 
 
   Religious Minorities 
 
Religion and ethnicity are so closely intertwined as to be inseparable.  
Serious discrimination and harassment of Serbia's religious minorities 
continued, especially in the Kosovo and Sandzak regions.  Violence 
against the Catholic minority in Vojvodina, largely made up of ethnic 
Hungarians and Croatians, was also a problem and intensified with the 
arrival of Serb refugees from Croatia.  Individual Catholics were 
targeted for threats and harassment.   
 
Most threats and attacks against those of other religions were carried 
out by nationalist Serbs who associate Orthodoxy with Serb Patriotism.  
Catholic churches in the Vojvodina were often subject to vandalism.  On 
the night of May 5, a Catholic cross in the village of Bac was destroyed 
by an explosive charge.  On May 19, a bomb was thrown into the 
churchyard of the Catholic church in Sremska Mitrovica.  Vasica Catholic 
church was blown up and destroyed on May 21.  In June a Catholic church 
in the Srem region was burned down.  A Krajina Serb refugee on September 
10 walked into a Catholic church in Prizren and threatened a Kosovar 
Albanian priest, accusing Catholics of supporting Croatia.  Krajina Serb 
refugees in Vojvodina made similar threats to Croatian Catholic priests 
and congregations in August and September.  On August 8, young people 
burst into a Catholic church in Hrtkovci at the time of the evening 
service, evicted the priest and churchgoers, and announced that the 
church could no longer be used. 
 
   National/Racial/Ethnic Minorities 
 
The ethnic minorities of Serbia-Montenegro suffered discrimination in 
all respects.  In addition to the abuses described elsewhere in this 
report, there were credible reports that qualified Muslims or ethnic 
Albanians continued to be driven from their homes or fired from their 
jobs on the basis of religion or ethnicity.  The influx of refugees from 
the Serbian areas of Croatia in the summer led to sporadic outbursts of 
violence and threats against ethnic Croats and Hungarians in the 
Vojvodina.  Police responded effectively, however, in most cases 
restoring property to minorities affected.  The Romani population is 
generally tolerated, and there is no official discrimination.  Roma have 
the right to vote and there are two small Romani parties.  However, 
local authorities often ignore or condone societal intimidation of the 
Romani community.  Romani children are not taught in their own language 
and often cannot afford to buy school materials.  According to the 
Helsinki Committee of Serbia, only 20 percent of them complete an 
elementary education.   
 
Section 6   Worker Rights 
 
   a.   The Right of Association 
 
All workers (except military personnel) have the legal right to form or 
join unions.  Unions are either official (government-affiliated) or 
independent organizations.  The official unions are numerically far 
stronger than their independent counterparts, claiming a membership of 2 
million, while Nezavisnost--the opposition trade union confederation-- 
has a registered membership of only about 85,000.  The imbalance in 
numbers, however, is of little significance as workers in the official 
unions have little real voice, and their bargaining leverage tends to be 
highly circumscribed by the Government.  The independent unions, while 
active in recruiting new members, have not yet reached the critical mass 
to enable countrywide strikes that would force employers to provide 
concessions on workers' rights.  The largely splintered approach of the 
independent unions has left them with little to show in terms of gains 
in either wages or improved working conditions.  The Nezavisnost 
leadership has participated actively in international organizations.   
 
   b.   The Right to Organize and Bargain Collectively 
 
While this right is guaranteed under law, collective bargaining remains 
at a rudimentary level of development.  Individual unions tend to be 
very narrow and pragmatic in their aims, unable to join with other 
unions to bargain for a common purpose, such as job security guarantees.  
The overall result is a highly fragmented labor structure composed of 
workers who relate to the needs of their individual union but rarely to 
those of other workers.  Despite legal guarantees for collective 
bargaining, the practice was effectively undermined during the period of 
the U.N. economic sanctions by the so-called Law on Minimum Salaries.  
Under this law, workers made redundant by sanctions were nonetheless 
guaranteed a minimum salary that was not subject to negotiation through 
collective bargaining.  Antiunion discrimination was also evident as the 
Government cracked down on independent trade union organizers, declaring 
their activities illegal and ordering their suspension from the 
workplace.   
 
There are no known export processing zones.  
 
   c.   Prohibition of Forced or Compulsory Labor 
 
Forced labor is prohibited by law and is not known to occur. 
 
   d.   Minimum Age for Employment of Children 
 
The minimum age for employment is 16 years, although in villages and 
farming communities it is not unusual to find younger children at work 
assisting their families.  With an actual unemployment rate (registered 
unemployed plus redundant workers who perform only minimal work) in 
excess of 50 percent, real employment opportunities for children are 
nonexistent.  Children can, however, be found in a variety of unofficial 
"retail" jobs, typically selling smuggled cigarettes or other small 
items on the streets. 
 
   e.   Acceptable Conditions of Work 
 
Minimum wage standards are established by the Government and regularly 
updated to reflect changes in the cost of living.   
 
Large socially owned enterprises, including all the major banks, 
industrial plants, and trading companies in the country, generally 
observe minimum wage standards, which currently stand at about $100 per 
month (500 Yugoslav dinars, calculated at prevailing black market 
exchange rates).  Private enterprises also use the minimum wage as a 
general guide, but are often more flexible in paying higher wages.  
Reports of sweatshops operating in the country are rare.  With the cost 
of food approaching three times the monthly wage, however, most working 
class families have little discretionary income remaining at the end of 
the month.  The official workweek, listed as 40 hours, had little 
meaning in an economy with an unemployment rate over 50 percent, as 
people tended to work whatever hours were available in order to maximize 
take-home pay.  Similarly, neither employers nor employees tended to 
give high priority to enforcement of established occupational safety and 
health regulations, focussing their efforts instead on economic 
survival.   
 
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[end of document]

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