The Autonomous Women's Center, ASTRA and Group 484, as members of the prEUgovor Coalition, submitted to the National Assembly, and before that to the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality, as well as to the Committee on European Integration, amendments to the disputable solutions contained in Draft Law on Gender Equality and to the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on Prohibition of Discrimination, which appeared after the public debate. Both laws were adopted without amending the bill in the way the Coalition prEUgovor suggested.
The period from November 2020 to April 2021 was marked by the accelerated activity of the newly formed Government and Parliament to compensate for a year that Serbia lost on its path to European integration. However, monitoring that was conducted by the prEUgovor coalition in the past six months infers that these renewed efforts are rather a continuation of the former checking-the-box approach, which so far has failed to achieve convincing results in monitored areas, namely political criteria and Chapters 23 and 24. Although the declarative commitment to Serbia’s EU path remains unchanged (albeit now and then interrupted by outbursts of anti-EU rhetoric), the coalition is still not convinced that there is in fact political will to bring about substantial reforms.
BeFem Talks "Istanbul Convention: the view of activists from the region" is the introduction to the new campaign "Equality from the drawer: For policies of non-violence!", bringing together again women's rights defenders from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Northern Macedonia, which have been to this day the bravest part of our societies.
Autonomous Women’s Center continued to independently monitor the implementation of the Law on the Prevention of Domestic Violence. The eighth report covers the activities of the police and prosecutor’s offices in 2019, based on data obtained monthly from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Republic Public Prosecutor’s Office. In addition, this report includes data from the annual reports on the work of centers for social work in Serbia (for 2018, since the report for 2019 is not yet publicly available). Moreover, although it is 2020, the data are provided on the actions of state bodies in the period March-May, i.e. during the SARS-CoV 2 epidemic and the state of emergency.
Today, in the Media Center, the first baseline report on the implementation of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence in Serbia has been presented. Although GREVIO welcomes the state’s commitment to eliminating gender-based violence against women, as well as legislative changes taken in this direction, there are a number of areas that need urgent response and improvement, such as a small number of underfunded specialized services for women with experience of violence, mainly provided by NGOs. The urgency of establishing a consultative dialogue with women’s organizations is also emphasized, as well as the need to ensure adequate and long-term financing for the specialized services they provide.
Autonomous Women’s Center, which has submitted the alternative report on the implementation of the Convention to the GREVIO Group, is satisfied with the largest number of presented findings and recommendations. It remains to be seen whether and how many recommendations will be included in the new strategic document on preventing violence against women.
In order to monitor the measurable effects of the reforms in the European integration process of the Republic of Serbia, members of the prEUgovor coalition drafted the second edition of the Institutional Barometer, which analyzes the work of six selected institutions with the competences in the areas of Chapter 23 (Justice and Fundamental Rights) and Chapter 24 (Justice, Freedom and Security). Autonomous Women’s Center applied the created methodology to the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality.
In line with their efforts to establish an institutional system for the protection of children in Serbia that would be as adequate as possible, the Autonomous Women’s Center, ASTRA and Group 484 prepared the comments and proposals for amendments and supplements to the Draft Law on the Rights of the Child and the Protector of the Rights of the Child, submitted during the public debate to the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs.
A general comment relating to the adoption of the Law on the Rights of the Child relates primarily to the question of whether such a single law is necessary in the first place, and whether it is possible to codify all norms concerning the rights of the child in a single law.
The prEUgovor coalition present its latest Alarm - report on Serbia’s progress in implementation of policies in the areas covered by chapters 23 (Judiciary & Fundamental Rights) and 24 (Justice, Freedom & Security) of the EU accession negotiations.
The prEUgovor Alarm’s findings point to the fact that Serbia is not doing enough in order to make progress in priority areas. The lack of dialogue in democratic institutions, primarily in the National Assembly, in the media and society in general challenges the meaning of reform efforts. Therefore, the key question that will be addressed at the conference is what needs to be done in order to improve the Rule of Law in Serbia, especially when considering lack of positive impact of the ongoing reforms, as reported in prEUgovor Alarms.
Folowing the invitation of the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans' and Social Affairs, which began the process of preparing the Strategy for Prevention and Protection against Discrimination for the period 2020-2025, the Autonomous Women's Center submitted its proposals.
The AWC has prepared the first independent report on the activities of the newly formed National SOS Helpline for women with experience of violence, for the period January-June 2019. The report indicates that the number of received calls in the observed period is twice less than the number displayed by the newly formed SOS Helpline, and amounts to 934 calls (155.7 calls on average per month). The other 861 calls, made up of "test" calls, should not be counted and displayed because they do not originate from callers.
Almost a year after the public hearing on the Draft Law on Social Protection, the Ministry in charge has organized a consultation meeting with interested parties on the "updated harmonized Draft Law". If we leave behind the fact that the purpose of the meeting is not completely clear in regard to the regulations on the process of developing legal documents, the key problem is that the proponent did not conduct an analysis of the effects of the options considered on society, including effects on different categories of population, and especially on vulnerable groups, whose situation may be aggravated by the implementation of public policy measures.