Monday, December 11, 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.

During the press conference held on 17th of October in Media Center in Belgrade, Autonomous Women's Center and Women Against Violence Network officially started collecting signatures in support of a petition to designate May 18 - Day of Remembrance of the murdered women victims of violence. This date was chosen because in 2015, within a period of 72 hours, on the 16th, 17th and 18th of May, seven women were killed in domestic-partnership context. The first signatures of support were given by members of the families of women victims of femicide, and during the conference there were collected more than 80 signatures.

"Through conversation with the families of the victims we have mapped the requests on which we will be focused in the future, which include setting up a memorial plaque in Belgrade in memory of women victims of femicide, establishing a system of emotional and psychological support from professionals to families of the victims, as well as the draft of guidelines for the conduct of police officers during the communication with family members of the victims", said Vedrana Lacmanović from the Women Against Violence Network.

Gordana Stevanovic, Deputy Ombudsperson for children's rights and gender equality, read a letter from the Ombudsperson, Saša Janković, sent in the support of the initiative to declare May 18 Day of Remembrance of the murdered women victims of violence. "The prevalence of violence against women in the family and intimate relationships, especially the death of a woman due to domestic violence and partner relationships, is the failure of the State to ensure the exercise of fundamental rights guaranteed", was written in letter of the Ombudsperson.

Bobana Macanović from the Autonomous Women's Center has called on the responsibility of the official institutions. "This day we ask because we believe that the state has the obligation to apologize to the victims and their families and to take the responsibility for the failures because she was unable to protect its citizens", said Macanović. "First of all, we ask this day because we want to make it clear that these women were killed by men who believe that they have the right to a woman's life, not because of jealousy, not because of the conflict, and no, it is not a tragedy. It is men's violence against women", she said.

Ana Manojlovic, journalist from RTS and the author of a film "The victim has a female face", has once again reminded of the important role that the media play in combating violence against women, saying it is important to reveal the nature of this social problem. "Let's follow through the end on how the institutions have responded, what was done by the police, did the social workers supported the victim, how the courts deal with this cases. Because it is the only relevant, it is important and thus we do not bring anyone in danger. Except maybe for ourselves, as we challenge institutions that are not doing their job. But that is certainly our job to do", said Manojlovic.

Besides the Ombudsperson, the petition was supported by the Office of the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection and the Commissioner for Equality.

All who want to support and sign the petition can do so on Wednesdays, starting from 2nd of November, from 12h to 16h at the Republic Square in Belgrade, and the list for the signatures will be available, except in the office of the Autonomous Women's Center, also in the organizations of the Women Against Violence Network in 18 cities and municipalities in Serbia.

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