The reporting period, which lasted from November 2021 to April 2022, was marked by the referendum on constitutional amendments and the general elections with accompanying campaigns and a series of regulations that once again underwent last minute changes. Due to the lack of real dialogue in institutions and the media, in late 2021 citizens took to the streets in mass protests throughout Serbia. A significant initial step towards strengthening the independence of the judiciary was made by amending the Constitution, although the space for the influence of politics on this branch of government has not been completely eliminated.
Education about reproductive and sexual health and rights has not been organized systemically, shows the latest study of the Autonomous Women's Center "Systemic education postponed until further notice", which analyzes how much the Republic of Serbia respects international standards, domestic laws and policies regarding the education of children and young people about sexual and reproductive health within the framework of the formal education system.
As part of the discussion regarding the development of the Policy Action Plan for youth in AP Vojvodina 2022-2025, and at the initiative of the European Youth Center of Vojvodina, the AWC sent its comments in the field of digital violence towards and among young people.
The prEUgovor coalition has drawn up proposals for key reforms that the future executive and legislature should work on after the elections on April 3. In addition to the general principles for improving the existing state of the rule of law and democracy in Serbia, the members of the coalition highlight, each in their own field of expertise, what the key problems are in the field of combating corruption and organized crime, anti-discrimination policy, migration and asylum and human trafficking, as well as regional relations.
Gender-based violence, as you call it in the given opinion, is a recent term - and women's organizations, revealing the problem, talked about men's violence against women. The imbalance of physical, political, social and economic power between the sexes was the focus of this term. We believe that you will agree with the fact that the equalization of power between the sexes has not (yet) occurred, but that the term was first replaced by the term "gender-based violence against women" (the term used in the Council of Europe Convention), and then "gender-based violence". Women, who are predominantly victims of male violence and make up over 50% of the population, have become invisible through this terminological reduction, which takes us back many decades, to the very beginning of the feminist struggle for the visibility of male violence against women - the most widespread form of discrimination against women in society.
As part of the global campaign "16 Days of Activism in combating Male Violence Against Women", the Autonomous Women's Center pointed out the lack of social attention and expertise on the consequences of violence perpetrated by intimate partners in procedures for determining parental care of children, women and child victims on women and children, witnesses of such violence.
During the reporting period - from May to October 2021 - the implementation of formal activities in certain areas of Cluster 1 continued at an accelerated pace, especially in connection with the constitutional changes in the field of judiciary. These activities are mostly of a normative character, representing only the initial step towards the desired social change, and are still lacking tangible results. The activities are also mostly late and are compensating for the processes that should have been completed a few years back. As part of the civil society, Coalition prEUgovor is still not satisfied with the quality of the process of drafting laws, strategies and policies, or the resulting solutions.
The Autonomous Women’s Center’s analysis “Social Housing Policies - Possibilities for women who have survived violence, and how they can realize their rights”, was presented to the public on October 8th in Belgrade, at an activist meeting attended by representatives of women’s associations from Uzice, Nis, Kragujevac, Krusevac, Novi Becej, Leskovac, Common Action for “The Roof Over Our Heads” from Novi Sad, The Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, as well as the Coordination Body for Gender Equality.
A series of investigative texts by journalist Jelena Jindra entitled The System for the Protection or Abuse of Children? published from July to September 2021 on the portal of H-Alter (Association for Independent Media Culture) from Zagreb, drew great and attention and caused a lot of controversies among the general and professional public about the scientifically unfounded notion of "parental alienation". This term, which in Croatia, but also in the whole world, is very popular among experts for the protection of children in the health, judicial and social protection system, has also been propagated in Serbia in recent years by prof. Dr Gordana Buljan Flander, through "educational sessions on alienation" which she held not only in Serbia, but also in Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro.
For the ninth time, the Autonomous Women's Center presents a report on independent monitoring of the implementation of the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence in Serbia for the period January-December 2020, which also contains comparative data from the previous year. There are still no consolidated, publicly available, official reports on the application of the Law, and the lack of a central electronic record on the application of the Law makes it difficult to monitor it comprehensively and fosters inconsistent and incomparable data from different sources. The ninth independent report was prepared by Tanja Ignjatović.