MPs Ljupka Mihajlovska, Olena Papuga and Marija Janjusevic took part in the conference “Combating human trafficking in the Western Balkans” on 28 November 2019 in Podgorica, co-organized by the Office of the NATO Special Representative for Women, Peace and Security and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Committee on Gender Equality of the Montenegrin Parliament.
The next day, 29 November 2019, the Women’s Parliament held its 11th session, organized by the Montenegrin Parliament’s Committee on Gender Equality, dedicated to women’s rights in the countries of the region with a special focus on combating violence against women and human trafficking.
Speaking at the panel on how countries in the region prevent and suppress human trafficking, Ljupka Mihajlovska presented the new laws that contain provisions concerning prevention of human trafficking viz. Law on Asylum and Temporary Protection, Law on Foreigners, Law on Organ Transplantation and Law on Free Legal Aid. She also spoke of the activities implemented in line with the Prevention and Suppression Strategy for human trafficking, especially trafficking in women and children, and witness protection covering the period 2017 – 2020.
Olena Papuga addressed the participants on behalf of the Women’s Parliamentary Network, presenting the WPN’s activities and the key challenges in building a society of equal opportunities for women and men. One of WPN’s fundamental goals is the adoption of new laws and policies and monitoring of the implementation of laws in force concerning the suppression of domestic violence against women and children, health of women and families, economic empowerment of women, education of women and promotion of women’s knowledge. She also spoke of the importance of women’s inclusion in decision-making, stating that the 37.6% of National Assembly is comprised of women MPs and, in addition to the National Assembly Speaker, women are at the head of eight parliamentary committees.
Ljupka Mihajlovska emphasized the importance of the Law on Prevention of Domestic Violence that the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia passed in 2016 in the suppression of violence and the amendment of the Criminal Code that equated the punishment for the crime of rape and the crime of sexual intercourse with a helpless person. In 2016, the punishment for the crime of sexual intercourse with a helpless person was lower than the one for rape. She also spoke about the conclusions of the public hearing organized by the Committee on Human and Minority Rights and Gender Equality of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia. Finally, she concluded that an exchange of best practice examples in the region is very significant for advancing the fight against domestic violence.