Friday, 9 September 2016
Fifth Sitting of the European Integration Committee
The European Integration Committee held its fifth sitting on 9 September, jointly with the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality to discuss the status and rights of LGBT people in the Republic of Serbia.
The Chairman of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality Meho Omerovic reminded the attending that the committee he chairs and the European Integration Committee had in the last two years had several joint sittings and concrete activities aimed at improving the status and rights of the most sensitive population groups, and today was the time to assess how much has been done so far. The Committee’s activity plan for the coming period contains activities aimed at improving the rights of the most vulnerable social groups and this September it is safe to say that there have been changes, however they are not enough to make the members of the LGBT community feel equal and to exercise their constitutional rights, added Omerovic. Their problems have been made more visible as has their right to assembly, said Omerovic, hoping that the Pride Parade will go on without incident. He opined that the cooperation of the LGBT population with the National Assembly and other state bodies and organisations is good and today this population’s rights also have political support.
Jasna Plavsic, Head of the Group for Anti-Discrimination Policy at the Office for Human and Minority Rights, presented the Office activities on the improvement of the status of LGBT people. She opined that the Republic of Serbia has been dedicated to respecting human rights and can be satisfied with the established human rights mechanisms. She added that LGBT rights and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation are topics that have garnered public attention. The most important thing the Office did is establish two mechanisms to monitor the situation as regards human rights and to prevent discrimination.
Aleksandar Vasiljevic, Assistant Head of Police, presented, on then behalf of the Ministry of the interior, the police activities on ensuring the rights of all citizens. He said that the level of human rights protection among the LGBT population is satisfactory, adding that the Ministry is fully committed to ensuring the rights of all citizens and the Police offers full protection to all. He presented the Police activities concerning the topic in brief, and the Police community strategy.
In the ensuing debate, the members of the two committees agreed that a lot has been done to promote the status and rights of LGBT people in the previous period, but the exercise of LGBT rights in practice still needs to be improved. They spoke about possibly introducing special rights for specific groups and the impact of it on the exercise of rights of other social groups, all out anti-discrimination efforts, focusing the education system on the problem, same-sex marriages, the right to adoption, provisions of the Anti-Discrimination Law, the work of the Commissioner for Equality, implementation of the existing legislative framework, etc.
The representatives of the LGBT population spoke of the specific problems they are faced with, about discrimination and violence, asking the members of the two National Assembly committees to remember that some of the people around them face these problems every day and that should motivate them in their future efforts. They also commended the work the committees do and their practice of cooperation with LGBT organisations, as well as the work done by the police, which cannot be said for all the institutions of the system.
The sitting was attended by representatives of a number of ministries, the institution of Ombudsman, Commissioner for Equality, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection, UNDP, EU Delegation in Serbia, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Association Rainbow, Queeria Centre, Institute of Social Sciences, Gay Lesbian Info Centre, Gay Straight Alliance, “Come Out” young LGBT people’s support group from Novi Sad, Civic Association Egal, Da Se Zna!, Pride Parade, LGBT Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey, Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, as well as the Head of Serbia’s Negotiating Team Tanja Miscevic.
Following the debate on the only item of the agenda the members of the two committees unanimously adopted a Conclusion.
The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairperson Marinika Tepic, and attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Zarko Micin, Olivera Pesic, Zvonimir Djokic, Gordana Comic, Dr Muamer Bacevac, Haji Milorad Stosic, Balint Pasztor, Aleksandar Stevanovic, Vesna Markovic, Dusica Stojkovic and Dragan Sormaz.
Committees related to this activity
9.45 - press conference of MP Usame Zukorlic (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)
10.30 - the National Assembly Speaker meets with a delegation of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Committee on Foreign Affairs (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 1)
10.30 - press conference of the GREEN – LEFT CLUB, DON’T LET BELGRADE D(R)OWN, WE HAVE TO Parliamentary Group (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)
11.10 - the members of the Foreign Affairs Committee meet with the delegation of the Turkish Grand National Assembly Committee on Foreign Affairs (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)
12.00 - sitting of the Culture and Information Committee (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 4)
12.00 - press conference of MPs Slavica Radovanovic, Sanda Raskovic Ivic, Tatjana Manojlovic, Radmila Vasic and Jelena Kalajdzic (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, Central Hall)
13.00 - sitting of the Committee on Administrative, Budgetary, Mandate and Immunity Issues (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 3)
13.00 - the National Assembly Speaker meets with the Swedish Ambassador to Serbia (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 1)
14.00 - sitting of the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 3)
18.30 - representatives of opposition parliamentary groups meet with the EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement (National Assembly House, 13 Nikola Pasic Square, hall 2)