Monday, July 13, 2020

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Regarding the first draft of the Action Plan for Chapter 23, the Autonomous Women’s Center participated in the meeting ( on April 19, 2019.) whose aim was to provide comments to the part of the Action Plan referring to fundamental rights. Comments on the principle of non-discrimination and status of vulnerable group,s were explained by Tanja Ignjatovic. After a discussion, requests were made to the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Justice and National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia.

On behalf of the NCEU Working Group for Chapter 23, the meeting was opened by Milan Antonijević, with introductory speeches by Cedomir Backovic, Assistant Minister in the Sector for European Integrations and International Projects, as well as Brankica Jankovic, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality. Main comments concerning fundamental rights were made by the representative of the Autonomous Women’s Center, as well as Maja Stojanovic on behalf of the Inter-sectoral Group for Freedom of Speech and Katarina Golubovic from YUCOM, concerning the status of independent institutions.

The NCEU Working Group for Chapter 23 greeted the decision of the Ministry of Justice to accept the greater part of recommendations in the field of fundamental rights sent by members of the Working Group. After a constructive discussion, the following requests were made to the Government of the Republic of Serbia, Ministry of Justice and National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia:

Organize constructive and concrete public discussions for amendments to laws and adoption of strategies and consistently implement the practice of justification of accepted/declined proposals made by civil society organizations, and refrain from public discussion practice as in the case of the Law on the Prohibition of Discrimination;

Implement the election process for the Commissioner for Free Access to Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, deputies of the commissioner, as well as the process of election of deputies  of the Protector of Citizens-Ombudsman of Serbia, in accordance with requests previously made by civil society, in order for the candidates to meet the criteria of independence and integrity;

Include independent state institutions, not only in the process of development, but also in the monitoring of the implementation of measures and activities in their field of work;

In accordance with the Law on Public Information, return the Regulatory Body for Electronic Media its integrity, through monitoring of work, reform and election of members of this body;

Adjust solutions of the Action Plan with the draft of the new media strategy;

Urgently proceed with the election of the president of the Committee for Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality, as is it unacceptable that such a significant Committee of the National Assembly does not have a president.

Detailed conclusions and recommendations from the meeting will be available upon the completion of the report on the meeting.