Commissioner for the Protection of Equality, Brankica Janković, participated in the panel “Western Balkans with regards to the EU: Ways of fighting discrimination through institutional mechanisms” held at the International Conference on Human Rights as part of the Europride 2022 event, along with representatives of institutions for the protection of human rights from the region.
The Commissioner presented her views on whether the ways institutions of progressive European countries deal with discrimination against LGBT persons differ from those practiced in the Western Balkans countries, as well as what are the differences between these countries’ legal and practical mechanisms. Practical experiences of institutions in protecting human rights were also exchanged. Janković emphasized that the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality is one of the few institutions in Europe with authority to initiate lawsuits before courts, which represents a powerful tool for achieving wider social influence.
The panelists agreed the protection of rights of the LGBT community is neither ideal nor completely stable even in the developed democratic societies of the EU, but that there are significant developments in the EU and the region on this issue. “I want to believe that our society will understand the needs of its co-citizens who are not only ‘persons of a different sexual orientation’ but also our colleagues, brothers, sisters, doctors or teachers and friends”, concluded the Commissioner.
In addition to Commissioner Janković, the panel also included Siniša Bjeković, Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro, Robert Gajda, Albanian Commissioner for the Protection against Discrimination, Neža Kogovšek Šalamon, Head of Department, an advocate of the principle of equality, Slovenia, and ECRI member for Slovenia, and Relja Pantić, Head of the Department for Handling Complaints in the Public Sector of the Commissioner for the Protection of Equality.