On the occasion of 16 November, International Day of Tolerance, Commissioner for the Protection of Equality in cooperation with OSCE Mission in Serbia and UK Government’s Good Governance Fund organized annual conference titled “Serbia without Discrimination”.
Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Brankica Jankovic stressed at the conference opening that the equality is a value that we share with every our citizen and also the foundation of legal state and fair society. She stated that the priority of the institution of Commissioner for the Protection of Equality is to be available to all our citizens and recognized as the institution to which people are addressing in order to obtain the protection they need, which creates the society with the rule of law, strong institutions and where young people wish to live in. We cannot succeed in this important mission alone and therefore we are trying to have good cooperation with courts, partnership with civil sector and media support. I am convinced that there are still more of us, who are ready to build a society where ordinary men is not scared, but the fear is on the side of those who breach the law and human rights, stressed Jankovic.
Head of OSCE Mission in Serbia Andrea Orizio and Ambassador of Great Britain Denis Keefe also spoke at the conference opening, stressing the importance of equality and prohibition of discrimination for the development of Serbia and improvement of the position of all its citizens. They also expressed full support to the work of Commissioner for the Protection of Equality.
Traditional “Annual Journalist Tolerance Awards” established by Commissioner for the Protection of Equality and OSCE Mission in Serbia were awarded again this year. Awards were handled to authors of the best media articles and reports made on topics of discrimination and promotion of equality and tolerance. Awards were announced in three categories: for radio/TV report, for print/online article and for radio/TV reportage that lasts up to 30 minutes. Rewarded journalists are: Suzana Duka (RTS), Miodrag Sovilj (N1), Visnja Visnjic (RTS), for radio/TV report, Radmila Relic (RTV Mag, Obrenovac), Gorica Nikolin (Radio 021), Marija Maric (Radio RTV), for radio/TV reportage and Vladimira Dorcova Valtnerova (Storyteller), Marijana Canak (Portal o invalidnosti) and Slavica Tomcic (Kurir) for print/online article.
Results of the project “Support to the implementation of legislation for the protection of human rights” sustained by UK Government’s Good Governance Fund were also presented at the conference. Having in mind the importance of media in the combat against discrimination, a part of the project was dedicated to the research “Relation of media in Serbia towards discrimination” in which participated 164 representatives of print and electronic media throughout Serbia. Sociologist Gradimir Zajic presented the results of this research, after which followed the panel “Role and importance of media in suppressing of stereotypes and prejudices” in which the director of agency Beta Dragan Janjic and general director of Color Press Group Robert Coban took part.
Second part of the project was dedicated to strategic litigations that represent not only the personal interests of individuals, but are also achieving wider social goal as the important mechanism for prohibition of discrimination. Directives for Strategic Litigation were presented at the panel “Role and importance of strategic litigations in the judicial practice in Serbia” as well as the result of workshop with domestic and international experts. Judge of High Court of Cassation Lidija Djukic and Ombudsperson for Gender Equality of Croatia Visnja Ljubicic participated in this panel.
Around 200 participants attended this conference; among them were also Ambassador of United States of America Kyle Scott, Ambassador of Canada Kati Csaba, as well as numerous representatives of other states, international organizations, media, justice and civil society.
Also, at the initiative of Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, first classes in all schools in Serbia were dedicated to the issue of mutual respect, understanding and tolerance.