First public hearing of the Committee on labor, social issues, social inclusion and poverty reducation

On November 23, 2016, the Committee on Labor, Social Issues, Social Inclusion and Poverty Reduction held the first public hearing on the topic, “Presenting the Manual for Parliamentarians – a Guide to international refugee law”.

 Through the presentation of the Manual, participants had the opportunity to become informed about the basic principles of international law in this area, as well as the importance of law enforcement, establishment of a national legal framework and institutional structure for the reception and protection of refugees, which also provides protection to the local population.

In addition to the Committee members, MPs, and representatives of international and local organizations and institutions involved in the provision of assistance to refugees, the public hearing was also attended by Marijana Savic, director of NGO Atina.

On that occasion, she said that Atina deals with the protection of victims of human trafficking, and due to the current crisis women and young girls who have been sexually abused, or who have suffered violence during their journey, have also entered the programs they are conducting. Thus, in partnership with other nongovernmental and international organizations and state institutions, Atina works to improve the response of the state when it comes to the identification of victims of human trafficking and women and children who have suffered violence, both on the territory of the Republic of Serbia, and in the countries on their route.

Marijana drew attention to the fact that the position of women in exile is rather difficult, especially those who come from traditional backgrounds, where they did not have an opportunity to, for example, learn any foreign language, which is why they are forced to rely on men in their environment who can abuse their position. Since the crisis began, 55 women and children, victims of domestic violence, or human trafficking, were accommodated in Atina’s shelters. Although Serbia’s response is getting better, organizations and state institutions should network even more in order to create a space where these women feel safe to show that they are victims, because it is difficult to identify them otherwise, and these cases are numerous. Also, she added that there are many girls who are in forced marriages, thus it would be good to find a way to offer them an alternative, which would be in line with the attempt of their integration into the society.

The report in its entirety can be found here: