The Committee of the Parties to the Istanbul Convention adopted its conclusions on the implementation of recommendations in respect of Serbia welcoming the measures taken and progress achieved by Serbia. The CoP especially noted the normative progress and positive steps taken by the Ministry of Justice to collect additional data on domestic violence, including the relationship between the victim and the perpetrator; as well as the improvements in statistics on VAWG. The CoP also invited the Government to continue taking measures to implement the Convention, particularly on the basis of the conclusions of GREVIO’s baseline evaluation report.
The adoption of the Action Plan for the National Strategy for Combating Gender Based Violence against Women and Domestic Violence is still pending. The European Parliament's Standing Rapporteur Vladimir Bilcik’s draft report on Serbiacalled on government to adopt the overdue action plan and funding for the strategy on violence against women and domestic violence.
As provisions of the Law on Gender Equality, which refer to use of gender-sensitive language (GSL), are to be applied as of June next year, GSL has been a hot topic for months. Even the Orthodox Church got involved and the Serbian Patriarch in his Easter message stated the church appeals "to stop the violence against Serbian language and abolish the provisions of the laws that impose that violence, especially through the unconstitutional law that imposes the so-called gender-sensitive language that is a cover for the fight against matrimony and family as divinely established sanctities and natural forms of man's personal and congregational life.”
The Government of Serbia formed the Council for Gender Equality, as an expert advisory body under the Coordination Body for Gender Equality for a period of four years. Council President is Stana Bozovic, MA, State Secretary in the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Policy and there are 19 Council Members.
Meanwhile, the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina adopted in April the Development Plan for the Autonomous province of Vojvodina for the period 2023-2030 which ensures gender responsiveness. Vojvodina Assembly also adopted the Programme for protection of women from domestic violence, violence in partner relations and other forms of gender-based violence in the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina from 2023-2026 that is focused on improvement of status of victims of violence from multiple-discriminated groups and is targeting gender and intersectionality perspective.
In the period January-July 2023, Serbia registered an alarmingly high number of femicides - 23. Women’s civil society organization FemPlatz has been working on the establishment of Femicide Watch in Serbia for three years. Most recent developments involved sending letters to MPs and caucuses as well as to all relevant ministries and government institutions seeking support for the initiative. A coalition of over 15 CSOs supporting the establishment of the Femicide Watch was formed while a report “Social and institutional responses to femicide in Albania, Montenegro and Serbia” with recommendations for each country was recently published.