As a political activist in 1990s’ Serbia, he strongly criticised Slobodan Milosevic’s regime, and in 1996, he co-founded Civic Initiatives, a pro-democracy NGO, which he led until his death, Balkan Insight reports:
As a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, Dereta was a MP from 2012 until March 2014, and worked in the government body in charge of EU integration as well as being a member of the Ministry of Education council.
“He was always doing everything possible to show what was wrong. We sympathise with the family of Miljenko Dereta, because the loss of a man who was devotedly working for the realisation of his ideals is huge for every one of us,” the Liberal Democratic Party told Serbia’s TV B92.
He was also a columnist for Serbia’s Politika and Danas daily newspapers, among many others, founded and co-chaired the Federation of Serbian NGOs and headed the Balkan Civil Society Development Network.
“Miljenko set an example for entire generations of activists,” said Carl Gershman, President of the National Endowment for Democracy. “We are honored to have had the privilege of working with Miljenko, and we hope that his legacy will continue to live on through the work of the Civic Initiatives. “
“Miljenko participated in every event in the city that was against the war, the crimes and all the other things that happened in the last 25 years. He belonged to the group of people who immediately organised an opposition movement to Serbian nationalism and aggression,” said Sonja Biserko from the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Serbia.