Thursday, 10 March 2011

Thirtieth Sitting of the Gender Equality Committee

At the thirtieth sitting, held on 10 March, the Gender Equality Committee was presented the Joint II and III periodic report under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).



At the thirtieth sitting, held on 10 March, the Gender Equality Committee was presented the Joint II and III periodic report under the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The sitting was organized in cooperation with the Gender Equality Council and the support of the UN Women Office in Serbia and the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights.

At the beginning of the sitting the participants were greeted by the Gender Equality Committee Chairperson Gordana Paunovic-Milosavljevic, Gender Equality Council President Snezana Lakicevic and Assistant Minister of Human and Minority Rights Sanja Jasarevic-Kuzic.

Committee Chairperson Gordana Paunovic-Milosavljevic emphasised the excellent cooperation between the Committee and Gender Equality Council, Gender Equality Directorate and UN Office. The Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women is one of seven fundamental UN conventions and the most important document on the protection of women’s rights, and the Report on its implementation illustrates the state and position of women in the signatory countries, added the Committee Chairperson. In 2007 Serbia submitted an Initial Report to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women which gave recommendations for further implementation of the Convention, which is also the topic of the Joint II and III periodic report.

In her address, Asya Varbanova, Head of the UN Women Office in Serbia, stressed that 2009 saw the thirtieth anniversary of the adoption of the Convention as the most important international document on the protection of rights of women in the world. She added that today, the Committee discussed what had been done in the 4 years, what progress Serbia made according to the recommendations and the reporting mechanisms.

Violeta Neubauer, member of the CEDAW Committee and UN expert, presented the contents of the Convention and the signatory countries’ reporting process to the Committee members, with a focus on the role of national parliaments in the process. She said that the role of national parliaments does not merely consist of supervising the executive power in the implementation of the Convention and Committee’s recommendations, but it also includes the deputies’ active participation in the process of passing national regulations, policies and budget containing the Convention’s basic tenets. She applauded the inclusion of national parliaments in the adoption of reports on the elimination of discrimination against women.

Dragana Petrovic, secretary of the Gender Equality Council and Svetlana Djordjevic of the Ministry of Human and Minority Rights presented the CEDAW Committee’s recommendations and Joint II and III periodic report.

In 2007 the CEDAW Committee gave recommendations to Serbia, which had submitted an Initial report for the period from 1992 to 2007. The Committee assessed the situation in Serbia as good and balanced, estimating that the state has the good will and intention to implement the principles of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, it commended the ratification of the Convention, respect of gender equality, adoption of the gender equality law and national strategy on the improvement of the position of women, raising awareness and changing the patriarchal system of values, with particular concern for the position of Roma women and other marginalized groups, as well as war victims. The Committee recommended improving educational programmes and enabling full access to education, healthcare services, labour market, eliminate any kind of discrimination against women, fight trafficking in human beings, as well as cooperation with the NGO sector.

The Joint II and III periodic report covers the period from 2007 and 2009 and consists of information on the implementation of the articles of the Convention, statistical data and reports on the position of women in Kosovo-Metohija. It is the result of cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Serbia and the non-governmental sector. The report covers legislative activity, results of the awareness raising campaign on the importance of gender equality and fight against discrimination, measures to ensure development and progress of women and adoption of National Strategy for the improvement of the position of women and improvement of gender equality.

In the continuation, the Committee members debated the report and the current situation in Serbia as regards the position of women and gender equality. They exchanged opinions on the manner of reporting and ascertaining of the carriers of the task within the executive government. They also discussed the division in the non-governmental sector regarding the participation in the reporting. In addition to the Committee members, representatives of the non-governmental sector, ministries of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, members of the Gender Equality Council and the Gender Equality Commissioner Nevena Petrusic took part in the discussion.

The sitting was chaired by the Committee Chairperson, Gordana Paunovic-Milosavljevic.


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