Within the public debate procedure, the Autonomous Women’s Center submitted comments and amendments to the draft Strategy on the Development of the System of Public Informing in the Republic of Serbia. The key comment refers to the fact that the Strategy needs to be gender sensitive and gender specific, because women comprise 51% of society and because public information should enable the achievement of gender equality in all spheres of public and private life (in accordance with international standards, domestic legislation and strategic documents in this field).
At the 72nd session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, during which the Committee will consider the Fourth periodic report of the Republic of Serbia on the implementation of the Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (on February 28, 2019), an informal meeting of Committee members with representatives of NGOs from Serbia, UK and Botswana, was held (February 25, 2019).
Although the European Commission’s progress reports on gender equality in Serbia are modest in both scope and content, with relatively moderate conclusions, they still indicate insufficient activity and commitment of the state, reflected in the lack of implementation or (serious) delays in planned activities. What is missing from these progress reports, however, are comments on the quality of changes - amendments and supplements to laws made with the aim of aligning them with the acquis communautaire - and the effects of implemented measures and activities on the actual state of human rights, including the rights of women, and the achievement of equality of women and men in all spheres of public and private life.
Rape is a crime (criminal offense) everywhere. International standards require the punishment of any sexual act without CONSENT.
It is time for the criminal offense of Rape - Article 178 of the Criminal Code of Serbia to comply with the accepted international standards.
Therefore, support the CONSENT campaign and demand from the Ministry of Justice to modify the definition of this offense in accordance with international standards.
The Autonomous Women's Center started organizing expert meetings dedicated to the need to change the definition of the criminal offense of rape and its compliance with the standards of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence.
The scarce data on the experience of youth concerning sexual harassment, as well as media reports on these cases, point to the need for higher education institutions to ensure systematic information of employees and students about the unacceptability of such behavior, support measures for those exposed to harassment and timely institutional reaction.
The Autonomous Women’s Center was invited by the Institute for the Advancement of Education to join the process of public discussion on ammendments to the optional subject of Civic Education for grades III, IV, VII and VIII of elementary school, as well as II, III and IV grades of grammar school.
The Autonomous Women's Center, on the occasion of publishing the text United for Child Protection, requested UNICEF to review models and concepts that support interdisciplinary work to protect children from abuse and neglect. It was asked to insist that the experts strictly comply with the existing standards and principles of work in this field, prescribed by international agreements, as well as by laws and by-laws of the Republic of Serbia. Children's safety and well-being can not be protected if their mother is punished in situations where the system did not function timely and comprehensively.
The PrEUgovor Coalition presented the latest Alarm - an independent report on Serbia's progress in implementing policies in the areas of Chapter 23 and 24 of the accession negotiations with the European Union. It is expected that, by the end of this year, the Serbian Government will adopt revised versions of the action plans for both chapters, which is a moment for these strategic documents to be fundamentally changed in order to achieve better reform results. Bobana Macanovic spoke at the press conference on behalf of the Autonomous Women's Center.
Today, the Autonomous Women's Center sent a letter to the Public Procurement Directorate pointing to violations of the Law on Public Procurement and the Law on Social Protection by the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans' and Social Affairs and the possible occurrence of harmful consequences in connection with the implementation of the Call for Proposals to the associations to establish a National SOS Helpline to support women with experience of violence.
Organizations, members of the Women against Violence Network, are submitting open questions to the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veteran and Social Affairs regarding the third open call for the establishment of the National SOS Helpline for Women Victims of Violence, published on the Ministry's website on the 27th of September 2018.