Thursday, November 21, 2019

Commenting on the measures and activities in the new Action Plan for the implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy for the specific objective 1.5. referring to the "increased safety of women from gender-based violence", the Autonomous Women's Center noted that the Concluding Observations of the UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, which Serbia received on March 8, 2019, was not taken into account. It was also pointed out that the planned budgetary funds for the realization of this specific objective are completely inadequate (in the next two years it will be allocated 1,550,000 dinars, which is the sum of a smaller project), but also that the cost structure is inadequate (because it includes the financing of consultations, research, analysis, study and only three trainings), while the means to establish central records on the implementation of the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence are unknown (planned from donor funds, but it is not yet known whether these funds are secured).

In addition to the fact that the public hearing ends in August of the year planned for implementation of the measures and activities of the new AP for the period 2019-2020, a number of other shortcomings have also been highlighted. It was stated that outcome indicators have nothing to do with the planned measures and activities, but also that the target values were wrongly set. In addition, many initial values do not include data, although they do exist, and it is unclear as to how the planned progress will be evaluated. It is documented that some of the analyzes planned to be implemented are already in place, failing to make the necessary changes to the law. A mismatch between the planned activities in this AP and the revised AP for Chapter 23 - Justice and Fundamental Rights has been observed.

It was specifically explained that it was not possible to expect that the measure concerning "ensuring conditions for sustainable, continuous, accessible services of women and feminist organizations specialized in supporting women in situations of violence" would be implemented and coordinated by the Ministry of Labor, Employment, Veterans' and Social Affairs, considering everything the Minister had done in the previous period to entrust the service of the National SOS Helpline, in addition to six licensed providers within the non-governmental sector, to a seventh provider in a social care institution who had never previously engaged in this activity.

In summary, even if other parts of the AP for the implementation of the Gender Equality Strategy for 2019-2020 are better than these, the activities planned for this sub-objective will not lead to "increased security for women from gender-based violence, domestic violence and violence in partner relationships".

AWC comments are available here.