Category Archives: Good governance

Regarding the world day of social justice

Centre for Development of Civil Society (CDCS), on the occasion of the World Day of Social Justice, finds it necessary to alert the public to the following:

According to the provisions of Article 1 of the Constitution of the Republic of Serbia, the state is based on the rule of law and social justice.

In the Republic, there is no rule of law or social justice. These two phenomena are related.

Numerous successive reports of the European Commission on the progress of Serbia testify to the absence of separation of powers into three branches. This deprives citizens of legal protection.

Citizens who do not have adequate legal protection are faced with growing poverty, and millions of them with real misery.

The state has robbed a seven-digit number of pensioners of payments they have been putting into the pension fund for decades.

Unemployment is huge. The only secure employment is in the public sector. The requirement for employment, in a large number of cases, is the membership in one of the political parties that are at the particular time in power.

This way, the unemployed people, and especially young unemployed people, are deprived of the freedom of political choice and their right to freedom of opinion and freedom of conscience is significantly undermined. Partocratic relation to employment leads to the formation of parallel social strata at every level of the social hierarchy. Employees in the public sector, in terms of safety of employment and level of income tend to have a disproportionate advantage over their counterparts from parallel social groups in the private sector.>>>

Transparency in law-making process in the light of forming of the new government in Serbia and Ukrainian crisis*

The problem of transparency in law-making process is conditioned by a number of factors that are changing quite rapidly. One must be naive to think that the crucial laws whose adoption is being prepared with insufficiently transparent public debate, as the Labor Law, or whose drafts are merely mentioned, without anyone seeing them, as the legislation in the field of education in Serbia that is allegedly still being prepared, are brought in social and political vacuum.

Like countries of the Visegrad Group and Western Balkans, Serbia is faced with a situation in which the new government with a strong parliamentary majority emerged. This is, of course, a good thing, since there will be fewer blockages in the legislative process, and as civil society will know exactly who to turn to seeking greater transparency and wider public debate about the laws that are passed and are yet to be passed in the coming period.

However, some other factors are changed as well. As the Center for Development of Civil Society has been engaged in the protection of the rights of ethnic minorities for fifteen years, it is hard not to see the intertwining influence of different factors.

When we talk about the recent political changes that have taken place, we think of the elections in countries such as Serbia or Macedonia, or the Visegrad countries, for example Hungary. But, other changes significantly affect the transparency of the legislative process as well.

Crimean crisis is a new trial and a new challenge. Any factual border changing in Europe affects not only international relations but also the managing mode of internal issues in all European countries. Crimean crisis has intensified issues related to the adoption of the Labor Law, since it implies adherence to the standards of one of the parties who are confronted regarding Ukraine. It also raised the issue of the existing legislative solutions and their possible changes with regard to such important matters as the oil rent and South Stream. In small countries, foreign policy influences the legislation. Ukrainian events increase the vulnerability of small countries and may decrease transparency not only of their foreign policy, but also the legislative process and the role of the public in them. This cannot be stressed enough. Exacerbated international situation makes demands for transparency even more necessary, and, at the same time, more difficult to achieve. There is an understandable tendency of power holders in exacerbated international situation to further remove public from decision-making process.

Any change in international relations, such as the annexation of the Crimea, affects all countries in Europe, and in different ways. It opens up the possibility of a certain dose of risk in the recomposition of different policies, not only regarding international politics, but also the internal one. Despite a very sustained and constructive behavior of the most influential country of the European Union to Ukraine’s crisis, border changes in Ukraine created a porous border in the Sudeten Mountains and the rivers Oder and Neisse. The deployment of U.S. military in Poland serves deterrence, but not necessarily only deterrence of the possible danger from the East. Some of the Visegrad Group countries are objectively in more delicate position both from the east and from the west, after the annexation of the Crimea.>>>

Press Conference The Western Balkan countries and the Visegrad Group: transparency in law-making

Center for Development of Civil Society (CDCS) organizes a press conference Western Balkan Countries and the Visegrad Group: transparency in law-making on Tuesday, April 29, 12:00 to 13:00, at the Media Center in Belgrade, Terazije 3.

The conference will discuss the (lack of) transparency of the legislative process in the region, the experiences of the countries of the Visegrad Group, as well as the role and contribution of civil society in the process of increasing legislative transparency. The conference proceedings Towards greater openness of the legislative process in the Western Balkans countries will be presented there.

The conference speakers are:

Zoltán Varga-Haszonits, Deputy Ambassador of Hungary

Ivana Ćirković, Director of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society, Government of Republic of Serbia (confirmation expected)

Dr. Reményi Péter, Institute of Geostrategic Studies of Transnational Development, Hungary

Tamara Zrnović, Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in the Republic of Srpska

Đorđije Brkuljan, Center for Democratic Transition, Montenegro

Snežana Ilić, Centre for Development of Civil Society, Serbia

Simultaneous translation is provided.>>>

Established Network for Interculturalism

08.04.2014On 4 and 5 April 2014, on the Fruska Gora, a two-day initiative meeting for the creation of a Network for Interculturalism was held which, to begin with, is comprised of six organizations: the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity, Centre for Development of Civil Society, Centre for Regionalism, DamaD, Centre for Democracy, Human Rights and Regional Cooperation and AGENDA.

The two-day initiative meeting on the Fruska Gora was supported by the TACSO Serbia, Technical Assistance to the organisations of civil society.

After establishing, the Network has released their first joint statement, which reads in full:

At the initiative meeting for the establishment of the Network for Interculturalism by six non-governmental organizations from different parts of Serbia, held on 4 and 5 April 2014 at the Fruska Gora, the following was emphasised – the need for dedicated work on the fundamental social changes that contribute to: the essential civil equality; approach to human rights without exclusion of any kind; promotion of dialogue; social justice and social cohesion.

Convinced that the implementation and protection of human rights, particularly the rights to work, education, health, the recognition of identity and free expression of individual characteristics and preferences are essential for the development of our society, non-governmental organizations, brought together around the idea of a society regulated in intercultural, civic principles, believe that the future government of the Republic of Serbia needs to restore operation of the Ministry of Human Rights, the department with full political and administrative responsibility for the implementation and protection of human rights. The establishment of such a department, taking into account the cost-effectiveness and rationality of the Government, would contribute to the efficiency of public administration in relation to the realization, protection and monitoring of human rights. >>>

Proceedings presented in Mostar

05.03.2014_2The proceedings Towards greater openness of the legislative process in the Western Balkans countries was presented on 5th March at the Faculty of Law, University in Mostar. The speakers were Tamara Zrnović and Mirjana Trifković from the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in the Republic of Srpska. The audience consisted of 23 students from the Faculty of Law and Faculty of Philosophy – Department of Journalism. The presentation included examples of good practice, the comparative experiences of the countries members of the Visegrad Group and recommendations related to the increasing openness of the legislative process in the Western Balkans.

Discussion and questions raised during the presentations were focused mainly on the actual problems concerning the decision making in Herzegovina-Neretva Canton.The Government of the Canton does not work for three years and the head of the canton has only the formal function. This is due to division of the city of Mostar in two parts, East (Bosnian) and West (Croatian), and disproportionate number of residents in these areas which affects the number of their delegates in the Government. Students have expressed that it affects their life and functioning in Canton and ultimately the state of Bosnia and >>>

Promotions proceedings Towards greater openness of the legislative process in the Western Balkans countries, published by CRCD

28.02.2014_2 28.02.2014_1Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in the Republic of Srpska presented 28 February 2014 this proceedings at the Faculty of Law in Tuzla. Speakers at the presentation were Tamara Zrnović and Mirjana Trifković from the Helsinki Committee.

The audience consisted of students from the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Philosophy – Department of Journalism. The presentation included examples of good practice, the comparative experiences of the countries members of the Visegrad Fund, and recommendations related to the increasing openness of the legislative process in the Western Balkans.

Discussion and questions raised during the presentations were focused mainly on the comparative experiences of the countries of Poland and Hungary, as well as the problems faced by journalists who attempt to report on the procedure of adoption of a law. Students emphasized that there are no laws on lobbying transparency to reduce corruption to a minimum, which is ultimately one of the reasons for organizing the recent protests in Tuzla.>>>

International Conference For responsible government in the Western Balkans

24.09.2013_2 International Conference for responsible government in the countries of the Western Balkans was held from 19 to 22 September 2013 on Palic with the participation of representatives from six countries.

Speakers and participants were representatives of five partner organizations (the representatives of the partner organization from Slovakia could not attend and gave their excuse), and representatives of national and local parliaments, civil society representatives and independent regulatory bodies, members of the political parties and journalists from the Western Balkans.

Conference participants had the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the functioning of the legal system and the level of transparency of the legislative process in the Western Balkans and the countries of the Visegrad Group, the role of the public, the media and civil sector in the legislative process, as well as the so-called examples of good practice. About legislative transparency in their countries, the following speakers gave their presentations: Barbara Grabowska (Poland), Dr Drinóczi Timea (Hungary), Bojan Spajić, MA (Montenegro), Mirjana Trifković (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Boban Karapejovski (Macedonia); a lecture on the role of the public in the process of passing laws in Serbia was held by Olivera Ristić, MA (CDCS), Nedim Sejdinović (NDNV) spoke about the role of media and civil society, whereas, as a representative of the independent regulatory body, provincial Ombudswoman Aniko Muškinja Hajnrih spoke of their role and importance in the legislative process.(Speakers’ presentations can be viewed on the website www.transparencybalkans.info)>>>

Regarding the Declaration of the National Assembly condemning the crime against the Hungarian civilians

Abstract: Center for Development of Civil Society (CDCS) welcomes today’s adoption of the Declaration of the National Assembly condemning acts against the civilian Hungarian population in Vojvodina committed from 1944 to 1945.

Declaration of the National Assembly, with its content, represents a political maneuver of the authorities provoked by the Brussels agreement and factual recognition of the independence of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. It is not only an expression of the necessary respect towards the innocent victims of communist terror, but also an expression of the aspirations of reshaping the past, recomposing the territorial organization of Serbia and as a consequence, it poses a threat for the stability and security of the region.

CDCS considers it necessary to warn for certain circumstances arising out of this Declaration. Due to what is left out of it, in particular, the common anti-fascist struggle of the Serbs and Hungarians, i.e., all citizens of Vojvodina, which is the basis of legitimacy of AP Vojvodina, the Declaration represents a stronger and more effective attack on the autonomy of Vojvodina and potentially threatens the realization of minority rights and civil character of the Republic of Serbia, than the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Law on establishing the scope of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina. It represents a blow to the very foundations of the legitimacy of the autonomy of Vojvodina and directly undermines the Declaration on the Protection of the Constitutional and Legal rights of AP Vojvodina, declared by the Assembly of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina on 20 May 2013.

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Regarding the new denigration of autonomy of Vojvodina

Centre for Development of Civil Society (CDCS) with extreme concern, warns that the trend of denigration and abolishing the autonomy of Vojvodina and ignoring its problems continues to exist.

Vojvodina is caught with a new wave of ethnic incidents in Temerin, Becej, Subotica and Novi Sad. Whereas previously the police did their job properly, and the problem was in processing by prosecutors, the police now also files reports for disturbing public order and peace where there are serious indications that it is actually causing and inciting ethnic hatred. There is a shadow of a doubt that this is a response of the local police authorities to the signals they receive from the Government of Serbia.

12th February 2013. President of the Assembly of Vojvodina Pastor Istvan announced through the media and officially requested a meeting with the Minister of the Interior Ivica Dacic due to a significantly aggravated security situation in Vojvodina. The first man of the autonomy and representative of two million citizens of Vojvodina was received by the Secretary of State in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Minister of Interior, Mr.Dacic showed that it is more important for him to be present at the anniversary of the Criminal Police Academy and at the meeting of Serbian and Italian businessmen, than the aggravated security situation in Vojvodina.>>>

Vlach Issue in Serbia: human-legal and political aspect

20.09.2012_1Centre for Development of Civil Society (CDCS) within the project named Multiculturalism in Serbia is not dead which is supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy (www.norveska.org.rs) organized the conference “Vlach Issue in Serbia: human-legal and political aspect” from 3 to 5 Septembar in Bor. Beside the members of Nacional Council of Vlach national minority, civic organizations and local municipalities of Eastern Serbia, participants were representatives of government institutions and international civic organizatons.

– Decreasing divergence between so called pro-Serbian and pro-Romanian fraction of Vlach community and autohtons initiatives are visible – declared Dr. Vladimir Ilić, President of Board Member CDCS, who was speaking about rights of Vlach national minority in regional context.

Dr. Jovo Bakić, sociologist, presented the political aspect of Vlach Issue in Serbia. Bakić recognized three etnic groups: Romanian-Vlach, Vlach and Vlach-Serbian, and between them are visible competitive relations about who will have more people.

– At the same time, political parties in Serbia are pretty much involved in that etnical relations which gives etnic elite opportunity to get political cariers and material benefits – explained Bakić, adding that situation is like that in whole Serbia, just copied to the minority scene.>>>