Tuesday, August 11, 2020

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.

ON THE REPORT OF THE DIRECTOR'S OFFICE FOR HUMAN AND MINORITY RIGHTS IN THE CASE OF MARIJA AND SINIŠA MALI:
Commenting on the case of Marija and Siniša Mali, directly taking the side of the mayor of Belgrade, and accusing his ex-wife in advance - the director of the Office for Human and Minority Rights, Suzana Paunović, showed that she doesn’t take into account that the one who has political power is ready to abuse it. We remind her that the imbalance of power is the basis of any discrimination and human rights violation, and we warn that, due to the lack of knowledge on this topic, she should maybe find some other business to deal with.

In an interview with television N1 on February 17th, 2017, while speaking about the case of an express court decision to assign the custody of children to the father (mayor) and not the mother, Paunović showed she didn’t understand the essence of discrimination and potential abuse of power, even though in this case there are indications that this is exactly the case. Contrary to her statement that "other people lost custody, and they didn’t speak in this way nor did they seek public protection", this is not about "ordinary" citizens, but about the mayor of Belgrade who has great public, political, social and economic power, which gives him an opportunity to abuse it in the private sphere. On the contrary, she politicizes this case by avoiding to speak professionally about it, directing it to referent state authorities, in addition to the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Policy, to both the Protector of Citizens and the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality.

Furthermore, her question ("How well functioning is a parent who exposes her children to the public to this extent") is a thesis substitution and abuse of one's own position. She knows that the father of these children has already been sufficiently publicly exposed in connection with numerous suspicions and cases of corruption and illegal activities, long before his former wife addressed the media. The fact that the children’s care and education were entrusted to him confirms that this wasn’t the basis for assessing his parental functionality. Or should we take this a step further and ask: Who is dysfunctional here - the parent or the state?

In the end, we have to ask ourselves - if she cannot understand the despair of someone trying to exercise their rights, while on the other side there is one who has incomparably more power, the question is whether Suzana Paunović should be at the head of the Office for Human and Minority Rights.