At the press conference organised in the Serbian Parliament on the occasion of 25 November, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Speaker of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia Ivica Dacic said that domestic violence has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, with millions of cases of domestic violence recorded in the world during the quarantine measures.
"Unfortunately, women are still under threat of various types of violence, including the gravest which results in the loss of life. The data shows that violence against women increased even during the pandemic to the extent that as many as 15 million women in the world were exposed to various types of violence in their homes, during quarantine measures", said Ivica Dacic adding that as a society deeply concerned with gender equality, and especially the protection of women from violence of all kinds, the Republic of Serbia is proud to participate in the joint global action calling on everyone to eradicate this disease of modern society.
“The National Assembly has had a beautiful almost eight-year tradition of the Women's Parliamentary Network operating in it, something we are going to continue in the new parliamentary legislature. To that end, I invited all the parliamentary groups to delegate their representatives to the Women's Parliamentary Network, as an influential and important parliamentary group", said National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic.
He added that the goals of the Women's Parliamentary Network are noble and binding for all of us, especially in the field of preserving the health of women and families, combating violence against women, as well as domestic violence, economic empowerment and education of women.
"Women occupy more than 40% of the seats in the National Assembly’s current legislature. This is a completely new quality, and there is no doubt that the growing presence of women in parliamentary and political work will bring new energy and a new, more humane, aspect to the decisions that will be made in the Assembly. That this is not a coincidence is confirmed by the fact that half of the Serbian Government consists of women, which we are also proud of", said the National Assembly Speaker.
“As Speaker of the National Assembly, I will provide the greatest possible support to the work of the Women's Parliamentary Network and be its strong advocate. I am convinced that organized in this way, regardless of which party or parliamentary group they are from, women in parliament can be the best protector of their rights and a very influential factor in improving the position of women in society", said Dacic, adding that he sees the Women's Parliamentary Network as the most powerful and leading political forum to promote women's rights and their specific interests.
"They should receive our unreserved support in their mission," Dacic pointed out.
National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic also said that women have a big job ahead of them and that is why they will need the support of all of us. The priorities of their work are, above all, encouragement for women in Serbia to participate as much as possible in public and political life, to spread awareness of women's solidarity, to promote the importance of education and continuous training, especially entrepreneurship and leadership.
"First of all, and on the occasion of today's International Day, we must all publicly commit ourselves to a constant and uncompromising fight against violence against women in any form. It is our civilizational obligation, as well as the debt to our women, and it will not be fulfilled, until the violence is completely eradicated from our society ", said National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic.
Speaking at the press conference on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, 25 November, the coordinator of the Women's Parliamentary Network Sandra Bozic thanked National Assembly Speaker Ivica Dacic for his support, emphasizing that this is not a fight of women for women, it is a fight of the entire society against a serious social problem that plagues humanity - femicide. In the National Assembly, we fighting this problem with laws and ratifications of international conventions, said Bozic. She added that the Women's Parliamentary Network continues its work and activities in this legislature as well. Sandra Bozic reminded the attending that the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence starts today and ends on 10 December, International Human Rights Day. The most important type of women's empowerment is economic empowerment, because only an economically independent woman can distance herself from her abuser, Bozic pointed out, at the same time emphasizing the importance of political empowerment. Thanks to the recently adopted quotas, today 40% of the MPs in the National Assembly are women, she pointed out adding that it was a great pleasure when the 40% of women in the Parliament elected the Government of the Republic of Serbia, comprising 50% women. The basic message that should come out of the National Assembly today, and any other day of the year, is zero tolerance for violence against women, concluded MP Sandra Bozic in her address.
Addressing the press conference, MP Snezana Paunovic had special thanks for her colleagues, MPs, and founders of the Women's Parliamentary Network. The step forward made by Gordana Comic, Marija Obradovic, Stefana Miladinovic, Dubravka Filipovski, Aleksandra Jerkov, and many other MPs from previous legislatures, is a challenge for all the future legislatures to take on the obligation and maintain that continuity, Paunovic emphasized, adding that never once were the ideological differences between the MPs felt in the work of the Women's Parliamentary Network. We owe a debt of gratitude to the women from our history, and a duty to the girls who will be born after us, to give them space to continue with their activism and never again be the underrepresented gender or perceived as a less valuable gender, she emphasized. In her address, Snezana Paunovic concluded that violence as such cannot be allowed to exist, that violence must stop and that dialogue is always the only option.