Women against Violence Network: Investigate allegations of sexual exploitation, Marković to resign

Women against Violence Network: Investigate allegations of sexual exploitation, Marković to resign​

Illustration: pch.vector / Freepik

The Women Against Violence Network expresses deep concern over the allegations that appeared in the media regarding the involvement of Dragan Marković Palma, the mayor of Jagodina and MP, and other high-ranking officials in the case of sexual exploitation of girls and women at several locations in Jagodina.

We hereby call on the competent Prosecutor's Office to examine without delay all the details related to this case, and we encourage them not to back down in face of the fact that these are high-ranking state officials. In this regard, we request all relevant institutions, including the Prosecutor's Office, Office for Coordination of Anti-Trafficking Activities with the Ministry of the Interior, the Coordination Body for Gender Equality, Assembly and the Government of the Republic of Serbia to inform the public of the steps taken in response to these media allegations and grave accusations against Dragan Marković Palma and other high-ranking officials for sexual exploitation of girls and women.

Also, we as the Network call on Dragan Marković Palma to resign from all current positions and take both political and personal responsibility for this act. We strongly condemn all forms of abuse of women and girls, and demand that this case of sexual violence against women and girls be thoroughly investigated, as well as all other cases that have appeared in the Serbian public in recent months and deeply disturbed the citizens.

Sexual and other forms of abuse of children represent a serious violation of children's rights, and a crime punishable by a several-year long prison sentence. We wish to remind you that Serbia has adopted several international conventions that guarantee the protection of children and women from violence and the improvement of their position, as well as the Strategy for the Prevention and Protection of Children from Violence in 2020. Combating violence against children and women must not remain just a declarative policy of the Government, but needs to be effectively demonstrated, including through prosecution and punishment of the highest state officials if it is proven that they participated in such crimes of sexual violence against women and girls.

We, as a network of women's organizations, are sending a clear message that we are here to provide not only verbal, but also legal and psychological support to all women and girls victims of violence, including those who have suffered sexual violence from persons who are perceived as powerful in the public, and we can be contacted via these phone numbers: https://zeneprotivnasilja.net/usluge-u-zajednici/srbija/mapa-usluga