Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection, adopted by the National Assembly on March 22, 2018, adopted some of the amendments made by the Autonomous Women's Center to the draft of this law, of which the most important one is the recognition of gender-based violence as an act of persecution. Most of the amendments concern harmonization with the provisions of the Council of Europe Convention against Violence against Women in relation to the recognition of gender-based violence as the basis for the granting of refugee protection and the introduction of gender sensitive decision-making procedures on asylum applications.

We believe that this establishes the legal basis for women exposed to gender-based violence in the country of origin to realize the right to asylum in Serbia, although our amendments concerning the explicit recognition of "gender" in defining the concept of refugee and the right to asylum have not been adopted.

In addition to the above, in accordance with the amendments we have made, the principle of prohibition of expulsion and return includes the basis of "gender", the principle of "gender and gender identity" is introduced in the principle of non-discrimination, it is envisaged that the hearings for women in the asylum procedure are separated from hearings for men, partners are recognized as family members. Also, when protecting the best interest of a minor child, it is taken into account whether the child is a victim of gender-based violence, and the amendment has been adopted on the delayed implementation of the law for 60 days, which we hope enables better preparation for the implementation of the Law.

The Autonomous Women's Center expects that the adoption of these provisions will improve the treatment of women refugees in Serbia and enable more effective protection for them, which we will continue to follow through our activities.