Warning regarding offensive speech in Parliament

Demeaning and offensive speech that represents a violation of the dignity of any person based on some of their personal characteristics is prohibited by the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination and is to be condemned in every way, warned the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković, regarding the video in which MP Branislav Nestorović comments on the events in the parliamentary benches using the terms “gypsies” and “gypsy behavior”.

She said that terms such as ” gypsy behavior”, “gypsy business”, and “gypsy” have become normalized in our public space but actually represent an insult and deepen prejudices and stereotypes about our fellow citizens, Roma men and women. In this specific case, it can be assumed that there was no intention to offend someone, but the lack of intention does not absolve from responsibility, especially if someone is a member of parliament, the Commissioner pointed out. All public officials and public figures have a special responsibility for words spoken in public and should have an increased awareness that they must not further encourage prejudices and stereotypes with their statements. It would be important for MP Nestorović to apologize to fellow Roma citizens.

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