The Democratization Department of the Mission promotes democratic practices and egalitarian norms throughout Serbia. It focuses on a range of areas, including democratic governance, human rights and equal opportunities, aiming to boost the capacities of national institutions and civil society organizations (CSOs).
The Mission provides support to the Parliament and its committees to increase their oversight and legislative capacities. It helps the MPs and parliamentary staff to gain knowledge in cross-cutting issues such as human rights, gender equality and good governance. In order to increase efficiency and transparency of the Parliament, the Mission provides technical assistance for the introduction of an e-parliament system. It also assists the Parliament in outreach and public access activities, particularly targeting young people as future voters.
The Mission assists central, provincial and local governments to develop and implement relevant legislation to further the decentralization process in Serbia and to strengthen the role of local self-governments. It promotes transparency, efficiency and accountability of local self-governments by strengthening the role of local institutions such as local ombudspersons, as well as by promoting the Code of Ethics for local councilors. Throughout the process, the Mission encourages active participation of civil society organizations and citizens in the decision-making processes, and in monitoring the implementation of adopted policies.
Based on a comprehensive concept of security, the Mission assists with reforming Serbia's security sector. Activities aim to boost parliamentary oversight, increase adherence to the principles of good governance within the security sector, and enhance respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms by increasing the role of civil society and improving education in global approaches toward security.
The Mission supports Serbian authorities and civil society organizations in ensuring effective protection, promotion and fulfillment of human rights in the country. In particular, the Mission helps with the resolution of issues pertaining to refugees and internally displaced persons.
Along this line, the Mission in cooperation with UN OHCHR provides assistance to Serbian authorities in establishing an effective and transparent UN treaty reporting system in the Republic of Serbia, and pays particular attention to the situation of human rights defenders in the country. It supports structural improvement of the human rights protection framework and the implementation of a sustainable and inclusive mechanism for effective monitoring and reporting on human rights.
Jointly with UNHCR and EU, the Mission has actively participated in the regional negotiations aimed at closure of the refugee file related to the 1991-1995 conflict and has provided assistance and expert advice to the Serbian government on refugee/IDP related topics. In line with its mandate, the Mission will support the implementation of the Regional Housing Programme following the International Donors’ Conference held in Sarajevo on 24 April 2012. The Mission enhances the regional and cross-boundary co-operation among human rights organisations in the area of forced migration in SEE and provides training to legal aid providers to create strategies and promote structural approach in addressing issues of concern.
As a leading international organization in combating human trafficking in Serbia since its establishment in 2001, the Mission has worked closely with the governmental bodies and civil society organizations on framing the national approach towards the fight against trafficking in human beings. Given the achievements the country has made in this area, the Mission has scaled down its support and since 2011 focuses on enhancing access to justice for victims of serious crimes, including trafficking in human beings and children. For more information, please refer to the factsheet available on the right.
The Mission provides assistance to state institutions and civil society in implementing legislation that protects the rights of national minorities, with respect to their education, culture, tradition, language and heritage. In this regard, the Mission supports the establishment and development of the National Minority Councils as a means of better communication between the minority communities and governmental bodies, as well as initiatives that encourage the integration of national minorities in public life.
The Mission continues to actively support the integration and empowerment of Roma in Serbia, which includes substantial technical assistance to state institutions to introduce new and more effective systems of monitoring, coordination and reporting on Roma Inclusion, measures for enhanced Roma participation in programme planning and implementation, development and replication of good practices at a local level and improved access of the Roma community to public services. For more information, please refer to the Roma factsheet.
To promote non-discrimination and equal opportunities for all, the Mission supports Serbian institutions mandated to combat discrimination and advocates for the implementation of anti-discrimination legislation. It also works with key target groups within civil society to raise awareness of both the principle of non-discrimination and Serbia’s legislative framework that protects against discrimination. During the past several years, it has focused principally on equal access to justice, combating hate crimes and freedom of assembly.
To promote gender equality, the Mission supports mechanisms to overcome under-representation of women, gender stereotypes and prejudices in line with the OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality and international standards governing gender equality. The Mission has also been actively involved in programs supporting the enhanced participation of minority women in public and political life.
The Mission facilitates the development of inclusive environmental governance by promoting fora in support of sustainable partnerships between local authorities and the civil society. To enhance environmental security the Mission provides strengthening the capacities of key institutions and professionals entrusted to implement the environmental legislative framework. In addition, the Mission supports institution-building of state bodies to help them address commitments acquired by international agreements.