At the sitting held on 13 February, the members of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality were presented the Republic of Serbia Report under the Third Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review and the accompanying recommendations.
Before the presentation the Committee was addressed by Karla Hershey, UN resident coordinator in Serbia, who said she was very pleased by the continued implementation of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the national level. She said it was the most important mechanism for the improvement of human rights both because of its universal nature and the fact that it is implemented at the national level, adding that its full implementation in the field can only be possible if all the institutions are dedicated to it. Hershey said she was happy to see that the UPR in Serbia is conducted in cooperation with all the relevant institutions, especially the Parliament, an effort which will enjoy full support by the UN Office.
Joseph Mellott, Deputy Head of the OSCE Mission to Serbia, said that the Report is the result of the dialogue on the state-of-play of human rights. The Mission is aware of the importance of the reporting process as well as the steps required to follow the recommendations given to Serbia by the UN member states. Mellott added that the process has the Mission’s full operative support and commended the cooperation of the Council for Monitoring the Implementation of the Recommendations of the UN Human Rights Mechanisms of the Government of the Republic of Serbia with independent institutions and the non-governmental sector. Mellott urged all the social factors to continue to work toward improving human rights stressing that the OSCE Mission, along with the UN Office, remains committed to fully support Serbia’s efforts in the area.
Suzana Paunovic, President of the Council for Monitoring the Implementation of the Recommendations of the UN Human Rights Mechanisms of the Government of the Republic of Serbia and head of the Serbian delegation for the Third Cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, briefed the Committee on the course of the debate on Serbia’s Report before the UN Human Rights Council presented in Geneva on 24 January and the recommendations received there. Suzana Paunovic said that the drafting of the Report was inclusive and in addition to state bodies included independent state bodies and civil society organizations. Paunovic said that the Council drafted a plan to monitor the implementation of the recommendations which includes coming up with recommendation fulfilment indicators in cooperation with the UN Belgrade Office. She said that the push is to connect the recommendations with the Sustainable Development Goals.
The Committee was also addressed by Ombudsman Zoran Pasalic and Director of the Belgrade Centre for Human Rights Sonja Toskovic who spoke about the independent state bodies and civil society organizations’ participation in the drafting of the Report.
Concluding the sitting, the Chairman of the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality Meho Omerovic reminded the attending of the Resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council on 23 June 2017 on the contribution of parliaments to the work of the Human Rights Council and its universal periodic review. The Resolution encourages the member states to promote parliamentary inclusion in all the stages of the UPR reporting process, said Omerovic. Encouraging cooperation between the parliament, state bodies and civil society organizations is important for the promotion and protection of human rights he said, stressing that the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality would continue to monitor the implementation of the recommendations received.
The sitting was held in cooperation with the Council for Monitoring the Implementation of the Recommendations of the UN Human Rights Mechanisms of the Government of the Republic of Serbia.
The sitting was chaired by Committee Chairman Meho Omerovic and attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Nikola Jolovic, Natasa St. Jovanovic, Milanka Jevtovic Vukojicic, Ljibuska Lakatos, Ljiljana Malusic, Olivera Ognjanovic, Marjana Maras, Olena Papuga, Vesna Ivkovic and Elvira Kovacs, as well as MP Bosko Obradovic.