With the official start of Serbia's accession negotiations in January 2014, the country has taken another important step towards becoming a fully-fledged member of the European Union. The EU Twinning project “Support to the advancement of human rights and zero tolerance to discrimination” supports Serbia’s continuing efforts to align its legislation with the acquis and establish an efficient and effective system for combating discrimination.
The objective of the project is to strengthen and promote the implementation of the relevant legislative framework on protection against discrimination, protection of minorities and human rights defenders, and to bring it in line with European standards. The activities of the Twinning project aim at strengthening the existing capacity of relevant national institutions such as the Office for Human and Minority Rights (OHMR), the Commissioner for Protection of Equality (CPE) and other key stakeholders for the implementation of human rights and at enhancing the implementation of anti-discrimination policies at national and local level.
Key result areas:
The activities of this project are clustered around the following three result areas:
- Strengthen the institutional framework for the protection of human rights and the prevention of discrimination of vulnerable groups
Activities focus on building capacities of civil servants and CSOs to develop human and minority rights indicators, implement relevant monitoring and reporting procedures and support 20 municipalities in implementing four preventive and promotional measures against discrimination.
- Improve the capacities of the Commissioner for Protection of Equality (CPE) to prevent and fight discrimination especially at the local level
Recommendations on the improvement of the existing legal provisions on anti-discrimination and on the enhancement of anti-discrimination policies will be developed. Furthermore, the outreach work of the CPE as well as the capacities in three local CPE-offices will be strengthened.
- Enhance the capacities of human rights defenders and National Councils of National Minorities (NCNM) for protecting human rights and preventing discrimination
Based on a review of the respective legal framework, activities aim at enhancing the capacities of NCNM, judges, police and CSOs to protect human rights and combat discrimination. Raising awareness on the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation among professionals working in public institutions and the possibility of filing complaints with the CPE among LGBTI human rights defenders at the national and local level will contribute to increasing complaints filed with the CPE. Besides that, the project will support the implementation of public awareness campaigns on CPE recommendations, the importance of protecting minority rights, and on promoting the role of human rights defenders.
The project has started on 24 August 2015. The kick-off event took place in Belgrade on 19 October 2015. In May 2016, a set of trainings aimed at strengthening the capacities of Serbian police and judges on anti-discrimination. From 7 until 10 February 2017, the Serbian Commissioner for Protection of Equality was welcomed for a study visit in Vienna and Graz. Between April and June 2017, a training of trainers program was implemented for CPE staff. On 6 June 2017, an event titled “WE DO NOT DISCRIMINATE! Conference on the occasion of the presentation of the Guidebook for Developing an Anti-discrimination Code of Conduct for Employers“ took place in Belgrade.