President of the Parliament of Montenegro Mr Ivan Brajović today has opened the Seventh Session of the Women’s Parliament, devoted to the implementation of activities in the field of preventing and suppressing violence against women and domestic violence during the global campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
In his introductory speech, President Brajović said that by opening parliamentary doors, we gave support to raising public awareness and increasing political will and resources for preventing and ending all forms of violence against women. He emphasised that gender-based violence was in the heart of human rights and that in many ways it was a decisive factor in creating a just society, and that the level of tolerance for all aspects of gender inequality and every type of violence reflected our degree of achieved liberties.
President Brajović assessed that the second session of the Women’s Parliament in this year in the Parliament of Montenegro was a clear message that the highest legislative body addressed all topics related to further democratization of society, especially women's rights, and that all decision-makers and influential public must find a way to work together on preventing, ending and adequately sanctioning the violence.
The President of the Parliament concluded that there were many ways to resist and prevent the continued existence of attitudes and behaviours that reflect violence against women, and that special attention must be paid to the policy of economic empowerment of women, the precondition of security and their emancipation, and that we must ensure that all citizens enjoy their basic human rights, and the right to live without fear and violence.
Participants of the Women's Parliament were also addressed by Vice President of the Parliament of Montenegro Mr Branimir Gvozdenović, who believes that it is important to send a clear message - “NO to violence” from parliamentary seats, during the global campaign 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, as well as the fact that that message will be sent together with representatives of the Government of Montenegro, members of women's groups of parliamentary parties, non-governmental organizations, universities and entrepreneurs.
He noted that a relatively good legal framework was created in Montenegro and that we were among the first to confirm the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, and that the first report on its implementation was expected next year, reminding that this Parliament amended the Criminal Code, which has been harmonised with the Convention in that manner. We still have a lot of work to do, primarily in relation to the control function of the Parliament, that is overseeing the application of laws and state strategies, he added.
Vice President Gvozdenović concluded that violence against women was a huge problem, therefore it is important that we all get involved in the fight against this scourge. Not only during the 16 days of the campaign but during the whole year. The Parliament of Montenegro will be a partner to everyone who wants to work on eliminating the violence as soon as possible.
Vice President of the Parliament of Montenegro Mr Genci Nimanbegu said in his address that the "Women's Parliament” has become an inseparable part of parliamentary life and drew attention to the messages of the campaign "Unwanted". He said that violence against women had deep roots that go back to the first weeks of embryonic development and that our society should raise voice about selective abortion of female foetuses.
Vice President Nimanbegu emphasised that a legal solution must be found to ban the abuse of these tests and urged mothers to oppose to this form of discrimination and to enable society to publicly talk about this problem, which has already led to misbalance of sexes in Montenegro.
In the continuation of the session, the attendees were addressed by: Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms of Montenegro Mr Šućko Baković, and President of the Supreme Court of Montenegro Ms Vesna Medenica, as well as Commissioner for the Protection of Equality of the Republic of Serbia Ms Brankica Janković.
After this, representatives of the Government of Montenegro were answering the questions of representatives of women’s associations of parliamentary parties and representatives of civil society.
Also, there was a presentation of the research on domestic violence and violence against women, conducted within the Program “Support to the anti-discrimination and gender equality policies", funded by the EU Delegation to Montenegro, and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to Montenegro in cooperation with Ministry of Human and Minority Rights. The research was presented by Katarina Jovanović, IPSOS Strategic Marketing, Belgrade.
In her concluding remarks, Chairperson of the Gender Equality Ms Drobnjak said that actions were needed for the purpose of visibly reducing violence against women and domestic violence, and eradicating it as a threat to women and part of the lives of many families, hence the Gender Equality Committee would pay due attention to this problem in the next period.