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Admission of new members in the Coalition for Equality STEP

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Coalition for Equality STEP become more numerous by two organizations that share the values of the Coalition. The Coalition now has 10 organizations active in the area of four countries, expanding their field of action and becoming more active in promoting and protection of human rights.
Centre for Development of Civil Resources from Nis is one of the new members that promotes truth, justice, peace and equality as its basic values. They are implementing activities within following areas: human rights, transitional justice and activism of young people. CRCR mission is to promote human rights and freedom of expression through education, public debates and campaigns, art and culture. The aim is to create in future work a more open society, without repression, prejudices and taboos, based on responsibility and individual freedoms.

Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA) is nongovernmental, nonprofit and nonpolitical organization founded in 2004 as a professional NGO established with free association of citizens with aim to implement actions for full implementation of the rule of law principle, and enforcement of the contribution of young lawyers in the development of the legal profession in Macedonia through projects and activities. Strategic priorities of this organisation are promotion and protection of human rights and the principle of rule of law and Improvement of the position of the young lawyers.

To broaden and strengthen the front combating discrimination

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Executive Director of the Center for Civic Education (CCE) Daliborka Uljarevic estimated that in Montenegro exists a strong xenophobia against the LGBT population, hatred and disdain towards women in socio-political life and lack of understanding of the problem of people with disabilities. She stated on the final conference of the regional project “Connecting civil society in the protection of marginalized human rights in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo”, entitled “Achieving equality in societies of the Western Balkans – traces STEP-a”, that in the fight against discrimination , LGBT rights advocacy and promotion of gender equality has developed a broad front of those who are empowered and prepared to cope with the problems of human rights and freedoms in Montenegro.

Director of YUCOM from Serbia, Milan Antonijevic, noted that the whole region’s most recognizable two topics are that are fighting with discrimination, and that are the problems of LGBT population and gender equality. Advisor to the rule of law of the EU Delegation to Montenegro Barbara Rotovnik emphasized that the civil sector has a key role in the fight against discrimination, and that their work is very different from the role of political parties, but it is inseparable from the political and socio-economic processes.

AWARDED SUB-GRANTS IN KOSOVO

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Coalition for Equality STEP, with the support of the European Commission provided funds for sub-grants in Kosovo. From the numerous proposals that have been submitted in this call, two sub-grants were awarded. KORAK-HAPI-STEP is a coalition formed with goal of implementing a regional action to improve the status of human rights in Serbia, Montenegro, and Kosovo, in the areas of LGBT rights, strengthening the role of women in politics and public life, and monitoring court procedures for discrimination. It includes and connects a large number of NGOs and activists who share the values of the coalition. Members of Coalition for Equality are: Lawyers’ Committee for Human Rights – YUCOM , Centre for Civic Education, Humanitarian Law Centre Kosovo, The Network for the Committees of Human Rights in Serbia – CHRIS, Gay Straight Alliance, LGBT Forum Progress, Belgrade Centre for Human Rights and Youth Initiative for Human Rights Kosovo.

Organizations that were awarded sub-grants in Kosovo are: NGO INTEGRA and KOSOVO GLOCAL (KOSOVO 2.0).

No complains at Irinej

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Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Nevena Petrusic not received any complaint for homophobic and discriminatory statements of Serbian Orthodox Church prior to the year’s Pride Parade, which was signed by Patriarch Irenej , reported by Danas. As a reminder, the statement compares homosexuality with pedophilia, “massively popular in the western world” and incest.

“You have the right to parade, but only on its own cost and expense of their customers, no matter how they are called, both for the parade, and for security, but not at the expense of Serbia – bombed, destroyed, morally and economically crippled, impoverished, flood, nailed to the pillory, “it is said in a statement of SOC. Although many organizations, public figures, and some politicians condemned the statement of the SOC, the complaints were absent this time.

Media Monitoring – Before and After Pride Parade

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Centre for political education – CPO from Novi Sad (in cooperation with Banat Media centre) and GOOSI – Organoisation for gay persons with disabilities from Belgrade, will jointly, during the months of May and June, do the press-clipping of several print and electronic media (selected pages of printed and selected programmes of electronic media – TV stations from Serbia), and monitor every use, or not-use of politically correct speech. Focus of our analysis will be the use of gender sensitive speech and behaviour of the media towards the LGBT population.

This project (analysis) will be conducted before, during and after planed Pride week in Belgrade, and we expect that above mentioned partner organisations will have hard work ahead, hawing in mind experience from last years attempts to organise Pride week when majority of political actors, individuals, right-winged organisations, informal groups had significant space in the media for presenting its position and discriminating LGBT population.

The gay pride successfully maintained in Belgrade

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The first gay pride after four years, with large security and a few minor incidents, was maintained. With over a thousand participants, there were the mayor of Belgrade, politicians from the government and the opposition, diplomats and many public figures.

Ambassador Michael Kirby, and the head of the EU office in Serbia Michael Davenport also walked with the participants. There were also German Ambassador Wilhelm Heinz, British Ambassador Denis Keefe and the Australian ambassador Julia Finch. Ministers Ivan Tasovac, Jadranka Joksimovic and Kori Udovicki, then mayor of Belgrade Sinisa Mali, as well as Serbia’s chief negotiator with the EU, Tanja Miscevic, were there as state officials. As party officials, there were representatives of the opposition Democratic Party and the Liberal Democratic Party. Among the assembled members of the Democratic Party, there were Goran Jesic, Borko Stefanovic, Balsa Bozovic i Gordana Comic, Cedomir Jovanovic with his wife, represented Liberal Democratic Party. There were dramaturg Biljana Srbljanovic, director Purisa Đorđevic and actress Mirjana Karanovic, and also, in the crowd was a film director, Srdjan Dragojevic, a member of the Socialist Party of Serbia.

Presentation of the project “Hourglass” and critical review of the work of non-governmental organizations as well as the current problems in Serbia hinder the improvement of human rights

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At the press conference on which were presenting the projects of civil society organizations which was held at the House of Human Rights and Democracy, one of the speakers was Mrs. Svetlana Lukic from “Hourglass” from Belgrade, an organization, which continuously advocates the protection of human rights and the improvement of Serbia´s judicial system. The project “From Excluded to Included”, implemented with the financial support of the European Commission, aims at achieving full respect of the human rights of persons with mental and intellectual disabilities in the long run, on state as well as on society level. As a first step it wants to draw attention to the main source of discrimination against persons with disabilities, which is the process of legal capacity withdrawal. In order to do so, Pescanik will record and broadcast audio reportages and publish articles dealing with the problems of people with mental and intellectual disabilities, discriminatory process of legal capacity withdrawal, out-dated Serbian legislation, as well as negligent work and discriminatory attitude towards these persons. So far the project team has been extensively researching the project topic and met with potential participants for the audio reportage and arranged interviews. The activities will be finalized during September and October 2014. In her speech, Svetlana Lukic did not focus on the achievements of her organization, but critically examined the work of NGO’s and the current set of problems in Serbia, which hamper the improvement of the human rights situation in the country.