Marking the national Day of Remembrance for Women Victims of Violence, the Autonomous Women’s Center appeals to women and men members of parliament not to adopt the draft amendments of the Criminal Code envisaging the prison sentence of 30 to 40 years to be replaced with life in prison.
The Autonomous Women’s Center is publishing its comments and proposals, which it submitted to the Ministry of Justice on April 15, 2019, as a working group member. The Ministry of Justice has, unfortunately, not accepted any of the proposals made by the Autonomous Women’s Center, in the Draft of April 22,2019. These primarily refer to the prevention of perpetrators of these criminal acts, so that when they perpetrate the crime for the first time or they commit a milder form of the act, they are put under longer and stricter control of state bodies, in order to prevent the committing of the most severe forms of the criminal acts of murder and rape.
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.
The prEUgovor coalition presented its new ALARM report about Serbia’s progress in the implementation of policies in areas from EU negotiation chapters 23 and 24. This report contains the prEUgovor coalition’s assessment of the political criteria for the EU accession process and the fulfilment of criteria for selected policy areas from Chapters 23 and 24 for the period October 2018 - March 2019. The key finding is that recent developments can hardly be assessed as positive; moreover, it seems that the overall tendencies in the monitored fields show worrying and, in some cases, alarming tendencies.
AWC’s independent monitoring of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence for the period July-December 2018, has confirmed earlier statements concerning the stabilization of procedures of responsible institutions in this field. On average, 1572 of restraining orders and 689 eviction orders are issued monthly, while 663 persons receive both measures. The sex of persons against whom these measures are issued confirm well-known data – men receive them in 85% and women in 15% of cases. Data on the sex of persons who receive both urgent measures is also expected – men in 90% of cases and women in 10% of cases, which indirectly indicates that men commit more aggravated acts of domestic violence.
The Regulation on Protection against Sexual Harassment and Extortion of the Faculty of Law – Union University in Belgrade, came into effect last week. This is the second faculty in Serbia (besides the Faculty of Political Sciences – University of Belgrade) that has taken steps to improve the protection of employees and students from sexual harassment by adopting a separate internal act addressing this issue. This document defines the terms “sexual harassment” and “extortion”, bans such behavior and determines measures of prevention and steps in the protection from sexual harassment, with the aim of promoting academic freedoms, equal opportunities, and respect of the integrity and dignity of all participants in the process of higher education.
Based on international documents and twenty-five years of experience of working with women and children victims of domestic, intimate partner and sexual violence, the Autonomous Women’s Center submitted to the Ministry of Justice its comments on the working text of the National Strategy on the Rights of Victims and Witnesses of Crime for the period from 2019 to 2025.
The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) prepared its Concluding observations in which it points out numerous problems and areas of concern in the implementation of the Convention. The coalition of organizations – Autonomous Women’s Center, ASTRA, Women in Black – which prepared an alternative report and was present at the 72nd session of the Committee, expresses its satisfaction with the content of the Concluding observations. We would like to highlight recommendations made to Serbia to take measures to combat the anti-gender discourse and its adverse impact on the State party’s achievements in the area of women’s rights; strengthen the knowledge of the judiciary, prosecutors and lawyers on the Convention and their capacity to invoke and directly apply it in court proceedings; monitor the use of misogynistic language referring to women in public statements and media reporting, and ensure that women’s rights activists are able to exercise their rights to freedom of expression, assembly and association without intimidation or reprisals; that cases of alleged intimidation or reprisals against civil society activists are duly investigated, that civil servants that obstruct the prosecution of attackers are held accountable.
To mark International Women’s Day – March 8th, the representative of the Autonomous Women’s Center participated in the conference on sexual violence during conflicts in Kosovo, organized in Pristina by the Jahjaga Foundation and the Embassy of Germany.
As part of the “Say NO to violence against women”, the AVON Company has awarded a donation to the Autonomous Women’s Center for the continuation of the implementation and improvement of the project “I can say no – Love is not violence”, with the aim of support to education of youth on different types of violence.