The Chairperson and members of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality met today at the National Assembly House with a member of the French National Assembly Laetitia Avia.
Committee Chairperson Jasmina Karanac said that this year marks the 180th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, adding that France was Serbia’s ally in WW2.
She emphasized the importance of French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Belgrade in July of this year that left a strong impression on the entire region.
Speaking of the intensification of parliamentary cooperation between the two countries, Karanac said that the National Assembly is home to a 51-strong PFG with France, adding that she was very pleased by the fact that the Head of the French Parliament’s friendship group with Serbia is an MP of Serbian origin.
Chairperson Karanac went on to brief MP Avia on the scope of the Committee she is heading, saying it boasts 17 members and their deputies. She informed the guest about the Committee’s authority in different areas and its legislative and normative activities in the previous period, among them the adoption of laws concerning human right protection – Law on National Councils of National Minorities, Law on Protection of Rights and Freedoms of National Minorities, Law on Official Use of Languages and Scripts, Law on Personal Data Protection and Law on Free Legal Aid.
What the National Assembly and consequently the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality are to tackle in the coming period is the adoption of a new gender equality law, fully adjusted to EU directives and provisions of the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention), and amendment and modification of the Anti-Discrimination Law to achieve full harmonization with the EU acquis, said Karanac.
Speaking of gender equality Karanac said that women make up 37.2% of the National Assembly i.e. of the 250 MPs, 93 are women. She added that women take some of the highest Assembly posts in parliamentary committees and delegations and in the executive.
The meeting then focused on human rights protection and combating hate speech online. In relation with it the Committee Chairperson asked the guest about the bill against hate speech online currently in procedure at the French National Assembly.
French National Assembly member Laetitia Avia, who is taking part in the conference on combating intolerance and promoting equality in Belgrade, is the one who proposed the bill against hate speech online at the French National Assembly. She said that France has a Law on Freedom of Expression which defines hate speech. She said that the bill against hate speech online will outline sanctions for authors of hate speech content. The bill proposed that content of this kind needs to be removed within 24 hours and the perpetrators be processed by special courts, judges and experts in the area.
Finally, the officials agreed that there is room to advance bilateral cooperation, and the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality showed gre4at interest into learning more about the Law on Freedom of Expression and bill against hate speech online.
The meeting was also attended by MPs Olena Papuga, Vesna Ivkovic, Natasa St. Jovanovic, Milanka Vukojicic Jevtovic and Ljupka Mihajlovska.