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SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO
PHASE 1

1. Raising awareness on human rights among the general public

Still in FRY, the Serbian Democratic Forum provided legal aid and services to refugees mainly for their return to Croatia.  800 persons benefited from the project and 200 people were able to return to their country of origin.

3. Informing on children's rights

In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Uzice Child Rights Centre organized a seminar on the rights of the child for the students of the Teacher's College and secondary schools of Uzice.  The Chief of Mission of OHCHR stressed that the NGO "had been established in August 1998 and grant received within ACT Project helped them to gain confidence and recognition in their community".  The Committee for Human Rights organized a literacy contest ("Human Rights are - My Rights") in 80 schools for pupils 11-15 years old.  The booklet of ten awarded essays, printed in 1000 copies, is both in English and Serbian.

PHASE 2

Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

1. Mr. Jovan Despotovic organized art exhibitions in 10 towns of Serbia over a four-month period. The main painter represented was Mr. Bogoljub Arsenijevic-Maki, the imprisoned leader of huge anti-regime protests in 1999 in Valjevo. More than 20,000 persons were able to see the works of art; each showing was followed by round-table discussions addressing human rights issues such as freedom of expression. The events received wide coverage in the independent media.

Allocated grant: US$ 1,500

2. The Committee for Human Rights in Montenegro conducted an expert seminar on human rights and the status of convicted persons. The media covered the whole event and many conclusions of the gathering have already influenced the public and, as everyone agreed, should be taken into consideration in a necessary reform of the legal system.

Allocated grant: US$ 1,500

3. EKOCENTAR (Centre for Socio-Ecological Research and Documentation), based in Belgrade, trained trainers, mainly biology teachers, to conduct workshops in five primary and secondary schools in the suburbs of Belgrade to promote the right to a healthy life and environment. A total of 180 pupils participated in the project whose main topics were: ecology, addiction and AIDS. The project was particularly significant because it was carried out in schools, places in which activities connected with the civil sector or international organizations were basically prohibited under the former regime.

Allocated grant: US$ 750

4. The NGO “SOS – Hotline for Women and Child Victims of Violence”, located in Montenegro, invited women from the rural area of Pluzine to a seminar and four educational workshops. Issues such as domestic violence, human rights, children's rights, etc. were addressed. All the women expressed great interest in and curiosity about the subjects and were very active, particularly during discussions of traditional models of different gender roles.

Allocated grant: US$ 750

5. The Civic Reading Room AApostrophe@, located in Nis, is one of the few groups in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia that is actively engaged in the collection and dissemination of existing human rights education materials and the provision of NGO training free of charge. The project identified 30 librarians from primary and secondary schools in the region and organized a one-day seminar on human rights. The OHCHR field office in Belgrade reported: ADue to the personal commitment and vision of this group, we are jointly working on a draft of a much bigger project, which would be implemented in 70 schools in south-east Serbia and would involve teachers and pupils in discussions on concrete actions to enhance the quality of life in their local communities. OHCHR agreed to liaise with the authorities and committed itself to providing lecturers for the seminars; the NGO is currently awaiting Ministry of Education feedback on the draft project.@

Allocated grant: US$ 500

6. The Council for Human Rights in South Serbia will organize a one-week “legal clinic” for persons who have suffered, and still suffer, physical damage but also damage to property from past and ongoing human rights violations in the region of Bujanovac. According to the head of the OHCHR office in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, “This municipality bordering Kosovo continues to be a ‘hot spot’ of human rights abuses. Many of its residents have fled to Kosovo. It has no international presence, no NGO presence and only incipient development of civil society. The teachers and others who have formed this informal association are just starting a human rights group, but the documentation they have produced on human rights developments within the area is of high quality and they have reached out to groups the region, regardless of ethnicity, for assistance and expertise.”

Allocated grant: US$ 1,500

PROJECT CANCELLED

7. The House of Culture in Presevo supported a monthly bulletin in Albanian, the only medium in this language in the area: 4 issues of 1,000 copies each were produced and addressed the role of NGOs in the democratization process, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Federal Ministry for National Minorities, and AIDS-related issues.

Allocated grant: US$ 1,250

8. A library in Prijepolje, which already received an award under the pilot phase of the ACT Project, was able to purchase new books thanks to the grant and also organized panel discussions on “Language and Gender” and “Language and Interethnic Communication”, events that were well attended by young people.

Allocated grant: US$ 500

9. The Timok Club mobilized young people in an open competition for short literary works and paintings on the topic “The Young Have Rights Too”. A TV spot was produced to announce the competition and 3,000 flyers explaining in simple language children's rights and State's obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were distributed widely. The NGO reports: “We learned that young people are creative and ready to help; all we need to do is ask.”

Allocated grant: US$ 750

10. The Women's Safe House, located in Belgrade, proposes a two-day training session with local police in the Savski commune of Belgrade. The following issues will be addressed: current NGO activities aimed at protecting women against any form of violence; violence against women as a social phenomenon; dynamics and procedures for the elimination of violence; and how to recognize abused children. The training session will be moderated by a professor of philosophy, a medical doctor and a sociologist. Owing to the political changes, the project has been delayed, but the NGO and the OHCHR Office in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia are confident that it will be implemented.

Allocated grant: US$ 750

PROJECT CANCELLED

11. The Sanjak Committee for Protection of Human Rights and Freedom, based in Novi Pazar, will organize a round-table discussion on civil society in the region, involving more than 30 human rights activists, social workers, lawyers, etc. from the region. The aim is to design ways and means to draw attention to problems that could lead to conflict and to overcome such obstacles to peace.

Allocated grant: US$ 500

PROJECT CANCELLED

12. The Helsinki Committee for Human Rights in Sandzak conducted an awareness-raising campaign on human rights in general. A video-clip inviting citizens to report on cases of human rights violations was produced and broadcast twice a day for three weeks. Two other round tables were organized and covered by the local media, in which participants could freely express their concerns.

Allocated grant: US$ 500

13. The Civic Forum, an NGO located in Novi Pazar, conducted an awareness-raising campaign in the region on the rights of disabled children. A piano concert was also organized and a TV set was given to a school.

Allocated grant: US$ 500

14. Radio Panorama, which is active in the remotest areas of Montenegrin Sandzak, produced 24 radio programmes that were broadcast weekly for six months. The following issues were addressed: violations of human rights, freedom of religion, individual and collective rights, rights of ethnic groups, etc.

Allocated grant: US$ 500

15. The Creative Centre LOGOS presented a project aimed at supporting their general activities (human rights education, sensitization campaigns, workshops, production of leaflets and brochures on specific human rights issues).

Allocated grant: US$ 500

16. The Committee for Protection of Roma Human Rights in Yugoslavia, which opened several information centres throughout the country, conducted a project aimed at informing Roma people about their basic human rights and at representing them in legal proceedings. The project also offered social services to applicants from the Roma minority. The NGO is the only one providing legal aid to Roma people in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Allocated grant: US$ 500

17. The NGO Women's Studies and Creativity organized training sessions, workshops and experience-sharing debates on human rights for women trade union activists. The issues addressed were: women's rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, economic and social rights, international and national instruments for the protection of such rights, the economic dependence of women, women and poverty, comparative legal experience.

Allocated grant: US$ 750

18. The Committee for Human Rights of Nis organized a literacy contest on the topic “Human Rights: My Family and I” involving pupils from three elementary schools. The project succeeded in introducing practical human rights themes to children from rural communities, who have often been neglected by existing initiatives. All participants were given the “ABCD of Human Rights” booklet and the NGO’s flyers, and 15 were awarded a one-year English language course.

Allocated grant: US$ 500

19. New Horizon, an NGO located in an Albanian-populated town in Montenegro, organized a workshop on women's rights. Participants were able to speak about various violations of their rights. The human rights described in and protected by the main United Nations treaties were presented by lawyers working on these issues.

Allocated grant: US$ 1,000

PHASE 3

Racial Discrimination and Minority Rights  

The Human Rights Committee of Vranje organized three projections of the documentary “ Serbia – Year Zero” in South Serbia. The documentary addressed violations of human rights that the Albanian and the Roma minorities daily face. Each projection was attended by fifty people, and an open discussion with the film director and the NGO representative was organized after each projection.

The MinorityRightsCenter (MRC) in Belgrade, Serbia conducted a research on discrimination against Roma with a special focus on economic, social and cultural rights. The research, based on interviews with victims, workers, government officials, professors, psychologists, parents and children, covered mainly the cities of Belgrade, Nis, and Novi Sad. Investigations carried out by the MRC revealed that Roma were victims by illicit behavior of the police. Another issue of concern raised in the MRC research report lies in the lack of Romani’s official documents (such as identity cards, birth certificates, citizenship certificates) which has often led to social exclusion. The MRC also pointed out that lack of legal tenure renders the residents of Romani settlements vulnerable to forced evictions. The report documented dozens of forced evictions of Roma. Racial segregation of Roma is also widely reported in other areas, such as right to education . The research showed that a system of racially-segregated education effectively denied equal education to Roma. They reported that Romani children were over-represented in schools and placed in classes for the mentally disabled. Recommendations formulated at the end of the research study included: organizing training workshops for police officers and officials from justice administrations; developing educational programs for the general public concerning the nature of racism against Roma; adopting adequate laws and regulations for the protection of persons subject to forced evictions; amending curricula of primary and secondary schools so as to strengthen tolerance and mutual understanding among the communities in Serbia.

Human Rights Awareness Raising on selected topics

The Human Rights Committee of Valjevo in Serbia and Montenegro conducted 4 workshops on the role and functions of Ombudsman institution, in which 40 people participated, mainly civil and municipalities’ clerks. A small media campaign was also conducted in order to sensitize local functionaries to the Ombudsman institution and to encourage the creation of such institution at the municipal level.

Media Aid conducted a human rights festival on the human rights day in a cultural centre for youth in Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro: films and cartoons addressing human rights issues were shown, debates were organized, posters prepared for the human rights day were displayed, and a music concert took place. More than 200 young people directly benefited from these events.

The Youth Centre Postpessimists of Kotor in Serbia & Montenegro organized 12 workshops on general human rights issues for senior high school students (64 young women and 49 young men) of the Northern part of Montenegro. The NGO provided the participants with brochures and leaflets on the European Convention of Human Rights and its Protocols, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as materials on human rights. Participants were also encouraged to speak up about their experience on violence at , at school, and in their communities. The grant recipient reported that the students were surprised to learn about non-violent conflict resolutions and that they would duplicate the good examples learnt during the activities.

Ali Asllani, active on human rights issues in Pec, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro, organized a series of multi-ethnic events to commemorate the human rights day on 10 December 2002. A competition co-organized with OHCHR, the Council of Europe and OSCE, took place and awards were attributed to the best proposals; music concerts were played; posters were designed and displayed. Several groups from various part of Kosovo (totaling 120 people) participated in the events, which received large media coverage.

Women’s rights, Violence Against Women and Reproductive Rights

New Horizon”, active in Serbia and Montenegro, conducted 12 radio programmes, 11 television programmes and wrote 8 articles in magazines. Most of them focused on the rights of Albanian women in Montenegro, including: right to education, domestic violence, inter-ethnic relationships and representation in public life. Information included also testimonies of Albanian women who experienced difficult situations, and overcame them by dialoguing and imposing respect for their rights. The recipient reported on the high level of outreach both in terms of quantity and quality. They also noticed that the project generally improved the quality of information in the Albanian language in Montenegro. Trained journalists will continue to write and report on human rights of this minority.

The Victimology Society of Serbia conceived and conducted an information campaign on domestic violence in Belgrade, Uzice and Zajecar in Serbia and Montenegro. The grant recipient created and produced sensitization materials (leaflets, postcards and posters) on the basis of the results of a research that it had conducted a year before. Three street campaigns were organized that reached about 3,000 people; additionally, music performances, televion and radio programmes addressing the issue of battered women were held and broadcast. Materials were also distributed in schools, social care centres, and to structures dealing with female prisoners.

Women’s Space conducted three 2-day workshops for 48 women on women’s issues, women empowerment, and the protection of women’s rights at the international and the national levels in Serbia and Montenegro.

Children’s Rights

The Maticna Biblioteka of Prijepolje conducted a research on the literacy rate among Roma children of the region of Prijepoljek in Serbia and Montenegro. Given the low results of the study, the NGO decided to purchase books, comic strip books and other materials in the Roma language and to have them collected in the library. The NGO also provided free access badges to children and organized a sensitization campaign among parents to send their children to school.

The organization Lastavica organized 24 interactive educational workshops for 60 children, among which refugees, in Surcin and Pancevo in Serbia and Montenegro. The workshops aimed at diffusing the rights of the child as they are contained in the relevant UN Convention, and at educating children on how to express their needs and wishes. Children were also keen to know more about the elderly. Therefore, a one-day workshop on the relationship between children and older people was organized during which posters, songs and short stories were produced. Another workshop was designed to teach children on how to use a computer; since many of these children come from in-need contexts, it was a first opportunity for them to be familiarized with a computer. Furthermore, the project strived to develop children communication skills.

Human rights in the Administration of Justice

Between July and December 2002, the Incest Trauma Centre, based in Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro designed and conducted a 4-day training programme for 49 police officers entitled Presenting Evidence and Interviewing Children and Adults Survivors of Sexual Assault. Participants came from 11 towns of Serbia; they received a 142-page manual on sexual assault, on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and case studies. More specifically, the NGO developed a practical handbook for police officers and judicial officials on techniques to interview children and women survivors of sexual abuse on the one side, and the perpetrators on the other side.

Sanjak Committee for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms conducted a research on 30 alleged cases of torture by military or police forces in Serbia and Montenegro. The documented cases were then reported to the local public prosecutor, who took action on most of them.

PHASE 4
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