The Chairperson of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality Jasmina Karanac met with representatives of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) Belgrade office.
The representatives of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy briefed the Committee Chairperson on the WFD regional programme to be conducted from April 2019 to October 2021 with the support of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The programme will focus on strengthening the cooperation between the parliaments of the Western Balkans by establishing a parliamentary network of committees on human rights and gender equality. In addition to establishing a regional network, some of the key activities include strengthening parliamentary oversight on human rights legislation, audit of implementation of laws related to gender inclusion and human rights, developing oversight training mechanisms and presentation of a Regional Study on the operation of human rights committees in the Western Balkans. The programme will be coordinated from the regional centre in Belgrade and participation in it is on a voluntary and inclusive basis.
Karanac thanked the Westminster Foundation for Democracy for its cooperation with the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality, stressing the importance of regional cooperation for minority rights and gender equality issues. She briefed the guests on the Committee’s cooperation with the parliamentary bodies in the region, with a special focus on the regional meetings of the parliamentary bodies in charge of human rights issues, launched in 2013 when the very first meeting of this kind was held at the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. Some of the issues debated in these meetings were improving the position of the child to prevent exploitation at large, strengthening parliamentary oversight, combating violence against women and domestic violence. These activities clearly speak of the need for regional committees to cooperate and work on issues of common interest, said Karanac and praised the initiative that contributes to the further development of parliamentary cooperation between the countries of the Western Balkans, especially the committees on human and minority rights and gender equality.
The first regional meeting is planned for the middle of September.
On the behalf of the Westminster Foundation for Democracy Belgrade office the meeting was attended by Director of the WFD Western Balkans programme Emil Atanasovski, Ivan Radojevic, Dusan Milenkovic and Nevena Stankovic.