Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Advocacy

Initial premise of the Autonomous Women's Center is that policies, in order to fight against violence against women, at the local and national level should be consistent with international standards and good practices in this field. In accordance with the strategic goals, that the Convention of the United Nations and the Council of Europe should be implemented well by the state and that in the process of joining the European Union we must respect the human rights of women, Autonomous Women's Center consistently monitors the implementation of and advocates for a comprehensive, coherent, relevant, specific, efficient and effective national policies against violence against women.

22/2/2016, Belgrade: Amendments to the Criminal Code developed by the Autonomous Women’s Center have been confirmed by the member of the GREVIO Expert Group, Ms. Vesna Ratković in an analysis on compliance of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Serbia with the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence. This is important recognition of the quality of AWC work, after an acknowledgment given in the Report of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Mr.  Nils Muižnieks.

Autonomous Women’s Center developed amendments to the Criminal Code of the RS in 2011, immediately after the Government of the Republic of Serbia had ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Violence against Women. Primarily, these amendments had been submitted to the Ombudsman, who accepted them, and to the Working group for amendments to the Criminal Code within the Ministry of Justice. Since there was no willingness for proposed changes, in November 2012 the same amendments were sent to the Minister Selakovic and members of a new Working group for changes of the Criminal Code, and again without success in relation to the proposed changes.

In his Regular Annual Report for 2013, the Protector of Citizens suggested to the Ministry of Justice to regard the Protector of Citizens’ initiative for amendments to the Criminal Codeand intensify work on harmonization of the national legislation with the Council of Europe Convention on VAW. The Annual Report of the Protector of Citizens for 2014 states that the previous suggestion wasn’t implemented and the same initiative was re-submitted.

In 2014 Autonomous Women’s Center in cooperation with a group of experts carried out a comprehensive analysis on compliance of legislative and strategic framework of the Republic of Serbia with the Council of Europe Convention on Violence against Women, which was presented to the professional public, including Ministry of Justice. However, in 2015 this ministry, through the Office for European Integration (PLAC project, EU funds), sought professional help to analyze the compliance of the Criminal Code of the RS with the Convention.

Certainly, the fact that the member of the GREVIO working group repeated all the findings and proposals of the Autonomous Women’s Center in her analysis, is a great recognition AWC work. However, the question remains – why this analysis and proposals have not been accepted so far. AWC amendments were drafted by Ms. Vanja Macanović, lawyer and Legal Team Coordinator in AWC, one of the candidates nominated by the Republic of Serbia for GREVIO membership.