February 21, 2008
The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has petitioned the government of Serbia to act to protect human rights defenders and journalists who have come under threat since the recent declaration of independence by Kosovo. The letter, addressed to President Boris Tadic, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and National Assembly Speaker Oliver Dulic, was co-signed by representatives of the Swedish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Impunity Watch and NED.
NED is particularly concerned for the safety of Natasa Kandic, director of the Humanitarian Law Center and a longtime NED grantee, who has been singled out as a target of hate speech and open demands for physical attacks against her. Kandic was the recipient of NED’s 2000 Democracy Award for her courageous work documenting war crimes on all sides of the Balkan conflict.
The National Endowment for Democracy is a private, nonprofit organization created in 1983 to strengthen democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts. It is governed by an independent, bipartisan board of directors. With its annual congressional appropriation, it makes nearly 1,000 grants each year to support pro-democracy groups in Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.