What is Youth Initiative for Human Rights?

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) is a regional network of non-governmental organizations with offices in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Our values are truth, justice, accountability, equality, freedom, democracy and peace. We are fighting for peace in the region, not only for the absence of war, but for the peace as a lasting process resulting in continuous co-operation between the states and people in post-Yugoslav and Western Balkan countries.

From its beginnings, the YIHR has also been organising regional exchange programmes through which young people – secondary school pupils, students, legal professionals, journalists, activists, artists – have an opportunity to get to know their peers from the countries of the region, take part in educational programmes on the wars of the 1990s, human rights and democracy, as well as to discuss the future of our region. More than 15 thousand young people have passed through our exchange programmes so far. From the beginning of our work, we have organised more than 200 training and education programmes, issued several hundreds of public releases, published more than 30 analytical reports and studies, organised 300 street actions and protests and won 15 cases before national and international courts.

For details about YIHR’s work, please go to ‘About us’.

When was the organisation founded?

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia was established in 2003.

What values does the YIHR advocate?

The basic values of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights are truth, justice, accountability, equality, freedom, democracy and peace.

How many members does YIHR team have?

The team of the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia has 15 members, while all the YIHR offices in the region engage about 50 people.

Where can you find YIHR offices located?

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights has offices in Belgrade, Sarajevo, Podgorica, Priština and Zagreb.

How is YIHR funded?

Like the majority of non-governmental organisations in Serbia and around the world, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights is project-funded. We look for support for our ideas and activities through which we wish to create a new future for the region, our society and youth in Serbia by applying with our project at European and global foundations. We are proud that, for nearly two decades now, numerous donors’ funds have been aware of the importance of YIHR’s work and have supported our ideas and efforts for a better future of the Western Balkans.

Some of our donors are the European Commission, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, NED, Sigrid Rausing Trust, Open Society Foundation, US Embassy to Serbia, German Embassy to Serbia and others.

What is YIHR’s position on Kosovo?

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights as an organisation respects the independence of Kosovo. We base this position on the following facts: Kosovo declared its independence in 2008; it has its government, police and institutions independent from Serbia; it is a member of numerous European and international organisations and is recognised as a state by the majority of UN member states. With regard to Kosovo, the YIHR insists on prosecuting all war crimes and investigating allegations against all persons suspected to have committed war crimes. We monitor human rights violations in Kosovo with great care, especially those affecting minority communities.

Does the YIHR support certain political parties?

As an organisation, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights does not support any political parties, but it actively opposes parties that promote hatred, violence, non-tolerance and warmongering politics.

What is YIHR’s position on genocide in Srebrenica?

In accordance with court judgments and established facts which Serbia is obliged to respect under the law, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights insists on the significance of the term ‘genocide’ when talking about Srebrenica. The use of terms such as ‘massacre’ or ‘terrible crime’ diminishes and relativises the gravity of the crime committed and is an insult to the memory of the victims.

Although the judgments of The Hague Tribunal (ICTY) are often interpreted in the nationalist circles as judgments against citizens of Serbia, also using the term ‘genocidal people’, the YIHR continually reminds that accountability for any crime can only be individual and in no way applies to a nation as a whole.

What is YIHR’s position on LGBT+ rights?

The Youth Initiative for Human Rights will always be an ally in the fight for winning freedoms and respect for people of all gender identities and sexual orientations, because we believe that discrimination on any grounds, including this one, is unacceptable. The YIHR fights for tolerance and educates young people so that all members of our society have an opportunity to get familiar with differences, but also with difficulties which ignorance or hatred towards this segment of society produces in the life of an individual.